II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > C. Early Civilizations and Classical Empires of South and East Asia > 7. Japan, to 527 C.E. > c. Religion
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
c. Religion
 
The early religion of Japan was a simple worship of the manifold manifestations of the powers of nature combined with a system of ritualistic observances, notable among which was an insistence on physical and ritual purity. The deities tended to become anthropomorphic and often merge with memories of past heroes. The Japanese were also affected by attempts to explain the origins of mankind and society in mythical terms. This eventually led to an organized mythology centering around the Sun Goddess (Amaterasu mikami) and her descendants, the imperial family. After the introduction of Buddhism, this combination of nature worship, ritualistic observances, and ancestor-honoring mythology was given the name of Shint.  1
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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