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Book: Exploring Shinto

Chapter: 16. Tenrikyo and Omotokyo in the Context of Kyoha Shinto

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.39497


In Japanese religious studies, the Ōmoto and Tenrikyō groups are considered
to be archetypical minshū shūkyō, “mass religions.” While they were once
thought to be the result of unmediated mystical experiences on the part of
their founders that resisted state authority, it is now recognized that
both Tenrikyō and Ōmoto developed their teachings and practices through
cooperation and communication with Japanese social and legal institutions.
Most notably, in prewar Japan, Tenrikyō worked hard to be accepted as a
full-fledged Sect Shinto group, while Ōmoto eventually rejected Sect
Shinto. However, in postwar Japan, Tenrikyō left the Sect Shinto
organization, and Ōmoto voluntarily joined it. A close analysis of the
history of these two groups reveals their tangled relationship with the
concept of Shinto, which itself underwent major changes during the 20th

Chapter Contributors

  • Avery Morrow ( - amorrow) 'University of Tokyo'