Internet Pulls People to Japan’s Shinto Religion
Japan has much “soft” power, meaning the world loves aspects of their popular culture. All over the globe, people have gained a taste for anime, video games, and martial arts. More recently, the Japanese have added another cultural export: the Shinto religion. In this century, the Internet has provided an opportunity for people to become actively involved in Shinto practices. In the online publication, “The Conversation,” anthropologist Kaitlyn Ugoretz points out that since the rapid growth of the Internet in 2000, the mailing list of Shinto participants has grown from 1,000 to 10,000.
Why are people drawn to Shintoism? It’s “spiritual” but not “religious” since there is no holy book or moral expectations. This works well for people who like rituals but not for moral demands. Adherents believe Shinto rituals will give them good health, economic prosperity, safety, and good grades, or help them solve marital problems. They also believe these rituals help purify them from accumulated impurities that come from daily living. Spiritual impurities offend the kami (gods).
These people are attaching themselves to gods that will certainly make demands on them and, if they don’t repent, cause eternal harm. For this reason, we must pray for them.
- The Conversation, Shintoism going global and Attracting Online Followers. February 9, 2022
- Religion Watch, Shinto gaining global online practitioners, Volume 37, #4
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