Research topic: Shintoism
Shinto lies on the point of intersection between the religious and the secular, the traditional and the modern, political and customary, and is a central element in the way Japan understands itself culturally.
Spread over the Japanese islands are approximately 100,000 Shinto shrines. The largest have hundreds of priests in full-time service, but most are small and share priests with many others. Some are tucked away at the edge of the forest in the country; others stand on a busy street corner in the middle of town, or on the roof of an office building. Although most Japanese are members of two different Shinto organizations, there is no Shinto doctrine.
Few Japanese identify Shinto as their religious identity, but the great majority make use of ritual services offered by the shrines, or participate in festivals which take place under the auspices of the shrines.