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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Organized the Muromachi Bakufu


As

one of Yoritomo's first acts when he organized the Kamakura Bakufu had been to establish at Tsurugaoka a shrine to Hachiman (the god of War), patron deity of the Minamotos' great ancestor, Yoshiiye, so when Takauji, himself a Minamoto, organized the Muromachi Bakufu, he worshipped at the Iwashimizu shrine of Hachiman, and all his successors in the shogunate followed his example. Of this shrine Tanaka Harukiyo was named superintendent (betto), and with the Ashikaga leader's assistance, he rebuilt the shrine on a sumptuous scale, departing conspicuously from the austere fashion of pure Shinto.* It may, indeed, be affirmed that Shinto had never been regarded as a religion in Japan until, in the days of the Nara Court, it was amalgamated with Buddhism to form what was called Ryobu-shinto. It derived a further character of religion from the theory of Kitabatake Chikafusa, who contended that Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism were all capable of being welded into one whole. Moreover, in the Muromachi period, the eminent scholar, Ichijo Kaneyoshi (1402-81), wrote a thesis which gave some support to the views of Chikafusa.

*The shrine covered a space of 400 square yards and had a golden gutter, 80 feet long, 13 feet wide, and over 1 inch thick.

But, during the reign of Go-Tsuchimikado (1465-1500), Urabe Kanetomo, professing to interpret his ancestor, Kanenobu, enunciated the doctrine of Yuiitsu-shinto (unique Shinto),

namely, that as between three creeds, Shinto was the root; Confucianism, the branches, and Buddhism, the fruit. This was the first explicit differentiation of Shinto. It found favour, and its propounder's son, Yoshida, asserted the principles still more strenuously. The fact is notable in the history of religion in Japan. Yoshida was the forerunner of Motoori, Hirata, and other comparatively modern philosophers who contended for the revival of "Pure Shinto." Many Japanese annalists allege that Shinto owes its religious character solely to the suggestions of Buddhism, and point to the fact that the Shinto cult has never been able to inspire a great exponent.

ENGRAVING: BELL TOWER OF TODAI-JI

BUDDHISM

The attitude of the Ashikaga towards Buddhism was even more reverential. They honoured the Zen sect almost exclusively. Takauji built the temple Tenryu-ji, in Kyoto, and planned to establish a group of provincial temples under the name of Ankoku-ji. There can be little doubt that his animating purpose in thus acting was to create a counterpoise to the overwhelming strength of the monasteries of Nara and Hiei-zan. The latter comprised three thousand buildings--temples and seminaries--and housed a host of soldier-monks who held Kyoto at their mercy and who had often terrorized the city and the palace. In the eighth century, when the great temple, Todai-ji, was established at Nara, affiliated temples were built throughout the provinces, under the name of Kokubun-ji.


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