- Kokka Shinto
- A Japanese term used to translate the English 'state Shinto'. Unlike for example shuha shinto which was an administrative term used by the Japanese authorities to define and control certain Japanese religious groups, kokka shinto was a concept defined retrospectively and applied by the Occupation authorities in the Shinto Directive of 1945 to the post-Meiji religious system in Japan. In the Directive, state Shinto is defined as 'that branch of Shinto (Kokka Shinto or Jinja Shinto) which by official acts of the Japanese Government has been differentiated from the religion of sect Shinto (Shuha Shinto) and has been classified a non-religious cult commonly known as State Shinto, National Shinto, or Shrine Shinto'. It is clear that there was no single term equivalent to 'State Shinto' at the time of the Directive. The 'State Shinto' against which the Directive was aimed consisted in government sponsorship and enforcement of Shinto-type ritual in shrines, schools and elsewhere and the accompanying nation-building ideology within all the organs of the state such as government, education and the military which it was designed to underpin. This ideology emphasised loyalty and worshipful devotion to the emperor as the descendant of Amaterasu and asserted that Shinto was not a religion (shukyo) but the pre-eminent duty of every subject of the emperor. Although the term 'State Shinto' suggests that the pre-war emperor system was largely the province of Shinto, its ideology and values were in fact embraced more or less willingly by all Japanese religious groups well before 1945 and the emperor system should not be identified simplistically as 'Shintoist'. The occupation policy was to remove the apparatus of what it called State Shinto in order to introduce genuine freedom of religion and the separation of religion and the state, following the United States model (see Shinto Directive). Shinto leaders were given some opportunity to determine the future arrangements for the administration of Shinto shrines after government control (see Jingi-in) was withdrawn; the result was the establishment of the Jinja Honcho to administer Jinja Shinto. Jinja Shinto was one of the terms equated with 'State Shinto' in the Shinto Directive. In short, the term kokka shinto should be applied with caution; it does not adequately capture the Meiji—1945 religious situation (nor does it distinguish between its different phases) and it diverts attention from the fact that the overwhelming majority of Buddhists, Christians and members of new religions were educated into and therefore participated in and enthusiastically endorsed the prewar 'emperor system'.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.