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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Modern Sectarian Groups
Ontakekyō
One of the thirteen sects of Shinto in the prewar period. Centered on the cultic faith in Mount Ontake (ontake shinkō), it was organized as a religious sect in response to the religious policies of the early Meiji government.
Emerging from the confraternity (kōsha) style of early modern religious groups devoted to Mount Ontake, the sect was organized by Shimoyama Ōsuke (dates unknown) who led a nationwide campaign to consolidate the Ontake cult in the aftermath of the Meiji Restoration. In 1873, Ōsuke established the Ontake Kyōkai based on a confraternity known as ¡ÈConfraternity of the Ages¡É (Daidaikō), and in 1880 the group merged with the Taisei Kyōkai organized by Hirayama Seisai. In 1882, Taiseikyō became an independent movement, and immediately afterwards Ontakekyō itself became independent, first as the Shintō Ontakeha (Shinto Ontake sect) and later the same year as Ontakekyō, with its main center at Kanda in Tokyo.
After permission had been granted for the movement to become independent, Ōsuke left without trace, and, as a result, Hirayama Seisai took over as its first head priest. Its second head was a former Buddhist priest, Ōtori Sessō, who had become a Shinto practitioner following the Meiji Restoration. In later years, its leaders have often been people of high social status who have held the rank for comparatively short periods of time. In 1937, the eighth head, Watanabe Ginjirō (1871-1949) sought to reinvigorate Ontake faith by promoting the practice of climbing and worshiping at the mountain. As a result the organization grew in size and in 1940 it achieved the status of a formal religious organization under the Religious Organizations Law. After the war, in 1946, it was registered under the Religious Corporations Ordinance, and later as a legally independent religious movement under the Religious Corporations Law in 1952. During the war, its headquarters in Tokyo was destroyed during air raids, so in 1947 it built a new religious center (its mountain headquarters) at Kiso in central Japan. In 1964, during the era of its ninth head Watanabe Shōkichi (1906-82), the group established a headquarters in Nara City, which is now called its ¡Ècountry headquarters¡É (sato no honbu). In the postwar period it has sought to systematize its teachings, but, as was the case previously, there has been relatively little unity in its organization. It is centered on faith in Ontake mountain ascetics, and its individual confraternities and religious groups display strongly independent tendencies. It considers Kunitokutachi no Mikoto, Ōnamuchi no Mikoto, and Sukunabikona no Mikoto as the main deities of Ontake, and collectively venerates the myriad deities (yaoyorozu no kami) of the Shinto tradition.
See also Ontake shinkō

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