In the Edo time, 200 years ago, every time an earthquake shook the land in Japan it was told that the Namazu was stirring beneath the Earth. Nowadays, in the XXI century, many oceanographers, seismologists, and biologists try to find the scientific reasons of these catastrophes.
In Japan, the population is ordered and disciplined. Everything in this society is based under a Sintoist point of view; the oldest belief of the country that shares ground with Buddhism. Sintosim is system of beliefs that were born in the South and extended throughout these lands before the VII century, when the ideas related to Buda started to enter Japan from China.
According to studies carried out in 2009, there are around 107 million of Sintoist, besides of the 98 million Buddhists, three million Christians and 10 million share other beliefs. Even though this sounds contradictory, this fact makes us aware of the coexistence between Buddhists and Sintoist. The Japanese are Japanese and, at the same time, Buddhists.
Many researchers say that Sintoism is not an actual religion, since there are no doctrines or specific prayers.
Sintoism is expressed through different branches. For many, its practice is related to the worship of nature, whose elements are considered to be divinities. Having a Polytheist profile, it is believed that there are around 8 million of gods and the main ones are older expressions, such as rocks, mountains and millenary trees. Maybe in this conception of nature the origin of a spirit tolerant towards nature and other faiths can be seen.
The Japanese have learned a lot from those 20 enldess seconds the Kobe earthquake lasted, that 17/01/95, in the southern part of Hyougo. The earthquake reached 7,2 degrees in the Richter Scale and provoked 6434 deaths. Despite of the pain created by this new catastrophe, last Friday, almost no one has blamed Nature. Mother Nature is not Mad. This is how the testimonials cast through TV and social networks say.
The Japanese population would never consider this tragedy as a work of Nature, that would have wanted to harm human beings, as if it was punishment born in the Christian thought. We always coexist with Nature.
In ancient times, the spirit of Sintoism was diversity. The country had to be as one and everyone had a mission to accomplish in society. Harmony was an Endeavour. Subsequently, as fruit of this harmony, that behavior unified, everyone started to act in a uniform manner. The diversity that derived in this harmony became a circle, symbol of unification. The goal was to copy the best. Being Japanese is just like being any other person. Never Stand Out.
This circle can be translated as solidarity. This harmony in Japan is called Wa. This is, in a way, a contact point with Christianity, where the goal is to help our fellowman. After this tragedy, we all have to act as wheels for the Japanese society to improve and thrive.
The autor of this article, born in Hiroshima, is a Japanese Literature and Mythology Teacher.
Tomoko Aikawa – For LA NACION