The emperor and the nation have been central to representations of Shinto since the Meiji period, but recently, there has been a widespread tendency among Japanese (and others) to equate Shinto with eco-friendliness. I have investigated the history of this idea in order to understand how this new representation of Shinto as an ecological religion came to be. This thesis is the first investigation of the history of this concept and aims at understanding how this new representation of Shinto as an ecological religion came to be. These modern ideas reverberate with an older discourse on nature in Japan. Prominent scholars and ideologues who have contributed to the idea that the Japanese religions are nature loving are for example: Watsuji Tetsuro, Okakura Tenshin and Masaharu Anesaki. Other scholars have questioned this view; among them are: Poul Pedersen, Arne Kalland and Julia Thomas. While their perspectives are different, these scholars all underline that there are ideological reasons behind the ecological claim.In my investigation of environmental activities within Shinto I travelled to Japan, conducted interviews, visited shrines and collected relevant material. My main argument is that this new representation relates to post-modern concerns and identity-seeking. The ideologues are constantly contrasting the problematic present with a better past. They argue that ancient practices of kami-worship attest to Shinto’s benign relationship with nature. The new representation of Shinto as an ecological religion, I argue, also involves a fair amount of paradoxes and builds on a reversed-orientalism.I have applied critical analysis in my investigation and I will demonstrate that the new representation of Shinto as an ecological religion is a social and historical construct.