Home > Japanese Culture > Japanese tolerance for religion

Japanese tolerance for religion

My uncle died last year.

Technically speaking, it’s because of a cerebral thrombosis. During his work, it suddenly happened. He was driving at that time and pulled over his car. If he had phoned or someone had found him earlier, he would have been alive. However, at his funeral, I felt I was proud of his strong will when something happened with him on the road. What if he couldn’t make it? What if he couldn’t pull his car over? What if his car collided against something or someone?

Someone’s voice woke me up today. It’s dokyou sound, which means “intoning a sutra”. The character do stands for “reading (in this case, reading aloud)”, and kyou signifies “a sutra”.

It’s hatsu bon for my uncle, so my grandmother asked a Buddhist priest to do. I’ll write an article on bon or something next time, so this time, I’m going to refer to dokyou.

Depending on the type of Buddhism, around the date of my uncle’s death each month, a Buddhist priest comes my home and intones a sutra. In front of butsudan, which means “Buddhist altar”, dokyou is kept going. It takes about 15 minutes or so. After that, the Buddhist priest talks us about some topics on life, dignity etc.

Incidentally, my paternal denomination is Joudoshinshuu and my maternal one is Soutoushuu. My uncle is my mother’s older brother, so he is belong to Soutoushuu and me, as I’m the oldest son in my family, I’m belong to Joudoshinshuu.

It is said by Shinto religion that there are over 8 million God in Japan. In addition to Shinto, many Japanese are belong to Buddhism. The Japanese is tolerable for religions. We pray for something in front of Buddhist altar, go to temples to clean our grave up, sing holy songs when Christmas, and hope our wish at the shrine at the beginning of the year.

Categories: Japanese Culture
  1. October 17, 2009 at 4:25 am

    I wish other places were as tolerant as japan. On the other hand, I also feel that the japanese marginalize religion to a great extent as well.

    • honeypotter
      October 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm

      In stead of tolerance of Japanese, we are not good at discussing, especially debate. Some people tend to think you blamed on themselves when you constructively opposed or threw your opinion ;-(

  1. September 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm

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