Membership, Community, Diversity

Did Shinto tradition spread beyond Japan?

Shinto has gone as far as Japanese emigration and military expansion have carried that ancient tradition. You’ll see the occasional Shinto shrine in various parts of the Pacific basin even now, reminders of a time when Japan projected its imperial presence beyond its shores. Where Japanese communities have taken root and continue to grow, especially during the last fifty years or so, older people especially take comfort in celebrating at the nearest shrine for festivals. But on the whole, Shinto has remained about as purely Japanese a phenomenon as one can imagine. Even in parts of the United States, for example, where now sizeable communities of Japanese descent make their homes, traditional Shinto priests are exceedingly rare. Some suggest that Shinto anywhere but in Japan is a contradiction in terms. Shinto remains, ideally, a tradition inseparable from the very soil of Japan and its sacred streams, groves, and mountains.


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