exploring the Biblical roots of Shinto

I believe in the biblical accounts of creation, the flood and the beginning of nations.

I also believe that God left His fingerprint on the early people of Japan.

There seem to be threads of evidence that connect the early Shinto beliefs of Japan to biblical creation and early Hebrew culture and beliefs. We just need to take a good look and consider ‘the years of many generations.’ (Deuteronomy 32:7-8)

Deuteronomy 32
7 Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you. 8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders (territories) of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.

Israel was set apart as God’s heritage, to be under His care, they were also given a stern warning and an even greater judgement than the rest of the nations if they served other gods. (1 Kings 8:52-53, 2 Chronicles 7:19-20)

1 Kings 8
52 Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you. 53 For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.”

2 Chronicles 7
19 “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

The 10 tribes of Israel were drawn away and went after other gods so God carried them away to Assyria. (2 Kings 17:6-7)

2 Kings 17
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he
carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 7 And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God…

The following excerpts are from work that was carefully compiled by others…

There is a book called the Fourth Book of Ezra, which was written in the end of the first century C.E. Although this is not the Bible but just one of the ancient Hebrew documents, an interesting thing is written:

“They are the Ten Tribes which were off into exile in the time of King Hosea, whom Shalmaneser king of Assyria took prisoner. He deported them beyond the River and they were taken away into a strange country.

But then they resolved to leave the country populated by Gentiles and go to a distant land never yet inhabited by man, and there at last to be obedient to their laws, which in their own country they had failed to keep. As they passed through the narrow passages of the Euphrates, the Most High performed miracles for them, stopping up the channels of the river until they had crossed over.

Their journey through that region, which is called ARZARETH, was long, and took a year and a half. They have lived there ever since, until this final age. Now they are on their way back, and once more the Most High will stop the channels of the river to let them cross.” (4 Ezra 13:39-47)

Dr. Schiller Szinessy suggests that this is nothing else but the Hebrew words “eretz ahereth” (ARZ AHRTh) which means the other land. Otherwise, if we interpret this as the Hebrew words “eretz aherith” (ARZ AHRITh), they mean the end of land, or most far away land.

The people of the northern kingdom were exiled to Assyria in 722 B.C.E. and did not come back to Israel. They are called “the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.” They were scattered to the four corners of the earth.

We find the descendants of the Israelites not only in the western world, but also in the eastern world especially along the Silk Road.

lost tribes

They live in Afghanistan. Yusufzai means children of Joseph. They have customs of ancient Israelites.

They live in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have the customs of circumcision on the 8th day, fringes of robe, Sabbath, Kashrut, Tefilin, etc.

Kashmiri people
In Kashmir they have the same land names as were in the ancient northern kingdom of Israel. They have the feast of Passover and the legend that they came from Israel.

In India there are people called Knanites, which means people of Canaan. They speak Aramaic and use the Aramaic Bible.

Shinlung tribe (Bnei Menashe)
In Myanmar (Burma) and India live Shinlung tribe, also called Menashe tribe. Menashe is Manasseh, and the Menashe tribe is said to be the descendants from the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They have ancient Israeli customs.

Chiang (Qiang or Chiang-Min) tribe
They live in China and have ancient Israeli customs. They believe in one God and have oral tradition that they came from far west. They say that their ancestor had 12 sons. They have customs of Passover, purification, levirate marriage, etc. as ancient Israelites.

Kaifeng, China
It is known that there had been a large Jewish community since the time of B.C.E.

Engelbert Kaempfer was a German medical doctor who stayed at Dejima, Nagasaki Japan during 1690-1693 C.E. He came to Japan after he traveled and saw various countries of the world. He was an erudite man and published a book about Japan after he went back to Europe.

In the book Kaempher states that the Japanese language, customs and religion are much different from the ones of the Chinese or the Koreans, and that the main race of the Japanese are not derived from the Chinese or Koreans but rather a tribe from the area of Babylon came to Japan and became the main race of the Japanese.

He wrote: “The Japanese must be of a tribe who emigrated directly from the area of Babylon.” The area of Babylon is the Middle East where there was the Assyrian Empire which the Ten Tribes of Israel were exiled to.

Kaempher also states: “The appearance of the Japanese is so different according to regions in Japan that we can clearly distinguish. This proves that the Japanese are formed through the process that several tribes were added to a basic nation.

The most noble, old lineage family and “daimyo”, feudal lords, and high officials are generally intelligent, elegant in appearance than others, full of dignity, having higher nose and somewhat look European. 

The people in the region of Satsuma, Oosumi, and Hyuga are middle in the height, but strong and manly in language and ability…”

And he states that there are differences in appearance and nature according to the peoples of various parts of Japan.

Yamato is one of the oldest names of Japan. The phonetic word has no meaning in Japanese; but, in Hebrew, Yamato is a combination of: Yahweh (God) and Umato (people). In other words, Yamato means “the people of God” or “God’s nation!”

[Could some of the 10 lost tribes of Israel have made it all the way to Japan?]

years of many generations

4004/4654 BC – Creation
2348/2998 BC – the great Deluge
2242/2592 BC – the tower of Babel

~ Jomon period ~

1921/2121 BC – God calls Abram
1446/1646 BC – the Exodus
722 BC – 10 tribes of Israel carried away
660 BC – Emperor Jimmu

~ Shinto ~
~ Yayoi period ~

30 AD – Jesus crucified, resurrected and ascends to heaven
198/475 AD – Keikyo (the shining faith)

522 AD – Buddhism formally introduced to Japan (shinbutsu shūgō)
604 AD – Jūshichijō Kenpō (17 Articles)
645 AD  – Taika no Kaishin (Taikuwa Reformation)
701/703 AD – Taihō Ritsuryō (Taihō Code)

712 AD – the Kojiki
720 AD – Nihon Shoki
733 AD – Izumo Fudoki
759 AD – Man’yōshū
797 AD – Shoku Nihongi

1549 AD – Francis Xavier, Jesuit missionary
1597 AD – Kiristan Holocaust (250 yrs)
1635 AD – Sakoku-rei (close country)
1854 AD – Convention of Kanagawa

Hebrew and Japanese similarities (click topics below)
sacred structures
sacred clothing 
sacred traditions

Shinto and Biblical history (click topics below)
Structural analysis of ‘myths’
The First Gods 
At the beginning…
Birth of the country…
Birth of the kami…
Jacob and Ninigi
Kojiki and Nihon Shoki
The three oracles…
Keikyo and the Jesuit Peril
God is not done yet…

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Sources of text:
Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom – 3.1.2