Journal Article

State Shinto and the Religious Structure of Modern Japan

Susumu Shimazono

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 73, issue 4, pages 1077-1098
Published in print December 2005 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online December 2005 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
State Shinto and the Religious Structure of Modern Japan

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Many Japanese are feeling uneasy not only with the word “religion” but also with the word “Shinto,” especially the term “State Shinto.” The present author will explain the academic confusion surrounding the term “State Shinto” in contemporary Japan and will attempt to delineate an adequate strategy of how to use this term. Because of the occupation regime’s “Shinto Directive’s” narrow definition and the broad definition of the term “State Shinto,” these terms have been competing. This divergence was caused by the introduction of a modern legal system based upon the western concept of “religion.” By carefully using the term in its broad meaning the confusion can be resolved, and the structure of the modern Japanese religious system can be made clearer. We may also expect from this argument that a more adequate usage of the terms “religion” and “religions” will be explored.

Journal Article.  8568 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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