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Home » 3. Institutions and Administrative Practices » Modern and Contemporary
Shintō Jimukyoku
The Shintō institute for proselytizing and doctrinal research comprised of kyōdōshoku (preceptors — Shintō priests recruited to the Taikyō senpu, or Great Promulgation Campaign) and established in March 1875 in the Yurakuchō district of Tokyo. In 1872, the Meiji government created the Ministry of Religious Education (Kyōbushō), and established shrine and (Buddhist) temple priests as preceptors (kyōdōshoku) in the Great Promulgation Campaign. It also now set up the Great Teaching Institute (Taikyōin) as an organization for developing propaganda and doctrinal research, and running civic education programs (kyōka undō) based on the Three Precepts (sanjō kyōsoku). However, fractures appeared in this joint enterprise by shrine and temple priests, and these were largely a consequence of arguments advanced by Shimaji Mokurai and other Buddhist priests of the True Pure Land lineage for religious freedom and for the separation of state and religion. On April 30, 1875, the True Pure land priests left the Taikyōin and launched their own propaganda movement. It was in response to this situation that shrine priests now created the Shintō office as a replacement for the Taikyōin. They published a Statement of Intent and an Institute agenda. Their overriding concern was to devote themselves to the launch of a nationwide propaganda program that located the Ise shrines as the national center of Shintō, fully incorporating all other shrines in the land. In the Shintō office's newly constructed shrine were enshrined the three creator deities, Amenominaka nushi no kami, Takami musubi no kami, Kamimusubi no kami, as well as Amaterasu Ōmikami. However, Senge Takatomi, the leader of one of two major factions within the Shintō office and the chief priest at Izumo shrine at the time, insisted that Ōkuninushi no kami also be enshrined there. The faction headed by the chief priest of the Ise shrine, Tanaka Yoritsune, vigorously opposed the idea, and this disagreement developed into the so-called pantheon dispute (saijin ronsō).
       This unprecedented dispute was so bitter that it divided the Shintō preceptors (kyōdōshoku) into Ise and Izumo factions, and eventually involved the government as well. A solution was only found when, in February 1883, an imperial command determined that the kami to be venerated in the Shintō office were those venerated in the three shrines of the imperial palace: namely, the kami of heaven and earth, Amaterasu Ōmikami and the ancestral spirits. This solution marked a new stage in the life of the Shintō office. Imperial Prince Arisugawa Taruhito was brought in as Office chief, with Iwashita Masahira, the chief of the genrōin (Chamber of Elders), as his assistant. The raison d'être of the Shintō office evaporated, however, in January 1882 when shrine priests were banned from participating in propaganda activities, and the training of priests (shinkan) was passed over to the new Kōten Kōkyūjo. In 1884, moreover, the propaganda program was abandoned completely, and Inaba Masakuni became Director. Two years later, the office had a new lease of life under the name of Shintō Honkyoku, when it won recognition from the government as a Shintō sect. The present-day Shintō sect known as Shintō Taikyō began life as this Shinto Honkyoku.

— Sakamoto Koremaru
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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