- 1) The shingaku (heart-learning) movement founded by Ishida, Baigan, for which see next entry. (2) The study of kami; Shinto theology. A tradition of Shinto theology can be traced back to asssumptions 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-suijaku 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 equal to Buddhas (the so-called 'reversed honji-suijaku' approach). From the standpoint of modern Shinto the founding fathers of Shinto thought are the eighteenth and nineteenth century kokugaku-sha such as Motoori, Norinaga 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 period sought to 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 'manifest kami'. In the twentieth 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 criticised 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 renegotiation 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 requires a frank appraisal of Shinto's recent history and a realistic asessment of the nature and meaning of 'Shinto' within Japanese history, especially before the Meiji period.2) 'Education of the Heart'. The name of a 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.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.