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The Empire of the East
written by "Montgomery, H. B. (Helen Barrett), 1861-1934"
...n reference to their language. These are merely speculative matters which may interest or amuse the man who has the time for such pursuits, but they are, after all, of no great practical importance. The future of a race is of more concern than its past, and, whatever the origin of a language may have been, if that language serves in the processes of development to give expression to noble thoughts, whether in prose or poetry, to voice the wisdom of the people, to preach the gospel of human brotherhood, it matters little how it was evolved or whence it came. It is because I believe that the Japanese race and the Japanese language have a great future before them in the directions I have indicated that I have dealt but lightly, I hope none of my readers will think contemptuously, with the theories that have been put forward in reference to the origin of both. [39] CHAPTER IV THE RELIGIONS OF JAPAN, THEIR INFLUENCES AND EFFECTS MOST persons in this country if they were asked what was the religion of the Japanese people would probably answer Buddhism. As a matter of fact, though Buddhism was introduced into Japan from Korea as far back as 552 A.D., it is not and never has been the preponderating religion in Japan. At the same time I quite admit that it has had a marked effect on the religious life of the people, and that it again has been influenced by the ancient Shinto (literally, “The way of the gods”) belief of the Japanese people. This belief, a compound of mythology and ancestral worship, was about the first century largely encrusted by Confucian doctrines or maxims, mostly ethical, imported from China. Of the precise doctrines of Shintoism but little is even now known. It has apparently no dogmas and no sacred book. I am aware that there are the ancient Shinto rituals, called Nurito, and that in reference to them a vast amount of more or less erudite commentary has been written. The result, howeve...

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