It is said that Japanese people are irreligious. Actually, 70 percent of Japanese are so. There is no religious role except the time of ceremonial occasions in Japan. For example, a funeral is by a Buddhism formula, a marriage ceremony is held at a church and paying our first visits of the year in a shrine. There are some reasons for this. I’ll divide it into four points and explain these.
First, Japan is island country and not invaded or occupied from the old days. So, Japanese race could live without depending on some religion.
“The irreligion” of Westerners is a way of thinking that is almost “atheism”, but the Japanese “irreligion” has a plan that “it is natural religion”. Since ancient times, it was thought that God dwelled in all things in the universe in Japan. This is called “YAOYOROZUNOKAMI”. They do not oppose to each other, and in other words, it is polytheism. This is very different from monotheistic such as Christianity and Islam.
Third, Japanese policy is also its cause. In the Meiji era, the government wanted to assume Buddhism a state religion but the other religions was powerful in the world. Because of this, the government did not ignore these and could not decide a state religion. As a result of this, the government did not take a religious line clearly.
Finally, in the other side, the case which was done by the religious body was happened in the past. Aum Shinrikyo scattered sarin which is nerve gas on a subway, and a large quantity of victims came out. Therefore the image of religion became to be extremely bad.
I think that the Japanese religious idea is good, though it is often criticized by other country’s people. However, this expresses Japanese generosity and splendid sensitivity that people are careful and thank to everything. I think that Japanese people should maintain this Japanese irreligion stance as an identity.
by Ayaka Hori