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Posts Tagged ‘The Modern Samurai Society’

Religion is a part of every society.  It is a cultural product of mankind, a tool for survival.
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What is Japanese religion, then?  In a word, ancestor worship.
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In this patriarchical value system, there could be no room for the concept of an “Almighty God,” as in the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  On the contrary, Japanese kami (gods) are not considered separate personalities from men.  In need of salvation and help, people turn to the superiors of ie (that is, their ancestors), who are believed to be gods.  Another traditional belief in Japan is that the dead go to the place of their ancestors and become kami. …
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Maintaining its hereditary good name and continuing its ancestors’ glorious work was the most important responsibility of a family.  The religion also set up certain ethical standards for family members.  However, no provision was made for the salvation of the individual, instead, the ultimate destiny of an individual was to lose his identity and merge with his ancestral spirits after death.
   —   Mitsuyuki Masatsugu
From his book: “The Modern Samurai Society
[I believe this is the first time I have ever heard of religion as being a “cultural product” or as a “tool for survival“.   This is an interesting way of viewing “religion”.   —   KMAB]
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The Japanese are among the most competitive people in the world; otherwise they could not have achieved their recent economic successes.  Consensus was established to keep the society cohesive and to control excessive competition, which would cause friction and make tireless rivals of the people in the isolated areas.  So the comment that Japan is a society of consensus is only one side of the story.
   —  Mitsuyuki Masatsugu
From his book: “The Modern Samurai Society
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