The Shinto religion is based on the beliefs that are indigenous to japan. The word ‘Shinto’ means the way of the gods. According to the religion there exists a basic life force called Kami. Kami can be experienced through faith and religious practices. The aim of the Shinto religion is to experience Kami. Shrines have been set up in rivers and mountains to pray to the kami to receive good fortune.
The aim of Zen Buddhism is to achieve satori- the moment of enlightenment or the ‘flash of truth’ when all is understood. Many samurai adopted Zen Buddhism as their religion because they believed that they could focus, improve their minds and become better warriors through practicing Zen Buddhism. This influenced society because the samurai were respected and powerful in their community this meant that many other people started practicing Zen Buddhism in Japan.
The Christian belief is that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human and the savior of humanity.The Japanese first came into contact with Christianity via the Portugeuse who were the first Westerners to make contact with them. The Portugeuse brought with them Christianity, in the form of the Jesuits. Many daimyos did convert which made christianity more popular in Japan.
Religions Influence on the Period
Religion had an enormous impact on the society in medieval Japan, people lived by the rules of their religion. By Japan being extremely isolated in the medieval world they were not heavily influenced by other countrys such as England. This made Japans religions very unique in the world at this time. Shinto believed in having a clean lifestyle, they washed and bathed everyday which made most of Medieval Japan a fresh and clean society unlike the european society. Followers of the shinto religion would come together and join in festivals, this made bonds with the people. The christians in Japan did not believe in having a leader that was not appotinted by god, this made them appose the shogun and evetunally rebel against him. This was all caused by their belief of Christianity.