Register :: Log in :: Profile   


The History of Cults in Japan?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Japanese Art and Religion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Sima Qian
Inkeeper
Inkeeper
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:45 am    Post subject: The History of Cults in Japan? Reply with quote
Here's a topic i've always wanted to address - even though its rather broad.

For a society that generally is portrayed as being on the "cutting edge" of science and technology, many people outside of Japan seem to disregard the history or existence of cults in Japan.

At best they dimly remember Aum Shinrikyo.

Now the word "cult" tends to be used in a variety of different contexts - so let me refine the playing field before i ask my questions:

I'm talking about Cult in its most negative form. Either a group of people whose baseline views are so abhorrent to the orthodox disposition of traditional religious leaders and their political counterparts

Or those who were deemed as such by the latter as a convenient scapegoat.

So - what have been some popular cults in Japan's history? Past or present?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ashigaru
Wakasa no Kami
Wakasa no Kami



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 1879
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
This is, indeed, a broad topic! It's also a fun one.

In sociological terms, "cult" just tends to mean "new, novel religion" (and happily, one of the common terms for cult in Japanese, 新興宗教, means just that). Because they're new and different they *inevitably* exist in a state of tension with society at large. If they last long enough in a society and gain wider exposure and acceptance (almost invariably this comes about by relaxing strictures, decentralizing leadership, and making an effort to play nice with the greater society), cults become thought of as established religions.

As an aside, the next step in a religion's life cycle occurs when some members become disenchanted with what they see as falling moral standard within the religion. They'll break away and form a "sect," a sub-religion with generally stricter beliefs and requirements and a greater amount of tension with society at large. While they're established religions now, the creation of Nichiren and Jodo Shinshu are two examples of "sect movements" in Japanese history.

In short, "cult" is just the larval stage in the life cycle of any belief system. It has scary, fanatic connotations in conventional use, but that's a symptom of the tension between believers and society as a whole.

I don't think it's possible to find a religion in Japan that *didn't* start off as a cult. Until it was adopted by influential members of the ruling class, Buddhism met a lot of resistance when it was first introduced to Japan. Christianity was an established religion in the West but (after a brief grace period where the elite seemed to think it was weird but mostly harmless) it was seen as a dangerous cult in Japan and almost wiped out. They were cults when they were new, but they're established religions now, having progressed to a later stage in the life cycle.
_________________
Meditate upon exile, torture, wars, diseases, shipwreck, so that you may not be a novice to any misfortune.
- Seneca
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sima Qian
Inkeeper
Inkeeper
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ah but Ashigaru, i'm more interested not in the generalities of cult dynamics, but rather specific incidences where people have in fact violated the norms of society.

I'm asking about that which would not simply challenge the social order - but rather something that would be rather....discomforting.

Perhaps an illustrative example:

What of the Assassins? Hassan-I-Sabbah's Isamilite heretical movement in Syria and Iran that struck fear in the hearts of both Christian and Moslem rulers in the Levant lands.

So daring as to eliminate Nizam Al Mulk, the grand vizier of the Seljuq empire. So threatening that Saladin, one of the greatest conquerors of the Middle East, was nearly assassinated himself if not for the sacrifice of his own guards (well, that and a strategically placed piece of metal).

One group whose power was so great that Hülegü, the grandson of Great Khan himself, burnt down every village and enslaved every living soul he ran across until he was at the Gates of Alamut, the Eagle's Peak, itself and demanded their obedience (to which they finally relented).


And that is what i'm referring - parallel groups have occurred both in India, and definitely in China.

In Japan's long history, has it ever faced something on that scale i wonder?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sima Qian
Inkeeper
Inkeeper
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Or, we can take different stab at this - how about the other category, severe violation of social norms?

I submit for all of your inspection - the Strange Case of Tachikawa Ryu.

A heretical fringe group within Shingon Buddhism itself between say the 15th and 16th centuries, Tachikawa Ryu was strongly influenced by Shugendo, Chinese Taoism, and the esoteric Buddhism itself.

One of the interesting situations with this phenomena was that the very structure of Shingon Buddhism's secrecy actually hid the existence of those engaged in Tachikawa practices. After all, esoteric practices were passed in secret between mentor and disciple.

Furthermore, because of esoteric Buddhism's insistence that one needs to be mentally prepared for the acceptance of certain doctrines - it could not easily be expunged by a simple gathering of the monastery.

SO you had a rather interesting situation of monks who didn't even know if their fellows were the heretics - and "heretics" who felt that they were simply "on a higher level" than their fellows.

Now this would all be well and good - except that some of the Tachikawa's doctrines severely violated the core essence of Buddhism.

One of the more interesting ones was "ritual killing as a means toward enlightenment."

Suffice it to say, the leadership on Mt. Koya would obviously see this as a problem.


Last edited by Sima Qian on Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:26 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tatsunoshi
Miko no Kami
Miko no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 4923
Location: 京都日本 Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
An interesting cult in this vein would be the secret 'Kakure Kirishitan' cults that sprung up in Western Japan after the Shimabara No Ran. Being cut off from the main body of Christianity, they developed in a direction that took them away from how Christianity was practiced in other countries. While they never did anything even close to human sacrifice, they were obviously viewed as a threat by the government and were always being looked for. Stephen Turnbull wrote a book on the subject, and it's probably his best work (not surprising, considering it was based on his Doctoral Thesis).
There's another thin line being tread here-the type of cult of which you speak also has the trappings of secret societies, which many times take on the cloak of quasi-mystical and religious features designed to justify/conceal the true goals of the men at the top.
Of course, that last comment also applies to well established religions over history as well...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ashigaru
Wakasa no Kami
Wakasa no Kami



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 1879
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
From about Hideyoshi's time up through the pre-modern era, probably the most critical factor separating the legitimate religions from the perceived dangerous, heretical ones (邪宗門 or 邪教) was the willingness to accept the supremacy of the emperor--divine descendant of Amaterasu--and his appointed representatives the kanpaku and/or shogun. That was the big social norm that couldn't be violated. If you were cool with the ruling hierarchy, your religion usually got a free pass. If not, you were outlawed.

Christianity wasn't compatible with the divinity of the ruling elite, so it was outlawed with extreme prejudice. In fact, "Christianity" and "heretical religion" (邪宗門) were pretty much interchangeable terms until Meiji.

As far as I know, Tachikawa-ryuu was eventually outlawed because of its association with founder Ninkan, who was caught plotting to assassinate the Toba emperor. Where did you hear of the human sacrifice? They supposedly used skulls as ritual implements, but that doesn't necessarily mean they harvested them from the living. Other than that, their main "heresy" was a fondness for Tantric sex as a way of approaching enlightenment; other strains of Shingon were less sex-friendly and more suspect of women. Tantric practices are largely unpopular in the Japanese variety but not incompatible with Buddhism as a whole.

Genshi Kimyou-dan (玄旨帰命壇) was a Tendai strain that also caught a lot of flack for Tantric sex. It was banned in the Edo period when a priest named Reikuu wrote a highly critical review of the group's practices and passed it on to his superiors. Their connections with Tachikawa-ryuu probably did them no favors.

The Fujufusegi (不受不施義) were a sect that played even less nicely with others than their fellow Nichiren brethren. They basically wanted to minimize all contact with non-believers in the Lotus Doctrine, and they ran into trouble with Hideyoshi's government for refusing to participate in the "Thousand Priest" memorial services for Hideyoshi's deceased mother. Further refusal to participate in government-mandated mass religious events later got them banned by the Tokugawa bakufu.
_________________
Meditate upon exile, torture, wars, diseases, shipwreck, so that you may not be a novice to any misfortune.
- Seneca
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sima Qian
Inkeeper
Inkeeper
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for the information regarding the 'Kakure Kirishitans' - that's a definitely interesting outgrowth. Fits the bill of "scapegoat social outcast" nicely enough.

Quote:
There's another thin line being tread here-the type of cult of which you speak also has the trappings of secret societies, which many times take on the cloak of quasi-mystical and religious features designed to justify/conceal the true goals of the men at the top.


That's the hard part isn't it Tatsunoshi. Sometimes the overlap is in fact legitimate - esp. when those in power really believe. And sometimes its a Pyramid scheme/Personal Vendetta Machine for the powerholders on top.

Quote:
the most critical factor separating the legitimate religions from the perceived dangerous, heretical ones (邪宗門 or 邪教) was the willingness to accept the supremacy of the emperor--divine descendant of Amaterasu--and his appointed representatives the kanpaku and/or shogun


Ah - the oldest iteration - when a religion threatens political authority. I've been told that early Christianity was persecuted by the Roman Senate and the current occupant of the Imperial throne under the crime of treason. They were "a-theos" to both the divinity of the emperor and to the Roman Gods who legitimized the empire.

Quote:
Tachikawa-ryuu was eventually outlawed because of its association with founder Ninkan, who was caught plotting to assassinate the Toba emperor. Where did you hear of the human sacrifice? They supposedly used skulls as ritual implements, but that doesn't necessarily mean they harvested them from the living.


A redacted version of the Tachikawa Skull Ritual does exist, although i'm doubtful about the harvesting from the living.

The reference i'm recalling off the top of my head was from a Japanese scholar working on the issue of Buddhism and Violence (at least in the Japanese context). One of the rituals proscribed for "transcendence" was spearing a person from bottom to top.

Alternatively, given the Tachikawa's penchant for sex rituals - "Spearing" could have also been references to an activity of a sexual nature instead.

That's the problem all these Tantric cults, you never quite know when they are being "serious" and when its just a metaphor.

A friend of mine who studies Indian religious practices pointed that out to me once - esp. in the case of the various Dakini groups, where competing sects either took the cultic practice of "beheading" to be a ritualistic or a rather literal occupation.

One of the more important Tibetan Buddhist Tantras is afflicted with "colorful language" - i think it was called "Hevajra." During a downturn in monastic learning, a number of lay people were actually engaging in proported anti-social practices.


Given your other two examples, it seems the trend follows either a political or sexual transgression.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bethetsu
Oki no Kami
Oki no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 1376
Location: Center of Musashi

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:
From about Hideyoshi's time up through the pre-modern era, probably the most critical factor separating the legitimate religions from the perceived dangerous, heretical ones (邪宗門 or 邪教) was the willingness to accept the supremacy of the emperor--divine descendant of Amaterasu--and his appointed representatives the kanpaku and/or shogun. That was the big social norm that couldn't be violated. If you were cool with the ruling hierarchy, your religion usually got a free pass. If not, you were outlawed.
Was that really an issue pre-Meiji? Neither Hideyoshi's 1587 edict nor Ieyasu's 1613 edict mention the emperor.

Last edited by Bethetsu on Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ashigaru
Wakasa no Kami
Wakasa no Kami



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 1879
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I haven't seen the Tokugawa prohibition of Christianity, but Hideyoshi's Bateren Expulsion Edict specifically refers to Japan as the 神国, a divine country created and protected by the kami, while referring to Christianity as a corrupt faith from abroad. It goes on to state that practitioners have broken "taboos handed down from on high" (天下よりの御法度). 天下 is a pretty vague term with several different connotations, but I interpret this passage as referring to divinely inspired laws set down by the emperor/kanpaku.

You're right that the Emperor = living god perspective gained a lot of ground after the Meiji Restoration, but the ruling elite were certainly convinced of their own divinity prior to that. Toyokuni Jinja was established to worship Hideyoshi, after all, and Ieyasu's heirs certainly promoted his worship with the Toushouguu shrines.
_________________
Meditate upon exile, torture, wars, diseases, shipwreck, so that you may not be a novice to any misfortune.
- Seneca
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bethetsu
Oki no Kami
Oki no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 1376
Location: Center of Musashi

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:
It goes on to state that practitioners have broken "taboos handed down from on high" (天下よりの御法度). 天下 is a pretty vague term with several different connotations, but I interpret this passage as referring to divinely inspired laws set down by the emperor/kanpaku.
Isn't that quite a stretch in meaning? Tenka means earth, or the nation, not heaven or the gods. The hatto were various regulations issued by the bakufu, but I doubt they were considered laws inspired by the Shinto gods. "The laws of the Nation" might be a better translation, I think.
Christians of course were opposed to Shinto, but I haven't seen any reference to a particular problem of "willingness to accept the supremacy of the emperor--divine descendant of Amaterasu--and his appointed representatives the kanpaku and/or shogun." Christians certainly had no problem about accepting the rule of the emperor or the kanpaku and/or shogun, and I don't recall any reference to a problem with the emperor's "divine descent" in particular as opposed to Shinto in general.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ashigaru
Wakasa no Kami
Wakasa no Kami



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 1879
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wouldn't the monotheistic "Have no other god before Me" commandment lead to some significant issues with accepting the divinity of the ruling elite?
_________________
Meditate upon exile, torture, wars, diseases, shipwreck, so that you may not be a novice to any misfortune.
- Seneca
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JLBadgley
Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei



Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Posts: 1617
Location: Washington, DC, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
A Jewish friend and I were discussing that last statement. "Have no other gods before me" does not neccessarily state there are no other gods, thus it does not directly deny the Imperial divinity. That said, how many people were really concerned with the Imperial divinity in the late 16th century, and how much of what we picture is really a resurgence in the late Edo period due to romantic and Neo-Confucist beliefs regarding the imperial majesty? No, I think the bigger problem was that, as Christians in the Catholic tradition of the Latin rite (as opposed to the Nestorians or Eastern rites), they were expected to owe their allegiance to the Pope, in Rome, which undermined the authority of those in power.

On the issue of cults, though, we could look at shugendou, in general, as rather cultish and outside the norm, if accepted. Yamabushi seem to have held a strange place within/without society.

Then groups like Nichiren or Jodo Shinshu, which were often cults, initially, but gained acceptance over time.

Not many resources at the moment, or I'd try to dig into this one a little further.

-Josh
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ashigaru
Wakasa no Kami
Wakasa no Kami



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 1879
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
A Jewish friend and I were discussing that last statement. "Have no other gods before me" does not neccessarily state there are no other gods, thus it does not directly deny the Imperial divinity. That said, how many people were really concerned with the Imperial divinity in the late 16th century, and how much of what we picture is really a resurgence in the late Edo period due to romantic and Neo-Confucist beliefs regarding the imperial majesty? No, I think the bigger problem was that, as Christians in the Catholic tradition of the Latin rite (as opposed to the Nestorians or Eastern rites), they were expected to owe their allegiance to the Pope, in Rome, which undermined the authority of those in power.


The undo influence of foreign powers was definitely a primary concern, I certainly don't disagree. Realpolitik drives most of the political decisions everywhere and in every period of history. But Hideyoshi specifically calls out the Christian destruction of shrines and temples as one of the reasons for expelling the missionaries, and that seems like pretty clear evidence that there were prominent elements among the Christians that found the established Shinto and Buddhism incompatible with their own beliefs.

The power behind the concept of the emperor's divine ancestry has waxed and waned over the years, but it's a very old idea and the roots are deep. Other than an abstract veneration for the office I don't think the major daimyo (as opposed to the general populace, who I suspect were dutifully awe-struck no matter the era) were especially concerned with the emperor's divinity in concrete terms--they paid him lip service while pretty much doing as they pleased--but you can bet Hideyoshi was definitely concerned whether or not *he* was shown the proper amount of veneration. Forming religious ties with foreign nations coupled with actually burning down shrines (symbols of a belief system the ruling elite believed themselves a part of) seems like adding insult to injury to me.

Everything I've seen about Christianity in Japan suggests a certain amount of exclusivity, but please correct me if that's not the case. Did churches ever incorporate sub-shrines, as was the case with Buddhism and Shinto? I'm skeptical that the Jesuits in particular would allow much in the way of syncretism on their watch, but I'd be happy to be proved wrong.
_________________
Meditate upon exile, torture, wars, diseases, shipwreck, so that you may not be a novice to any misfortune.
- Seneca
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bethetsu
Oki no Kami
Oki no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 1376
Location: Center of Musashi

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The Japanese Christians were certainly monotheists. There are references to the problems of refusing to burn incense at Buddhist funerals and oaths that invoke Shinto gods (Ieyasu does mention the latter in his decree). But I don't think there would have been much of an occasion where the idea of the emperor as god would have required an act of worship and so caused Christians to come into conflict with others.
As Josh said, "how many people were really concerned with the Imperial divinity in the late 16th century"? I suppose many people believed it, but it was not the foundation of authority, so it would have not caused problems that way. Ieyasu's 1613 edict is almost a treaty on government. It starts off "Heaven 乾 is the father and Earth 坤 is the mother and people are in between," which is certainly Chinese, though the edict does refers often to Shintoism and Buddhism in parallel and mentions the doctrine that the buddhas took the form of gods. There is a lot of talk about being able to apply the (Han-period) five punishments and knowing the five degrees of mourning, etc. But the Chinese could hardly make the divine descent of the emperor as the foundation of government, and I don't see here that the Bakufu did either. So I really don't see that accepting or not the divine descent of the emperor or his divinity was the critical point at that time.
(Ieyasu's decree [of course he did not compose it himself] is in Iwanami's Nihon Shisô Taikei series Kirishitan sho;Hi-yasho.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ashigaru
Wakasa no Kami
Wakasa no Kami



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 1879
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
How did Ieyasu justify banning Christianity?
_________________
Meditate upon exile, torture, wars, diseases, shipwreck, so that you may not be a novice to any misfortune.
- Seneca
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bethetsu
Oki no Kami
Oki no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 1376
Location: Center of Musashi

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:
How did Ieyasu justify banning Christianity?

This is not translating every phrase, but this it goes something like this:
[When we were in this happy situation] the Christians conspirators came to Japan. They did not come only to trade, but they spread their evil law, confuse orthodoxy, and thus they hope to change the government and make it their own. [see note below] This is the harbringer of a disaster, and it must be controlled......
The Pateren conspirators all violate our established laws (kudan no seirei), dislike Shinto, blasphemy true law, and injure justice and good. If they see a punished criminal they immediately worship him. [A note says this refers to reverence towards martyrs.] Thus this is the true desire (本懐) of their religion. If this is not evil law, what is? It is truly an enemy of the gods and buddhas and must be stopped quickly or the nation will be damaged. Here I issue an order....

域中の政号を改め、おのが有となさんと欲すAbove I wrote (I have deleted it now) that I did not see that the edict claimed that Christians are the tools of dangerous foreign powers. That is apparently wrong. I was skimming for references to the emperor, and as I could not figure the sentence out I skipped over it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Obenjo Kusanosuke
Kii no Kami
Kii no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 4554
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wasn't it Iemitsu, not Ieyasu, that banned Christianity?
_________________

Heee heee! Shita iro! Shita iro! Here comes his lordship, Baka Tono!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rekishinotabi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bethetsu
Oki no Kami
Oki no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 1376
Location: Center of Musashi

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Wasn't it Iemitsu, not Ieyasu, that banned Christianity?
Iemitsu did too, of course, but Ieyasu did in 1613/12. Iemitsu is famous for the closed-door policy (sakoku).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Matsuhide
Bamboo Spearman
Bamboo Spearman
Veteran Member



Joined: 15 Oct 2007
Posts: 329
Location: Denver

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:
How did Ieyasu justify banning Christianity?

To expand on what Bethetsu said, I remembered a brief mention on the situation in Morton and Olenik's Japan: Its History and Culture talking about Ieyasu trading with the Dutch and English but becoming more and more irritated with the Spanish and Portuguese because they only responded to his trade correspondences with ships full of missionaries. He also felt Christian allegiance might threaten the loyalty of his daimyo.
_________________
Rekishi to wa, takeyabu ni, tadayotteiru kiri no you na mono desu.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
heron
萩守
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 27 Jan 2007
Posts: 1136
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The early and middle 19th century saw an upsurge of “millennial” type behaviour that expressed itself in various ways, in particular in the appearance of new religions. I think these are interesting to consider in this discussion, as they are indicative of popular feeling during the bakumatsu, and some of them are still around today.

There were outbreaks of anti-social behaviour like eejanaika and uchikowashi which the authorities seemed unable to prevent or control. These sprang from a general desire for yonaoshi – renewing the world – which ordinary people thought would deal with all the internal and external problems of the late Tokugawa period.

Two sects in particular flourished: Tenrikyô, founded in 1838, and Konkôkyô (1859). According to George M. Wilson, who has a very interesting chapter on “Pursuing the Millennium” in Patriots and Redeemers, “both sects embodied the need for a reintegrated community that so many ordinary people of this era seem to have felt.”

Both sects were monotheistic. Konkôkyô’s deity was Tenchi Kanenokami and Tenrikyô’s Tenri Ônomikoto. Both had charismatic leaders who became a sort of living god - Tenrikyô’s was a woman, Nakayama Miki, a farmer’s wife who discovered her spiritual power at the age of 40.

At the beginning because both religions emphasised personal inner peace and salvation, they did not attract much hostility, but later they ran into conflict with the authorities, especially the Meiji government, not so much because of their spiritual beliefs as for their social agendas, which were egalitarian, both between classes and sexes, and rather resembled the financial self-help organisations (also regarded by the government with great suspicion). But they don’t seem to have been made scapegoats in the way that Christianity was.

They were both registered as sect Shinto eventually. One of the failures of the Meiji government was to offer much renewal of the world to those who saw the Restoration as a millennial event.

Those Christians who came out of hiding after 1868 were very badly treated, imprisoned in various jails throughout the country and not released until several years later. The fear of Christianity seems to have been very deep-rooted, linked to fear of the West and colonisation in general. There are many instances of individuals fearing (and greatly resenting) the attempts of missionaries to preach to them, though of course there are also examples of converts to Christianity who thought it was this religion that explained the success of the West.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
shikisoku
Yamashiro no Kami
Yamashiro no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 10 May 2006
Posts: 2638
Location: 天領 Tama

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
So - what have been some popular cults in Japan's history? Past or present?


Most influencial one is Soka Gakkai.
http://www.sokanet.jp/sg/sn/index.htm
http://www.sokanet.jp/sg/FWIM/sn/top/world-wide-soka/world_wide_soka.html
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Japanese Art and Religion All times are GMT - 10 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Help the Samurai Archives




alexisRed v1.2 // Theme Created By: Andrew Charron // Samuraized By: Aaron Rister

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group