Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Paul A. Fischer (Director), Jeffrey Samuels, Eric Bain-Selbo

Degree Program

Department of Philosophy & Religion

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study discloses Shinto’s experiential and existential significance and aims to articulate Shinto’s sacred objective. It shows that Shinto, by way of experience, communicates being in the world with nature and with others as a sacred objective. This suggests that Shinto, in communicating its objective, appeals to the emotions more so than to the intellect; and that Shinto’s sacred objective does not transcend the natural world of both nature and everyday affairs. This study pursues this goal by showing the experiential and existential dimensions of the three primary features of Shinto: it shows how kami (or kami-ness) is thought of as an awe producing quality of being/s that are mostly associated with the natural world; how Shinto shrines’ aesthetics and atmosphere are thought to evoke a feeling of the natural world’s sacredness; and how festivals are thought to be ecstatic and effervescent occasions that regenerate an affirmation of being in the world with others. Though this study does not employ a strict methodological approach—insofar as the conclusions herein are based primarily on literature review—it was motivated by an existential outlook on the study of religion and assumes that the term “religion” refers primarily to an existential phenomenon that pertains not necessarily to socio-historical institutions but to a way of being in the world.


History of Religions of Eastern Origins | Other Religion | Philosophy | Religion