The Meiji period spanned over year 1868 to 1912. It was a period which oversaw how Japan
transited from a feudal society to its modern form. The overall social structure has also witness
a drastic change during this timeline. The Tokugawa period, predecessor to Meiji, had strict
rules on foreign policies. At that time, Japan enforced sakoku which prevents people from
entering or leaving the country. Anyone who was found contravening the stated law would result
in a death penalty. Christianity was also stemmed out by the shogun since he suspected that
Christians sided with his rival Toyotomi Hideyori.
The late nineteenth century eventually saw the downfall of the Tokugawa clan and the formation
of Meiji Japan. The country had…show more content… Hence, they implemented Shintoism as the state religion.
Shintoism and Buddhism previously go hand in hand, and it was similar to religious syncretism
where the two beliefs were combined as one system. However, it was clear that the new
government wanted none of that and they gave the orders to remove all Buddhist objects that
were found in the Shinto shrines and temples.
By implementing Shintoism as the state religion, the newly formed government are able to
legitimize themselves and prevent further turmoils from occurring. They made use of Shintoism
to provide backing and power to the Emperor, propelling him to the position of a demigod or
semimythical entity. The government would then reduce the amount of people turning against
them by portraying the Emperor as someone who had received divine will, and it would be
natural to pledge one’s loyalty towards him. This enables the quelling of rebellions since no one
no longer dares to challenge the command of the Emperor.
Shintoism allows the government to keep check on its citizens. Although Christianity was
eventually legalized in Japan, there was still displeasure found amongst the government.…show more content… Since Shintoism dates back to the beginnings of Japan, the
government uses the religion to instill a form of patriotism and loyalty in one’s roots and
heritage. In this manner, it is able to unite its people under one secular form of “religion”.
Also, the Japanese army has been reformed during the Meiji period, where compulsory
conscription for all males was enforced. This led to the growth in Japan’s military strength which
eventually led to the capture of colonies such as Korea and Taiwan. Japan built Confucian
temples and shrines in order to appease the colonies and appeal to their new subjugates. Japan
wanted to create a positive image to Korea and Taiwan, and to show that they are “benevolent
masters who had the divine commision to emancipate the inhabitants from its state of chaos”.
Through the manipulation of religion, Japan hoped that they were able to lead the subjugates in
thinking that they were in a better position under the former’s rule and would reduce the amount
of rebellions in the process.
Under the rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first notorious Urakami kuzure occurred in 1867. As
mentioned earlier, Christianity was banned during the Edo period. However, French