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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
A reference to Japan as a country that was founded and is protected by kami. Divine lands (of Japan, shinshū). The first use of this term was in the entry for the tenth month of the ninth year in the records for Emperor Chūai. It is attributed to the King of Silla: "I hear that there is a divine country in the east called Japan (Nihon)." There are also examples where it refers specifically to the province of Ise, where Ise Jingū (the shrine honoring the imperial ancestor, Amaterasu) is located. Although the concept of shinkoku originated in the simple belief that the country and everything in it was created and is protected by the power of the kami, it became an expression that asserted the sacredness of the imperial lineage. The term was emphasized more and more as consciousness of the nation state increased, and also as it was used as a xenophobic assertion during the tension of foreign relations.

—Fukui Yoshihiko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
URL http://21coe.kokugakuin.ac.jp/
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