Shinto is often believed to have been an indigenous religion in Japan, and this original animistic creed of the Japanese people may possibly go back to the late Jamon period (ca.2000 BC). But we do not know much about early Shinto, sometimes called koshinto, which may have been a mixture of various beliefs that are based on unrelated local religions. In this course, we will survey the basic beliefs and practices of Shinto today, learn the core Shinto myths and legends compiled in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki in the early 8th century, and explore the beliefs and rituals before the advent of Buddhism in the mid-6th century. As we go through ritual artifacts and architectural structures in the archaeological remains of the prehistoric periods in Japan students will be exposed to the background and the general context in which early belief systems originally developed. We will also attempt to identify any elements in the archaeological data that reflect the beliefs and practices that are associated with modern-day Shinto. These topics will be examined from archaeological, anthropological, historical, and religious perspectives. The course aims to provide a strong foundation for further study in early Japanese history and religions.
Section 401 - LEC
TR 0130PM-0300PM