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Clan Life in Japan

Clan Life in Japan

The people of Japan lived in clans, which were held together by their common descent from a single ancestor. These clans were ruled by a powerful chief, who was also the religious priest of the group.


Members of each clan practiced a form of ancestor worship known as Shinto. Clan members believed that the spirit of the common ancestor from whom they all descended still inhabited their village, and that it protected them and worked to help better their lives. They worshipped this ancestor and prayed to it for help and guidance.

Shinto Gates

The clan chief also acted as the military leader and directed the efforts of the clan to protect themselves against outsiders and against other neighboring clans.