Religion and Conflict in Japan with Special Reference to Shinto and Yasukuni Shrine

Diogenes 50 (3):45-59 (2003)
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Abstract

While Japanese society in some respects appears to be very coherent, its history has frequently been one of internal tension and strife. Factionalism is strong even today, and takes both political and religious forms. When the indigenous Shinto religion was harnessed for political and ideological purposes in the 19th century, during a time of rapid national development, life was made very difficult for other religions such as Buddhism. The post-war Constitution of 1946 provided for the equality of all religions under the law and the separation of religion, in particular Shinto, from the state. Since then, however, there have been a series of politically controversial questions, one of the most important being that of the legal status of Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto institution, at which the war dead are commemorated. Various Buddhist and Christian groups have strongly opposed a movement to reconvert this shrine into a national institution. Since Yasukuni Shrine is at the centre of such sharp controversy, on which Chinese and Korean leaders have also recently commented, it will be introduced in some detail. At the same time Shinto in general, while ethnically oriented, has other important aspects, and some of its contemporary leaders seek international dialogue on subjects such as bio-ethics and environmental issues

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References found in this work

Japanese Religion in the Modern Century.Shigeyoshi Murakami & H. Byron Earhart - 1982 - Philosophy East and West 32 (4):470-471.
The National Faith of Japan.J. K. Shryock & D. C. Holtom - 1940 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 60 (4):587.

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