31 August 2008. pp. 347~379
The aim of this study is to elucidate the role of nationalistic tendencies in the modernization of Japanese Buddhism. It examines domestic and foreign political situations as well ashistorical aspects of the Meiji 20s which brought about a nationalistic tendency to Japanese Buddhist society, with special consideration towards the edification movement and pro-Emperor ideology. Pro- Emperor ideology in the Meiji period arose from the Revering Emperor and Rejecting Barbarians Movement of the Late Bakufu (shogunate government) period. The pro- Emperor and anti-Heterodoxy theorists worshipped the Japanese Emperor’ ancestor as a god and rejected any other foreign religions, including Buddhism and Christianity. In 1854, the Edo Bakufu established a peace treaty with the United States of America and then with each European countries, and abandoned the national isolation policy. As a result, the theorists attempted to overthrow the government and challengedwestern powers in order to fulfill the spirit of Revering Emperor and Rejecting Barbarians. Ultimately, they were defeated by a strong western military power and the government had to reform their exclusionist policy to an open-door policy. Eventually the Meiji Government was founded through a rejection of the Bukufu government in behalf of the emperor and the open-door policy was promoted as the way to achieve national prosperity and defense. While the Meiji government outwardly tried to enhance national prosperity and defense through acceptance of western civilization, internally it aimed to establish an absolutist Imperial government based on the Pro-Emperor ideology. Thus, as the Bukufu government had done before them, the Meiji government prohibited Christianity and decreed a separation between the Shinto religion and Buddhism, which created persecution against Buddhism in the Early Meiji Period. However, a new movement of edification had arisen among several cities as a result of the introduction of western civilization and the enlightenment policy ofthe Meiji government. This edification movement embraced democracy, capitalism, and freedom of religion. Because of this shift in social atmosphere and, in addition, political pressure from the West, the Meiji government declared freedom of religion and authorized Christianity in 1873. The proclamation of religious freedom laid the foundation for later religious conflict. The persecution of Buddhism during the Early Meiji period can also be regarded as the conflict between Buddhism and Shintoism. Moreover, the authorization of Christianity gaverise to a conflict between Buddhism and Christianity. Buddhist society identified the emperor with the Buddha, and assisted the Meiji government in declaring Shintoism the state religion. Buddhist society also regarded pro-Buddhism in the same light as anti-heterodoxy and was aggressive in rejecting Christianity. However, westernization was accompanied by the expansion of Christianity, and accordingly, Buddhism experienced a period of decline. Buddhism had to renovate itself to deal with the changing political and religious atmosphere. At this time, however, a nationalistic movement arose in opposition to theedification movement. Buddhism, which had been oppressedby the pro-Shintoism policy and the expansion of Christianity, encountered its opportunity for restoration in the nationalistic social atmosphere. Buddhist society contended that Buddhism was the real subject of nationalism by condemning Christianity for the Lese Majesty Affairs (ie. Christians didn’ pay homage to ‘n Imperial message on education’. They, in collaboration with the nationalists, declared that an anti-Christianity movement was the way to defense orthodoxy and reject heterodoxy, based on the theory that regards a reverence for Emperor in the same light as a reverence for Buddha.
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  • Publisher :Korean Association of Buddhist Studies
  • Publisher(Ko) :불교학연구회
  • Journal Title :Korea Journal of Buddhist Studies
  • Journal Title(Ko) :불교학연구
  • Volume : 20
  • No :0
  • Pages :347~379