Shintoism has first been traced all the way back to 712. Although this is the earliest physical record of Shintoism, archeological records date it back much further. Unfortunately, it cannot be traced since Chinese writing was not introduced into Japan until the 5th century. Therefore, all of the rituals were taught through oral tradition. The Nihonshoki wanted to create foreign policy, religious hierarchy, and basically a system of government whereas the Kojiki said that the Japanese imperial family was the foundation of Japanese culture.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific founder or scripture that started this religion. Conversion and preaching are not very popular in the Shinto religion. Shinto is more based on the traditions of the Japanese people. Shinto has many reasons why it is set apart from other popular religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, or even Catholicism.
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These names helped distinguish whether or not a person follows the native religion or the foreign religion. The second reaction was that the supporters of Shintoism recognize the Buddhas of Buddhism, but for them to think of them as the revelation of the kami to the Chinese people. Buddhists reversed this and said that the kami were the revelation of the Buddhas. The third reaction was a syncretism between Shintoism and Buddhism. Some traditional citizens of Japan may say that they were born a Shintoist but died a Buddhist. The fourth and final reaction was the development of different forms of Buddhism. There were quite a few branches of Buddhism such as the Ch’an, Zen Pure Land and Nichiren. They became so popular in Japan that people were almost forgetting that Shintoism was the religion for the Japanese people.
From this point on, Shintoism and Buddhism were now merged and Shinto had almost disappeared as an independent religion. Many reformers tried to bring Shintoism back as early as the fourteenth century. But even with the efforts of the reformers to restore Shintoism, it was not until the Tokugawa regime in the seventeenth century that Shintoism had actually received support again. During this era, Japan separated itself from any foreign contact, including religion. It was decided in the Constitution of 1889 that there would be a state religion but people were allowed to practice any religion they choose. However, with every positive there is a negative; only patriotic rituals would receive financial support from the Japanese government.
The future of the Shinto religion was uncertain after Japan was defeated in the Second World War. With many threats to this religion, it seems as though an ancient religion like Shintoism has little to no chance of survival, especially since Shinto faced its old rival, Buddhism. Most Japanese people consider themselves Buddhist. Shinto is considered a secondary practice and many people may think it is fading. Contrary to popular belief, Shintoism has survived the withdrawal of support by the state and exists solely on donations. Shintoism, today, is still an important factor in Japanese culture.