I found an interesting article on the Internet. It is Who/what created the world?. On it, Japan has 1,766 votes, 33% of which has polled “God created the world” and 67% of which has polled “Big Bang created the world”.
As soon as I see it, I wonder who is “God”. For people of monotheistic religions, God is the god maybe 100%. But for us? When Japanese poll a vote, how many percents of us imagines “God” monotheists expect? Even if we read the word “God”, in our brain the word is automatically translated into “神”. When it happens, we recognize “God” as “神”. And “神” is never the One God.
Actually, for me, “神 created the world” is consistent with “Big Bang created the world”. Pay attention to the word “神”. It’s never the God. The control room of Hayabusa had an Ofuda of Chūka shrine(中和神社) and others. This is a very famous episode. The Ofuda of Chūka shrine which Dr. Kawaguchi(川口淳一郎) got from the shrine and he made a play on words linking 中和器(chūwa-ki = neutralizer) and 中和神社(Chūka-jinja). They have same kanji characters though their pronunciations are different.
He was not kidding by his act. We have the saying “Do your best and leave the rest to Providence (人事を尽くして天命を待つ)”. He did his best and there was not anything else he could. So, he did make such a play and did pray, I think. Since early times, Japanese have accepted a lot kinds of religions, but we still keep a primitive faith to Nature(自然) in our mind. When we use the word 自然, it also includes us, human-beings.
From the Meiji Restoration(1868) to the end of World War II(1945), Japanese government used Shrines (神社) as one of the tools of state administration, so shrines carry political implications now. But originally, shrines have no relationship with the government. They have long history. In some periods of the long history, they might have some relationship with the powers of the day, but they originated in our primitive faith to Nature.
We have a god everywhere, kitchen oven, bath, lavatory, etc. By the way, bath and lavatory are usually separated in Japan still now.
When Japanese are asked his/her religion, he/she often answers he/she has no religion or he/she is an atheist. You should not blindly accept it. It’s NOT true. It means he/she is not a Christian, not a Muslim, and so on. We, most of Japanese, even today, have our old gods in our mind. It is our religion.