Thinking about Shintoism after my father’s death | 父の死から神道について考える


*English translation based on translation tools. Please forgive any mistranslations.

my local shrine

My father passed away in late September, about 3 months ago he told me he was feeling a little sick, but then it happened fast. The great sense of loss that I felt immediately after his death is gone now, but I still feel regret from time to time, like I should have done more ◯◯, and somewhere in my daily life, a feeling of sadness is born, but we all go through this, so we have to move forward. Don’t think it will always be there, parents and money. My parents used to say this to me, and it is something I realize when the time comes.

“Shinto” is included in the title of this blog. Since my father’s funeral was a Shinto funeral based on the Shinto beliefs, what is Shinto? What kind of view of life and death is it? I would like to write a little about it as a reminder.

What is Shinto?

According to a book written by a religious historian, Shinto is a faith unique to Japan that has continued since ancient times. Unlike Buddhism and Christianity, Shinto has no founder or scripture, and it seems to have been created by adding elements of foreign beliefs to those that arose spontaneously in various parts of Japan.

There are many gods (spirits), including the gods (spirits) of nature such as mountains, rivers, and oceans, as well as the gods (spirits) of national birth and the gods (spirits) who govern things.

He also mentioned the difference between shrines and temples. It was very easy to understand that shrines are places for gods (temples as the dwelling place of gods), while temples are places for people (stupas to honor enlightened Buddhas and ideal Bodhisattvas).

Incidentally, there are more than 81,000 shrines and 77,000 temples (reference source: Diamond Online).

Shinto View of Life and Death

As I conducted the funeral service and the 50-day festival (49 days in Buddhism), I thought again about the “view of life and death”. I knew about it partially from movies and cartoons that I have seen, but here is what I learned.


There are three major views of life and death: first, going to the Pure Land, second, ascend to nirvana, and third, reincarnation.


Catholics apparently believe that immediately after death, one is judged by private judgment, which determines whether one is in heaven, hell, or somewhere in between, purgatory.

Protestants believe that people are born with sin and that only those who believe in Christ can go to heaven. I heard that it is taken that those who have faith will be at peace with God after death.


It is said that Shintoists are believed to remain in their homes with their ancestors after death and become the guardian deities of their families. It represents the view of life and death that people born in Japan return to the gods of their ancestors when they die, and life is believed to be passed down from generation to generation.

This time, my father has given me an opportunity to think about “Shinto”, which I have not been very conscious of as a person. I would like to dig deeper, but I will leave it at that for now.




渋谷申博「図解 眠れなくなるほど面白い神道」によれば、神道とは、古代から続く日本固有の信仰である。仏教やキリスト教などと異なり、開祖や教典がなく、日本各地で自然発生的に成立したものに外来信仰の要素が付け足されて作られてきたらしい。














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