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Japanese amalgamation of Buddhism and Shinto. The hybridization began on Buddhism's appearance in Japan (mid-6th century AD), and the practice of building Shinto and Buddhist shrines near each other developed in the 8th century. To separate the two religions, the government issued an edict in 1868 ordering Buddhist priests connected with Shinto shrines either to be reordained as Shinto priests or to return to lay life. Because the state religion was Shinto, the government abolished Buddhist ceremonies in the imperial household. Nevertheless, most Japanese incorporate elements of both religions in their lives, celebrating life-related events (birth, coming of age, marriage) at Shinto shrines but holding Buddhist funeral rites and memorial services.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Shinbutsu shugo, visit Britannica.com.
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