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Robert Oxnam :: As the Japanese adapted Confucian and Buddhist thought, they did not relinquish their indigenous beliefs. Indeed, during these years the Japanese gave those beliefs a name.

H. Paul Varley :: When Buddhism was introduced to Japan during this period of cultural borrowing from the late sixth century that we've been talking about, the amalgam of native religious beliefs was labeled, or called, "Shintô." In other words, the word "Shintô" was created. It's a Chinese type of word. It's written with two characters that mean "the way of the kami" — kami being the Japanese word for deities.

In Shintô, the Japanese look at nature, in particular the natural beauties of the Japanese islands, and they have a great love for this. And their art and their aesthetics, to a large extent, centers on this love of nature. And nature is inherently good because the kami — the deities — live in nature. Shintô has largely been concerned with life and the life processes and passages.

Well, Buddhism comes into the country during the reform period. One might imagine that Buddhism would just obliterate Shintô, but that wasn't the case. In fact, the Japanese continued to believe both in Shintô and in Buddhism.