Digest of terms
These relate to the distinctive Japanese world view - the Way (Tao) of Divine Being (Shen or Kami) pervasive from early history. There is a sense of interdependent and hierarchical order involving the natural world of rocks and tree and sky, with animal and humankind, and the greater being of rulers and cosmic powers like the sun. The reverencing of nature reflected in the outdoor setting of shrines, and of family and ancestors reflected in ritual deference are powerful in shaping attitudes and promoting a sense of physical and moral purity. However, control of this shrine-based Shinto by the State from 1867 to the end of World War 2 led to the creation of a deified imperialism which vaunted its own nation and citizens and lost sight of any Shinto regard for wider humanity. Emperor Hirohito repudiated this distortion in1946. Shinto, along with Buddhist and Confucian sentiments, is a continuing ingredient in Japanese cultural and religious inheritance.