Wednesday, August 11, 2010
After World War II, the United States took control of the Japanese government and instituted several drastic changes to limit the political influence of the Shinto religion. I quote here from an article entitled, The Occupation of Japan:
A directive from MacArthur's headquarters in December 1945 ordered the deletion of all references to Japan's Shinto religion from school textbooks, and school trips to Shinto shrines were forbidden. The Americans disliked Japan's mix of state and religion, and Shinto had been a state sponsored religion — much as Christianity had been in Europe, except that the religion was headed by what had been believed to be a living divinity — the Emperor. In his 1946 New Year message, Hirohito proclaimed that he was not divine and that rather than his reign resting on ancient myths it was based on "mutual trust and affection..."
Moves to punish militarism in Japan resulted in MacArthur making all who had been officers in Japan's army and navy since 1930 ineligible for appointive or elective office in any branch of government. So too were those who had belonged to ultra-nationalist organizations and had held office while the militarists were in power. Also, those who had held positions of responsibility in leading industrial, commercial and financial corporations during the reign of the militarists had to resign from their positions and were debarred from politics. All teachers were screened and their wartime activities investigated. By April 1949. over 942,000 had been investigated and just over 3000 found unacceptable.