Preface and Acknowledgements
Michael Pye [+]
Marburg University (Emeritus) and Ōtani University
Shinto permeates the religious landscape of Japan and is a major key to the understanding of Japanese culture and society. But what is it? If ideological shortcuts are avoided there is no simple answer. Yet this book will guide students and general readers through many aspects of Shinto both today and in its history. It contains much information about sacred Shinto shrines and the divinities (the kami) which are the focus of devotion there. These numerous divinities have been viewed in different ways in the course of time, and contributions by specialists shed much light on the role played by Buddhism in this regard. Moreover, several fascinating religious movements or “sects” which share in the wider pattern of Shinto are also introduced and discussed. Oversimplified views may be challenged here, but the result is a volume in which “Shinto” is explored in a wide and illuminating perspective by an international team of scholars. It provides a refreshing and much-needed resource for all who are interested in the subject.