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Japanese Environmental Philosophy$
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J. Baird Callicott and James McRae

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456320.001.0001

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The Crucial Role of Culture in Japanese Environmental Philosophy

The Crucial Role of Culture in Japanese Environmental Philosophy

Chapter:
(p.195) Chapter 11 The Crucial Role of Culture in Japanese Environmental Philosophy
Source:
Japanese Environmental Philosophy
Author(s):

Midori Kagawa-Fox

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456320.003.0012

A hybrid Japanese philosophy, integrating traditional Japanese Buddhist thought with the Western philosophical canon emerged during the twentieth century in response to the program of modernization instituted by the Maiji Restoration. Japanese culture, however, has been as important in shaping Japanese environmental ethics as have Japanese philosophical values. Japan has an extensive cultural heritage that has been built on mythology and folklore, and on religious beliefs and practices, and these ingredients have influenced the Japanese ethical consciousness. The indigenous Shinto religion, which evolved from animism, teaches that the ever-present kami (spirits) bind the Japanese to their environment. Their presence imparts a strong moral consciousness. Thus an understanding of the relationship of the kami to the Japanese people is essential for appreciating Japanese environmental ethics. Most Japanese have an intuitive belief in the kami that has been significant in forming their caring attitude toward the natural world.

Keywords:   Japanese culture, mythology, folklore, Shintoism, kami

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