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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Modern Sectarian Groups
Shindō Tenkōkyo
A Shinto-derived new religion founded by Tomokiyo Yoshizane (1888-1952). Tomokiyo joined Ōmoto in 1918 but left the next year as the result of doubts about the movement, and he developed such antipathy that he came to engage in aggressive attacks on the group. He established his own group called Kakushinkai in 1920 after studying Honda Chikaatsu's "Spirit Studies" (Honda Reigaku) with Nagasawa Katustate in Shizuoka.
       For a time, Tomokiyo had a flourishing cooperative engagement with Kuki Moritaka, in which they carried out rites of mediated spirit possession, and in 1921 he established the Tenkōkyo. In 1927 Tomokiyo experienced a divine visitation while at Iwaki Shrine on the summit of Mount Iwaki at Tabuse in Yamaguchi Prefecture, in which it was revealed to him that Mount Iwaki was the earthly representation of the divine mountain of cosmic origin where the deities dwell. After this revelation he changed the movement's name to Shindō Tenkōkyo, and in 1928 moved its headquarters to the foot of Mount Iwaki, building the Yamato Shrine there in 1929. In 1930 he built the Tenryū Shrine at the summit of Mount Iwaki while building the Itakeru Shrine behind the earlier Yamato Shrine. In 1931 he established the Shikishima Shrine below Yamato Shrine as a place for enshrining the spirits of the dead. In 1934 he established the Iwato Shrine in the city of Hōfu and then in 1940, he founded the Mononobe Shrine. In 1943, he founded the Ashihara Shrine as a remote shrine (see yamamiya, satomiya) of Yamato Shrine.
       In addition to the construction of these shrines, the passage of time from the Sino-Japanese War (1903) to Japan's involvement the Pacific War saw the group engaging in the performance of rituals for the "spiritual protection of the nation" (reiteki kokubō). The first performance of the movement's mountain peak ritual occurred at the summit of Mount Iwaki in 1931, but thereafter this practice became an annual observance for the protection of the nation. Other rituals for the protection of the state were performed in which sacred objects were buried on mountain peaks or immersed in lakes. Such rituals were performed in 1927 at the top of Mount Hakuba, in 1932 in the pond at the summit of Mount Bukkō in Chichibu, in 1933 at the Ama pond at Mount Hakutō and in Lake Tōya, in 1934 in the Sun-Moon Lake in Taiwan, in 1936 at Lake Biwa and in the pond of the Ninomiya shrine of Sengen Jinja at the foot of Mount Fuji. Following World War II, deposits of religious objects were made in Lake Tōwada in 1951 and in 1952 in the sea off Awaji Island.
       The group was registered as a religious corporation in 1946 under the Religious Corporations Ordinance, but it was disbanded the following year as an ultra-nationalistic group and reorganized as the Kakushinkyō. It reverted to its earlier name in 1951, and with the promulgation of the Religious Corporations Law in 1952, it registered as an independent religious corporation under the provisions of that law. Various people served as leader (sōshu) even during the founder's lifetime; in 1952 the founder's wife Tomokiyo Misao (1899-1990) became its fifth leader, and in 1990 Tomokiyo Suzuyo assumed office as its sixth generation leader.
       Headquarters: Yamaguchi Prefecture
       Nominal membership: approximately 12,000 (M)

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