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Ed Simons
Going through the Eastern Spirituality section I was annoyed that it doesn't appear to have been proofread, but there's something worse on p.20

"Shinto priests - called miko - revere the spirits of their ancestors. Miko are traditionally, but not always, female"

No, there was no period at the end of that sentence, but that's not the real problems of that description. If I were to describe Catholicism with the same level of accuracy, I'd have to say -

"Catholic priests - called nuns - revere the saints. Nuns are traditionally, but not always, female"

Tiny amounts of research will show that Shinto Priests are kannushi, that Shinto priests also revere kami (much like Catholic priests also revere God), and that the miko as shrine maidens are always female.
Kanada Ten
That's really weird since DotSW even mentions Shinto priests revering kami, and even a description of what (in a very general way) that means.

You did mean SoA, though, right?
Perhaps it was an in-character explanation from asomeone who didnt know about Shinto?
It was in-character, yes. Iirc the character posting it was a chinese daoist, so he may not be very familiar with Shinto.
Is it possible that Shinto has changed over 65 years to the point where some of the 'shrine maidens' are male? I'm not at all familiar with the tenets of Shintoism, so please forgive me if this is a stupid/offensive question.
Speaking as a guy who shells out way too much money every year to get a degree in what my friends refer to as "Japanese religious stuff", uh.. yeah. That description is a little off. In pretty much the same way as Ed describes catholicism.

Ancestors vs. Kami: Kami are not gods, they are kami. Shinto is all about the Kami, not about the ancestors. But part of the confusing gray area is that ancestors - when cool enough, mad enough, or wierd enough, are pretty much kami for all basic intents and purposes. A lot of Taoist ancestor worship's become mixed up in Shinto, along with southern (Ryukyuan? Is that a word? and Okinawan) ancestor worship. And even worship's not the right word. Veneration and placation would be best.

Shrine Maidens: While it is certainly *possible* that Shinto has changed in 2060's Japan, especially given the Japanese love of cultural revision (just look at the Taisho era, woo!)... I find it a little unlikely. Institutions as old and as by-definition traditional as Shinto ordination tend not to change unless they absolutely have to.
I'm glad you gave those details. DLN was a disappointed by the handling of it, especially after Wicca got so well handled in one of the recent SB's. but she just shruged it off.

To build on this the "cami" are basically "spirits." Of places or people or even acts.
Since the SR world is so heavily influenced by Japan I thought it would have had a better and longer write up. Until 1945 it was the official state religon of Japan and part of the Veneration of the Emperor was based on the idea he was decended from the gods. The US enforced constitution forced a seperation of church and state but with the rise of Japanese power in the SR world seems to have ended this seperation making it the state religion of one of the most powerful nations on the planet, and given very short shrift.
Kami are, for all intents and purposes, shamanic spirits of the land, sea, air, and people. Shinto essentially is a nature religion.

I guess wicca got handled so well because one of the authors involved in writing it IS wiccan. This is what I had feared for an Asia book (with only one somewhat asian person on SR's board of authors) - it's just a bit badly researched. Doesn't detract from the enjoyment for me. But I wish the authors had done their homework a bit better on stuff almost all of us have little to no clue.
Actually neither of the authors of the Wiccan material in SOTA64 were Wiccans (or Druidics or Aesir followers)... I'm just a bit of a comparative religions and mysticism freak and its one area I like to see done well and respectfully.

As far as SoA is concerned, I can't speak for anyone else (actually not entirely true, I discussed several elements with Demonseed), but I will stand by all the stuff I wrote about Hindustani religious and mystical traditions. It was thoroughly researched (at least as much as the SOTA64 material probably more) - although I admit to discreetly tweaks in places to better conform to SR cosmology.

Regarding the Shinto issue being discussed I'll have to check but I believe this may have been a problem in editing where something was inadvertedly cut.
Demonseed Elite
Yeah, in many cases, the material is heavily researched. I won't say "all material" because I can't really account for what the other writers do. But I know I do a lot of research, myself (my work in SoA was the Tibet section and some touch-up work on the Asian corporations). I currently have a stack of books about 10 deep for what I'm writing now.

It's also important to keep in mind the distinction between incorrect information and fictional license. Sometimes there is bad research, I'll give you that, but sometimes there's an active departure from 100% realism, because it is a fiction game.
and also don't forget the ever present cutting room floor, evne one sentance, getting cut, like "in 2049, the first male "shrine Maiden" was annointed, ending the melenia old tradation of only having females." could obviously, make a huge difference in how something is written. And if that one sentance saves enough words, who knows what might happen.
Kami are, for all intents and purposes, shamanic spirits of the land, sea, air, and people. Shinto essentially is a nature religion.

Short history lesson on State Shinto and 'officialdom':

Yes and no. Part of the problem is that there is no one true Shinto orthodoxy. Granted, from the Meiji Revolution to 1945, State Shinto was considered the 'official' Shinto, and dictated which Kami were to be venerated and how. Initially this was a political move - Meiji felt that the Buddhist temples across Japan had enough economic and political clout to challenge his absolute rule, and went to great lengths to force a separation of Buddhist and Shinto practices (which had grown together into essentially one religious unit, over the past 1000 years. The only ones left relatively alone were the 22 Shrine-Temple complexes authorized by the government to remain 'as is', such as Mt. Hiei, Ise Shrine, et cetera.

Meiji's efforts weren't anything new, per se. In earlier times, the Jingikan ("Office of Heaven on Earth") regulated official views on shrines, offerings, and the like. Due to Shinto's extremely local practices, however, these regulations never approached the level of an orthodoxy. Nobody ever went out and said "Your Kami aren't real Kami. Worship these instead." At least not with any sort of official clout, they didn't. They sometimes said, "Your Kami are also called X, in Heiankyo, Y in Nara, and Z in Bumpkinville, in Sado Province."

What this means factually is that there are tons of nature Kami, from the big and important that everyone knows about, like Susanoo, head Kami of tricksters, lord of the oceans, freaker-outer of celestial weavers, and subduer of eight-headed serpent beasties; to the ones that have regional providence, like Takemikazuchi, "He Who Speaks Thunder", master of Namazu-the-catfish-of-earthquakes; to the extremely local, such as the Kami Of That Rock Over There. Certainly Shinto is highly animistic in nature, but Kami are not entirely - or even in majority - spirits of nature in the way the Native Americans had them, or how we think of them today. Many Kami have dominion over a thing because it's their job, not because it's what they are. To get it to rain, one wouldn't generally make offerings to The Big Bad Kami of Rainstorms, as one might imagine (Taki Tsu Hiko), but might make offerings to the local weather controlling Kami, "Taeko-Hime", who was once a young girl from that village who did something really cool and was taken to be both divine and historical.

Basically, Kami come in three flavors:
1) 'First Wave' or 'Epic' (aka "Kotoamatsukami") - those contained in the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki, said to have come into existence with the rest of the universe, such as Ame-no-Uzume, Susanoo, and Amaterasu - who is not, as it's usually thought, Kami of the Sun. She's 'Kami of Divine Solar Radiance.' I keep meaning to make her as a Zenith Caste Solar Exalted, but I never get around to it. These Kami are known all over Japan, have equal influence everywhere, or are otherwise taken to be extremely powerful.
2) 'Legendary' - Ones that are regionally prominent, but probably occasionally venerated elsewhere. Examples are Takemikazuchi, the Kami of the Gion matsuri (technically not a 'pure' Kami, but a gongen - combined Kami and Boddhisattva), or the Kami of Iwata City, whose name escapes me. Well known, but not universal.
3) Way local Kami. Kami like the Gate Guardian of Itsukushima Shrine, the Kami of Bob's Prize Fig Tree, the Kami of That Funny Rock Over There, or the Kami of Frank's Grandma. Most ancestor kami (ujikami) are in this rank unless they did something really spectacular, and then they tend to be pretty damn famous. Like, say, Hachiman. Or Emperor Jimmu.

These amount to a subtle difference from totemic or shamanic spirits like Sun, Sky, Praire, et cetera, but an important one. Especially given the fact that Shinto methodology is much more hermetic than shamanic. Those rituals are extremely precise, relying on highly codified formulae.

What does this teach us? 3 things.
1) If you don't like what Shadows of Asia said about a culture's practices, learn it for your own damn self and make your own conclusions.
2) If you get me started on this subject, I can and will talk your ear off about it.
3) Do not let your children gun for PhDs. The above post is the result of that happening.
Whuffie Adarael for the post: it was informative, succinct and germane to my particular campaign. smile.gif
Ed Simons
Yeah, I meant SoA. :/

But I’ll still complain about SoA not having been proofread. The missing period is the smallest proofreading error in that section.

QUOTE (Demonseed Elite)
It's also important to keep in mind the distinction between incorrect information and fictional license.  Sometimes there is bad research, I'll give you that, but sometimes there's an active departure from 100% realism, because it is a fiction game.

If Shadowrun Catholicism had quit worshiping God and just worshiped the saints, changed the title of priests to nuns, and declared nuns were usually, but not always female and provided no explanation of any kind would you use the words ‘fictional license’ to justify those changes?

This is clearly poor research, or more likely no research at all, otherwise there would have been some notation of how the ancient religion of Shinto had changed completely in so many ways for no apparent reason. Or at least a mention that it had changed.

and also don't forget the ever present cutting room floor, evne one sentance, getting cut, like "in 2049, the first male "shrine Maiden" was annointed, ending the melenia old tradation of only having females."

It would require more than a sentence to have hit the cutting room floor, it would require several paragraphs which also need to describe the removing of all traditional Shinto priests, the upgrading of shrine maidens to priests, the removal of all the kami from Amaterasu to the kami of That Rock Over There as objects of worship, the veneration of ancestors going from a small family affair to a public veneration, and the reasons that all these ancient practices would be so radically changed in such a short timespan. A bit on how the changes were managed on something so decentralized as Shinto would also be helpful.

I wish Adareal had written the section on Shinto, as he or she clearly knows something about the subject. Whoever wrote the SOE 'Shinto' section clearly didn't even spend five minutes with a websearch program.
well, i know nothing about the religion, and i was speaking in generalities (about the "maybe the maiden's arent only maidens now")

Not on the entire subject, sorry, should have quoted what i was referring to
Adarael you are perfectly welcome to share any more "Japanese religious stuff" with us, any time you wish. I think that I'm going to give that post to a few of my players to read, as it is quite relevant to thier characters.
I asked DLN to post but she said no, it was too personal. but from what she's told me there are differnet views of shinto, differnet "sect" if you like, the most famous had the emperor at it's head as the divine on earth. others have an element of ancestor worship and the cami as local spirits as well as what in the west we would see as Gods.

Think of it as having several main gods that everyone knows and then local areas have their own "lesser" gods who are important locally but no one else knows about. If you saw the movie "Spirited away" Kohaku, the dragon who befriends the girl Sin can be seen as a Cami, the psirit of a irver who become lost when his river is built over.

Japan's national shrine, the one that has all the controversy because it has grade A war criminals there is seen as "home" for the Cami of those who died in Japan's wars since the 1860's.
Actually, Snow Fox, saying they're different sects is dead on the money. Most types of shinto are usually referred to as Sect Shinto.
(As opposed to Folk Shinto and State Shinto.)
Ok I did a little research and found there are some elements different sects have in common. This is not a religous tract but rather things that can help GM's be more authenticc or potentially less insulting should this cover a player who follows Shinto.

1) respect for tradition and family.

2)Love of nature- a sense this is a gift to be enjoyed.

3) Physical cleanliness. This is a key cultureal element of the Japanese culture. During the outbreak of SARS a couple of years back that went through all of asia, there were no reported cases in Japan. this is credited to their personal hygeine. something which ,by sterotypes, makes the swiss look grubby.

4) Matsuri: worship/honor/reverence for Kami and ancestors.

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