The indigenous religious tradition of Japan. The term was coined in the 6th century CE from Chinese words meaning “the way of the divine being”, but its origins go right back into Japanese pre-history. It has no founder, no official scriptures, and no fixed system of doctrine. It is simply the underlying value orientation of the Japanese people. Within the basic concept of a three-level universe (the Plain of High Heaven, the Manifested World, and the Nether World) it embraces ancient myths, conceptions of spirits, taboos, popular superstitions, rites of passage etc. It stresses gratitude to the “kami” (divine powers from whom life is generated and grows), and paying respects to them in order to enjoy their blessings.


The Chaplaincy to the University of Glamorgan provides the following information from its own researchers. Each page has been checked by the chaplaincy advisor from the relevant faith group. Within every major religion, there are differences of opinion between leaders, and between leaders and followers. We only aim to provide an overview.