Shinto in popular culture
Shinto is frequently a theme in Japanese popular culture, including film, manga, anime, and video games. Shinto religion is at the core of Japanese culture and history and as such greatly affects the outcome of pop culture in modern Japan. The references are pervasive and have significant relevance to modern life in Japan amongst the new generations.
This page follows discussion of each genre with a list of works in Japanese or international popular culture that borrow significantly from Shinto myths, deities, and beliefs. It is not an exhaustive list of the many games, movies, manga and other cultural products that mention the religion or the names of its deities.
Shinto as popular culture
Shinto itself features in popular culture as folk Shinto or Minkan Shinto.
Anime and manga
- In Dream Saga, the earth is destroyed and recreated whenever humans have polluted it. This is done when Susanoo, the shinto god of the sea and storms, (the brother to Amaterasu) consumes Amaterasu, the sun goddess. The two main characters, Yuuki and Takaomi, are given key roles in the process.[non-primary source needed]
- In the manga Urusei Yatsura, a parody of the famous story of Amaterasu hiding in Ama-no-Iwato cave is performed, which ends when the gods decide they enjoy the burlesque spectacle outside the cave so much, they lock Amaterasu inside.[non-primary source needed]
- Susanoo the Brawler is an episodic comic by Elizabeth Watasin, appearing in Action Girl Comics, in which many members of the Japanese pantheon are incarnated as teenage girls.[better source needed]
Some Japanese films feature themes from Shinto religion or characters based on kami. This is especially the case in animated films, such as Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, but can also be seen in live action and tokusatsu (special-effects driven) films.
- In the 2003 film Onmyoji II, the story of Amaterasu (played by Kyōko Fukada) is revisited when the main character, based on Abe no Seimei (played by Mansai Nomura), assumes the role of the dancer in bringing the goddess back to earth. Susanoo is also a character in the film, played by Hayato Ichihara.[better source needed]
- In the Stargate series, Amaterasu is a Goa'uld system lord who comes to Earth after Anubis's demise to the ancient device in Antarctica to form a temporary truce between Earth and the Goa'uld. She comes along with Lord Yu and Camulus.
- In The Three Treasures Toshirō Mifune portrays Susanoo.[better source needed]
- In Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon Susanoo wishes to follow his mother, Izanami, to heaven when she dies, but his father, Izanagi, tells him he cannot.
Video games may relate to themes or characters from Shinto, as well as Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions. Such games may present a heterodox or alternative take on religion, or even parody traditional practice or belief. In addition to Shinto stories or kami, themes such as the sacredness of nature or the place of magic in everyday life are also visible in such games.
- In the 2006 video game Ōkami, Amaterasu is depicted as a white wolf and she is the main protagonist of the game. As in the traditional Shinto, Amaterasu is the goddess of the sun, but in the game she controls many other powers as well by painting things. This depiction of Amaterasu is also a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- In 2016, four Japanese deities were included as playable characters in the multiplayer online battle arena video game Smite.[better source needed][non-primary source needed]
- In the popular video game Destiny, the Susanoo Fusion Rifle made an appearance as a Warlock exclusive weapon with the release of The Taken King expansion. The flavor text for this gun reads "The fearsome Storms of Today become the healing waters of tomorrow". This gun came out with the Stormcaller class, alluding to Susanoo's status as a storm deity.[better source needed]
Other works of popular culture
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Shinto stories or kami also appear in other works of popular culture, including work set in Japan but produced outside of the country.
- The Shinto deities Izanami and Izanagi (the latter incorrectly spelled as "Izaghi") appear in Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly.
- The Shinto deities Izanami and Izanagi (spelled "Izanaki") appear in Natsuo Kirino's The Goddess Chronicle.[non-primary source needed]
- In the novel, Giles Goat-Boy, author John Barth makes reference to the people of Japan as the "Amaterasu," who were EATEN by WESCAC (a reference to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) during the "Second Campus Riot" (World War II).[non-primary source needed]
- Picken, Stuart D.B. (2010). Historical Dictionary of Shinto. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-7372-8. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- Dani Cavallaro Magic As Metaphor in Anime: A Critical Study 2010- Page 8 "While in the Judaeo-Christian creed, the divinity is thought of as external to both time and space, in Shinto, spiritual forces (kami) are ... "
- Josef Steiff, Tristan D. Tamplin Anime and Philosophy: Wide Eyed Wonder 2010 "For those of us not familiar with Shinto, its difficult to come to terms with a spiritual belief system that is not quite a religion and not ... Whether we comprehend the complex aspects of Shinto and its many evolutions—from its earliest origins to its ..."
- Tze-Yue G Hu Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building 2010 Page 48 "Shintō scholar Muraoka Tsunetsugu identifies the creative musubi kami with "the power of growth and reproduction" (1964: 55) and tells us ... Interpreting Shintoism in view of the supernatural world, supernatural elements "
- Marion Gymnich, Imke Lichterfeld A Hundred Years of The Secret Garden: Frances Hodgson Burnett's 2012 Page 111 "Shinto basically provides thousands of stories and ancient myths which Japanese become familiar with from an early age."23But this is not the only aspect of Shinto which is important for studies of anime. Cavallaro states "in Shinto, spiritual ..."
- Susan J. Napier Anime: From Akira to Princess Mononoke 2001 Page 113 "The film's haunting theme song is also clearly inspired by Shinto liturgy,15 in its invocation to the gods to come and dance ... In fact, Oshii states that the "net" can be equated with the myriad gods of the Shinto religion,16 underlining the notion ..."
- Tachikawa, Megumi (2005). Dream Saga. San Val, Incorporated. ISBN 978-1-4176-8374-1. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Takahashi, Rumiko (1999). The return of Lum, Urusei Yatsura: Ran attacks!. Viz Communications. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Elizabeth Watasin: The Adventures of A-Girl!; Flying Girl; Susanoo the Brawler". Bob's Comics Reviews. September 1996. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Mazur, Eric Michael (31 March 2011). Encyclopedia of Religion and Film. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-01398-0. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Onmyoji 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Simpson, Scott; Sheffield, Jessica (2008). "Neocolonialism, technology, and myth in the Stargate universe". In John R. Perlich and David Whitt. Sith, Slayers, Stargates, and Cyborgs. Peter Lang. pp. 73–99. ISBN 978-1-4331-0095-6. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Nippon tanjo at the Internet Movie Database
- 日本誕生("The Birth of Japan") Toho's official website (Japanese)
- Pitts, Michael R. (2010). Columbia Pictures: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928-1982. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4447-2. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Picard, Martin (2009). "Haunting backgrounds:Transnationality and intermediality in Japanese survival horror video games". In Bernard Perron. Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play. McFarland. pp. 95–120. ISBN 978-0-7864-4197-6. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Ong, Alicia. "The Religions Behind Final Fantasy" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- Bainbridge, William Sims; Bainbridge, Wilma Alice (2007). "Electronic game research methodologies: Studying religious implications". Review of Religious Research. 49 (1): 35–53.
- Walsh, Doug (2008). Okami: Official Strategy Guide for Nintendo Wii. Brady. ISBN 978-0-7440-1035-0. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Gods - Smite Wiki". smite.gamepedia.com. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
- "Perfect Storm - Smite Update 3.8". Retrieved 2016-05-13.
- "Weapon Trivia – Susanoo and Tlaloc". www.reddit.com. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- "Susanoo". www.bungie.net. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- Fisher, Burton D. (2005). Puccini's Madam Butterfly: Opera Classics Library Series. Opera Journeys Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9771320-3-4. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Kirino, Natsuo (2012). The Goddess Chronicle. Edinburgh; New York: Canongate. ISBN 9780802121097.
- Barth, John (1966). Giles Goat-Boy, or, The Revised New Syllabus. New York: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc. ISBN 0385240864.