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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Inaba Masakuni
(1834-98)
First superintendent (kanchō) of Shintō Honkyoku, one of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto (Shintō jūsanpa) and a Viscount (shishaku) in the modern system of Japanese court ranks. Born on the twenty-sixth day of the fifth month of 1834 as the second son of Niwa Nagatomi, lord of Nihonmatsu Domain in Iwashiro Province (in present-day Fukushima Prefecture), Inaba became the adopted son of Inaba Masayoshi, lord of Yodo Domain in Yamashiro Province (in present-day of Kyoto Prefecture), and in 1848 he inherited his adoptive family's estate.
       Inaba served the Tokugawa government in the late-Edo period in a number of positions, including Kyoto Inspector (Kyōto shōshidai) and member of the Council of Elders (rōjū). He was appointed Governor of Yodo in 1869 by the Meiji government, but he devoted his time to the study of the National Learning (kokugaku) of Hirata Atsutane (1776-1843), and through this became active in Shinto affairs.
       After being appointed as a Shinto priest (shikan) in the Ministry of Religious Education (Kyōbushō), Inaba subsequently became chief priest (gūji) of the shrine Mishima Jinja (now Mishima Taisha, in Shizuoka Prefecture) in 1873, and also achieved the high rank of Senior Prefect of Instruction (Daikyōsei) in the Great Teaching Institute (Taikyōin, see taikyō senpu).
       Inaba had considerable influence in the religious policies of the early Meiji era. In advance of the suspension of the earlier program of joint Buddhist-Shinto national edification, he contrived with the aristocrat Sanjōnishi Suetomo (1811-88), Tanaka Yoritsune (1836-97), Ōtori Sessō (1814-1904) and Hirayama Seisai (1815-90) to found the Office of Shinto Affairs (Shintō Jimukyoku) in 1875. The following year, when Shinto activities were divided into three divisions, Inaba was put in charge of the third of these.
       Further distinctions between theological and academic study of Shinto were established in 1884, resulting in the establishment of Shintō Honkyoku, an organization known formally simply as "Shintō," and to which Inaba was appointed first Superintendent. He died of illness in July 1898 at the age of sixty-five. Author of Tōkaku isō. See also Shintō Taikyō

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