History of Shinto

From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

Source is Shigeyoshi Murakami's 「日本百年の宗教―排仏毀釈から創価学会まで」 translated as "Japanese Religion in the Modern Century" but for some reason not translated as "100 Years of Japanese Religion: From Buddhist Persecution To Soka Gakkai"

1730: Shingaku, characterized by Murakami as Shinto syncretism. Founded a charitable society

1818: Kurozumi-kyo, a charismatic movement.

1830s: Ontake-kō, actually hundreds of years old, became popular during this time.

1830s: Uden Shinto (烏傳神道), a movement advocating for equality of the four social classes (士農工商). Its leader, Umetsuji Norikiyo (梅辻規清, 1798-1861) was exiled.

1830s: Restoration Shinto, a development of Kokugaku, a school of Japanese thought which criticized foreign philosophies such as Buddhism and Confucianism. Its leader, Hirata Atsutane, created a system of Shinto based on two ruling gods and a new set of funeral rites and prayers. It is notable that he drew on secret and illegal Christian texts to write his texts. He was exiled. His supporters called for overthrow of the feudal government and emperor worship.

1840: Shirakawa Shintō Tohokami-kō (白川神道), a movement critical of the feudal government. Its leader, Inoue Masakane, was exiled.

1857: Honmon Butsuryukyo, the first Nichirenist lay organization.

1859: Konkokyo, a charismatic movement which rejected existing religious authority.

1860s: Tenrikyo, a charismatic movement which rejected existing religious authority.

June 1867: The Ee ja nai ka? disturbances, a leaderless current of apocalyptic dances/riots, begin

October 1867: Tokugawa government collapses

April 5, 1868: Meii government forms Department of Shinto, highest ranking department in government, under Revivalist leadership

April 1868: Ee ja nai ka? ends

April 10, 1868: Christianity re-banned by Department of Shinto

May 1868: Separation of Shinto and Buddhism; anti-Buddhist assaults begin, temples destroyed

April-June 1868: Imperial rites held for nation's martyrs; traditional functions of Shinto (warding off evil spirits) being transferred to state for political purposes

May 1869: Meiji becomes first emperor to visit Jingu in over 1000 years

August 6, 1869: Yasukuni Shrine founded

1871: Shrine hierarchy established, with Jingu at the head

September 1871: Department of Shinto subordinated to Department of State

1872: Department of Shinto disbanded and replaced with Ministry of Religious Education (incorporating Buddhism and non-Revivalist ideas)

1873: Revivalist approach to religion abandoned; rules for Shinto and Buddhist priests relaxed (priests allowed to marry and eat meat); Westernization policy; superstition/new religions banned; Christianity legalized; some advocated to adopt Christianity as state religion; some requested separation of government and religion

1900-1919: Shinto shrines established overseas

1939: 117 war dead shrines were renamed gokoku jinja or "country-protecting shrines" under the authority of Yasukuni.

1940-42: Pacific War increasingly branded as a "holy war".

October 1945: Occupation forces order freedom of religion.

December 1945: Occupation issues memo entitled "Abolition of Governmental Sponsorship, Perpetuation, Control, and Dissemination of State and Shrine Shinto". State Shinto was prohibited.

1946: Emperor renounces divinity.

October 1946: Agrarian reforms dissolved landlord-tenant system which had kept most temples afloat.

1947: Freedom of religion written into constitution.

Three Teaching Principles of 1872

  1. Veneration of kami and love of country
  2. Confucian principles of man and heaven
  3. Reverence of Emperor and his teachings

Further reading

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