Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Japan History :: Japanese Culture, Shinto

Shinto Shinto is the aboriginal spirituality followed by the Japanese people. In the 8th century, Shinto practices were for the first time, archived in codified records of history of the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki. Shinto today is a term that is related to community shrines matched with various human ceremonies like historical memorials, marriage, harvest festivals and worship. People who practice Shinto express their varied values with a standard way of communication and activities, implementing similar ancient dress code and rituals. There are two main Buddhism branches in existence and Mahayana is one of them. The term Mahayana means great vehicle. The origin of Mahayana Buddhism is India (Mason & Caiger 98). Out of the two major Buddhism traditions in existence today, Mahayana is the largest. The Mahayana traditions teach that the tradition is a path of quest, for absolute enlightenment for the benefit of all mortal beings. Mahayana is also referred to as Bodhisattvayana (Mason & Caiger 98). The history of Mahayana shows the spread of the tradition from India to other Asian countries. Mahayana Buddhism traditions exist even today. The Heian period is a historical time in Japanese history, happened between the years 794 to 1185. During this period, Buddhism, Taioism and other Chinese traditions were at peak (Morton & Olenik 23). The Heian period was named after the capital Heian-kvo, the modern Kyoto City. It was also the peak of the Japanese imperial court. The period is noted for its literature, art and poetry (Morton & Olenik 23). During this period, the Imperial house had the power although the real power was held by the noble Fujiwara clan who had intermarried with the Japanese emperor. In Japanese, the term Heian means peace and tranquility. The establishment of Kamakura shogunate in Japan happened after the then ruling Taira clan was defeated in Genpei war. Kamakura shogunate was headed by shoguns (Mason & Caiger 158). The shoguns were hereditary military dictators of Japan. The shogunate was based in kamakura, and controlled the entire nation. Court Life in Heian Japan The Heian period saw the Fujiwara clan hold the real power. The Fujiwala clan was noble and so, they had great influence on politics and culture in Japan (Mason & Caiger 249). The noble families’ life was focused on manners and beauty guided by a powerful civil code called miyabi. At the Kyoto court, etiquette, appearance and self-discipline were stressed (Mason & Caiger 106).

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