Encyclopedia of Shinto

詳細表示 (Complete Article)

カテゴリー1: 1. General Introduction
カテゴリー2: Religious and Intellectual Influences on Shinto
Shinto and Ancient Chinese Thought
The Japanese Naturalization of Written Chinese
With the start and spread of rice cultivation, the Yayoi period (ca. 300 B.C.E.–300 C.E.) way of life brought with it changes of customs that had prevailed during the preceding Jōmon period (ca. 8000–300 B.C.E.). The fundamental structures of Japanese culture gradually formed during these centuries, and the basic forms of belief in the "kami of heaven and earth (jingi)" also took shape. It is not clear to what extent immigrants from China contributed to the development of rice cultivation culture, or even before that whether that foundation we could call the East Asian cultural sphere had extended as far as Japan. However, as concerns customs related to rice cultivation, it can be assumed that was a certain degree of commonality from the start throughout East Asia in general. Rather than saying that agricultural rituals or ancestor veneration practices (sosen sūhai) related to cultivation were influenced by imported cultural elements, it is better to think of them as a common denominator throughout the East Asian cultural sphere. It is extremely difficult to discuss questions of influence in the earliest periods.
The first appearance of the term "Shintō" (literally "kami-way") is found in the Nihon shoki's chronicle of Emperor Yōmei where it is written, "The emperor believed in Buddhism and respected Shintō." It is well known that this is taken from the commentary (tuanzhuan) on the Guangua hexagram section found in the Chinese text Zhouyi (Jp. Shūeki; also known as Yijing; or in Eng. "Book of Changes"), where it says, "Knowing the shendao (shintō) of the heavens one will not err throughout the four seasons. Wise men teach with knowledge of the shendao, and convince all under heaven." However, there is already a problem at this stage of the inquiry—who used the word "Shintō" in the Nihon shoki, with what meaning, and from what point of view? It is possible that a new interpretation or different conceptualization was invested in it when the Chinese character 神 (Jp. shin, Ch. shen) was used to express the Japanese word kami . At the point when the word "shintō" (n.b., some believe the term was prounced jindō in the early period) was expressed using Chinese characters based on the loan word shendao, it had already passed through a process of what might be called folk exegesis. In this fashion, when Japanese culture came to be expressed through Chinese characters it was a kind of translation; on the other hand, when Chinese characters were read with Japanese pronunciations (kun'yomi), they became Japanese expressions, with the result that their meaning sometimes diverged from that of the original Chinese script. Even though the same Chinese expressions may turn up in early texts, it is dangerous to directly assume a relationship with Chinese thought in terms of how they were understood. This is why the adoption of Chinese characters (kanji) cannot necessarily be equated with the adoption of Chinese culture.
Be that as it may, the first and greatest influence from China can be seen in the decision to record the Nihon shoki and Kojiki using Chinese characters. Concepts derived from Chinese thought are apparent in the creation story found at the beginning of the text, and in the tripartite worldview of ame (heaven), tsuchi (earth), and yomi (the underworld). The Chinese sources drawn on are also obvious (the Tianwenxun chapter of the Huainanzi, Sanwuliji, etc.). However, it is also possible to interpret these usages as representing the attempt to use a more rational form of speech to explain concepts from the common cultural base possessed by Japan and China. In that sense, one must be very cautious when talking about the influence of Daoism or Chinese ideas regarding "immortals" on Shintō. While it can be argued that the concept of Penglaishan (Jp. Hōraisan), home of the immortals, may have influenced the idea of the land of Tokoyo, for example, it is doubtful whether such influences are relevant to the essence of Shintō. It is particularly important to remember that even Daoism was not based on an acceptance of every aspect of Chinese religious thought and traditional folkways.
Numerous Chinese concepts concerning the relationship between humans and heaven were adopted in Japan and, through the court's Bureau of Diviners (Onmyōryō) and in other ways, had an influence on Shintō thought as well. Some of these concepts include theories regarding Yin and Yang, the Five Phases of Matter (Ch. wuhang, Jp. gogyō), various theories of the correspondence between Heaven (or Nature) and human behavior (Ch. tienren xiangguan; Jp. tenjin sōkan) including those called jireisetsu (Ch. shiling), and sai'i (Ch. zaiyi, theories that natural aberrations and disasters are warnings from Heaven of poor government), as well as theories of geomancy (Ch. fengshui, Jp. fūsui). An example of this kind of influence can be seen in the description of Emperor Jinmu's accession, which is recording as having taken place based on shin-i thought (a theory of divination) in a year predicted to have a revolution that would change the ruling dynasty according to the will of Heaven.
It is without doubt that the regulations pertaining to kami-related matters (Jingiryō) in the early eighth century Yōrō Code (Yōrōryō) drew on Chinese codes such as the Kaihuangling of the Sui period and the Kaiyuanling of the Tang period. The application of Confucian observances to Japanese imperial household rituals is also considered a product of the development of the ritsuryō state. Also, while concepts of shinbutsu shūgō (the correspondence between kami and buddhas) existed from an early date, since this was due to the influence of sinicized Buddhism Chinese religious thought was included in the mix and came to Japan as part of the transmission of Buddhism. In addition, the influence of Chinese religious thought also extends to Sannō Shintō and Ryōbu Shintō.

Chinese Thought and the Awakening of Shintō
Ise Shintō (Watarai Shintō), which began in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), was the first instance of a form of Shintō consciously construed as a different religion from Buddhism. In the so-called "five books of Shintō" (Shintō gobusho), the representative collection of works on Ise Shintō theory, an attempt is made to reach back to the very beginning of creation, before even the creation of heaven and earth with the aim of developing a new interpretation of Shintō and kami. The gobusho uses the term purity (shōjō), an important concept for Shintō, employing not only Buddhist sutras but also various classic Chinese texts. This is not the purity of body gained through abstention and physical purification (see kessai), but a more spiritual purity found through returning to the source of creation before the creation of heaven and earth. This notion overlaps with the Daoistic concept of "non-intervention" (wuwei). Wuwei was originally a Daoist term, and can also be found as a translation of certain Buddhist terms in sutras. Honesty (shōjiki, or seichoku), an important concept of Ise Shintō, also was a term originally used in the Hongfan chapter of the Chinese work Shangshu (Jp. Shōsho). These terms were presumably chosen as the most appropriate words to express the concept of purity common to all religions in general.
Yoshida Shintō, advocated by Urabe Kanetomo (Yoshida Kanetomo) during the Muromachi period (ca. 1392-1568), adapted and cited Daoist texts to oppose the cult of the Big Dipper (known as Hokuto) found in esoteric Buddhism, and Daoist amulets were distributed to shrines under the Yoshida's control. Also, while it appears to have never been realized, evidence exists that some attempts were made to implement purification practices in accordance with the Daoist theory of neidan (Jp. Naitan; a form of inner alchemy). Around the same time, Zen practitioners within Kyoto's Gozan (Five Mountain) system promoted the adoption of new Confucian thought and Confucian-related moral teachings. This led to a gradual divergence from Buddhism and the establishment of the next generation of Juka Shintō (Confucian Shintō). As Confucian moral thought was made the official dogma of the Tokugawa shogunate, Shintō during the Edo period became, for all intents and purposes, "Confucian Shintō." Beginning with Fujiwara Seika and Hayashi Razan, Confucian moral thought deeply colors various branches of Shintō throughout the period, including Yoshikawa Shintō, which succeeded Yoshida Shintō, Yamazaki Ansai's Suika Shintō, and the revived Ise Shintō as well.
Shintō invoked Chinese traditional thought especially, it may be said, as a means for distinguishing itself from the foreign religion of Buddhism. We can say that the Chinese characters that had supplied a sophisticated vocabulary for the world of East Asia were seen as a providing a neutral medium and used actively for the independence of Shintō.
— Maeda Shigeki

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