A comparative Review of the Shinto and Buddhist Architectural Models


This paper is a brief proposal for the research, which compares the main traditional values, embodied in two of Japans models of architecture. The paper starts with a brief introduction or background study with the aim of creating a brief insight into the research. There is also a brief discussion on the aims and objectives of the research which include; a historical study, comparison and critical analysis of the two architectural paradigms. The research methods as well as the outline or preliminary overview of the research structure and analysis are also stated below.

Background Study

Japanese architecture is essentially categorized into four basic architectural modeling foundations influenced by the Buddhist architecture, the Shinto architecture, the Design concept and Modern architecture. The Shinto architecture whose traditional purpose was to serve as a shrine for “Shinto” is characterized by the presence of a shinden popularly known as “honden” or sanctuary. The Japanese national spirit (i.e. ancestral worship) is believed to be symbolically attached to this architectural model. Thus, the number of Shinto shrines in Japan is estimated to about one hundred thousand. In summary, the Shinto architecture in greatly characterized by a common belief, based upon the existence or presence of deities.

The Buddhist architecture is usually characterized by several buildings in each of its complex. These buildings include the main hall or pagoda as well as the lecture hall. There also exists a bell tower, the dormitory, the dining hall and a storehouse for sutras.

Research Aim and Objectives

The three objectives of the research include;

The Historical study and evaluation of the Buddhist and Shinto architectural models
A comprehensive review and comparison of the structural design as well as traditional norms and values embodied in the two architectural models.
A conclusive appraisal of the two architectural models.

Research Methodology

The research will be based on the historical evolution of the two architectural models under review. This will aid a thorough evaluation of the cultural and socioeconomic values of the architectures in question, as well as aid a deep insight as regards the structural comparison of the two models.

Analysis / Proposed Outline

Introduction and Definition of Concepts
1.1  Traditional and General Perception of the Buddhist and Shinto Architecture

1.2  Thesis Statement

Conceptual Evaluation Of the Buddhist and Shinto Models of Architecture
2.1  Historical Evaluation

2.2   Common Norms and Values correlating the Structural Designs

2.3  Influences on the contemporary Japanese Architecture

     3. Critical Analysis and Conclusion


Hartz, P.(1997) Shinto; World Religions Facts on File

Picken, D.B. (1980).Japan’s Spiritual Roots. Tokyo: Kodansha International.

Reader, I.  (1998). Simple Guide To Shinto. England: Global Books, Ltd.

 Sokyo, O. (1995) Shinto, The Kami’s Way. Rutland, V.T: Charles E. Tuttle.


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