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Last Updated
6/11/02
 
State Shinto

        Through the creation of Shinto, different variations of the religion were created. The ancient form of Shinto existed even before Buddhism was introduced into Japan, with other variations of it created later on. In the Meiji period in 1868 Japan opened up to Western civilization and the government of Japan forced Shinto and Buddhism to separate as they had interwoven themselves during the time of Buddhism's entry into the country. It was said that bonzes of Buddhism could no longer celebrate in Shinto temples, as well as that Buddhist texts could not be read there. The different forms that began to grow were: Shinto of the Imperial House, Shinto of the Temples,
During World War II Shinto had a definite impact.
Shinto of the Sects, and Popular Shinto. Shinto of the Imperial House concerns the worship of the Sun goddess, Amerterasu o Mikami in a religious cult that was formally public but now private. Shinto of the Temples is what is known as State Shinto, which was created in the beginning of the Meiji era and lasted until the end of World War II. It was meant "to strengthen the Japanese identity and devotion to the Emperor (Malherbe). State Shinto was later disestablished and replaced after WWII by Jinja Shinto, or Shrine Shinto, which now represents, "the bulk of Shinto shrines at the regional and local levels." It was after Japan's defeat in 1945 that Emperor Hiro-Hito felt that the attachment to his people did not depend on the belief, and thus stopped government funding to Shinto temples (Malherbe). Shinto of the Sects was the result of different movements in the religion and expanded enormously as popular cults such as Tenrikyo, Konokyo and Kurozumikyo (What is Shinto in Brief). One of the final forms of Shinto is Popular Shinto, which is an imprecise version that sometimes has magic practices.
         By having Shinto based as part of the government Shinto was one of the unifying forces during World War II. It was a war that affected almost every country on earth, and played a larger role than any other religion during the time. State Shinto was considered a patriotic ritual for all Japanese, and also brought about the spread of other religions. No one can deny the impact of war on the world, and by becoming an official religion of the government Shinto gained by becoming more respectable. Japan's defeat of course lead to its disestablishment and was replaced, but Shinto organization revitalized their movements and hundreds of new religious dominations spring up based on the fundamental teaching and practices of Shinto and Buddhism (What is Shinto in Brief). In this way Shinto came to affect many more religions and people, without specifically gaining members.