Shinto is fundamentally a religion of nature worship. This form of worship is crystal clear in the Shinto cult, festivals and rituals. As a result Shinto displays a powerful belief in the spirits of nature. These are designated with a most common and popular word in Japanese language as Kami. The literal meaning of Kami is “upper”. This term is interpreted in various ways. It means pure or bright, superior, mysterious, hidden and supernatural. The usual common meaning is “superior beings”. They are both gods and goddesses. They are also both personal and impersonal. Some are benevolent, some are evil, some are feared and some are revered. There are as many as sixteen different theories with regard to the origin and significance of the word Kami in the latest elaborate treatise on Shinto published in Japan. They are classified under three main ideas: Pure and bright, Superior, and Strange: Mysterious, Fearful, Hidden and Supernatural. There is no other word in the original Japanese with such a rich and multiform content.


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