You might be wondering why some Japanese people have wedding in Christian church and have funeral in Buddhism temple, and go to Shinto Shrine any other time.

I even didn’t think it was strange until someone suggested it.

Buddhism was introduced to Japan in 6th century through Kudara (now called Korea).

This caused a fight between a group supported this new religion and a group insisted on keeping Japan’s traditional way (the shermanism or animism which was named Shinto, later).

Buddhism supporters won.

Shotoku-Taishi(聖徳太子), the legendary politician set up Japan’s first ‘class’ system and constitution with a hint of buddhism and taoism philosophy in 604.

What he strived by doing this was centralise nation. The class meant a role and was opened to skilled people regardless the family name .

“The Seventeen-article constitution” is said to be for the politicians. However, the essence has been passed on and similarities can be seen in Imperial Oath of Five Articles for Japanese nationals that was promulgated in 1867.

Shotoku-Taishi, used to appear on the notes

The first sentence of The Seventeen-article constitution, to me, is the answer to question mentioned earlier.

“Harmony is to be valued, and an avoidance of wanton opposition to be honored.”   

wikipedia Seventeen-article constitution –

A lot of temples were built since buddhism was introduced, but Shinto shrines didn’t get demolished. Instead, they started to unite.

People accepted Buddha as one of Shinto’s traditional gods, so they would be able to see Buddha statues in shrine or some buddhists conducted their traditional ceremonies in the shrine.

This continued until Buddhism and Shinto were forced to be separated by government in 1868.

It is only one of examples how Japan accept something and unite it with their traditions. Even their language and some letters were a result of fusion.

@Hida Takayama, world heritage old town on the mountain

Actually, the traditional name for Japan is Yamato(大和) – which means a Great Harmony.

Interestingly, their era name since 2020 is Reiwa(令和) – which means a Beautiful Harmony. (Japan uses own era name as well as Christian era. It changes when emperor changes)

Harmonising is only possible when you have respect to both “yourself” and different nature as well as an attitude of understanding.

It’s about being open, accepting and empathise without losing yourself .

Japanese people nod often. They don’t say No much. They perform well as the group.

In western world, it could be considered as an indecisive act.

Perhaps, it is a gesture of uniting their mind to others.

Instead of rejecting or forcing own way, harmonise different natures creates the 3rd way. A beautiful way.

In my humble opinion, harmony is the gentle power of alchemy towards the peaceful, colourful world.