Japanese new religions
Japanese new religions are new religious movements established in Japan. In Japanese they are called shinshūkyō (新宗教) or shinkō shūkyō (新興宗教). Japanese scholars classify all religious organizations founded since the middle of the 19th century as "new religions"; thus, the term refers to a great diversity and number of organizations. Most came into being in the mid-to-late twentieth century and are influenced by much older traditional religions including Shinto, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Western influences include the Bible and the writings of Nostradamus.
Japanese new religions before World War II
In the 1860s Japan began to experience great social turmoil and rapid modernization. As social conflicts emerged in this last decade of the Tokugawa period, known as the Bakumatsu period, some new religious movements appeared. Among them were Tenrikyo, Kurozumikyo and Oomoto, sometimes called Nihon Sandai Shinkōshūkyō (lit. Japan's three large Shinkōshūkyō), which were directly influenced by Shintō (the state religion) and shamanism.
The social tension continued to grow during the Meiji period, affecting religious practices and institutions. Conversion from traditional faith was no longer legally forbidden, officials lifted the 250-year ban on Christianity, and missionaries of established Christian churches reentered Japan. The traditional syncreticism between Shinto and Buddhism ended and Shinto became the national religion. Losing the protection of the Japanese government which Buddhism had enjoyed for centuries, Buddhist monks faced radical difficulties in sustaining their institutions, but their activities also became less restrained by governmental policies and restrictions.
The Japanese government was very suspicious toward these religious movements and periodically made attempts to suppress them. Government suppression was especially severe during the early 20th century, particularly from the 1930s until the early 1940s, when the growth of Japanese nationalism and State Shinto were closely linked. Under the Meiji regime lèse majesté protected not only insults against the Emperor and his Imperial House, but also some major Shinto shrines which were believed to be tied strongly to the Emperor. The government strengthened its control over religious institutions that were considered to undermine State Shinto or nationalism, arresting some members and leaders of Shinshukyo, including Onisaburo Deguchi of Oomoto and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi of Soka Kyoiku Gakkai, who typically were charged with violation of lèse majesté and the Peace Preservation Law.
New religions after World War II
After Japan lost World War II, its government and policy changed radically during occupation by Allied troops. The official status of State Shinto was abolished, and Shinto shrines became religious organisations, losing government protection and financial support. Although the Occupation Army (GHQ) practiced censorship of all types of organizations, specific suppression of Shinshūkyō ended.
GHQ invited many Christian missionaries from the United States to Japan, through Douglas MacArthur's famous call for 1,000 missionaries. Missionaries arrived not only from traditional churches, but also from some modern denominations, such as Jehovah's Witnesses. The Jehovah's Witnesses missionaries were so successful that they have become the second largest Christian denomination in Japan, with over 210,000 members (the largest is Catholicism with about 500,000 members). In Japan, Jehovah's Witnesses tend to be considered a Christianity based Shinshūkyō, not only because they were founded in the 19th century (as were other major Shinshūkyō), but also because of their missionary practices, which involve door-to-door visiting and frequent meetings.
Despite the influx of Christian missionaries, the majority of Shinshūkyō are Buddhist- or Shinto-related sects. Major sects include Risshō Kōsei Kai and Shinnyo-en. Major goals of Shinshūkyō include spiritual healing, individual prosperity, and social harmony. Many also hold a belief in Apocalypticism, that is in the imminent end of the world or at least its radical transformation. Most of those who joined Shinshūkyō in this period were women from lower-middle-class backgrounds.
Soka Gakkai has a particular influence to politics since 1964, thanks to their affiliated party Komeito, later New Komeito. In 1999 it was estimated that 10 to 20 per cent of the Japanese population were members of a Shinshūkyō.
After World War II, the structure of the state was changed radically. Prior to WWII, the National Diet was restricted and the real power lay with the executive branch, in which the prime minister was appointed by the emperor. Under the new Constitution of Japan, the Diet had the supreme authority for decision making in state affairs and all its members were elected by the people. Especially in the House of Councillors, one third of whose members were elected through nationwide vote, nationwide organizations found they could influence national policy by supporting certain candidates. Major Shinshūkyō became one of the so-called "vote-gathering machines" in Japan, especially for the conservative parties which merged into the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955.
In the 1950s Japanese wives of American servicemen introduced Soka Gakkai to the United States. Since then it has steadily gained members while avoiding much of the controversy encountered by some other new religious movements in the US. Well-known American Soka Gakkai converts include musician Herbie Hancock and singer Tina Turner.
In Brazil Shinshūkyō were first introduced in the 1920s among the Japanese immigrant population. In the 1950s and 1960s some started to become popular among the non-Japanese population as well. Seicho no-Ie now has the largest membership in the country. In the 1960s it adopted Portuguese, rather than Japanese, as its language of instruction and communication. It also began to advertise itself as philosophy rather than religion in order to avoid conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and other socially conservative elements in society. By 1988 it had more than 2.4 million members in Brazil, 85% of them not of Japanese ethnicity.
Statistics for major Shinshūkyō.
The periodical division into the following four periods was done by Shimozono. The table contains: common name of the religious community, the founder's name with birth and death dates, the date the organization was founded and then, if available, the number of members in the years 1954, 1974 and 1990.
|Nyorai-kyō||Isson-nyorai Kino (1756-1826)||1802||75,480||33,674||27,131|
|Tenri-kyō||Nakayama Miki (1798-1887)||1838||1,912,208||2,298,420||1,839,009|
|Kurozumi-kyō||Kurozumi Munetada (1780-1850)||1814||715,650||407,558||295,225|
|Konko-kyō||Konkō Daijin (1814-1883)||1859||646,206||500,868||442,584|
|Honmon Butsuryū-shū||Nagamatsu Nissen (1817-1890)||1857||339,800||515,911||526,337|
|Maruyama-kyō||Itō Rokurōbei (1829-1894)||1870||92,011||3,200||10,725|
|Ōmoto-kyō||Deguchi Nao (1837-1918)
Deguchi Onisaburō (1871-1948)
|Nakayama-Shingoshō-shū||Kihara Matsutarō (1870-1942)||1912||282,650||467,910||382,040|
|Honmichi||Ōnishi Aijirō (1881-1958)||1913||225,386||288,700||316,825|
|En'nō-kyō||Fukada Chiyoko (1887-1925||1919||71,654||266,782||419,452|
|Nenpō-shinkyō||Ogura Reigen (1886-1982)||1925||153,846||751,214||807,486|
|Reiyū-kai||Kubo Kakutarō (1892-1944)||1924||2,284,172||2,477,907||3,202,172|
|Perfect Liberty Kyōdan||Miki Tokuharu (1871-1938)
Miki Tokuchika (1900-1983)
|Seichō-no-Ie||Taniguchi Masaharu (1893-1985)||1930||1,461,604||2,375,705||838,496|
|Sōka Gakkai||Makiguchi Tsunesaburō (1871-1944)
Toda Jōsei (1900-1956)
|Sekai Kyūsei-kyō||Okada Mokichi (1882-1955)||1935||373,173||661,263||835,756|
|Shin'nyoen||Itō Shinjō (1906-1956)||1936||155,500||296,514||679,414|
|Kōdō Kyōdan||Okano Shōdō (1900-1978)||1936||172,671||417,638||400,720|
|Risshō Kōsei-kai||Naganuma Myōkō (1889-1957)
Niwano Nikkyō (1906-1999)
|Bussho Gonenkai Kyōdan||Sekiguchi Kaichi (1897-1961)
Sekiguchi Tomino (1905-1990)
|Tenshō Kōtai Jingū-kyō||Kitamura Sayo 1900-1967)||1945||89,374||386,062||439,011|
|Zenrin-kyō||Rikihisa Tatsusai (1906-1977)||1947||404,157||483,239||513,321|
|Myōchikai Kyōdan||Miyamoto Mitsu (1900-1984)||1950||515,122||673,913||962,611|
|4th Period (Post 2nd World War, Shin-shin-shūkyō)|
|Ōyama Nezunomikoto Shinji Kyōkai||Inaii Sadao (1906-1988)||1948||59,493||826,022|
|Byakkō Shinkō-kai||Goi Masahisa (1916-1980)||1951||500,000|
|Agon-shū||Kiriyama Seiyū (1921-)||1954||500||206,606|
|Reiha-no-Hikari Kyōkai||Hase Yoshio (1915-1984)||1954||761,175|
|Jōdoshinshū Shinran-kai||Takamori Kentetsu (1934-)||1958||100,000|
|Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyōdan||Okada Kōtama (1901-1974)||1959||97,838|
|Honbushin||Ōnishi Tama (1916-1969)||1961||900,000|
|God Light Association Sōgō Honbu||Takahashi Shinji (1927-1976)||1969||12,981|
|Shinji Shūmei-kai||Koyama Mihoko (1910-)||1970||1988: 440,000|
|Nihon Seidō Kyōdan||Iwasaki Shōkō (1934-)||1974||69,450|
|Extra-Sensory-Perception Kagaku Kenkyūjo||Ishii Katao (1918-)||1975||16,000|
|Ho-no-Hana Sanpōgyō||Fukunaga Hōgen (1945-)||1980||70,000|
|Yamato-no-Miya||Ajiki Tenkei (1952-)||1981||5,000|
|Ōmu Shinri-kyō||Asahara Shōkō (1955-)||1984|
|Worldmate||Fukami Seizan (1951-)||1986||30,000|
|Happy Science||Ōkawa Ryūhō (1956-)||1986||1989: 13,300
- Shinto sects and schools (Only some on the list count as Shinshukyo)
- Religion in Japan
- Aleph, formerly known as Aum Shinrikyo.
- Kofuku no Kagaku (Happy Science)
- PL Kyodan (Church of Perfect Liberty)
- Risshō Kōsei Kai
- Seicho no Ie
- Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan
- Sekai kyūsei kyō (Church of World Messianity)
- Shinreikyo (God-Soul Sect)
- Soka Gakkai
- Sukyo Mahikari
- Zenrinkyo (formerly Zenrinkai)
- Peter B. Clarke, 1999, "Japanese New Religious Movements in Brazil: from ethnic to 'universal' religions", New Religious Movements: challenge and response, Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell editors, Routledge ISBN 0415200504
- Eileen Barker, 1999, "New Religious Movements: their incidence and significance", New Religious Movements: challenge and response, Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell editors, Routledge ISBN 0415200504
- Eugene V. Gallagher, 2004, The New Religious Movement Experience in America, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0313328072, pages 120-124
- Shimazono, Susumu (2004): From Salvation to Spirituality: Popular Religious Movements in Modern Japan. Trans Pacific Press. pp. 234-235
- The (1925) date refers to the Hito-no-Michi Kyōdan, the mother organization of Perfect Liberty Kyōdan
- Sōka Gakkai has not released figures for 1989 and 1990, so this figure is the membership number for 1988,
- Most of the statistics in these charts are from the 1991 edition of the Shūkyō Nenkan (Religion Yearbook, Tokyo: Gyōsei). Numbers marked with this footnote are from other sources reporting the organizations‘ own membership statisticcs around 1990.
- Clarke, Peter B. (1999) A Bibliography of Japanese New Religious Movements: With Annotations. Richmond : Curzon. 10-ISBN 1873410808/13-ISBN 9781873410806; OCLC 246578574
- Clarke, Peter B. (2000). Japanese New Religions: In Global Perspective. Richmond : Curzon. 10-ISBN 0700711856/13-ISBN 9780700711857; OCLC 442441364
- Clarke, Peter B., Somers, Jeffrey, editors (1994). Japanese New Religions in the West, Japan Library/Curzon Press, Kent, UK. ISBN 1-873410-24-7
- Hardacre, Helen. (1988). Kurozumikyo and the New Religions of Japan. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02048-5
- Wilson, Bryan R. and Karel Dobbelaere. (1994). A Time to Chant. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-827915-9
- Staemmler, Birgit, Dehn, Ulrich (ed.): Establishing the Revolutionary: An Introduction to New Religions in Japan. LIT, Münster, 2011. ISBN 978-3-643-90152-1
- Aleph: the organization's official website, with an English section
- KOFUKU-NO-KAGAKU The Institute for Research in Human Happiness
- Konkokyo's web site in English
- Oomoto (Official site)
- Pana-Wave Laboratory homepage
- PL Kyodan International: official website
- Seicho no Ie: Portal for USA, Brazil & Japan sites
- Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (World Divine Light Organization)
- Shinreikyo Home Page (Japanese/English)
- Official Sukyo Mahikari North America Site
- Tenrikyo official site
- Encyclopedia of Shinto - Zenrinkyō