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Publisher's Summary

The traditional religion known as Shinto was present in Japan from prehistoric times, long before Buddhism and other traditions arrived from the Asian continent. Shrine Shinto, centered around local shrines and seasonal festivals, has greatly influenced Japanese culture. Sect Shinto is characterized by more highly organized institutions, which attract many members; folk Shinto consists of beliefs and practices apart from these institutions, especially in the home. This presentation discusses the dynamic new Japanese religions formed during the last century and a half.

The Religion, Scriptures, and Spirituality series describes the beliefs, religious practices, and the spiritual and moral commitments of the world's great religious traditions. It also describes a religion's way of understanding scripture, identifies its outstanding thinkers, and discusses its attitude and relationship to society.

Don't miss the rest of the Religion, Scriptures, and Spirituality series.
©1994 Carmichael and Carmichael, Inc. / Knowledge Products (P)1994 Carmichael and Carmichael, Inc. / Knowledge Products

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What listeners say about Shinto and Japanese New Religions

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Realistically

Realistically, a book about Japanese lore would feature Japanese speakers, who (guess what) learned English after Japanese and therefore feature their accents. Realistically, it is not difficult to understand, unless you are entirely inept at English.
Realistically, listening to a book written about Japanese lore by a white guy is bound to have its mistakes, but overall a decent retelling of Shinto. But definitively from a western perspective. The author studies religions from all over the world, but that’s the first real mistake. Shinto is not a religion, it is a lifestyle. Shinto is a way of living.

10 people found this helpful

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Reasonable intro to a survey of info

This text, in and of itself, provides the curious with an opportunity to expand their knowledge about Japan and its religious customs, touching on what little early historical evidence we have and the much wider breadth of records, knowledge and such that comes up later.

All in all, the text's pacing is really far from perfect, which is partly due to that issue of little old knowledge and a surplus of newer knowledge. Plus, as other reviewers stated, there are several instances of the main narrator's role being momentarily taken by the possible voice of an authority on the matters. While the accents and speaking habits of these guest speakers may add to the experience of the text to some, for others it will detract from it or complicate the ease of understanding its content through listening alone.

In general, however, I'm a Japanese Studies major who wanted to see where this text might offer valuable insight, new knowledge, or an enjoyable reinforcement of what my teachings have already given me. In a way, it gave me a vague blend of the three. If this topic is of interest to you, it's certainly worth a listen.

3 people found this helpful

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a requesf

please stop using native non-English speakers to read quotations. with only audio and no facial or other clues it is difficult if not impossible to understand them.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Kingsley's 'newsreel' tone a touch distracting

Full of interesting information, this audio book makes for a good introduction to Japanese religions and spirituality. I was looking forward to hearing Kingsley narrate but, for some reason, he adopts a tone right out of a British war-time newsreel which, while amusing, highlights when the script occasionally oversimplifies topics (carefully explaining them in "Western" terms,) and the piece slips into the patronizing. Nevertheless, the information is clearly presented, aided by voices other than just "newsreel Ben" for quotes from other scholars etc...
A small warning for those who are not used to listening to Japanese speaking with a heavy "Katakana English" accent - a few of the Japanese readers might be a little difficult to understand.

2 people found this helpful

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Sounds like a really old AM radio broadcast.

Book has some interesting points to make like how it touches on the ambiguity of the Emperor of Japan declining his Kami status, but it is mixed in with ideas that genetics are the decisions of our parents and that therefore karma must also be true as it is our decisions in nature and spirituality.

1 person found this helpful

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Odd and boring

I thought this was a really strange audio to find on Audible. I was excited about Ben Kingsley‘s narration but there were a variety of narrators and it wasn’t at all compelling. The underlying text was pretty dry as well.

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Interesting!!!!

I've always been interested in how Shinto works and this was a great beginners description of the religion.

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Interesting, informative, & enjoyable

I received a lot of good information and more importantly understanding about Shinto beliefs and some of the more modern Japanese religious beliefs.

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Bleh

I believe there were some good insights somewhere but the premise of having Japanese speakers/actors speak VERY poorly accented English - to the point of being unintelligible at times - was horrid.

This was imo a complete waste audibly. Written - it's probably better.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, at first.

He did a good job when he explained a few things about Shinto. but I wish he would have stuck more traditional religions instead of going on about small religious sects that most Japanese people dont even know about. So if your interested in Japanese culture, read half the book, and then read something else.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D Player
  • 04-04-19

Too many voices

A rambling dissertation with limited material on the Shinto religion and too long explanations of the new religions.
The different voices in broken English didn’t help either. Difficult to listen to. Ben Kingsley is a great actor but I wouldn’t buy another book he has narrated. His tone and accent is hard on the ears.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-01-18

Interesting topic

Very informative and interesting subject. Great way to learn about Japan’s history and how religion has evolved over the years. Very easy to follow and loved the content.