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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
meijōseichoku
Literally, brightness, purity, sincerity and uprightness. In Shintō, this term is used to express the ideal state of one's heart. Meijōseichoku incorporates the ideas of a true heart, a sincere heart, an upright heart, and a readiness to serve the kami. When appearing in the Imperial decrees (senmyō) that are recorded in the Shoku Nihongi, meijōseichoku is often used to express proper conduct for serving the emperor. For instance, an entry from 17th day of the eighth month of 697 CE exhorts all government bureaucrats, from court officials to provincial authorities, to offer their service to the emperor with "a bright, pure, upright, and sincere heart". A similarly worded appeal for "a pure, bright, sincere and upright heart" appears in the entry for the 4th day of the second month of 724 CE. The term meijōseichoku appears as early as 685 CE (21st day of the first month) in a revision of court rank titles. The titles of imperial princes and others of similar rank were revised to become myōi ("bright rank") and jōi ("pure rank"). High-ranking officials were called shōi ("sincere rank") and jikii ("upright rank"). Similarly, the contemporary Shintō rank title system for priests as used by the Association of Shintō Shrines is arranged according to the ranks of jōkai ("pure rank"), meikai ("bright rank"), seikai ("sincere rank"), gonseikai ("provisional sincere rank"), and chotsukai ("upright rank").

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