What Are Some Good Shinto Introductory Books

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Shintô, a mixture of natural and ancestral cults with a strong community-building, political component, is not easy to understand for a non-Japanese. The main difficulty is not in any complicated doctrines or concepts, but precisely in their absence. The Shintô has neither a founder nor a holy scripture, nor a clearly defined doctrine. In this introduction, the special features of Shintô are presented in a clear and understandable manner, the historically significant relationship between the state and Shintô is discussed and the influences of Shintô on today's Japan are addressed. Finally, the Shintô is placed in the context of the current discussion about "Asian values".

Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 23, 2001

Steffen Gnam finds Ernst Lokowandt's introductory study on Shintoism quite successful, as the author shows how this Japanese natural religion permeates modern society, the "Japanese way of feeling, thinking and acting". The author also explains to what extent this religion has been appropriated or instrumentalized in its history: It entered into the teachings of "esoteric Buddhism", found a symbiosis with Taoism and Confucianism and was the ideological support of Japanese militarism, reports Gnam. The author comes to the conclusion that "Shinto" remains the "born state religion" in modern history, despite the separation of state and religion.
Read the review at buecher.de