Shinto - Simple Guides

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THIS BOOK WILL HELP YOU • to appreciate the significance of Japan’s own religion in everyday life • to recognize the key traditions and festivals (matsuri) of the Shinto year • to understand what you will see at Shinto shrines and in Shinto rituals • to gain insights into the controversies surrounding Shinto, politics and nationalism ACCESS THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS Simple Guides: Religion is a series of concise, accessible introductions to the world’s major religions. Written by experts in the field, they offer an engaging and sympathetic description of the key concepts, beliefs and practices of different faiths. Ideal for spiritual seekers and travellers alike, Simple Guides aims to open the doors of perception. Together the books provide a reliable compass to the world’s great spiritual traditions, and a point of reference for further exploration and discovery. By offering essential insights into the core values, customs and beliefs of different societies, they also enable visitors to be aware of the cultural sensibilities of their hosts, and to behave in a way that fosters mutual respect and understanding.


Ian Reader has been teaching and researching on the religions of Japan for many years. His PhD on Japanese Buddhism was gained at the University of Leeds in 1983, after which he and his wife Dorothy lived and worked in Japan for almost six years. Since 1989 he has been a member of the Scottish Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland. He also spent a year as a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii in 1992–93. For three years from August 1995 he lived in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. Amongst his books are Religion in Contemporary Japan (Macmillan, 1991); Pilgrimage in Popular Culture (edited with Tony Walter, Macmillan, 1993) and A Poisonous Cocktail? Aum Shinrikyo-’s Path to Violence (NIAS Books, Copenhagen 1996).