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The Spirituality of Japanese People

by Ewa Nowogorski

While people in America are what you would call religious, most people in Japan are what would most likely be classified as spiritual and maybe even superstitious. There is a difference, and I will explain.

In America, where a majority of the population is Christian, people tend to believe that there is a God, who is everywhere at any given time. This God silently and invisibly watches over anyone, and it makes people conscious of their thoughts and actions. Because of this, people are inclined to go to Church, pray and cleanse their spirits. People pray at church, at home, and before meals sometimes.

In Japan, rather than being conscious of a single God, people are aware of multiple gods existing in multiple places. People don’t pray, but worship. Most people are not religious, but rather spiritual and superstitious. People don’t go to church nor do they pray as frequently, but they do believe in spirits and multiple gods. A god exists in literally every single object, even toilets. And people worship different gods depending on what kind of wishes they want granted in life. Worshipping builds up good karma which will eventually come back either in this life or the next.

Death and curses are some things people are wary of. It is believed that spirits of deceased people will linger if they are not given a prompt proper burial, and they need to be occasionally prayed for. For people who believe they or a place is cursed, they will usually call a Shinto priest to perform some kind of exorcism for them.

People like to believe that anything not easily explained can be attributed to the work of some god or restless spirit. There are shrines all over Japan dedicated to worshipping gods, and t is impossible not to stumble upon one while outside.

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