- Supreme Command Allied Powers. The name of the largely American postwar Occupation administration (1945-51). Changes were brought about by the occupying powers in this period in many areas of Japanese life. Legislation on religion profoundly altered the prewar status and character of Shinto. The Religions Division of the Civil Information and Education Section of SCAP produced the Shinto Directive (shinto shirei) which disestablished Shinto, reducing it to the same voluntaristic status as all other religions. In the new Constitution of Japan produced under SCAP articles were included guaranteeing religious freedom and a radical USA-style separation of religion and state. The emperor announced that it was not necessary to think of him as a divinity, war memorials and ultranationalist tracts were removed from schools and state support for religion (including shrines) became unconstitutional, so that shrines had to re-group on a voluntary basis if there was to be any network supporting them (see Jinja Honcho). On the other hand the emperor remained in place, as did the shrines, so that a considerable degree of continuity was preserved. Since many shrines had been destroyed by bombing, money was short and there was a general disillusionment about the power of the kami to protect Japan, the occupation period was a time of crisis for shrine priests, as it was for many Japanese people faced with the task of rebuilding their lives in new circumstances. While Shinto has benefited from the Japanese 'economic miracle' (for which the kami can be held at least in part responsible, see e.g. Fushimi Inari taisha, Ema etc.) and many shrines have been beautifully reconstructed, the long-term relationship between Shinto, the state and the people was by no means resolved under SCAP, and the question of how far Shinto can adapt in a 'market-place' of religions (given e.g. its attitude to women) remains open.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.