Shinto is the ethnic religion of Japan. Meaning 'the way of the gods', it is practiced by 80 per cent of Japan's population. Originating around 500 BCE, it focuses on ritual practices that connect contemporary Japan with its ancient past. Followers believe that gods or spirits (kami), can manifest in anything in nature. Shinto practices were recorded and codified in the historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Unlike most other religions, Shinto has no real founder and no body of religious law.