A popular Dictionary of Shinto
By Brian Bocking
Confucianism and Shinto
Fuko o yobu jisha jiten
Keishin seikatsuno koryo
Kokumin seishin bunka kenkyusho
Kokutai no hongi
Muromachi (or Ashikaga) period
Sanjo no Kyosoku
Sanno ichi jitsu shinto
Shukyo Dantai Ho
Shukyo Hojin Ho
Aburage-fried bean-curd, an offering relished by the fox-deity of Inari temples. Rice wrapped un aburage is called Inari-sushi or o-Inari-san.
Anzen-safety. Safety at work is a major benefit (riyaku) sought from the kami by business people who attended shrines at New Year and other significant times as official representatives of their company. It is common for large and small Japanese enterprises to identify a tutelary shrine to which corporate donations are made and from which a priest may be summoned to perform ceremonies in the business premises.
Arai, Hakuseki- (1657-1735) Confucian scholar, statesman and advisor of the 6th Tokugawa shogun Ienobu. He experienced considerable hardship in his attempts to gain some kind of official position through study. At the age of about 30 he became a pupil of the Neo-Confucianism Kinoshita, Jun’an and in 1693 became lecturer on Confucianism to Ienobu, then a daimyo, who became shogun 16 years later. Arai played a key role in the shogunate for 7 years, abolishing the severe laws against cruelty to dogs and other animals promulgated by the eccentric Tokugawa, Isunayoshi and reprieving offenders. He recommended that the shogun should be referred to as o, “King”. In relation to “Shinto” his rationalistic view that kami were essentially human reflected a typically Confucian indifference to other-worldly “religious” concepts and a desire to see ancient Japanese myths as well as Western science bent to the requirements of practical moral leadership because the successor was a child. Arai’s time is traditionally known as shotoku no chi “the rule of upright virtue”. He retired to devote his time to research and writing when Tokugawa, Yoshimune acceded to the shogunate in 1716.
Asa-gutsu-black lacquered wooden dogs which from part of the formal attire of a shinto priest (shinshoku). Derived from a shoe, possibly leather, worn by the nobility before the Heian period.
Azuchi-momoyama period-(1573-1603) a 30 year period following the Muromachi and preceding the Tokugawa. It was named after Nobunage, Oda’s castle at Azuchi on the shore of Lake Biwa. Nobunage was murdered and succeeded in 1582 by Hideyoshi, Toyotomi (died 1598). The period was marked by the first persecution of Christians in 1587. A meeting in 1593 between Ieyasu, Tokugawa and Fujiwara, Seika subsequently to the adoption of Neo-Confuciansim as the official cult of the Tokugawa shoguns.
Bakufu-literally “tent-government”. The name of the feudal regime established at Kamakura in 1185. It followed the epic “gennpei” civil wars between the early samurai warriors of the Minamoto (Genki) and Taira (Heike) clans. To restrict the power of the sohei or monk-soldiers the emperor Go-Shirakawa, was ruled from 1155-1158 but exercised power over a much longer period as an insei or “retired monarch”, had made alliances at different times with the provincial Taira and Minamoto clans. Their consequent battles for supremacy led to Minamoto, Yoritomo’s establishment of the first bakufu government at Kamakura in 1185. In practice bakufu rule came to be exercised by the Hojo family as hereditary regents or deputies (shikken) to the shoguns, just as the Fujiwara had deputized for the emperors. The move to Kamakura (and subsequently to Edo, Tokyo), though it preserved many of the features of the ritsuryo system, effectively ended the government of the Kyoto emperors, apart from a two year “restoration” achieved by emperor Go-Daigo in 1334-36 which preceded the Asikaga shogunate. Many centuries later Kokugaku or fukko shinto scholars and activists sought to restore ritsuryo imperial rule, hence to Meiji “restoration.”
Chi-no-wa-a great ring up to four m in diameter of twisted miscanthus reeds (chigaya) set up in shrine grounds to exorcize misfortune for those who walk through it. Chi-no-wa are used throughout Japan especially at the oharae festival on June 30 and December 31st.
Confucianism and Shinto-Confucianism, though it has no institutional presence as a religion in Japan, has played a major role in the evolution of Japanese religion and in particular the character of modern Shinto. While Confucian philosophy, especially of the shushi variety, became the state orthodoxy of Tokugawa Japan nation wide Buddhist parish system (tera-uke) was simultaneously established to eradicate Christianity. Traditional tensions between Buddhism and Confucianism in China were thus set to be replicated in Japan. Confucian ideology seeks a return to the “golden age” of Confucius and emphasizes the subordination of one’s selfish desires to the requirements of social duty so that harmony in social relationships can be mirrored in cosmic harmony and prosperity. The selfless state can be achieved by methods of self-cultivation and training ranging from zen-type meditation to unremitting self-discipline in one’s alloted role in the hierarchy, activity construed in Confucian terms as the repayment of reciprocal obligations to superiors. In feudal Japan the relationship between ruler and subject came to outweigh the father-son relationship. Teachers such as Ishida, Baigan popularized such Confucian ideas in a manner which appealed to different social classes. Confucian scholarly investigations inspired the academic researchers of Kokugaku scholars who sought Japanese equivalents of the ancient Chinese texts, and Kokugaku-sha and Conficianists came to share resentment against Buddhist privileged position under the shogunate. In the latter part of the Tokugawa period nationalist Confucians became favorable to the idea of the restoration of a sacred monarchy to replace the declining shogunate and lent their support to fukko shinto activists, who by now interpreted shinto largely in Confucian terms. Most of the ethical content of modern shinto founded on the emperor system (tennosei) can be traced to the Confucian ideology of the Tokugawa period, allied of course with modern nationalism and devotion to technological progress.
Daikyo-in-the “Great Teaching Institute”. A Meiji government agency founded shortly after the restoration to spread the daikyo or taikyo “Great Teaching” through the “Great Promulgation Campaign” (Taikyo senpu undo). Although the institute was headed by Shinto administrators, was avowedly anti-Christian and accepted Buddhists only if they were prepared to teach and perform rites in a shinto idiom, the institute was not at the time identified as shinto but was conceived of as a trans-denominational institution, the basis of a state religion.
Fuji-ko-a sect, popular in the Tokugawa period, devoted to the climbing of Mt. Fuji. It was founded in the early 16th century by Hasegawa, Takematsu (known as Kakugyo). It was one of more than 800 Fuji sects.
Fuji-san-Mount Fuji. Its come shape makes the mountain a suitable Yorishiro or vessel suitable for the deity kono-saku-ya-hime also known as sengen and Asama (Mt. Asama is about 80 miles north of Fuji). It is believed to have appeared some time after the creation of the land of Japan by Izanagi and Izanami. Fuji means the archetype of the sacred mountain for many Japanese people. The ascent is divided into ritual stages in shugendo style and a constant stream of visitors now makes the 8 hour ascent during the short summer climbing season, many with the intention of seeing the sun rise from the top. Until the Meiji restoration when pollution restrictions were relaxed in a number of areas of religious life the mountain was out of bounds to women. As it happens the first to reach the summit was Lady Parkes, wife of the British Ambassador, in October 1867.
Fujiwara-the clan comprising the descendants of Fujiwara, Kamatari (614-669) who rose to power in the mid 7th century assisting the imperial prince to make reforms which eventuated in the ritsuryo system. The Fujiwara family remained intertwined through marriage and government positions with the imperial line. Fujiwara, Yoshifusa (804-872) became “regent” (sessho) when a child emperor was enthroned in the mid 9th century and his adopted son became both regent and chief counselor (kanpaku) of the imperial family. By virtue of these hereditary appointments which continued regardless of the age of subsequent emperors the Fujiwara became effectively the rulers of medieval Japan until the mid 11th century.
Fukko shinto-“return to antiquity” shinto. A name, more or less synonymous with Kakugaku, given to the academic school of Japanese philology which developed during the mid-Tokugawa period into the wider Kokugaku movement. The name fukko reflects that of the Confucian fukko-gaku (or ko-gaku, ancient learning) movement of the Sung dynasty in China whose scholars looked back to the golden age of Confucius. Initially it sought an understanding of “Japanese” origins through the academic study of ancient Japanese texts. “Fukko” came to mean also restoration of imperial rule. Fukko shinto drew inspiration from the works of four great scholars, Kada no Azuma-maro, Kamo no Mabuchi, Motoori Norinaga and Hitata Atsuntane. Modern shinto embodies much of the outlook and assumptions of the fukko shinto and kokugaku movements of the 18th-19th centuries.
Fuku o yobu jisha jinten-“Dictionary of shrines and temples that summon good fortune.” A publication by the kodansha company, and representative of numerous contemporary book, newspaper, and magazine guides to the riyaku specialties of religious institutions. The dictionary is divided into categories such as educational success (gokaku), road safety (kotsu anzen), health, business prospects, fertility and so forth, listing shrines and temples to visit by region. Reflecting the near 100 % literacy rate in Japan and the need for shrines to bring their specialties to the attention of potential visitors, most larger shrines also offer printed guides for those wishing to know more about the history, mythology and special characteristics of the site, as well as advertising in magazine, railway time tables and other appropriate media.
Fundoshi-traditional loincloth underwear for men, worn by festival participants. Another form of festival loincloth is the shimekomi.
Furusato-one’s home village. In ordinary use a family’s ancestral home. by extension (as in kokorono furusato, spiritual homeland, homeland of the heart) furusato may refer to a state of spiritual or sentimental security, return or rejuvenation, and to religious centers such as the Ise jingu.
Hakko-ichiu-“the whole world under one roof.” Slogan of Japanese militarists and ultrationalists in the 1930’s-40’s which formed part of kokka shinto or Tennosei imperial ideology.
Heian-Heian-kyo, which means “capital of peace and security” was the old name for modern Kyoto (which means “the capital”). The Heian period dates from 794 when the imperial court moved from Nara to the new capital, Heian-kyo, to 1185 (or 1191) when the Kamakura bakufu was established. In retrospect the Heian period is seen as a “golden age” for the court nobility, and modern shinto draws heavily on Heian costume and custom for its archaic and imperial character.
Hirata, Atsutane- (1776-1843) a proponent of fukko shinto (restoration shinto) and perhaps the greatest single influence on shinto in the modern period, Hirata was born into the Owada Samurai family in Akita in the far north-west of Japan. He initially studied Confucianism but ran away to Edo at the age of 23, was adopted into a samurai family called Hirata and later claimed that in 1801 he had become a disciple of the eminent Kokugaku school or Motoori, Norinaga, though this was the year of Motoori’s death and the two may never have met. He set himself up as a teacher with the literacy name Masuganoya and wrote anti-Confucian tracts including in 1806, though it did not become known until many years later, the Honkyo gaihen, an innovative work of Shinto theology influenced by the Christianity of Matteo Ricci and others as known from Ming China. In later works which included his own commentary on and rewriting of the Kojiki he developed a unique interpretation of shinto beliefs, assigning the role of supreme deity of the shinto pantheon (above Amaterasu) to the deity Ame-no-minaka-nushi-no-kami, the first of three heavenly deities named in the Kojiki. He argued that Japan was the country nearest the Pole Star where the creator deity lived, and the Japanese were therefore the purest human beings and should follow the promptings of their heart, needing no moral creed. However, foreign concept of a shadowy afterworld of yomi and instead posited an underworld presided over by okuni-nushi-no-kami, judge of the dead, an idea supported by reference to Chinese and Indian concepts of the afterlife which, Hirata claimed, had actually originated in Japan. His reverence for the emperor and his ethnocentricity proved inspirational to nationalists at the end of the Tokugawa period was sought to restore the emperor and repel foreigners and who after the Meiji restoration, were among the architects of what came eventually to be known as state shinto (kokka shinto). Hirata’s ideas were particularly attractive to shrine priests in the pre-Meiji decades who saw in his teachings a possible means of raising their status and overcoming the dominance of Buddhism. Although Hirata acquired more than 500 followers in his lifetime, a number which more than doubled after his death, his views were regarded as dangerously unorthodox by the shogunate who in 1841 banned his writings and ordered him to return to Akita where he died two years later. from the point of view of modern shinto theology Hirata is seen as the scholar-activist who put Motoori’s ideas into practice and contributed most to the modern “revival” of shinto. In the first years of the Meiji government shinto administrators were disastrously split between “Hirata” and “Okuni” factions, the Hirata fraction claimed that shinto priests should be exclusively concerned with (high-status) state rites rather than getting involved in preaching doctrines to the common people.
Inoue, Kowashi- (1843-1895) a statesman of the Meiji period from Kumamoto, in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. He is significant in the development of modern shinto for his contributions to the Meiji Constitution of 1889 and the Imperial Rescript on Education (kyoiku chokugo) of 1890. Inoue joined the Ministry of Justice in Tokyo in 1870 and toured France and Germany on government business. He became closely associated with Ito, Hirobumi and with Iwakura, Tomomi who in 1881 assigned him to work on the constitution. Inoue’s views on religious freedom were informed by those of the German political scientist Karl Freidrich Hermann Reesler (1834-1894), a professor of Tokyo imperial university and adviser to the government who recommended freedom of private religious belief but the regulation of public religious activity. From 1886 Inoue worked with others under the direction of Ito, Hirobumi to produce the final draft which eventually became the Meiji constitution, emphasizing the powers of the sovereign. He also developed the Imperial House Law and in 1888 became chief of the Bureau of Legislation and a chief secretary in the privy council. With the Confucian scholar and imperial advisor Motoda, Eifu he drafted the Rescript on Education as well as various other edicts and laws. He became minister of education in 1893 and drew up regulations for the establishment of public high schools and vocational education.
Ito, Hirobumi- (1841-1909) a leading statesman of the Meiji period and close confidante of the Meiji emperor. He was born and initially served as a soldier in the fief of Choshu, southern Kyushu, the domain which provided most of the new Meiji government oligarchy. He studied western military techniques in Nagasaki and in 1859 went to Edo (Tokyo) and came under the influence of the sonno-joi (“revere the emperor, expel the barbarians”) movement which in 1862 led him to take part in the attack on the British legation in Shinagawa, Edo. He was promoted to the rank of samurai in 1863 and traveled to England for study with others from his fief, returning after six months to help settle a dispute between the Choshu forces and the western powers. His experiences abroad changed his attitude to foreigners. He played a major modernizing role in the Meiji government, studied financial affairs in America in 1870 and on return became chief to taxation. He accompanied Iwakura, Tomomi on the 1871-1873 mission to Europe and America and visited Germany again in 1882 to study constitutional systems. From 1881, having ousted the pro-Constitutional Okuma, Shingenobu he led the important Ministry of Home Affairs. With Inoue, Kowashi and others he drafted the Meiji Constitution of 1889 and other important legislation. In 1885 he became Prime Minister in Japan’s first cabinet, and eventually president of the Privy Council, playing an active and varied role in late Meiji politics. In 1906 he became Resident-General in Seoue, effectively ruling Korea after 1907. He was assassinated in Harbin by a Korean in October 1909.
Iwakura, Tomomi- (1825-1883) a powerful modernizing statesman of the Meiji restoration. Born a member of the lower nobility in Kyoto he rose through study and ability to become a chamberlain of the emperor Komei. In 1858 he was among a group of 88 nobles who protested against leaving responsibility for Japan-US commercial relations in the hands of the shogunate. However in 1860-61 because of his work to improve relations between the imperial court and the shogunate he was branded a traitor and harassed by the then-influential anti-shogunate party and he retired to become a shaven-headed Buddhist monk for a period. During this time he went over to the anti-shogunate side and plotted with others to restore the new Meiji emperor to power, taking part in the coup d’etat of 1868 with the Satsuma Samurai which overthrew the shogun. He held several key positions in the new government, became minister of foreign affiars and then envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary for the “Iwakura mission” to Europe and the United States in 1871-73. Influenced by Iamanmatsu, Misao’s national learning (kokugaku) outlook Iwakura initially supported the establishment of the jingikan in the Meiji restoration but soon distanced himself from anti-foreign shinto extremism in order to accommodate religious toleration, which had become a prerequisite for the renegotiation of unequal trade treaties with the Western powers. Iwakura remained firmly opposed to the people’s rights movement and fought to preserve the status of the nobility and oligarchic rule, as reflected in the Meiji Constitution of 1889. He had a state funeral and was promoted posthumously to the office of dajo-daijin (premier). On his death, large sums were collected to build a shrine and install him as a kami. Instead, the money was used to build a school, so he is not a kami.
Juni-shi-the 12 Chinese “branches”. The 12 signs of the zodiac, the symbolism and motifs of which are widely used in Japan in connection with calendar customs, almanacs and religious items such as ema. The branches are used for years (e.g. “The year of the snake”) for honary (hour) signs (e.g. “The hour of the hare”) and in conjunction with the “ten stems” (jikkan) in the counting system of eto or kanshi (stems and branches) or with the five elements (go-gyo, wood, fire, water, earth, metal) to mark a cycle of 60. Each of the 12 divisions is named after a creature, as follows: 1. Rat (ne), 2. Ox (ushi), 3. Tiger (tora), 4. Rabbit or hare (u), 5. Dragon (tatsu), 6. Snake (mi), 7. Horse (uma), 8. Sheep (hitsuji), 9. Monkey (saru), 10. Cock (tori), 11. Dog (inu), 12. Wild Boar (I).
Kaeru-a frog, but Kaeru also means “return home”. Several shrines therefore sell frog figures signifying a return to heath, safe return from travel or if kept in the purse or pocket the return of any money spent.
Kai-i-ranks within the shinto priesthood currently awarded by the Jinja Honcho they are jo, mei, sei, choku (yielding, jokai, meikai, seikai, and chokkai).
Kamakura period- (1185-1333) the period after Nara and before Ashikaga during which the first bakufu (“tent-government”, military government) was established by the Minamoto shogunate at Kamakura in Eastern Japan. Most of the new medieval Buddhist movements such as zen, pure land and nichiren developed during this time, and neo-Confucianism was introduced by zen monks from Sung China. The second attempt Mongol invasion of Japan was thwarted at the 11th hour by a kami-kaze (divine wind) in August 1281. The period ended with a brief three year recovery of power by the emperor Go-Daigo after which rulership passed to the Ashikaga shogunate.
Kasa-the usual meaning is umbrella but in a shinto festival it often means a giant umbrella-shaped decoration on a float, as for example in the kasa-hoko (umbrella floats) of the kawase (“rapids”) matsuri at chichibu jinja, saitama on September.
Keishin seikatsu no koryo-“General Characteristics of a life lived in reverence of the kami.” A postwar Shinto creedal statement published by the Jinja Honcho in 1956. It’s main points are: (1) to be grateful for the blessings of the kami and the benefits of the ancestors, and to be diligent in the observance of shinto rituals, applying oneself to them with sincerity, cheerfulness and purity of heart, (2) to be helpful to others and in the world at large through deeds of service without thought of reward and to seek the advancement of the world as one whose life mediates the will of the kami, (3) to bind oneself with others in harmonious acknowledgement of the will of the emperor, praying that the country may flourish and that other peoples too may live in peace and prosperity.
Kibuku-(also reversed:bukku). Mourning. The term buku (mourning clothes) carries the same meaning. Mourning here means the period of ritual impurity following contact with death, rather than a feeling of sadness or loss. It is one of the main sources of kegare and is correspondingly surrounded by taboos (imi) on travel and participation in shinto ritual. Historically most practical matters concerning death, burial and memorialisation were dealt with by Buddhism. Shinto since the Meiji period has not shown any propensity to take over this aspect of Buddhism, apart from the enshrinement of souls of the war dead. A shinto version of the funeral service (sosai) is available, but it takes place away from the shrines, so death is directly relevant to shinto ritual mainly because of the pollution of mourning.
Kinokasa-a parasol, used to shade and show respect for a priest. It is of Buddhist origin.
Kogakkan University-“Imperial Learning Hall University.” One of the two large shinto universities responsible for the training of priests, (the other is kokugakkuin). It was established in 1882 under the name of Jingu kogakukan (or kogakkan) near the Ise Jingu as part of the attempt to develop a coherent shinto doctrine following the divisive “pantheon dispute” (saijin ronso) of the 1870’s. It was set up to educate the sons of shrine priests and later moved to Uji Yamada where it became a shinto training institute of the Ministry of Home Affairs until the end of the war. Those trained as shinto priests up to 1945 were automatically qualified to be school teachers. As a government-funded religious institution it was closed down by the occupation administration in 1945. It reopened in 1952 as a private university after a funding campaign heavily supported by government figures including the prime minister and was rebuilt in 1962 on its original site at Ise.
Kogo-shui- “Gleanings of Ancient Words.” A book of commentary on “ancient” words and practices compiled by Imbe, Horonari and presented to the Emperor Heizai in 807. It was written to substantiate at court the status of the Imbe against the claims of the rival Namatomi clan, and includes passages which supplement the mythological and historical accounts in the Kojiki and Nikongi completed a hundred years earlier. There is an English translation by Kato and Hoshino (1925).
Kokugaku-“National Learning”. Initially in the 7th century a form of scholarly textual study which focused on Japanese sources with a view to identifying specifically Japanese modes of thought and expression in contrast to Kangaku (Chinese, particularly Confucian, studies) and Yogaku (Western learning). Over the course of the Edo period the purpose of Kokugaku shifted from the scholarly and philological study of ancient Japanese texts to a more active ideological pursuit of “native” (i.e. non-Buddhist, non-foreign) cultural traits more or less identified with shinto. Four scholars-kadano Azumamaro, Kamono, Mabuchi, Motoori, Norinaga and Hirata, Atsutane-are cited by later kokugaku as the main orthodox exponents of the tradition. Kokugaku heavily influenced subsequent Meiji government policies on shinto, continuing until the second world war in various forms such as the elucidation of the kokutai concept. Arguably it has survived in the pseudo-academic “nihonjin-ron” or “Theory of Japaneseness” output of the late 20th century.
Kokugakuin Daifaku-Kokugakuin (“National learning”) University. One of the two major shinto universities in Japan (the other is kogakkan). Based in Tokyo it traces its origin to the koten kokyusho (Research Institute for the Japanese classics) founded in 1882 with the aim of cultivating moral virtue as a firm foundation for the nation. Kokugakuin was established in 1870, offering a three year teacher training program for men in Japanese history, literature and law. In 1904 it became a senmon-gakko (college) and two years later it was renamed Shiritsu Kokugakuin Daigaku (kokugakuin private university). Moving to its present site in 1918. it helped provide the intellectual resources needed to support the imperial system, including study and training facilities for shinto priests and remained closely connected with the Ministry of Education in the supervision of religious affairs up to 1945. As a private university (unlike kogakkan) it was able to continue functioning after the war, though the koten kokyusho was dissolved and the university’s president kono, seizo was dismissed. Today the university offers a range of graduate and undergraduate programs especially in Japanese studies, shinto studies and education. Other provision includes a seminary which provides training and education for shinto priests and a number of schools at different levels. The Institute for Japanese culture and classics at kokugakuin university which dates back to 1941 produces research on shinto and functions as the academic arm of Jinja Honcho.
Kokumin seishin bunka kenkyusho-“People’s spiritual culture Institute.” A prewar research institute of the Ministry of Education which supported developments in “state shinto” (kokka shinto).
Kokutai-national polity, national entity. Literally the “body of the nation” (of which the Emperor is the head). A Meiji-era politico-religious concept central to the Tenosei system up to 1945, with some residual influence among shinto thinkers today. It expresses the idea that the Japanese nation and its people somehow organically one with the Japanese state.
Kokutai no hongi-“Cardinal Principles of the National Entity.” An ethics textbook for schools and universities published in 1937 for the ministry of education which set out the principles of the emperor system, focusing on the notion of the kokutai or “national entity” and incorporating ideas from the Imperial Rescript on Education (kyoiku shokugo) of 1890. It may be taken as representative of the ideology of what is called “state shinto.” Sections of the text were included in other ethics textbooks and pupils and teachers were required to read and discuss its contents. The teachings of religious groups were tested against the principles set out in kokutai no hongi. The first section “the national entity of Japan” recounts as history the mythological origins of the Japanese nation and the sacred accounts popularized by kokugaku thinkers since the late Tokugawa period. Other themes include the virtues of the emperor, the unity of rites, administration and education and the emperor’s love for his people. Under “the way of the subjects” patriotism and the unity of loyalty and filial piety are extolled. A chapter on harmony between god and man compares the fragmented situation in the west with that of Japan. The Martial spirit, Musuhi, and the oneness of sovereign and subjects are explained. In part two “The Manifestation of our National Entity in History” a description is given of the many ways in which the noble characteristics of the Japanese have been manifested at different periods of history and through different religious traditions, all of which are shown to esteem selfless devotion. The work concludes with a comparison of western and eastern ideologies which criticizes the individualism of western thought and shows how only those ideas are acceptable which accord with the national entity. There is an English translation of the kokutai no hongi by John Owen Gauntlett.
Kyobusho-Ministry of Religion, or Ministry of Religious Education (kyo implies both religion and teaching). One of a series of short-lived Meiji government agencies set up to administer religious affairs. It took over the functions of the Jingisho in March 1872 and was superseded in 1887 by the Shajikyoku (Bureau of Shrines and Temples) based in the Home Ministry.
Kyoiku chokugo-the Imperial Rescript on Education, promulgated in October 1890. Authored chiefly by Inoue, Kowashi if followed the new Meiji Constitution of 1889 and became in effect a sacred scripture to be installed with the picture of the emperor and regularly and reverently readout in educational institutions. As a government initiative to counter excessive western influences and provide a basis for public morality, it embodies the basic tenets of the emperor system and the “five relationships” of Confucianism, exhorting loyalty and filial piety to the sovereign as the divine descendant of Amaterasu. Elements of the Rescript were incorporated in ethics textbooks such as kokutai no hongi up to 1945. Because reverence for the Rescript limit religious freedom. The official English translation of the text ran as follows.
“Our imperial ancestors have founded our empire and basis broad and everlasting, and subjects ever united in loyalty and filial piety have from generation to generation illustrated the beauty there of. This is the glory of the fundamental character of our empire and there in also lies the source of our education. Ye, our subjects, be filial to your parents, affectionate to your brothers and sisters, as husbands and wives be harmonious, as friends true, bear yourselves in modesty and moderation, extend your benevolence to all, pursue learning and cultivate arts, and thereby develop intellectual faculties and perfect moral powers, furthermore, advance public good and promote common interests, always respect the constitution [of the previous year, 1889] and observe the laws, should emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the state, and thus guard and maintain the prosperity of our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth. so shall be not only ye our good and faithful subjects, but render illustrious the best traditions of your forefathers. The way here set for this indeed the teaching bequeathed by our Imperial Ancestors, to be observed alike by Their Descendants and the subjects, infallible for all ages and true in all places. It is our wish to lay it to heart in all reverence, in common with you, our subjects, that we may all attain to the same virtue.”
Meiji,Tenno-(1852-1912) the Meiji emperor, who reigned from 1867 to 1912, son of the previous emperor komei. His personal name was Mutsuhito. Meiji in the era name, which began in 1868 when, after the last Tokugawa shogun had ceded power to the imperial household, the new emperor took actual power and with the ritual of the “Character oath” in the presence of the kami and government figures laid down the principles of imperial rule. The imperial capital was transferred to Tokyo (much against the wishes of the Kokugaku traditionalists in the Jingikan) in 1869. From 1871 the emperor was educated in Japanese and Western thought under the direction of the Confucian scholar Motoda, Eifu and progressive samurai were brought into staff the imperial household in place of the previous entourage. From the beginnings the emperor dressed publicly in Western style and set an example in the adoption of Western technology and culture, combining a modernizing outlook with a predilection for Japanese style poetry. He was personally involved in meeting influential foreign visitors, in military affairs and in the drafting and promulgation of the Meiji Constitution, the Imperial Rescript on Education (kyoiku chokugo) and other edits. Central to what became “kokka shinto.” He was buried in Kyoto and is enshrined in the Meiji jingu.
Miko-a term used for female shamans (also fujo), spirit-mediums or diviners, from ancient Japan to the present day. In modern times miko of this shamanic type (kuchiyose miko) operate largely outside the shrines as independent religious practitioners. Mikoina shrine context (jinja miko) now means as assistant priestess or “shrine-maiden”, often the unmarried daughter of a priest or parishioner. Her duties include taking care of visitors, helping the priest with ceremonies and performing miko-mai or kagura dances. A moderately prosperous shrine may employ several part-time miko. Shrine miko are usually dressed in red hakama and white blouse, or in pure white for several occasions. It seems that today’s miko, even the kuchiyose type, only faintly resemble the powerful women shamans such as princess Himiko or Pimiko mentioned in ancient Chinese accounts of Japan who acted as oracular guides to the ruler and communicated with the kami on behalf of the community. The closest equivalents to these women are probably the powerful founders of new religions, such as Miki, Nakayama of Tenrikyo, Nao,Deguchi of Omoto-kyo, Kotani, Kimi of Reiyokai or Kitamura, Sayo of Tensho Kotai Jingu-kyo.
Minkan Shinto-“Folk religion”, “Folk beliefs.” An academic category used to analyze and understand the complex interrelationships within Japanese religion. Minkan shinto may be defined as a developing substrate of folk-religious beliefs in Japan which incorporates elements from, yet transcends of ficial distinctions between “Buddhism”, “Shinto”, “Taoism”, “Confucianism”, “Christianity”, etc., and which manifests most powerfully today in the world-views and practices of the “new religions”. It has been argued (notably by Hori, Ichiro) that folk religion, which Hori also calls “popular shinto” represents the true, indigenous and persistent character of “Japanese religion.” The main features of this “Japanese religion” may be identified as shamanism or spirit mediumship of various kinds, animistic beliefs, filial piety, reciprocal obligation and ancestor reverence or worship, a syncretic approach to religious beliefs and an “easy continuity” or absence of clear boundaries between the human and divine worlds. Some purists would argue that shinto should not be confused with folk religion. Observers of shinto as it is practiced know that shinto and folk religion cannot be distinguished any more than Buddhism and folk religion, while proponents of the folk-religion as substrate thesis might argue that “shinto” is itself part of folk religion.
Mito-gaku-“mito-learning”. The name of the school of Japanese and shinto studies founded in the Confucian domain of mito in the mid-Tokugawa period by Tokugawa, Mitsukuni, second daimyo of Mito. It aimed to synthesis Confucian (shushi) and Japanese ideas. The major project of the mito school was a monumental 243-volume. History of Japan (Dai Nihon-shi) only completed in the 20th century. The work aimed to show that the then-neglected imperial household should be the focus of ultimate loyalty and devotion of the people, transcending ties to family and feudal lord (daimyo). The radical concept of the nation as a family state (kazoku kokka) undermined the feudal Tokugawa system and was to provide the ideological support for the Meiji restoration. Two phases in the development of the mito school are generally identified, in the early part it was dominated by the intellectual endeavors of Confucian scholars (jusha). Later on as the idea of devotion to the Japanese emperor became central the work was carried on by samurai who had been invluved in the administration of the domain. Mito-gaku ideas were revived after the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5 and incorporated in ethics textbooks (shushin) which extended the notion of bushido (the way of the samurai) to all subjects of the emperor.
Mochi-a glutinous cake made of pounded rice, generally unsweetened in a shinto context. It is a popular type of food at festivals, especially New Year. Like dango, mochi may be eaten for protection from illness.
Muromachi (Or Ashikaga) period- (1336 or 1392-1573) the period of ascendancy of the Ashikaga shogunate. The period from 1336 to 1392 when there were rival emperors is known also as namboku-cho, the age of the northern and southern courts. Muromachi was the quarter in Kyoto to where the Ashikaga established residence. During this period Kitabatake, Chikafusa wrote his Jinno shoto-ki, the no drama yoshida, kanetomo established the Yui-itsu shinto movement and the first Europeans and Christians arrived in Japan.
Okuni, Takamasa- (1792-1871) a Kokugaku-scholar who took a leading role in the administration of shrine affairs in the aftermath of the Meiji restoration. He was a well-educated samurai from the domain of Tsuwano (shimane) who shudied kokugaku with Airata, Atsutane. He subsequently developed his own ethical-religious teachings called honkyo (fundamental teaching) which revered Amaterasu and promoted the idea of diligent pursuit of one’s allotted calling. He was concerned to develop a strong nationally organized religion which could accommodate and thereby counter the influence of Western Christianity, a tradition which fascinated and alarmed him and on which he wrote in 1868 a work entitled “my views on the religion of the lord of heaven.” Although okuni exerted considerate influence as a central shrine administrator in the early years of Meiji he was unable to succeed in his goal of spreading shinto through the “great teaching” campaign (taikyo senpu undo) and after the pantheon dispute (saijin ronso) his interpretation of shinto as a tradition which would provide a doctrinal and pastoral framework for the life of ordinary people lost ground to the “Hitata” fraction’s emphasis on the priest’s conduct of imperial state rites focusing on the Ise jingu.
O-ta-fuku-or okame. Literally “great luck.” A mask of a woman’s round smiling face with flat nose used to bring luck. She is identified with the kami Ame-no-ozume. An otafuku is often paired with saruda-hiko or with a hyoyoko (written his five and otoko-man) mask, a comic mask of a man’s face with one small and one normal sized eye, sometimes a beard or moustache and lips pursed, perhaps to breathe fire.
Ryobu shinto-“two-sided” or “dual” shinto. The full name is Ryobu shugo shinto or Daishiryo shinto. An interpretation of kami beliefs and practices developed in the Kamakura period and maintained by the shingon school of esoteric Buddhism. It holds that the sun deity Amaterasu enshrined at Ise Jingu is a manifestation of the Buddha Dainichi (“Great sun”, Sk. Mahavairochana). Through such theories the status of the native kami was raised from “protectors” of Buddhism to that of beings in need of salvation, and ultimately, through the notion of hongaku or innate enlightenment, to that of living beings potentially equal to the enlightened. A derivate theory which reversed the status of kami and Buddhas was proposed by Yoshida, Kanetomo.
Saijin ronso-“Pantheon dispute”. The dispute arose from a proposal by Senge, Takatomi (1845-1918) chief priest of the Izumo taisha that the main kami of Izumo, O-kuni-nushi-no-mikoto should be added as Lord of the Underworld to the “official” pantheon of Amaterasu and the three deities of creation (zoka no kami) who were the focus of worship of the great promulgation campaign (taikyo senpu undo). By 1875 the priests of the Ise jingu had gained control of the campaign, throughout the country and shrine priests and preachers were forced to take sides. The dispute was submitted to the imperial household but no decision about the pantheon was made. Instead shrine priests above a certain rank were forbidden to become national evangelists (kyodo-shoku) and therefore could not teach parishioners or, most importantly, perform funerals. This ruling meant that priests did not have to state whether the deity of Izumo was or was not part of the official pantheon. The prohibition on taking funerals undermined the relationships which had been built up between parishioners and shrines during the taikyo senpu undo campaign, and provoked a number of major evangelists to secede and form sects of their own, many of which became Kyoha shinto sects in due course. The dispute demonstrated the fragility of shinto doctrine and led eventually to the establishment of theological institutions including kogakkan university. More significantly the dispute turned priests (and government) away from the very idea of a great promulgation campaign involving doctrines and pastoral work of the kind backed by the okuni/fukuba line and shifted their loyalties to the Hirata style of kokugaku which emphasized the elite ritual and liturgical (non-doctrinal) role of shrine priests.
Sanjo no kyosoku- the three great teachings (=taikyo) which formed the basic creed of the Great Promulgation Campaign (taikyo senpu undo) of 1870-1884. They were (1) respect for the kami and love of country, (2) making clear the principles of heaven and the way of man, (3) reverence for the emperor and obedience to the will if the court. The teachings were new and rather vague and had to be expanded in commentaries provided to the “national evangelists (kyodo-shoku)” charged with their dissemination to the people. The commentaries encouraged payment of taxes, building up the country according to the slogan “rich country, strong army” (fukoku kyohei), importation of Western science and culture and compulsory education. The teachings were taught in conjunction with veneration identified from the Kojiki by Kokugaku scholars.
Sarino ichijitsu shinto-also known as Tendai shinto. Hie shinto, sanno shinto. A tradition of ritual, cosmology and art which developed within the esoteric Tendai tradition based at Mt. Hiei, whose guarded deity sanno “mountain-king” was regarded as a manifestation or avatar (gongen) of shakyamuni Buddha and identical with Amaterasu. Ichi-jitsu is a Buddhist expression meaning “one reality” or “one truth.” According to legend shinto (Dengyo Daishi) was helped in his realization of the true meaning of the Lotus Sutra (Hokkekyo) by the deity Sanno, protector of the Enryakuji temple-shrine complex. Twenty-one shrines on Mt. Hiei are considered to be gongen of various bosatsu and buddhas. The main proponent of Sanno-ichijitsu-shinto was the Edo period monk Tenkai (Jigen Daishi, 1536-1643) who built the Nikko Toshogu to enshrine Tokugawa, Ieyasu according to Sanno ichijitsu rites.
Sekai kyusei-kyo-religion for the salvation of the world. A religious movement originally founded by a formal Omoto member Okada, Mokichi (1882-1955) following a revelation from Kannon. In 1928 he set up the Great Japan Association for the worship of the Bodhisattva Kannon (Dainihon Kannon-Kai) which emphasized healing and communion with divinities. The movement was forced by the government to focus only on the healing aspect and the movement was renamed Japanese Association for therapy through purification (Nihon joka reiho). After the war the Kannon-worship element was revived in the “Japanese organization for the worship of Kannon.” In 1950 following a schism okada formed sekai meshiya kyo “Religion of World Messiah-ship”, a name later changed to sekai kyusei-kyo. The movement regards okada as a living kami (ikigami) and combines the performance of shinto-style rites with a reverence for the uplifting power of works of art. Members are suspicious of modern drugs, practice spiritual light healing (jorei) and promote a chemical free diet. The organization is usually known in the west under the initials MOA (Mokichi Okada Association).
Shinbatsu-“divine retribution”. A concept in modern shinto theology, adapted from the Sino-Japanese notion of tenbatsu or “heavenly retribution” for unfilial or insulting behavior etc., and related to tatari. It may take a form such as illness or sudden death. Punishment may be meted out by the kami if warnings against good conduct are ignored.
Shingaku (1)- the shingaku (heart-learning) movement founded by Ishido, Baigan, for which see mext entry. (2) The study of kami, shinto theology. A tradition of shinto theology can be traced back to assumptions about the nature of the gods incorporated in the narratives of the early myths. Self-conscious articulation of ideas about the kami originate in the theory of kami as “trace manifestations” of Buddhist divinities expounded in the honji-suikaju theory and the subsequent hongaku or “innate enlightenment” ideas which enabled thinkers such as Yoshida, Kanetomo to develop the idea that the kami were spiritually equals to Buddhas (the so-called “reversed honji-suijaku” approach). From the standpoint of modern shinto the founding fathers of shinto thought are the 18th and 19th century Kokugaku-sha such as Motoori, Norinage and Hirata, Atsutane who resurrected ancient texts and raised the possibility of a “return” to pre-Buddhist Japanese religion, analogous to the Confucian notion of the revival of a golden age. In the post Meiji period interesting theological ideas were confined largely to the “sect shinto” (kyoha shinto) groups such as Konko-kyo and Kurozumi-kyo. Prominent shinto thinkers in the Meiji sought consolidate the position of shinto as the national but “non-religious” faith of Japan and to differentiate shinto from the “foreign” faiths of Buddhism and Christianity. State shinto ideology focused on the doctrine of the emperor as a “manifested kami”. In the 12th century clear doctrines such as these were articulated by scholars working for government ministries and efficiently disseminated for popular consumption through government ethics textbooks such as kokutai no hongi, while heretical ideas and their proponents were strongly criticized by shinto theologians. Genuine theological enquiry was practically impossible in the pre-war period because of the inviolable position occupied by the emperor as a divinity and the repressive attitude of the state towards independent religious thinking. Since 1945 the best minds in shinto have been focused mainly on the institutional survival of shinto and the negotiation of the position of shinto within a free and pluralistic society. There are many interesting theological issues to be addressed in shinto, particularly the relationship of shinto with Buddhism, Christianity, new religions, folk religion, the imperial household, the nation and the state. To answer most of these questions require a frank appraisal of shinto’s recent history and a realistic assessment of the nature and meaning of “shinto” within Japanese history, especially before the Meiji period.
Shingaku (2)-“education of the heart.” The name of a movement founded by Ishida, Baigan (1685-1746) which survives today. It is a pre-Meiji blend of Confucian ethics, Buddhist metaphysics and reverence for deities including kami such as Amaterasu omikami.
Shingon-one of the two major schools of esoteric Buddhism in Japan (the other is Tendai) introduced from India via China by the Japanese monk Kukai (774-835) a Buddhist master and culture-hero better known by his posthumous name of Kobo Daishi. Shingon Buddhist ideas about the identity of this phenomenal world with the realm of enlightenment fostered Japanese genius in the development of art and ritual and enabled the easy assimilation of kami and local spirits into the Buddhist world-view. Shingon esotericism was and remains an element in the mountain-religion shugendo which combines worship of a kami and Buddhas. Until 1868 the imperial family were Buddhists who belonged to the shingon school and carried out Buddhist memorial rites for their ancestors. Their patron temple was Sennyuji in Kyoto. Connections between the Imperial family and Buddhism, and between shrines and Shingon, were severed at the time of the Meiji restoration, when the Emperor started to visit shrines.
shinshu-kyo-kami-practice-sect. A Meiji period shinto new religious movement founded by Yoshimura, Masamochi (1839-1915), a member of the shinto Onakatomi family. It received formal government recognition in 1880. At first heat priest of the shinshu-kyo Yoshimura taught this own form of shinto to which emphasized the unit in go of the unseen world of the kami (yu) and the manifest world of human beings (gen). In the wake of shinbutsu bunri Yoshimura stressed that his teaching was cleansed of all Buddhist influences. In focusing attention on the national rites, devotion to the emperor and the prosperity of the country shinshu-kyo conformed closely with the aims of the taikyo chinka-shiki, kugatachi-shiki, misogai and other forms of abstinence and meditation as methods of purification in the attempts to achieve the union of yu and gen.
Shinten-sacred scriptures. A term used in shinto scholarship for texts regarded as classic sources for the understanding of shinto. The term shinten parallels the Buddhist “butten” (Buddhist scriptures) but there is no collection of texts, sutras, etc., in shinto to which parallels the Buddhist cannon or the Confucian classics. Shinten refers to documents containing ancient hymns and prayers, early poetry and mytho-historical annals. Works which are often referred to as shinten include the Kojiki, Nihon shoki (Nihongi), Kogoshui, Manyoshu, various fudoki, the Engi-shiki (including norito), etc.
Shinto Gobusho-“the five shinto scriptures”. The name given in the late 17th century by Deguchi, Nobuyoshi to a collection of 13th century texts of Watarai (or Ise) shinto. Five scriptures purporting to be ancient secret works restricted to members of the Watarai family aged over 60 had been produced at that time to show that the Ise outer shrine (Watarai) lineage had a scriptural cannon equivalent to that of the Confucians and Buddhists. The first volume “Yamato-hime-seiki” for example explains that Great Japan is a divine land, that the safety of the land depends on the assistance of the kami, that the spiritual power of the kami is augmented when the state shows reverence, etc., the texts were influential in the development of various views of shinto as a way of life for ordinary people. The existence of this work stimulated Kada no Azumamaro (1669-1736) to conduct investigations into the ancient Japanese classics, researches which led to the development of the kokugaku (national learnings) movement.
Shinto scholarship- the academic study of shinto in the 20th century has been carried out mainly by shinto theologians, often priests, affiliated to shinto training institutions such as kokugaku in Orkogakkan Universities in Japan. Before 1945 they were official ideologies for the emperor system, promoting shinto ideas which clarified the relationship of the emperor to the people, and of Japan to its colonies and the rest of the world. In the postwar period their role has largely been to promote a positive image of shinto as something different in character from prewar “state shinto” while at the same time retaining the idea that shinto has a special and coherent role in Japanese society. This has involved stressing the vague “hidden” nature of shinto spirituality, its undogmatic and benign character, its love of nature, its beautiful shrines and enjoyable festivals, its immeasurable antiquity as a component of “Japaneseness” and its difference from Buddhism. The shock of disestablishment and the discrediting of pre-1945 shinto thought meant that there was for some decades after the war little significant international academic interest in shinto compared with the study of Buddhism and Japanese new religions. With economic ascendancy, diminishing memories and academic interest in shinto in Japan and overseas since the 1980's. In contrast to the predominantly theological views which characterized shinto studies in the past, recent historical and critical studies of shinto to have aimed to deconstruct the notion of shinto as an analyzing the meaning of Japanese “way” by different periods, stressing the importance of Buddhism as the dominant religious stand throughout recorded Japanese religious history, approaching pre-Buddhist Japanese religion without the presumption that it was “shinto” and giving proper attention to the interaction between “shinto” elements and Confucianism, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, modern secular ideologies and the multitude of dissenting and sectarian Japanese traditions most of which predate shinto as it is currently understood and practiced.
Shinto shusei ha-“Shinto cultivation group.” An association founded in 1873 by Nitta, Kuniteru (1829-1902) for the purpose of worshipping Amaterasu, the kami of heaven, and the kami of earth, the triad who figure in the Kojiki, account of creation. The teachings reflected a strongly Neo-Confucian outlook, emphasizing spiritual and mental cultivation in accordance with the five relationships in order to make a positive contribution in the world. It was recognized as a sect immediately following the new Meiji legislation of 1876.
Shinto taikyo-“great teaching of shinto.” One of the thirteen groups of “sect shinto” (kyoha shinto). An organization with no single founder, it was established in 1873 by pro-Shinto Meiji administrators as the “Temple of the Great Teaching” (Taikyo-in) to organize the missionary activities of the “Great Promulgation Campaign” (taikyo senpu undo). As a result of international disagreements the Taikyo-in was dissolved and replaced by the “Office of shinto”, shinto jimukyoku. After the official separation of religion and politics (seikyo bunri) of 1882 this office was renamed “Shinto honkyoku” (Chief Office of Shinto) and recognized as a sect by the Home Ministry in 1886. It fostered the basic principles of the emperor system up to 1945 under the leadership of a series of Kancho (presidents), the 6th of whom changed the name to shinto taikyo to emphasize the sect’s non-governmental status. Its teachings focus on the first three kami in the Kojiki account of the origin of the world, Ame-no-Minakanushi-no-kami, Takami-musubi-no-kami and Kami-musubi-no-kami, as well as Amaterasu, Ozanagi and Izanami, and the yao-yorozu-no-kami. The teachings of the sect are closely aligned with the major features of jinja shinto. They include an emphasis on the eternal bond between shinto and Japan, purification (harae), the closeness of kami and humans, festivals and enshrinement of the dead. After the second world war shinto taikyo reformed its teachings to emphasize a way of peace founded on respect for the emperor in place of the more overt nationalism of prewar days, and looks back to the Meiji period when the “Japanese spirit” flourished. It was recognized as a shukyo hojin in 1951. In deference to its origins shinto taikyo is regarded as the representative of all the sect shinto groups.
Shinto taisei-kyo-“accomplishment of the way of the kami.” A religious group founded by Hirayama, Seisai or Shosai (1815-1890) a high-ranking member of the last Tokugawa government. He arrived in Edo at the age of 20 and studied Chinese and Kokugaku. After the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1868 he turned to ascetic religious practices including standing under a cold waterfall. Shinto taisei-kyo advocated service to the nation and conduct pleasing to the kami, and was recognized as a shinto sect in 1882.
Shirakawa clan-the Shirakawa house was authorized in 1665 to rank all shrines linked directly to the imperial household, normally on the basis of antiquity, lineage and payments from the shrine priest wishing to raise the status of his shrine.
Shoen-landed manors owned by prominent families and religious institutions (typically great temple-shrine complexes) which increased in number, size and prestige during the Ritsuryo period. The religious shoen were protected by sonei or “monk-soldiers”.
Shoten-the name given to priests equivalent to negi/gon-negi who serve in the shoten-shoku (“court ritualists” department) of the imperial household agency. There are two ranks, shoten or ritualist, broadly equivalent to negi and shoten ho, assistant ritualist equivalent to gon-negi.
Shugaku ryoko-school excursions, frequently made to shinto shrines as well as Buddhist temples and other places of historical and cultural interest. School children of all ages buy o-mamori (amulets) for their satchels and purchase other shine souvenirs. Since the study of shinto ideas no longer figures in the school curriculum and shrine visits are no longer made for ideological reasons such visits play a major role in familiarizing present-day Japanese youngsters with shrines.
Shugendo-the traditional religious system followed by orders of mountain-based magico-religious ascetics called yamabushi. Shugendo incorporated Buddhist, Taoist and kami-based beliefs and practices. It was severely damaged by shinbutsu bunri from 1868 but survives in some parts of Japan.
Shukyo bantai Ho-the religious organizations laws, enacted on April 8, 1939 after a series of failed attempts in 1899, 1927, and 1929. It was designed to protect the imperial system from criticism by religious organizations. The main sponsor was Yamagata, Aritomo, an anti-constitutionalist who was responsible for several other items of repressive legislation against the press, publishers and activists. Yamagata’s earlier Peace Preservation Law had been aimed mainly at the actions of revolutionary groups, but the Religious Organizations Law was aimed specifically at religious teachings, and contravened the 1889 Meiji Constitution’s provisions on religious freedom. It was approved by the Diet on the basis that the way of the kami (i.e. shinto) was the absolute way, that all people of the nation should respectfully follow it and that teachings which different from it must not exist. The law made a clear seperation between shinto shrines and “religious” bodies and thereby made possible the compulsory observance of shrine visits and the “people’s rite” (kokumin girei). It set up a special court for setting religious conflicts. In order to be registered under this law religious bodies required approval by the ministry of education. further approval was needed for the appointment of their head, alternations to internal regulations or the construction of buildings. Religious teachers were prohibited from expressing political views and could be suspended if they were considered to be a threat to be social order. A group which remained unregistered became a mere shukyo kessha or “religious association” at the mercy of the Home Ministry or local governors. The conditions required a minimum size for approved religious groups (e.g. for Christians so congregations and five thousand members) which ensured that all small sects or denominations had to merge into one body, as well as the appointment of a single president (torisha) with almost absolute powers and directly answerable to the ministry. The law was vigorously enforced against Christian, Buddhist and other religious organizations up to 1945. It was replaced after the war by the shukyo hojin ho which applied equally to shinto shrines.
Shukyo hojin-“Religious Juridical Person.” The term now used to register a religion as a legal entity, following the 1951 Religious Juridical Persons Law (shukyo hojin ho) first introduced by SCAP to replace the repressive Religious Organization’s Law. A Religious Juridical Person may be a religious movement with a multi-million membership or a single independent shrine. Religions in Japan do not have to register as shukyo hojin but need to do so in order to take advantage of tax exemptions and secure corporate property ownership. Shukyo hojin is somewhat analogous to “Registered Charity” in the UK, except that it refers specifically to religions.
Shukyo Hojin Ho-Religious Juridical Persons Law. A statute of 1951 drafted by the occupation administration (SCAP) which enabled all religious groups including shinto shrines and sects to obtain corporate legal status as “Religious Juridical Persons” (shukyo hojin). Various minor revisions have taken place since. The law was intended to overcome the inherited restrictions on religious freedom of the Meiji Constitution of 1889 and other legislation culminating of the repressive shukyo dantai ho of 1939/1940. It replaced the temporary post war Religious Corporation Ordinance of 1946. Because shinto had been redefined as a religion the shinto directive of the law applied to shinto as well as other religions.
State shinto-an analytical concept used since 1946 in shinto studies in at least three different ways. 1. According to some shinto theologians state shinto (kokka shinto) was a relatively short-lived phenomenon on which began in 1900 with the establishment of a shrine office (Jinga kyoku) within the Home Ministry and ended completely under the occupation in 1945. 2. Other scholars mean by “state shinto” the 77 years of overt state sponsorship of shinto from 1868 to 1945, during which period all Japanese religions were eventually brought under the control of the state and adherence to shinto in the sense of obedient devotion to the Emperor was promoted as a “non-religious” civic duty. 3. Even more broadly, the term state shinto may be used to mean an ideology which promotes shinto as integral to the state and natural to Japanese people of whatever religion, the National Learning (kokugaku) movement, flourished from 1868-1945, persists today and is reflected in unofficial government sponsorship of shinto and maybe rekindled in the future.
Suiga shinto-or suika shinto. “Conferment of benefits shinto” or “Descent of divine blessings shinto.” A Neo-Confucian, anti-Buddhist school of thought and shinto lineage founded by Yamazaki Ansai (1616-1682). Suiga shinto combined two main influences. First were the teachings of Chu-Hsi (shushi) as interpreted by Fujiwara, Seiki (1561-1619) and Hayashi, Razan (1583-1657) which gave the ruler-subject relationship precedence over father-son filial piety. Yamazaki identified the ruler as the emperor and emphasized the divinity of the land of Japan, thereby adapting Confucianism to serve Japanese social and political values in the Tokugawa period, second, in later life Yamazaki was drawn to religious devotion to the kami, particularly Amaterasu worshipped under the name of Ohirumemuchi, from whom flowed all divine blessings (suiga). Special emphasis was given to the Nihongi as a source of authority and the principle of tsutsushimi, scrupulous propriety in the execution of service to kami or superiors. Yamazaki’s complex system of metaphysical thought tried to assimilate Chinese cosmology with Japanese mythology, sacralising the structure of Tokugawa society. His own summary of his teachings was “devotion within, righteousness without.” Followers regarded Yamazaki as a kami. As a form of shinto, suiga shinto was distinctive for its attempt to combine reverence for the Japanese emperor with veneration of the kami. It is therefore one of the sources for kokugaku and fukka shinto, though Motoori, Norinaga rejected Yamazaki’s thought as being too close to Neo-Confucianism.
Sukei-kai-or sukeisha-kai. “Worshippers Associations.” In present usage, committees formed since 1945 to support local shrines following the dissolution by SCAP of the official Ujiko sodai (ujiko representatives) system which relied on local government administrative units such as ward associations. Before the war sukeisha appears to have meant only worshippers outside the ujiko area. In modern urban Japan where people move around and areas are rebuilt it is seldom clear where the boundaries of a shinto “parish” lie in any case the parish boundaries have no official status. Consequently the shrine of which parishioners are technically ujiko may not be the shrine which they actually attend and support. The ujiko sodai system masked this fact but after the war sukei-kai “worshippers associations” were set up to mobilize support for a shrine from people who may or may not live in the immediate vicinity of the shrine. The sukei-kai or sodai-kai is formed of volunteers who are responsible for collecting contribution from local residents and managing the affairs of the shrine and thus function more or less as ujiko-sodai.
Takusen-an oracle from a kami or spirit conveyed by a medium, often a woman or child who is possessed by the deity, usually through questions and answers “Foxes” enshrined in houses and usually identified as Inari or his messenger used to be well-known for delivering, useful information through oracles in return for worship, as was the deity ryujin in a cult which was widespread on the pre-Meiji period.
Tendai sect-the sect of Buddhism founded by Dengyo Daishi (Saicho). Based at Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei it based its doctrine and eclectic practices including esoteric rituals on the Lotus Sutra (hokkekyo).
Tera-uke-a temple certificate. It refers to the Buddhist temple registration and recording system instituted in the Tokugawa period to help eradicate Roman Catholic Christianity (Kirishitan). All Japanese, including shinto priests of large shrines whose status relative to Buddhist parishioners of a Buddhist temple. The system was officially replaced soon after the Meiji restoration by a shrine-based system which was supposed to apply to all citizens including Buddhist priests, but for purposes of funerals and memorial services most Japanese families still today remain affiliated to their Buddhist “parish” temple.
Tokoyo-Eternal Land, tokoyo no kami. Another-world, either across the sea or a realm of its own beneath the water, equated with the dragon’s palace, ryugu, inhabited by beneficent and demanding spirits including spirits of the dead and particularly transforming snakes. Inland, Tokyo came to be located in the mountains rather than the sea, forming the other-world of mountains which, combined with Buddhist cosmology, was the basis of mountain religion.
Tokugawa period-“Tokugawa” was the clan-name of the shoguns based at Edo, present-day Tokyo who ruled Japan from 1603-1868 (hence Tokugawa period-Edo period). The system rule during this period of unprecedented internal stability in Japan was based on the feng-chien (Japanese hoken) system of the Chou dynasty of China, with local authority exercised by 260-270 families of feudal lords (daimyo) under the overall control of the shogun in Edo, known by the Confucian term taikun (Great Master). The Tokugawa period had begun with the suppression of Christianity, a ban on which was maintained throughout the Edo period and enforced in two ways, by “closure of the country” (sakoku) to keep foreign influences at bay and by compulsory registration of all parishioners-including of course shinto priests-as Buddhists, to be Japanese was to be a parishioner of a Buddhist temple. The period also saw the gradual permeation of Neo-Confucian (shushi-gaku, oyomei) orthodoxy from the ruler and samurai class down to other sectors of society including the merchants. Confucian ideas of selfless loyalty, filial piety, and proper relationships subsequently formed the basis of the Emperor system “restored” under the name of shinto in the Meiji period. Most of the leading ideas now seen as integral to shinto worship and the notion of the whole nation of Japan as a “divine land”, were developed under the influence of Confucian historiography during this period. The shinto movement started with the activities of Tokugawa, Mitsukuni (1628-1700) and the Mito-gaku historians and was developed principally by kokugaku scholars and activities working with Nara period texts such as the Kojiki and Nihongi.
Tokugawa, Ieyasu-(1542-1616) the first Tokugawa shogun. An astute, persuasive and skilful statesman he succeeded Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, completed the unification of the country and transferred the capital to Edo (Tokyo). On his death he was enshrined at Nikko under Tendai sanno-itchijitsu shinto rites as a manifestation of the Buddha Yakushi (Sanskrit: Bhaishajyaguru). Ieyasu’s posthumous title of Tosho dai-gongen or “Grear gongen of the Eastern (sun)-light” implied equal standing with the sun goddess Amaterasu at Ise jingu.
Tokugawa, Mitsukuni-(1628-1700) second daimyo of the feudal domain of Mito, and a grandson of Tokugawa, Ieyasu. He is otherwise known as Mito-komon, Seizan or Giko. He encouraged the study of shushi-gaku Neo-Confucianism with a view to synthesizing Japanese and Chinese thought, and sponsored a number of scholarly projects within the Mito-gaku school including the influential Dai-Nihon-shi or “History of Japan” which argued that the imperial household should be elevated to the status of divine focus of religious loyalty for the whole nation. He anticipated some elements of the shinbotsu bunri of 1868 by destroying about a thousand Buddhist temples and ordering one shrine to be built per village (“issonissha”) in his domain. His statue, along with that of Tokugawa, Nariaki, 9th daimyo of Mito (1800-1860), was installed in the Tokiwa Jinja at Mito in 1874. Both are regarded as kami. Another statue was kept in the Buddhist kyo shoji, a temple built by Mitsukuni for his mother, until the temple was destroyed by bombing in 1945.
Toyotomi, Hideyoshi-(1536-1598) The second of the three great unifiers of Japan, he took over from his commander Oda, Nobunaga (1534-1582) and was in turn succeeded by the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu. Hideyoshi’s funeral was conducted by the Yoshida school. He is enshrined as a kami in several places including the large Yatsu-mune style Kyoto hokoku jinja (hokoku “wealth of the nation”, was a name adopted by Hideyoshi), in Tokyokuni jinja in Kanazawa, Kyoto and Tokyo, and in three post-Meiji shrines.
Tsikimi-dango-a rice dumpling eaten during the moon-viewing (Tsukimi) festival.
Ujiko-literally “child of the clan.” It traditionally denoted only elite or long-standing members of a village or community with responsibility for shrine affairs but in the Meiji period following the disestablishment of the Buddhist temple registration system (tera-uke) ujiko status was extended to every local resident for shrine-registration (ujiko-shirabe) purposes. It remained equivalent to “parishioner” for administrative purposes until the disestablishment of shinto in 1945. It is also used by national or regional shrines to refer to pilgrims and other devotees.
Ujiko-kai-the association of ujiko of a shrine. Its members contribute to the upkeep of the shrine and elect representatives to manage or advise on shrine affairs.
Ujiko-shirabe-shrine registration, lit. “checking of ujiko”. Instituted with limited success early in the Meiji era to replace the Buddhist tera-uke system. One became an ujiko by receiving at birth a talisman from a local shrine, to be returned at death. Moving house meant re-registering at a nearby shrine. All households were expected in addition to enshrine in the kami dana a talisman representing the bunrei (divided spirit) of the Ise shrine.
Ujiko sodai- parishioner representatives, members of the local community who took special responsibility for the upkeep or management of a shrine and “represented” parishioners from whom they collected donations for the upkeep of the shrine and its festivals. The official Ujiko-sodai system was abolished by SCAP after 1945 but a similar system continues to operate informally as sodai-kai and through the local “worshippers associations,” sukei-kai and other names.
Utsushi-yo-this present life, the manifest world. In modern shinto theology based on interpretations of the Kojiki and Nihongi, this world as opposed to the hidden world of spirits and ancestors (kakuri-yo), takama-no-hara above, tokoyo the eternal land and yomi the gloomy world of the dead.
Uyamau-revere, show respect or reverence. An attitude valued in modern shinto thought. It may mean formal or heart felt reverence.
Wagakusha-scholars of wa (Japan). A general term for scholars of the Tokugawa period (starting with Tokugawa, Mitsukuni of the Mito school) who study native Japanese texts rather than the Chinese classics. It includes heroes of the shinto revival movements such as Kamo no Mabuchi, Motoori Norinaga and Hirata Atsutane.
Watarai Shinto-or Ise shinto, Geku shinto. The form of shinto developed by Watarai, Ieyuki and his successors which gave prominence to the outer shrine (gaku) of Toyo-uke traditionally served by Watarai clan. Developing ideas from shingon esoteric Buddhism and onmyo-do (yin and yang), Watarai shinto adapted shrine-priest purification rituals (harae) to make them available to ordinary individuals. In doing so they identified the various kami at Ise as the essential source of individual purification or “original enlightenment” (the Buddhist notion of hon gaku). Consequently, a pilgrimage organized by Oshi because a means of self-purification and progress towards enlightenment. In the 17th century Watarai shinto was revived in a Confucian (shushi) idiom appropriate to the age of Deguchi (Watarai), Nobuyoshi. The kami were now equated with Ri (the cosmic inner and outer principle which supports the ordered society) rather than Buddhist enlightenment, so a pilgrimage to Ise meant a closer union of one’s own inner nature with ri. In the mid 18th century the combination of anti-Confucian tendencies, Kokugaku ideas which emphasized the primary of the inner shrine as a focus for imperial devotion rather than commoner’s pilgrimage, and scholarly doubts about the authenticity of the shinto gobusho, all contributed to the decline of Watarai Shinto.
Yakudoshi-in auspicious year. A relic of complex onmyo-do calculations which took into account place, time and year of the subject’s birth as well as the changing directions of dangerous deities such as konjin. Yakudoshi are normally considered nowadays to be the age of 33 for a woman and 42 for a man. At these ages people often life to be involved in shinto or Buddhist ceremonies and at least purchase special protective amulets (o-mamori) in order to offset their had luck.
Yamada, Amiyoshi-(1844-1892) a military leader from the domain of Choshu who took a major part in the restoration of the Meiji emperor and the attendant civil wars.
Yamaga, Soko-(1622-1685) a Confucian Kogaku (“ancient learning”) scholar and military scientist, influential in samurai ethics and an important influences on later thinkers such as Yoshida, Shoin who educated a number of leading figures of the Meiji restoration and studied Ryobu shinto. He developed a critique of what he regarded as overly-theoretical neo-Confucian (shushi) thought, arguing that a study of the ancient texts (kogaku) was needed. He indirectly encouraged kokugaku tendencies by insisting that Japan was in no way inferior to China.
Yamato-also Yamatai. Name of an early Japanese kingdom controlled by what eventually became the Japanese imperial clan. Archaeologists disagree over whether Yamato was situated in Kyushu or present-day Nara prefecture. According to Chinese chronicles it was ruled in the 3rd century C.E. by Himiko or Pimiko, possibly a female shamanic ruler and prototype of the shamanic Miko. The myth cycles of the Kojiki and Nihongi, legitimated the Yamato ruler who prior to the 6th century was probably little more than a local chieftain with power over a lose confederation of uji. The clan successfully subordinated other uji and at some point the rulers adopted the Chinese title ten’o (heavenly king, emperor). During the 6th-8th centuries numerous influences from Chinese and Korea were incorporated into the structure and government of the state. By extension the old name of Japan, Yamato is also used for what is how Nara prefecture.
Yoshia-priestly clan (from 1375, formerly the Urabe). Along with the Shirakawa clan, the Yoshida filled the post of Jingihaku for the Imperial household. Scholar’s and spokesmen such as Yoshida, Kanetomo and Yoshida, Kanemigi established their authority as experts in the history and status of shrines, initially in central Japan around Kyoto but eventually in all areas of Japan. Though their influence waned under criticism from Hitata, Atsutane and other Kokugaku activists in the late 18th century the Yoshida were responsible up to 1868 for issuing licenses and ranks to all shrines except the minority directly linked to the Imperial house which came under the control of the Shirakawa under their tutelage many local kami and folk-deifies were given official recognition and lay people became increasingly involved in the communal management of shrines.
Yori-shiro=shintai, mitama-shiro. Something which serves as a receptacle, medium or symbol of the kami.
Yoshikawa shinto-another name for the rigaku (“study of li, principle”). Shinto, developed by Yoshikawa, Koretari (1616-1694). Koretari rejected the Buddhist elements in yui-itsu shinto and worked to synthesize shinto and shushi Confucian thought.
Yui-itsu shinto-“unique, peerless shinto”. Also known as Yoshida shinto, Urabe shinto (urabe was the former name of the Yoshida clan) or genpon sogen shinto (fundamental source shinto). It was a monastic shinto lineage of the Yoshida priestly clan who were advisors to the imperial household. A Yoshida influence can be traced back to their role in the jingikan in the Heian period, but the yui-itsu tradition was really founded and systematized by Yoshida, Kanetomo (1435-1511). It incorporated Taoist, Confucian and particularly Buddhist (especially ryobu shinto) elements such as a shingon type distinction between “exoteric” shinto (revealed only through secret texts transmitted in the Yoshida family). Yui-itsu shinto was successfully developed by Kanetomo’s successor, Yoshida, Kanemigi and remained influential until the early 19th century when it came to be overtaken by Nokugaku and fukko shinto ideas.