Japan: The Meeting of the Gods and Buddha

The Meeting of the Gods and Buddha

This is a very interesting film from NHK made for the Japan Spirit and Form series, which looks at the relationship between the old religion of Japan Shintoism, and the new arrival, Buddhism.

The series is hosted by Shuichi Kato who discusses the unique and harmonious relationship that has developed between the two religions, and how that is very much at the heart of Japanese culture.

Along the way Kato also looks at how different religious traditions have fared in other cultures, and contrasts that with the way Shintoism and Buddhism have managed to work together.

This has sometimes taking practical forms, where duties are shared, Shinto taking care of more mundane concerns, Buddhism of longer term spiritual aims; and also syncretic forms, as the gods are now understood to be reincarnated Buddhas.

As these matters are being discussed we see a lot of Buddhist and Shinto art works, festivals and ceremonies, both in and out of Buddhist temples, giving a fascinating glimpse into the Japanese spirit.


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