June 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm (Assignments, Culture)

Coming from a country where religion is rather big, especially Christianity, it’s noticeably different, once you think about it, coming to a country like Japan, where religion isn’t a big part of society.  Buddhism is definitely the most prominent religion in Japan, though I think it’s more a philosophy than a religion.  In all the times walking around the cities, I don’t really remember seeing any churches and definitely didn’t see any Jewish temples or Islamic mosques, though at the same point, maybe I wasn’t looking.  This made it hard sometimes on our two Muslim students as they tried to explain that they couldn’t have any pork whatsoever (the Japanese-English barrier didn’t help).

It’s amazing how different the Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples were from churches and cathedrals.  They are meant to be both historical places and places for prayer, so it was common to see locals praying while tourists were milling around.  I feel like that wouldn’t really happen in the cathedrals of Europe, though I must confess that even though I’ve been to some of them, I was of an age where things like that didn’t matter to me.  There’s a different mentality over there and I didn’t really notice it until I was thinking about religion and how it’s treated differently there.



  1. vidajimenez said,

    As a born and raised Catholic it was interesting to visit a country that didn’t share my same views. I believe that everyone has the freedom to partake in any religion because who are we to say which is correct. I have always admired the Buddhist and how its more of a way of life to be peaceful. It makes sense in Japan since everyone is working so hard and has such a hectic life. But also how understanding and considerate the people are in all aspects.

  2. iamnicholashenry said,

    I did happen to see a couple churches and even a synagogue while in Japan. It was very interesting though to see what kinds of imagery they used to decorate the buildings, since in the United States there are usually very particular symbols in which we use to show that the building is a church, like the cross. At one church we saw what looked like a man, which I am suspecting is Jesus, is opening his arms to something in the sky. To me though, it looked like a man throwing a jellyfish into the air.

  3. fleuritta said,

    I think that religion is quite manifest in the life of Japanese not as rituals but rather as good values. As Vida mentioned, altruism, consideration, and simplicity are preached by Buddism. The language barrier did not allow as to inspect this aspect much. During my stay in Japan, I came across many sisters and I did see a couple of churches. Plus, our hotel rooms all contained The New Testament that I showed you. However, Islam is almost inexistant in Japan. During my stay, I only encountered one woman who wore the Islamic “hijab” or veil. I was stunned when we were in Hiroshima on the bus and that an old woman to whom I left my place recognized Islam through my hijab and she told her
    friend while pointing at me: “Islam! Islam!”

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