Chapter 8: Procedure
Shintoism, the indigenous Japanese spiritual belief since approximately 500 BC, involves practices associated with often abstract natural forces. In this system of beliefs, emphasis is placed on a positive view of essential human nature; human beings are considered to be fundamentally good, and wrongdoing is thought to be caused by evil spirits. Most Shinto rituals are conducted to keep away evil spirits through purification and through offerings to the kami, which are the gods. In this spiritual practice, nothing prevents basic human rights from being admitted to everyone equally. The traditional Japanese legal system, based on old Chinese legal systems that were influenced by Confucian philosophy, was modernised mainly by reference to the French and German legal systems. According to Confucian teaching, a ruler should be guided in his acts by justice and virtue. Moreover, a governor should control society not by law but by the moral example set by the governor himself. Thus law is considered to be merely a tool to maintain order and enlighten the people; it does not limit the power of the governor or guarantee ërightsí for the people. Ideally, an individual conflict should be settled between the parties informally in the community rather than before the courts. Law and litigation were not welcomed as order imposed by the governor. This culture was imported into Japan from China and it continued to influence the legal system in the Edo period.
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