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Omoto

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Ômoto is a New Religion established in 1892 and closely drawing upon, and connected to, Sect Shinto.

Deguchi Nao, the founder of Ômoto, spoke of the Meiji period world as one filled with evil and corruption. In particular, she asserted that the world was filled with "money, beasts, and egoism," was ruled over by evil spirits, and was destined to be destroyed by the god Ushitora no Konjin so that it could be then transformed into a purer paradise. Tokyo was said to be the center of this evil, and Ise Shrine, the most sacred site in mainstream Shinto, was said to be polluted. According to Deguchi, following the destruction of Tokyo and the rest of the polluted, corrupt world, Ômoto's home, the city of Ayabe in Kyoto prefecture, would become the new capital (miyako) of peace and purity.

The Japanese government in the 1920s-30s found this rhetoric dangerously counter to the understandings of Imperial Japan which they sought to cultivate and encourage. In 1921, official authorities destroyed the chief Ômoto temple at Ayabe, and forced members of the sect to alter Deguchi's tomb, claiming its resemblance to that of the Meiji Emperor was inappropriate. Authorities attacked Ômoto again in 1935, and Deguchi's body was disinterred and relocated in order to ensure its safety.

References

  • Takashi Fujitani, Splendid Monarchy, University of California Press (1996), 200.
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