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Demetrio Cereijo 10-14-2010 06:28 PM

Turbulent priests and millenarian protest
 
Maybe someone finds this interesting.

Turbulent priests and millenarian protest: outside voices of religious nationalism in interwar Japan

Abstract:

This thesis examines the role played by two popular religious movements - Nichirenism (Nichirenshugi) and Ōmotokyō - in the promulgation of nationalism in Japan during the years between the two World Wars. While it has long been accepted that religion played a central role in the formation and promulgation of nationalism in twentieth-century Japan, the nature of that role has been much less well understood. Specifically, Western thinking has long assumed that Shinto, in its role as state religion and ideological anchor, was unchallenged as a nationalist vehicle in Japan. This view overlooks the crucial role played by other popular religious organizations outside the framework of Shinto in the inculcation of modern Japanese nationalism. While most religious sects resigned themselves to toeing the official line, two were abnormally active in promoting themselves as champions of Japanese nationalism. These were the so-called "Nichirenists" - a firebrand group of nationalistic Buddhists of the Nichiren denomination that emerged in early-twentieth century Japan - and the enormously popular grassroots millenarian religion of Ōmotokyō. Both incorporated the pillars of State Shinto into the heart of their doctrines and championed themselves as the truest advocates of the emperor and his polity: Ōmotokyō in the form of a tightly-organized grassroots movement and Nichirenism as a powerful spiritual fountainhead for militarists and political extremists. In both cases, their adoption of nationalism as a central pillar of their doctrines was a tactical move intended to cultivate more harmonious relations with the state. This was especially true in the case of Ōmotokyō, an organization that had since its genesis been regarded by the authorities as a pariah. This strategy paradoxically drew Nichirenism and Ōmotokyō to the extremist fringe of the nationalist wing, with both movements figuring prominently in the Showa Restoration movement in Japan in the early-1930s - a movement dedicated to overthrowing the parliamentary system and creating a bona fide emperor-led dictatorship. Ultimately, their strategy failed, and somewhat ironically both movements were eventually crushed in the mid-to-late thirties by the very authoritarian political culture that they had helped create. Furthermore, in spite of their links to ultranationalist organizations involved in political terrorism, both movements were suppressed purely on ideological grounds. In the end, the suppression of Nichirenism and Ōmotokyō was not brought on by any real contradiction with the official ideology, but rather by the challenge that the mere existence of these independent voices posed to a state aspiring to totalitarianism.

https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/14540 or https://dspace.library.ubc.ca/handle/2429/14540

niall 10-14-2010 07:55 PM

Re: Turbulent priests and millenarian protest
 
Thanks, Demetrio. That's interesting historically but also:

Quote:

...the Showa Restoration movement in Japan in the early-1930s - a movement dedicated to overthrowing the parliamentary system and creating a bona fide emperor-led dictatorship. Ultimately, their strategy failed, and somewhat ironically both movements were eventually crushed in the mid-to-late thirties by the very authoritarian political culture that they had helped create
"Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it." The Monkey's Paw by W W Jacobs

Carsten Möllering 10-15-2010 05:04 AM

Re: Turbulent priests and millenarian protest
 
Please excuse me:
Could you be so kind and explain to me what the point is or should be, you disuss here?

Carsten

niall 10-15-2010 05:17 AM

Re: Turbulent priests and millenarian protest
 
There is the relevance of Omotokyo and Japanese history and politics. So I thanked Demetrio for that. The incidental point was the historical irony, Carsten. These movements fought for something which when it arrived crushed them = Be careful what you wish for...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

Peter Goldsbury 10-15-2010 07:11 AM

Re: Turbulent priests and millenarian protest
 
Thank you, Demetrio.

In your post, you have quoted what appears to be the university's summary of the thesis.

I downloaded the thesis and read through it. It is a very reasonable Masters thesis, in terms of being a logical ordering of existing knowledge, though his bibliography is rather sparse. I accept, however, that the thesis was presented in 1998 and that important advances have been made since then.

Nevertheless, there are quite a few problems, one of which is the operational concepts that the author uses. What does he mean by 'western thinking', especially 'western thinking' about Shinto and especially Shinto as a 'state religion' and nationalist vehicle? In addition, there is no evidence from his bibliography that the author has studied any primary sources of Omoto in Japanese, or has actually read anything written by Onisaburo Deguchi.

Nevertheless, it is an interesting work, but very much a first attempt at research in a very wide field. It should be compared with the work of Thomas Nadolski, whom the author cites rather uncritically in his footnotes, and the recent book about Omoto by Nancy K Stalker.

Best wishes,

PAG

Demetrio Cereijo 10-16-2010 04:50 AM

Re: Turbulent priests and millenarian protest
 
Thanks Prof. Goldsbury,

I haven't read Nadolsky and only a bit of Stalker's book. I've still a lot of work to do.

Anyway, there is also a work available in the ubc database about Deguchi Nao, Maybe is worth reading too.

Regards.

niall 10-16-2010 11:33 AM

Re: Turbulent priests and millenarian protest
 
Thanks for that interesting link too, Demetrio. I just quickly checked O Sensei on wikipedia to check when he became involved with Oomoto-kyo (December 1919 according to http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclo...hp?entryID=723).

"To this day, Ōmoto-kyō priests oversee a ceremony in Ueshiba's honor every April 29 at the Aiki Shrine in Iwama." O Sensei died on 26 April (and 29 April is Showa Day, a national holiday in Japan).

And here's an Oomoto Nao Deguchi link: http://www.oomoto.or.jp/English/enKy...den/index.html which probably isn't as objective (or as well-written) as the UBC thesis.

Incidentally going back to the historical/cosmic irony I just checked the link I put in this thread earlier and apparently there is a punctuation mark to indicate irony called an irony mark. It's a backward question mark: ؟. Wow.


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