Shinto and the State, 1868-1988

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Helen Hardacre, a leading scholar of religious life in modern Japan, examines the Japanese state's involvement in and manipulation of shinto from the Meiji Restoration to the present. Nowhere else in modern history do we find so pronounced an example of government sponsorship of a religion as in Japan's support of shinto. How did that sponsorship come about and how was it maintained? How was it dismantled after World War II? What attempts are being made today to reconstruct it? In answering these questions, Hardacre shows why State shinto symbols, such as the Yasukuni Shrine and its prefectural branches, are still the focus for bitter struggles over who will have the right to articulate their significance.

Where previous studies have emphasized the state bureaucracy responsible for the administration of shinto, Hardacre goes to the periphery of Japanese society. She demonstrates that leaders and adherents of popular religious movements, independent religious entrepreneurs, women seeking to raise the prestige of their households, and men with political ambitions all found an association with shinto useful for self-promotion; local-level civil administrations and parish organizations have consistently patronized shinto as a way to raise the prospects of provincial communities. A conduit for access to the prestige of the state, shinto has increased not only the power of the center of society over the periphery but also the power of the periphery over the center.

This is a history of the creation of Shintoism as the state religion of Japan during the late 19th century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1991
On a major influence upon Japanese politics before 1945 and its subsequent decline. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691020525
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/1991
  • Series: Studies in Church and State Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables xi
Foreword xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 3
Studies of State Shinto 5
Issues, Themes, and Goals 7
Shinto in the Tokugawa Era (1600-1868) 9
The Relation between Buddhism and Shinto 14
Ise Pilgrimage 15
The Influence of National Learning 16
Summary 18
1. The Modern History of Relations Between Shinto and the State 21
Chronological Overview 21
The Meiji Restoration and the Beginning of State Shinto 27
The Separation of Buddhism from Shinto 27
Building Institutions 28
Disunity in the Department of Divinity 29
Reform of Imperial Ritual 31
The Creation of National Rites and Ceremonies 32
The Slump of Middle Meiji (1880-1905) 33
Is Shinto a Religion? 34
The Movement to Reestablish the Department of Divinity 36
Shrine Building after the Russo-Japanese War 37
Freedom of Religion 39
Postwar Shinto 40
2. The Great Promulgation Campaign 42
The Campaign 42
The Pantheon Dispute 48
The New Religions in the Great Promulgation Campaign 51
Conclusion 58
3. The Shinto Priesthood 60
The Internal Diversity of the Shinto Priesthood 60
The Evolution of a Concept of Religion 63
Shrine Administrators 65
The Idea of a National Teaching 66
Shrine Administrators' Diversity and Influence 68
National Teaching in Practice 70
Questions of Doctrine and Rites 72
The Provincial Priesthood 73
Concluding Remarks 76
4. Shrines and the Rites of Empire Part I: Shinto Shrines 79
The Separation of Buddhism from Shinto 81
Shrine Registration 83
Shrine Rankings 84
Distribution of Ise Talismans and Almanacs 86
The Ise Shrines and Their Outposts 87
The State-Sponsored Cult of the War Dead and Loyalists 90
Provincial Centers of the Cult of the War Dead 92
The Meiji Shrine 93
Shrines in the Colonies 95
State Shrine Support 96
Shrine Mergers 98
5. Shrines and the Rites of Empire Part II: Shrine Rites 100
Shrine Rites: Types and Standardization 100
The Liturgical Structure of Shrine Rites 102
Large-Scale State Rites 104
Civic Rites in Provincial Society 106
Shrine Observances Involving Schoolchildren 108
Customary Observances and Shinto 110
Conclusion 112
6. Religious Freedom Under State Shinto 114
The Meiji Constitution 115
The Imperial Rescript on Education 121
The Religious Organizations Law 124
The Suppression of New Religious Movements 126
Shinto's Role in Restricting Religious Freedom 128
Conclusion 131
7. Shinto and the State Since 1945 133
Shinto and the Occupation 134
The Shinto Directive 136
Religious Freedom and the Separation of Church and State 137
The Religious Juridical Persons Law 139
The Implementation of the Occupation's Policy on Religion 140
Shinto since World War II 142
Postwar Challenges to Religious Freedom and to Separation of State and Religion 143
The Attempt to Reestablish State Support for the Yasukuni Shrine 145
The Tsu Grounds Purification Case 149
Cabinet Tribute at the Yasukuni Shrine 150
The Self-Defense Force Apotheosis Case 153
Conclusion 157
Epilogue 160
Appendixes 165
1. Government Expenditures for Shrines in Comparative Perspective 165
2. The Shinto Directive 167
Notes 171
Selected Sources 191
Index 199
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