Shintō Shrines and Secularism in Modern Japan, 1890–1945

A Case Study on Kashihara Jingū

in Journal of Religion in Japan
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


From the late eighteenth century to WWII, shrine Shintō came to be seen as a secular institution by the government, academics, and activists in Japan (Isomae 2014; Josephson 2012, Maxey 2014). However, research thus far has largely focused on the political and academic discourses surrounding the development of this idea. This article contributes to this discussion by examining how a prominent modern Shintō shrine, Kashihara Jingū founded in 1890, was conceived of and treated as secular. It also explores how Kashihara Jingū communicated an alternate sense of space and time in line with a new Japanese secularity. This Shintō-based secularity, which located shrines as public, historical, and modern, was formulated in antagonism to the West and had an influence that extended across the Japanese sphere. The shrine also serves as a case study of how the modern political system of secularism functioned in a non-western nation-state.




In particular, see Uta (1921, 1922, 1940).


For examples, see Ruoff (2010), who examines the massive popularity of Kashihara Jingū and the narratives surrounding Jinmu in the home islands and overseas.


Cf. Fujitani (1940), Hirose (1940), and Ōgawa (1940) for examples.


  • Figure 1

    Kashihara Jingū against the backdrop of Mt. UnebiPhotograph by Author

    View in gallery
  • Figure 2

    “Today over 2580 years have passed since the enthronement of Emperor Jinmu”

    View in gallery
  • Figure 3

    Fukada Lake at Kashihara JingūPhotograph by Author

    View in gallery
  • Figure 4

    The airship of Nigihayahi no Mikoto (Uta 1981a: 800)Courtesy of Kashihara Jingū

    View in gallery
  • Figure 5

    The single-footed palace of Usatsu-hiko (Uta 1981a: 802). Note the raised floor and chigi.Courtesy of Kashihara Jingū

    View in gallery
  • Figure 6

    The Japanese home islands replace Europe as the center of the worldMamoriya 1934: sec. 7

    View in gallery


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 15 15 12
Full Text Views 5 5 5
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0