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Shinto in the History and Culture of Japan (Ronald S. Green)

ISBN: 9780924304910. 108 Pages.

After Japanese emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum throne in 2019, he performed a secretive ritual funded by the state by offering newly harvested rice to the Shintō sun goddess Amaterasu, mythological progenitor of the imperial family, raising controversy and puzzlement both inside Japan and out. This book is a concise overview of Shintō through a survey of its key concepts, related archeological finds, central mythology, significant cultural sites, political dimensions, and historical developments. Its goal is to promote an understanding of Shintō as an enduring cultural phenomenon central to Japan past and present. Readers discover how Shintō honors nature, reveres mountains and rivers as living entities, why it famously asserts that eight million nature spirits, known as kami, surround the Japanese people in their homeland, and how politics have always been central to these positions.

“Ron Green begins his volume with: ‘What is Shintō?’ A simple question with many possible answers. It’s nature worship, a tool of the military, the catalyst for modest and magnificent shrines. It’s a religion; it’s not a religion. It’s Japanese; it’s universal. In seven succinct chapters, Professor Green answers his question, leaving the reader nodding with understanding and yearning to learn more.” — Gary DeCoker, Executive Director, ASIANetwork

“An excellent introduction for laypersons and an extraordinarily comprehensive discussion of all aspects of Shintō, couched in language that makes it readily accessible to all readers.” — Stephen Kohl, Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Oregon

Ronald S. Green is Associate Professor of Asian Religions at Coastal Carolina University.