Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution: The Separation of Shinto and Buddhist Divinities in Meiji ("Shimbutsu Bunri") and a Case

Study: Tōnomine Author(s): Allan G. Grapard Source: History of Religions, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Feb., 1984), pp. 240-265 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1062445 Accessed: 08/12/2010 10:14
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucpress. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

The University of Chicago Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to History of Religions.

http://www.jstor.org

Allan G. Grapard JAPAN'S IGNORED CULTURAL REVOLUTION: THE SEPARATION OF SHINTO AND BUDDHIST DIVINITIES IN MEIJI (shimbutsu bunri) AND A CASE STUDY: TONOMINE

In 1868, the Japanese government issued decrees ordering the dissociation of Shinto and Buddhist divinities (shimbutsu bunri), causing a series of events sometimes accompanied by what is known as the suppression of Buddhism (haibutsu kishaku). W. G. Beasley, in his long study of the Meiji Restoration, does not even mention these phenomena and goes so far as generously to grant about four lines of the book to the subject of Shinto.' What is more, general works on the history of the Japanese religions hardly present these events, as if they had been of little significance in the overall picture of Meiji or of religions in general and therefore did not deserve scrutiny. The
This study is part of an investigation of the Kasuga cult, which I have been conducting in Japan in 1981-82 under the auspices of the Social Science Research Council. I W. G. Beasley, The Meiji Restoration (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1972).
? 1984 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 00 18-2710/84/ 2303-0003$01.00

History of Religions

241

subject has been treated by only a few Japanese scholars in the past ten years, and much work remains to be done.2 When one reflects on it, the attitude on the part of most of these scholars is only natural, for it is based on a total ignorance of the extent to which Shinto and Buddhism interacted over the centuries. Had historians of religions recognized and properly evaluated these interactions, they would not have failed to see the events of the years surrounding the Meiji Restoration as something else than a "restoration" precisely, but as something more akin to a cultural revolution of surprising magnitude and of far-reaching roots and consequences. This introduction will attempt to establish a perspective on the cultural discourse expressed by Shinto-Buddhist interactions over the centuries, in order to evidence the impact of the Meiji changes and their scope. It will suggest that Japanese religiosity was intricately connected to that discourse-if not being the discourse itself-and that therefore any rupture in it, such as the Meiji "dissociations," caused drastic shifts in religious attitudes, without the knowledge of which, past and contemporary Japanese religiosity cannot be adequately interpreted. Then we will propose a detailed account of what happened in Meiji at the shrine-temple multiplex of Tonomine, dedicated to the first of the Fujiwara, Katamari. We hope that in this process a number of relevant questions concerning Shinto-Buddhist interactions and their fate in Meiji will be asked and that our remarks will indicate the pressing need for further studies of an interdisciplinary character. For reasons that will become clear as we progress, we will use the term "dissociation" rather than the term "separation" to translate the Japanese term bunri; we will also break with habit in rendering shimbutsu by the terms "Shinto and Buddhist divinities" rather than by "Shinto and Buddhism" and this because Shinto divinities are not always the same as Shinto as a religious system. We will return to these questions later. Now, if the Meiji ideologues needed to dissociate Shinto divinities from Buddhist divinities, it was probably because these divinities had been associated. However, reading contemporary scholarship in the West would give few clues as to the nature and extent of these associations, for the simple but most frightening reason that most scholars have been, or still are, under the influence of the Meiji

2 Much of the factual information contained in this article is taken from: Yasumaru Yoshio, Kamigami no Meiji ishin (Tokyo: Iwanami shinsho, 1979); and from Tamamuro Fumio, Shimbutsu hunri (Tokyo: Ky6ikusha, 1977).

242

Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution

ideologues and continue to treat Shinto independently from Buddhism. Shinto-Buddhist syncretism (the associations of Shinto and Buddhist divinities) is for them a fleeting, perhaps medieval, but in any case peripheral phenomenon which may be of interest at the "popular" level but which does not represent the reality of the religious consciousness and habits of the Japanese people at any time in history. Students continue to uphold the dissociations by specializing either in Shinto or in Buddhism. By doing so, they are actually throwing most of Japanese culture out the window. For one has only to read the six thousand pages or so of the five volumes of historical documents concerning the Meiji dissociations to realize that the movement spread, though perhaps with varying intensity, throughout the country and that therefore at least a few serious questions might be asked not only about what happened, but about what happened to what and why!3 If, after that, doubts still remain concerning the pervasiveness of associations between Shinto and Buddhist divinities, then we suggest a careful reading of the entire genre of jisha engi, that is, of the texts devoted to the origins, symbols, and myths of shrine-temple multiplexes. Beyond this body of literature-about which scandalously little has been done in the West-there is another body consisting of rituals and practices, of doctrinal transmissions, philosophical treatises, and edifying tales, and of economic, political, and social structures of cultic centers, about which nothing has been done. What kind of evidence comes from these documents? First, the realization that these "bodies" are in fact parts of a single body, the heart-mind of which is made up of associations that manifest a historical, cultural discourse. Second, that associations between Shinto and Buddhist divinities are a central part of that discourse. Third, that the study of this discourse entails studies of symbols, myths, legends, rituals, practices, poems, and doctrinal treatises as well as of religious institutions and of their economic and political structures. Japanese culture is grounded in associations not only between Shinto and Buddhist divinities but also between these and Taoism or Confucianism. These associations and the interactions that accompanied them are paralleled in many ways by the Sino-Japanese interactions one sees occurring at the level of the Japanese language, so much so in fact that one is tempted to look for the structure of syncretism in the structures of language. This should not be surprising, for religion is a system of meaning; it is therefore related to language,
3 Meiji ishin shimbutsu bunri shiryo, ed. Murakami S., Tsuji Z., and Washio J., 2d ed., 5 vols. (Tokyo: Meicho shuppan, 1970).

History of Religions

243

even when it attempts to transcend it. In any case, our primary investigations have revealed that the associations between Shinto and Buddhist divinities rely heavily on games of association, on puns, and on metaphors. To put it in a nutshell, let us say now that a metaphor's function is to create meaning by showing the essential similarity of dissimilar things or the singular character of the plural.4 Shinto-Buddhist syncretism might be seen as the expression of a fundamental similarity between apparently dissimilar cultural traits, and one could judge its schools, practices, and levels of sophistication by asking the question, How effectively is the metaphorical structure working here? Of course, this structure is not the only one at work in these associations, for the cultural discourse is rich, varied, and subject to transformational changes that have their own grammar. What we suggest now is that careful studies of the language of religion in Japan can shed some formidable light that no other methodological apparatus allows; we can already state here that the changes that occurred in religion in Meiji were accompanied by rather drastic changes in language and that it was not by chance. A good way to put our views to the test and to evidence the dimensions and impact of the Meiji dissociations is to propose a new perspective on the study of religious phenomena in Japan. Instead of studying Shinto alone, or Buddhism alone, which does nothing but reinforce the bias we want to avoid, why not study religion in situ, where it was? Whoever has done fieldwork in Japan could not fail to recognize that religion, or religiosity, is primarily attached to some kind of space referent: the house, or the temple, the shrine, the shrine-temple multiplex, or the cultic center of pilgrimage fame, sacred geographyand also to some kind of time referent: the ritual cycle and its accompanying subtleties. A closer look reveals that most cultic centers have a long history and yielded through that history vast spiritual, cultural, political, and economic power in the areas-close or farthey came to preside over, mostly for political or economic reasons. Let us call "sphere of influence" the areas in which cults developed along various religious lines and associations, and let us suppose that the people who lived there were essentially under that influence, and not only in economic terms. What we have then is a precise, concrete, and immensely convenient object of study. Let us call it a cultic "universe of meaning," in virtue of the fact that it is grounded in
4 There is a current debate among philosophers and linguists concerning the validity of metaphorical structures. See, e.g., Sheldon Sacks, ed., On Metaphor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978). I am resolutely in favor of those who consider metaphors as serious "makers of meaning."

244

Japan 's Ignored Cultural Revolution

space and time, in symbols, myths, and practices, that together form principles whereby people order their lives, creating a sociocosmic system ruled by oppositions between plains and mountains, high and low, close and distant, pure and impure, sacred and profane, life and death, water and fire, yin and yang, et cetera. Each cultic center is therefore a sphere of cultural identity symbolized by the divinities worshiped there: nature divinities, ancestral divinities, or cultural divinities, or, as is often the case, a mixture of these. Buddhism was introduced when these cults were in their formative stage and installed itself in temples near the shrines (when shrines existed). Buddhism did not dislocate these divinities. Introducing another culture represented by another language (Chinese) and by other divinities (the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas), it gradually entered in communication with the preexisting system, and associations were established between the divinities of the shrines and the divinities of the temples, not only for political or economic reasons, as some would like us to believe, but also for profound religious reasons; for out of these associations, new definitions of the divine emerged, and these definitions represent the religiosity of the people. These associations, the sets of practices and creeds, and their surrounding expressions are the real face of religiosity; they are the real cultural discourse that informed people and that people in turn informed; they are a processual event, a cultural discourse we should recognize and study. We have evidenced somewhere else that, during the medieval period, Japan consisted of a patchwork of such spheres of influence, which came to be connected with each other through the socioreligious processes known as pilgrimage.5 Each universe of meaning constantly expressed, reaffirmed, or reinterpreted its symbols, myths, legends, and virtues, thus giving birth to the literature of the jisha engi, setsuwa, soshi, hoka, et cetera.6 All layers of meaning that were brought to interplay with each other formed the tissue of religious consciousness that one can find supporting poems, or no plays. When the political and economic structures of these cultic centers changed during the Edo period, severe transformations occurred; but the institutional changes were not the only ones that should be pointed
5 Allan G. Grapard, "Flying Mountains and Walkers of Emptiness: Toward a Definition of Sacred Space in Japanese Religions," History of Religions 21 (February 1982): 195-221. 6 See Sakurai T., Hagiwara T., and Miyata N., eds., Jisha engi (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1975). A comprehensive study of the literary universe of cultic centers was undertaken for the case of Sugawara no Michizane; see Kawazoe Shiji, Chusei bungei no chihoshi (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1982); see also Kasai Masaaki, Ten/in engi no rekishi (Tokyo: Yuizankaku, 1973).

History of Religions

245

out. There were other changes of a philosophical nature that should be brought to light. It makes more than sense to recognize the emergence, formation, and development of cultic centers as a fundamental aspect of Japanese religions and culture and to see the associations between Shinto and Buddhist divinities that occurred there as a vital part of their being. Therefore, the dissociations ordered by the Meiji government were destructive moves aimed at these centers, but they were, first and foremost, attempts at modifying religious consciousness. That could not be done without an ideology based on a total disregard for history, an ideology that, while attempting to take the guise of a rediscovery of history, was in fact the institutionalization of cultural lies. In 1868, the Meiji ideologues systematically undid all associations between Shinto and Buddhist divinities and, in the process, actually created many divinities either by renaming old ones or by simply inventing new ones that were to become part of the new state religion. They forced thousands of monks and nuns to return to lay life and watched without moving when innumerable statues, paintings, scriptures, ritual implements, and buildings were destroyed, sold, stolen, burnt, or covered with excrement. Whenever the government received complaints on the part of the great cultic centers or of the Shin school of Pure Land, it made a few public statements declaring that the original intention of the dissociations was not the annihilation of Buddhism, and-in even fewer cases-it took measures, for it needed the support of institutionalized Buddhism. But overall, the destruction of syncretic art and treatises is beyond imagination. Nobody acknowledged the fact that the disruption of the Shinto-Buddhist discourse was in fact a denial of cultural history. While denying this cultural discourse and presiding over the destruction of its manifestations and expressions, the government pretended to return to the "real" source of Japanese identity and religious consciousness. The government thereby became the manufacturer and backer of some gross lies concerning its own cultural history. The country of traditions was in effect doing away with most of them and was creating from bits and pieces a "religion" that was to become no more than a tool for coercion dedicated to the support of "structure." These actions were a rewriting of history. After having cleared the table, the ideologues created new "ancient" institutions and rituals and forced new habits on the people, especially in the area of marriage and funerals. They used popular worship whenever it was beneficial to their schemes, for example, by shifting the emphasis at Ise from popular worship of the food divinities to the

246

Japan 's Ignored Cultural Revolution

cult of the sun as emblem of the state. They also forbade popular worship whenever they thought that religious attitudes were dangerous to their own policies. We have no time here to speak of the consequences of the Meiji dissociations that were absolutely necessary to the ideologues in their formulation of a new Shinto. One can refer for these to the work of Murakami Shigeyoshi.7 But we should mention that people have settled into some of these instant traditions and hardly questioned their own religiosity, partly because they are not invited or encouraged to do so, especially by education; the past is held at one remove from consciousness and is the object of exotic interest or of an academic discourse that is still fragmented. Shinto marriages have become the rule, and visits to the shrines for the new year are made by 70 percent of the population, while some of the new shrines, like the Heian Jinga in Kyoto or the Yasukuni Jinja in Tokyo attract people who have no idea of what they represent.8 Furthermore, the "cosmetic" changes wrought on religious institutions by the government are such that most people have no knowledge of the way these institutions were before Meiji: they are by and large ignorant of the reality of ShintoBuddhist syncretism, even though some of their practices cannot be understood unless one is aware of history. Some of the deep structures of syncretism seem to be at work in Japan's relationship to the West, but that new cultural discourse might take quite some time before maturing. Education does not help, for the history of religious thought and institutions is barely touched on, at any level; there are a few signs that this situation might change, but there is no doubt that the effort is totally insufficient. Interestingly enough, some changes are occurring in cultic centers, of all places. On the second day of January 1982, Hoss6 monks of the Kofuku-ji went in grand attire to pay their respects to the divinities of the Kasuga Shrine in Nara; led ceremoniously on the grounds by the head priests of the shrines, the monks clapped their hands, bowed, witnessed food offerings, and then chanted the Heart-sutra and parts of the Jo-yuishikiron. Thereafter, they went to do the same at the Wakamiya Shrine of Kasuga and were in good public view as they officiated side by side with the Shinto priests. One visitor to the shrine could not fathom what he saw and exclaimed: "What is this? Monks and priests worshiping the Kami together?" Whereupon he
7 Murakami Shigeyoshi, Japanese Religion in the Modern Century (Tokyo: Tokyo University Press, 1980). 8 See, on this important contemporary problem, Kuroda Toshio, "Chinkon no keifu," Rekishigakukenkyu, no. 500 (January 1982), pp. 3-15, 46.

History of Religions

247

left the scene with a puzzled look on his face. This syncretic ceremony had been reinstituted by the head priest of Kasuga in order to, in his own words, "assume our past."
THE TONOMINE CULTIC CENTER

The Meiji government called for a "return to the creativity of Jimmu," the first of the Japanese rulers according to the official mythology. This was as close to the "beginnings" as it could get. But the institutions to effect such return were copied from those established by the Codes (ritsuryo seido), by which the country was ruled from the seventh century on. It was probably the Asuka-Kiyomihara code (put into effect in 689) that created the jingikan (Bureau of religious affairs),9 an office which, on paper, stood above the dajokan.10 Judging from the definition of the office, the duties of its members consisted mostly in fixing the ceremonies and rites of the court, some of which had existed prior to the creation and promulgation of the Codes. The term jingi-haku, which designates the head of this Bureau of Religious Affairs, did not appear before 701, when it replaced that ofjingikanchojo. The jingikan was traditionally headed by members of the Nakatomi clan, the main court ritualists of the classical period." The most famous of the Nakatomi in the seventh century was Kamatari (614-69), who was instrumental in bringing about the Taika Reform; the Nihongi reports that the empress K6gyoku (ruled 642-45) would have offered Kamatari the office of head of the jingikan in 644, but that he declined. Tamura Encho, noting that the term jingi-haku did not exist then, dismisses this report as a later fabrication intended to enhance the status of the Fujiwara clan. In any case, Japan believed until the second half of the twentieth century that Kamatari had been offered the position.12 Kamatari became the first of the Fujiwara in 669, a name granted by the emperor and reserved exclusively for Kamatari's direct descendants from 698 on, so that a clear distinction be established between the Fujiwara and the Nakatomi. Kamatari was later enshrined and
9 Ueda Masaaki, Kodaishi no ibuki (Kyoto: PHP, 1981), p. 89. 10But it was in fact under it, as is evidenced by the ranks of its officers. The Meiji jingikan was created in 1868 and put above-on paper also-the dajokan in 1869. It was renamed Jingish6 in 1871 and Kyobusho in 1872, and it was finally assimilated to the Naimush6 in 1877. For details, see Murakami Shigeyoshi. lI There were three exceptions during the Nara period. See Ueda, p. 92. For more information on the Nakatomi, see Inoue Tatsuo, Kodai oken to shukvo-teki bemin (Tokyo: Kashiwa shob6, 1980), pp. 189-256. 12Tamura Ench6, Fujiwara no Kamatari (Tokyo: Shinkob6, 1966), p. 55.

248

Japan s Ignored Cultural Revolution

deified in a cultic center called T6nomine, in the vicinity of Asuka. This cultic center, which is still extant today, has had a tumultuous history, which I will now briefly present before indicating what happened to it in Meiji. In view of Kamatari's position in Japanese history and of the purported position of the Meiji ideologues, one would have expected a special treatment of Tonomine in 1868. It was indeed special, but not of the expected kind. Kamatari died at his Omi residence in 669. In order to determine the nature of the cult that was given his spirit, we must ask a few questions concerning his religiosity. From the scant accounts we have, it appears that Kamatari had both public and private religious concerns; we have some information about the Buddhist aspect of his life: he would have had a personal devotion to Avalokitesvara (Japanese Kannon; his jibutsu, or personal object of devotion, would have been a painted representation of this Bodhisattva), to Maitreya (Japanese Miroku, the Buddha of the future; this was both a tendency in the aristocracy of the time and a salient feature of Fujiwara religiosity thereafter), as well as a particular relationship to Vimalakirti (Japanese Yuima koji, the great layman made famous by his teaching of the highest doctrine of Buddhism through silence, but, in Kamatari's case, probably viewed in terms of the disease that Vimalakirti pretended in order to teach along the lines of the salvific means: Sanskrit upaya).13 In this sense, we can notice a remarkable affinity between Kamatari's religion-or what we are told about it-and that of Shotoku Taishi. Kamatari would have had a personal chapel at his residence at Yamashina; the K6fuku-ji-ujidera of the Fujiwara-claims to have originated in that chapel, and that is why the name "Yamashina" was associated with the Kofuku-ji in the following centuries; the central ceremony of the K6fuku-ji was dedicated to Vimalakirti: that is the famed Yuima-e. It is important to remember these facts, for Kamatari came to be worshiped as a manifestation in this world of Vimalakirti. What is more, Kamatari had his elder son, Mahito, enter the Buddhist monastic community at a tender age and sent him to study in China for an extended period of time. Mahito's name as a monk is Jo-e; I will return to him later. Although we have this information concerning Kamatari's Buddhist inclinations, which appear to have been personal and political, we have no information whatsoever concerning other aspects of his
13 See Etienne Lamotte, L'Enseignement de Vimalakirti (Louvain: Presses universitaires de France, 1962).

History of Religions

249

religious life, and that is most frustrating. The tradition naturally never forgot that he was a Nakatomi and claims that he worshiped the ancestral divinities of that clan; but a later tradition (that which appears in the Okagami) insists on his being the first of the Fujiwara and therefore shows him worshiping other divinities. Let us reflect on these important questions, for both traditions have been carried over into contemporary scholarship, in which Japanese historians are sharply divided. The two positions are related to the question of the birthplace of Kamatari: the apparently older tradition states that he was born near the foot of Mount Amenokagu, a site of ancient Nakatomi religious connections; therefore, Kamatari is there seen as issued from the main branch of the Nakatomi in Yamato, in which case he would naturally worship the ancestral divinities of that branch: Ame-nokoyane-no-mikoto and his consort Himegami, which were enshrined at Hiraoka. That is, if Kamatari was in any position of worshiping ancestral divinities, and if there was any such concrete worship at the time. This position is firmly taken by Ueda Masaaki.'4 The other position is actually based on the more recent tradition that claims Kamatari was born in Kashima and therefore did not belong to the Yamato branch of the court ritualists: he might have been raised or adopted by them; this position is also related to the fact that the ancestral divinities of the Fujiwara (to be quite precise, we should say tutelary divinities), enshrined at Kasuga at a time that cannot be established with precision, are precisely the divinities of Kashima and Katori. The position is defended by Tamura Encho, who claims that "one cannot lie about one's ancestral divinities." Tamura states clearly that Kamatari was from Kashima, that he worshiped the Kashima deities, and that Kamatari was instrumental in creating the state orthodoxy to which the name of Shinto was applied.'5 If one compares the Hiraoka Shrine, dedicated to the ancestral divinities of the Nakatomi, and the Kasuga Shrine, dedicated to the ancestral and tutelary divinities of the Fujiwara, one notices that, originally, Hiraoka enshrined only Ame-no-koyane-no-mikoto and his consort, while Kasuga enshrined only the divinities of Kashima and Katori, and that, later, the Kashima and Katori divinities were enshrined at Hiraoka with a lower status, while the divinities of Hiraoka came to be enshrined, also with a lower status, at Kasuga. Therefore, one must see these two shrines as symbolizing-among other things-a clear
14Ueda Masaaki, Fujiwara no Fuhito (Tokyo: Asahi shimbun-sha, 1976). Also Ueda, Kodaishi no ibuki. 15Tamura, pp. 25-26.

250

Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution

line of demarcation between the Nakatomi and the Fujiwara. On the other hand, one must see them as a reminder of the purported origin of the Fujiwara, which is something that the Fujiwara could very well decide to ignore but that the Nakatomi could not, and would not, allow to be forgotten: not only were they ritualists specializing in court rituals and in the establishment of the symbols surrounding the imperial figure (some of them worked at the compilation of the Kojiki), but they were also the head priests of Kasuga. Furthermore, if Tamura sees in Kamatari a man deeply concerned with the establishment of the state orthodoxy, Ueda does not admit that and prefers to put Kamatari's second son, Fuhito, into that role; Fuhito was the man behind the creation of the K6fuku-ji, whereas one of his sons, Nakamaro, would have been behind the creation-or the "reorganization"-of the Kasuga Shrine. Therefore, we see in the differences between the Hiraoka and the Kasuga shrines nothing more than a symbolical demarcation between the Nakatomi and the Fujiwara and find it difficult to search there for Kamatari's religion; if we had any record of Kamatari worshiping either ancestral divinity, or indicating in a trustworthy manner where he was born, we would have no doubt whatsoever. But there is no such record! The Fujiwara were the ones needing ancestral divinities different from those of the Nakatomi; Kamatari did not, and he did not know that he would become the de facto human ancestor of the Fujiwara. Because there were some Nakatomi in Kashima in the Hitachi province, at a time when the eastern part of Japan was politically, economically, and militarily important, the Kashima and Katori divinities were "borrowed" by the center when the Fujiwara needed distinct divinities to ground their identity. We do not see that this was already a must in Kamatari's time, nor do we have any clear information concerning Kamatari's position within the Nakatomi clan structure, which is the type of information we would need in order to evaluate whether Kamatari would have been involved at all in such worship. Tonomine (transcribed with the ominous ideograms, Mount of Many Warriors) is a mountain situated to the east of Asuka and to the south of Sakurai; it was formerly called Taminomine and is also known as Tanzan, which might be a corruption of Taminomine, but written with ideograms meaning "Consultation Mount" in virtue of the tradition according to which Kamatari and the imperial prince Naka no Oe would have plotted the downfall of the Soga clan there, away from possible indiscretion. Tamura also notes that the empress Saimei (ruled 655-61) would have ordered a canal built south of

History of Religions

251

Mount Amenokagu to transport stones that would have been used to fortify T6nomine, for both internal and external reasons.'6 The Tonomine ryakki,'7 compiled in 1197, states that the creation of the cultic center was due to Kamatari's son, Jo-e: returning from China and learning of his father's death, he would have asked his younger brother Fuhito where the tomb was and would have been told it was situated at Aizan, near Mount Abu in the province of Settsu. With this information, J6-e would have gone there, taken his father's remains, and moved them to T6nomine. He then would have erected a thirteen-storied pagoda over these remains and would have erected a temple for the cult. There would have been an imperial visit to this site in 693. The tomb is mentioned in the Sandaijitsuroku in 858. There are several problems with this tradition. First, J6-e left for China in 653 (he was then eleven) and returned in 665, four years before his father's death. He also died before his father, a few months after returning from China, probably poisoned by some Paekche figure.'8 Therefore, he could not have done any of what the ryakki says. Furthermore, the Kamatari den, authored by Kamatari's grandson Nakamaro, mentions neither Aizan nor T6nomine but simply states that Kamatari was interred at Yamashina. We must look for the origins and the rationale of such a tradition somewhere else in the symbolic realm; the attribution of T6nomine's creation to Kamatari's Buddhist son is an indication of the fact that the cult was probably Buddhist to start with and nothing else. It is also a discrete suggestion to the effect that the cult of the Fujiwara human ancestor remained "in the family." In our view, there was no immediate reason to give a particular cult to Kamatari and to begin the process of deification before it became symbolically and politically necessary; furthermore, the spirit of Kamatari was partly taken care of by the ceremonies dedicated to Vimalakirti at the K6fuku-ji. And beyond these significant points, there is also the fact that the deification of Katamari followed the patterns according to which Sh6toku Taishi was deified; therefore we have to wait for the stabilization of such patterns. But again, these remarks should not take anything away from the history of the cult as it was written by those who needed it for
16Ibid., pp. 134-35. 17 Tonomine ryakki, in Gunsho ruiji, ed. Zoku-gunsho ruiju-kanseikai (Tokyo, 1928), 24:424-54. 18 Tamura, p. 162.

252

Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution

political reasons, and as it was transmitted to the following generations, and believed in. The medieval "mandalas" of Tonomine represent the great minister of state Kamatari seated at the center and flanked by his sons J6-e and Fuhito, the first one in a Buddhist robe and the second one in court attire; these are direct indications as to the nature of the cult. We do not know for sure when and by whom a temple was built at Tonomine; consequently, we have no idea at all concerning the exact character of the early cult-that is, whether it was entirely Buddhist or whether it included elements of ancestor worship belonging to the native tradition or to Confucianism. These are extremely difficult problems, as we will attempt to show later in this presentation. Miyai Yoshio declares that the cult probably began at T6nomine when the capital was moved from Omi to Yamato toward the end of the seventh century; in view of the remarks made earlier and of the fact that there is no historical document to support this assertion, we reject it.19 But there is no doubt that by the ninth century something existed and that it was taken care of by the Kofuku-ji, though apparently without any great enthusiasm. By the end of the ninth century the place had fallen into disrepair, and the presence of the Kofuku-ji was not to be seen. However, the tenth century saw many an important change: the temples were restored by monks of Mount Hiei; from 947 on, T6nomine, under the name of My6raku-ji, was under Tendai political, economic, and doctrinal rule, as a subtemple of the Sh6ren-in monzeki. This was to cause many problems later. The second change concerns the nature of the cult; though we have stated earlier that we had no information concerning the character of the cult at the beginning of its history, the fact that the Tendai school came to take care of it means that it evolved in a substantial manner. Most probably, Tendai played the major role in the doctrinal and ritual formulation of the cult dedicated to Sh6toku Taishi. And there is at Tonomine, from a date that we cannot ascertain precisely, a building called Shoryo-in (Hall of the sacred spirit), in which a wooden statue of Kamatari was placed. This must be associated with the buildings bearing exactly the same name and dedicated to Sh6toku Taishi in the Horyu-ji and in the Shitenno-ji. Here are a few hints that should be carefully considered: in 939, the chieftain of the Fujiwara clan, Tadahira, claimed that he did not know where the tomb of Kamatari was located.20 But the same Tadahira reported the
19Miyai Yoshio, Fujiwara-shi no ujigami/ujidera shinko (Tokyo: Seiko shobo, 1978), pp. 408-54. 20 Ibid., p. 416.

History of Religions

253

rebellion of Tairo no Masakado to Kamatari's spirit in 940! Masakado, who had proclaimed himself to be the new emperor in the eastern part of Japan (and dangerously close to Kashima), was "disposed of" by the Fujiwara; there is little doubt that this event was extremely traumatic and shook some of the Fujiwara leaders, causing some deep anxieties and religious concerns. When we think that the Kitano Shrine dedicated to the angry spirit of Sugawara no Michizane was erected in 947, we have more than reason to suppose that cults dedicated to the pacification of the spirits of great political leaders suddenly took on grand proportions. Furthermore, it was also the Tendai school that took care of the Kitano cult. Such religious consciousness on the part of the Fujiwara, which echoed some deep anxieties in the nonaristocratic milieu, was parallel to the Fujiwaras' political fate. A cult of deification such as that developing for Kamatari and Michizane were expressions of a subtle dialectic between political and religious consciousness, or between "structure"and "communitas." It is therefore no surprise to note that Tonomine developed on a grand scale during the tenth century: the nyohatto was built in 954, the hokke-sammaido in 964, the jogyosammaido in 970, the kodo in 972, the kondo was rebuilt in 973, and thefumondo was built in 976. The nio-e, a grand ceremony dedicated to the protection of the state, was instituted in 954; this type of ceremony, which had by then already a long history in Japan, is an indication of the worries of the Fujiwara and of the character of Kamatari as a protector of the Fujiwara interests and, by extension, of the national interests as well. Tonomine was then granted large tax-free domains for its economic support, and the place grew into a cultic center of importance and remarkable power. Kamatari was not regarded as an "angry spirit" (onryo), but rather as a benevolent protector of Fujiwara political interests, and as such, his spirit would give advance warnings of major problems. These warnings took the form of noise, which is a symbol of cosmic disruption: either cracks on the face of the statue of Kamatari were heard, or the mountain rumbled and roared. The first record of these cosmic sounds is found in Fujiwara no Michinaga's diary, in the year 1012; subsequently, noise was heard for a total of thirty-six times in the following years: 1031, 1046, 1081, 1148, 1157, 1162, 1167, 1170, 1172, 1174, 1178, 1180, 1181, 1184, and 1187, this last one being right after the establishment of military rule in Kamakura. Obviously, these incidents occurred at a time the Fujiwara leaders were worried about a political situation that went increasingly out of their control and stopped when a new social and political order was established. Neither the mountain nor the statue were heard thereafter: the

254

Japan 's Ignored Cultural Revolution

Fujiwara continued to exist as aristocrats at the court, but the fate of the country was not linked anymore to their own; therefore, Kamatari's cult was to take a new dimension. Every time the statue emitted sounds, it was examined very much in the same way that turtle shells were examined by diviners of old after having been submitted to fire: cracks appeared, and the direction of these cracks was used to find the "epicenter"of the seism, which in every case was a different realm of Fujiwara political control. These cracks were reported to the court, where further divination was performed. Then offerings of gratitude were sent to T6nomine, where special ceremonies were performed. It seems that divination on turtle shells or on cattle scapulas had, as early as its inception in the Shang dynasty in China, a character of political control, for diviners played a major role in the decision-making process of the rulers. This was the case in Japan also, where the technicians of divination were the Urabe, a family closely linked to the Nakatomi and to the Fujiwara. One imagines without much trouble that this type of events went along with the deification of Kamatari under the doctrinal and ritual influences that prevailed at the time: this is where the associations of Shinto and Buddhist divinities played fully. Although such associations had appeared extremely early in Japanese religious history, the type that interests us here is the gongen, or gonge phenomenon (avatar), which occurred rather late and occupies a special position in syncretism. The first instance of a Shinto divinity receiving a cult as an avatar designated by the term gongen was at the Atsuta Shrine in 1004. It was followed by Hachiman in 1046 (although Hachiman had been treated as a Bodhisattva for more than two centuries before this), Sann6 in 1051, Kumano in 1083, and T6nomine in 1158. (Kasuga appeared as a gongen in 1170.) We must see in the application of the term gongen to syncretic divinities a late stage of completion of cults that had been for quite some time in the process of formation, and that is true for T6nomine. It is necessary to note that the term gongen almost always appears after a place name and not after a divinity's name, though the reasons for this are not clear. As "Tonomine gongen," Kamatari was regarded as an avatar of Vimalakirti, the lay hero of the principle of nonduality. The commentary on the Vimalakirti nirdesa sitra attributed to Sh6toku Taishi contains the following statement: "Although Vimalakirti softens his radiance and mingles with the dust, he is not subject to this-worldly defilements. He is therefore also known as 'Pure Name' [jomy6]." A document issued by the K6fuku-ji in 1158 declares: "The Daishokkan [Kamatari] is an avatar of jomy5 daishi." Consequently, we can suppose with some certitude that by 1158 the cult had fixed features.

History of Religions
TABLE I
LIST OF CEREMONIES FOR THE YEAR 1176

255

Moon/Day 1/15 ................ ................ 2/15 4/8 ................. ................ 6/15 1-12/10 .............. 1-12/10 .............. 11/24 ................

Name of Ceremony Ni6-e Nehan-e Kambutsu-e Renge-e Hokke-e Yuima-e Daishi-ko

Place of Performance Lecture Hall Lecture Hall Lecture Hall Lecture Hall Shoryo-in Sh5ryo-in Refectory (/ikid5)

SOURCE.-Tonomine ryakki, in Gunsho ruiju, ed. Zoku-gunsho ruiju-kanseikai (Tokyo, 1928).

This is further supported by the list of ceremonies given for the year 1176 by the Tonomine ryakki (see table 1). In addition to these ceremonies, there were regular sessions: hokkesammai in the hokke-d6, jogy5-sammai in the jogy6-do. Every year, and for ninety days between the seventh and the ninth moon, the Thirty-two Aspects of Amida were chanted, and the fudan-nembutsu was chanted once a day. And finally, on the sixteenth day of every moon, a ceremony called j.roku-ko (The sixteenth day lecture) was held in the Shoryo-in; the sixteenth day was seen as the day on which Kamatari had passed away. This list of ceremonies indicates that the ritual cycle at T6nomine was heavily colored by Tendai "normal" rituals, dedicated to the protection of the state, to the Lotus Sutra, and to Pure Land practices, as well as to Vimalakirti. Those that interest us for their possible syncretic contents are the rituals performed in the shoryo-in, for they are specifically related to Kamatari. But we could not find any descriptions of these rituals, and, at this point of investigation, it is impossible to come up with even any suggestion: this will be our situation as long as we have no specific texts for Kamatari and as long as other syncretic rituals are ignored. We have no information concerning the ritual contents at Tonomine before the fifteenth century. There may well be some important texts tucked away at the Shoren-in in Kyoto, but these are not available to anyone. It is quite possible also that these texts were destroyed on the occasion of the many military attacks that befell the cultic center, attacks brought about by the shuto and s5hei (the so-called warrior monks) of the Kofuku-ji in their disputes with Mount Hiei. As stated earlier, the fact that the Tendai school had taken possession of the cultic center regularly aggravated the Kofuku-ji, especially as this Fujiwara symbol had come to control spiritually, economically,

256

Japan s Ignored Cultural Revolution

and politically the entire province of Yamato, except Tonomine. Economic reasons appear to have incited this "spiritual"representative of a Fujiwara cult to attack, burn, and destroy another cultic center dedicated to the ancestor of the Fujiwara. These attacks occurred in 1081, 1108, 1151, 1173, 1208 (this time on the part of the shuto of Kimpusen), in 1228, 1229, and in 1321.21 Tonomine was further visited by disaster at the time of the Namboku-ch6 dynastic crisis (1336-92): the entire place was reduced to ashes in 1351. At the end of the crisis, however, the new military government of the Ashikaga recognized the Kofuku-ji as protector (shugo) of the Yamato province, but it had the shuto swear allegiance. This amounted to pretending that the north-south split did not exist; but the Kitabatake family had kept power in the nearby districts of Uda and Yoshino. In 1414, the shogun asked once more from the shuto that they renew their oath of allegiance. The following year, Kitabatake Yoshimasa rebelled; he lost, but military efforts in the form of "guerrilla" warfare persisted all the way into the premodern period, and the province of Yamato was actually divided between north and south for most of that time and the Kofuku-ji controlled only the north. It was during one of those skirmishes that Tonomine was again reduced to ashes in 1438. The statue of Kamatari was saved and transported to the Tachibana-dera, where it stayed for three years, until the cultic center was rebuilt. In 1441, the statue was carried back to the mountain in great pomp, and an autumn festival was created to commemorate the occasion: this is the beginning of T6nomine's greatest matsuri, performed without much change until 1868. In 1465, an imperial messenger visited the cultic center and chanted in front of the avatar a "supplique" (saimon) that has been transmitted to this day, and reads in part: On this auspiciousday chosen by divination,a regularfestivalis createdand is to be assumedby the Buddhist of authorities this religious center,and to be observedby high and low on this mountain.... Offeringsof food are to be who, minglingwith presentedto the August Tanzandaimyojin[Kamatari]
the dust and dimming His radiance, has led to salvation the various beings of this world, and has, for a long time and by compassion, extracted their sufferings . . . who has, by clever use of the Salvific Means, profited various

living beings, and has not shied away from His originalvow to protectthe Dharma.... May Heavenand Earthlast forever,and the Sun and the Moon
21 See Gaston Renondeau, Les Moines guerriers du Japon (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1964).

History of Religions
continue their regular course in the sky....

257
This very precious Lord, Great

of Divinityof the FirstRank,is the directdescendant the loyalAmenokoyaneand no-mikoto, who assistedAmaterasu-k6daijin, whose pure lineagemade
Him the Great Ancestor of the Fujiwara House .... May this lineage flourish forever.... To mark this event, the dance sei-no-wo shall be performed.22

Three points in the preceding text are of immediate interest to us. The first one is the fact that Kamatari is not referred to as gongen anymore, but as daimyojin of Tanzan; the term daimyojin, though typical at the time of Yoshida Kanetomo's Yuitsu Shinto, was used in several contexts; but what is important is that it is essentially "Shinto." The Chikanaga kyo-ki, journal of Kanroji Chikanaga (1424-1500) states that a wooden panel bearing the inscription "Daimyojin" written by imperial hand was offered at Tonomine in 1476. It is probably from that date on that lay, "Shinto"-oriented figures, such as the so-called tomb keepers (hakamori) made their appearance. The second point of interest is the offering of food; this particular festival is famous for its intricate culinary preparations, and for a long time the displays have been characterized as purely Shinto. This opinion has been revised recently, and it seems proper to suggest that in reality Buddhism was responsible for such offerings that are highly elaborate.23 Offering food to the dead is an ancient practice that knows perhaps of no boundaries; it seems to have been introduced into Buddhism in India at a rather early date and to have been used in ceremonies that were not necessarily connected to the pacification of the dead. That such offerings would be made in a cult dedicated to an ancestral figure is therefore even less surprising; but to see in them traces of pre-Buddhist ancestor worship seems to us extremely farfetched, if only because little is known about these. Furthermore, offerings for a shamanistic session in Korea were recently shown to me: the size, shape, color, and materials were so strikingly similar to those of the Tonomine offerings that I suspect that the topic of food offering in Shinto is a wide-open field for future research; in any case, we know of no study of Buddhist food offerings. The third point of interest concerns the offering of the dance called sei-no-wo, accompanied by offerings of sumo wrestling and of sarugaku. Sumo wrestling and sarugaku are a general feature of
22 This text, and the factual information of this segment, are based on Meiji ishin shimbutsu bunri shir6o (n. 3 above), vol. 3. 23 See Iwai Hiromi and Niwa Yuju, Shinsen (Tokyo: Domeisha, 1981), esp. pp. 14652, 226-60.

258

Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution

festivals that were created during the medieval period, though their origin goes as far back as the fourth century. The presentation of the sei-no-wo dance is an indication of the relationship of Kamatari's cult to the Kasuga cult: this dance is performed at the On-matsuri, in which it functions as a "clicker" to recall symbols and myths of great antiquity. But there is more to it here; among the food offerings at the autumn festival of Tonomine, the first to be served is called mukunin (no-defilement figure) and consists of two puppet-shaped offerings that are also called sei-no-wo. Beyond indicating how important the sei-no-wo constellation is in the Fujiwara cults, there is another remark to be made: the term mukunin also appears in a declaration written by the shuto of the K6fuku-ji in 1158: "The nodefilement-designation refers to a 'fragment' of the Buddha; [in this connection] the daishokkan [Kamatari] is known as an avatar of the Pure-Name [jomy6] lay master Vimalakirti."24 This declaration reveals one of the fundamental structures of syncretism-the metaphor-at work; in this case, we are told that sei-no-wo (mukunin) is jomyo, is Kamatari, is Vimalakirti. The puppet-shaped food offering therefore stands for purity, which is characteristic-imbedded in name-of both Kamatari and Vimalakirti. One further remark concerning the offering of dances at such festivals is that, while one could simply say that the divinities rejoice in the performance of dances, in fact the situation is far more complex: it is necessary to think that-in reality-it is the divinity that dances and, while dancing, remembers its own nature. This allows us to reflect in a particular manner on the relationship between religion and culture, but it also invites us to suggest that certain divinities may be qualified as being "culture heroes," for culture (dances, music, food) is what is shown, performed, and offered at the time of their rebirth. Either they are reborn in cult/culture, or culture is born out of the cult dedicated to them. As time passed, the way in which the T6nomine cultic center was referred to took on an increasingly "Shinto" coloration: in 1498, Kamatari was referred to as "Daishokkan Daimyojin," a term that shows no Buddhist influence at all. In 1506 the center was called Tonomine shat5 (T6nomine shrine center); but the name of the place kept varying, probably depending on who was the author of the text in which it appears. But it is fair to suggest that new religious

24The declaration is contained in the Heian ibun, vol. 6, but this reference was taken from Miyai Yoshio, Fujiwara-shi no Ujigami ujidera shinko to Somyo-saishi (Tokyo: Seik6 shob6, 1978), p. 437.

History of Religions

259

tendencies were showing and that the character of Kamatari changed accordingly, even though we know that all authority was held by the "monks." In 1580, the center had a revenue of 6,000 koku.25 As we stated above, the Yamato province was split between north and south, and this kept bothering the authorities. This is probably the reason why Toyotomi Hideyoshi instructed his brother Hidenaga to remove the cultic center from Tonomine, rebuild it in Koriyama-stronghold of the Tsutsui family-and give it a revenue of 3,000 koku. This was done in 1588. The mountain center was supposed to remain intact, but in fact all the temples were destroyed, and the shuto were dispersed. Three years later, Hidenaga fell ill, and it was judged that his illness was caused by a malediction (tatari) on the part of Kamatari's spirit. Therefore, the mountain cultic center was rebuilt, and the statue was returned to the mountain. This was the birth of the Tonomine cultic center as it lasted until 1868. At this juncture it is well to underline the fact that cults to deceased leaders, which had begun with Shotoku Taishi's deification and with Kamatari's, had been under Tendai doctrinal influence, but that they were "picked up" by the Yuitsu Shinto which had been responsible for the creation of the Hokoku Shrine dedicated in 1598 to the spirit of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This did show that the Yuitsu form of Shinto did everything in its power to rule the world of cults. This "school" of Shinto also erected at Kun6 a mausoleum for the deification of Tokugawa Ieyasu; the Tendai monk Tenkai managed to revert the decision and build a new mausoleum at Nikko, under the rule of his brand of Sanno Shinto. This must be seen as a major political move on the part of Tendai to rebuild itself and to compete in religious authority with Yuitsu Shinto. This entailed convincing the authorities that the choice of the Yuitsu Shinto for holding rituals for the Tokugawa was improper in light of the fact that that school had taken care of the Toyotomi. It was probably as a dedommagement that the Yuitsu Shinto institution was given special privileges-such as being the licensing authority for Shinto priests-in 1665, a decision that was to have a large influence in the following centuries. In any case, the point is that the deification of great political figures in Japan followed approximately the same pattern: it began as a Buddhist cult, became syncretic during the medieval period, and finally became "Shinto" only in 1868. Shinto elements were present

25 A koku is a unit of measure for rice. Though it has varied in Japanese history, it represents a cubic unit of 44.8 gallons (U.S.).

260

Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution

ever since the medieval period and perhaps even before that, but Buddhist elements, which had been present and structurally significant since the beginning, were removed from such cults in 1868. Of what did the cultic center at Tonomine consist? It was ruled by a Buddhist ecclesiastic elite consisting of a superior (gakuto), who also had duties at the Shoren-in and therefore was not in permanent residence at the mountain center. After 1600 and the presence of Kensei, a disciple of Tenkai's, the superior was always chosen from among the monks of the To-ei-zan (the Rinno-ji at Nikko); this indicates that on paper the center remained under Tendai control. Under the superior were two charges d'affairs (shugyo-dai) who were chosen among the regular residents of the mountain. Under them was the office known as masandokoro, or kenko, run for a period of three years by a monk who received the name of doshi when he took care of "Buddhist" rituals, and of kannushi when he took care of "Shinto" rituals. The function of this office appears to have been the supervision and preparation of ceremonies and rites. This office was above the sango (also called sankannushi), composed of three monks chosen from among the forty-two temples of the mountain. Under this office, the function of which is unclear to me in the case of Tonomine, was the office called shaso (literally, shrine monk); there were three such persons at the center, who rotated every ten days over a period of three years; their duties were to take care of the food offerings and to read sutras in the evenings. Under this elite were the "plain monks" (heiso) whose number is not clear; but there must have been several hundreds of them. Below them still, was a group of eighteen religious figures who were charged with fund drives and with tasks such as carrying the sacred palanquin at the time of festivals. All these "monks" lived in forty-two temples erected around the main compound. Besides these buildings called with the generic term bo, there were nine buildings called in, in which the shoshi, or hoshi, resided; these were low-level servant monks who could not hope to get beyond the rank of hosshi. Women were prohibited from entering the compounds of the cultic center beyond a certain limit, and this was the case until 1868. The career of a monk at Tonomine followed this pattern (only for those who held the title of dai-hosshi to start with): by the age of fifteen or sixteen, a monk would become assistant master of discipline (gon-risshi) and would have to train as such for a period of three years at the Fujiwara-dera at Ohara. If he had been successful in this training, he would be allowed to return to the mountain, where he would become shaso for another period of three years, at the end of

History of Religions

261

which he could become shugyo-dai or work in the masandokoro, depending on his abilities. Beyond the rank or title of assistant master of discipline, there were those of master of discipline (risshi), assistant monacal rector (gondaisozu), great monacal rector (daisozu), and finally, great master (dai-ajari). Each temple on the mountain had a basic revenue of thirty koku but was allotted as many as 155 koku in addition for food offerings and 140 koku for ceremonies. The food offerings at T6nomine were extravagant: nine masu of rice per day and one masu of sake per day.26 Indeed, the Great Minister (daishokkan) was known as daishoku (great appetite)! In conclusion, these temples were rather rich, to the point that a position there was called "the golden opportunity." Lay followers were responsible for the finances; there was a money changer living at the foot of the mountain. The shrine monks were known for their vanity, for they did not hesitate to display their power, which they charged with all the prestige and authority of the Shoren-in of Kyoto or of the Rinnoji of Nikko. If the deified ancestor of the Fujiwara lineage had been able to "dim His radiance and mingle with the dust," those responsible for his cult were apparently unable to perform the same practice of compassion; this criticism was leveled at Buddhist monks in Japan throughout the Edo period, and it reached its peak in 1868. The sacred geography of Tonomine is typical of all great cultic centers: a sacred mountain ruling plains at its foot. The divinity is enshrined near the top of the mountain, which is seen as an axis mundi: Tonomine was at the center or so it viewed itself-of a sacred square marked to the north by Omiwa, to the east by Ise, to the south by Yoshino, and to the west by Kongozan.27 As expected, there is a source near the summit, providing sacred water for the daily morning ceremonies: that is the maniho well, near which stands the Dragon Shrine, in which an okami is enshrined. Okami is an ancient name for the salamander, "messenger" of the thunder divinities worshiped in old times by the Nakatomi family. One would always expect a thunder/water/dragon or snake divinity in cults related to the Fujiwara or Nakatomi. There is no doubt that this divinity was linked to Kamatari in the typical form of mikumari (water-division or regulation) shrines and that the water running
26

A masu is the equivalent of 1.92 quarts (U.S.). 27 Tonomine ryakki, in Gunsho ruiju, 24:424.

262

Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution

down to the plains to fertilize them had therefore the character of mysterium tremendum: the fertility of the plains was connected to the propitiated good will of the ancestral divinity, itself made manifest by a complex thunder/water symbol represented by the salamander. At the foot of the mountain, and actually rather far off in the plains, is a torii (shrine gate) which had been erected in the fourteenth century, and that probably marked the sphere of influence of the divinity as well as the distant place of worship of the sacred mountain. This cultic center was visited by many a change of a political and economic nature, which in turn paralleled changes in the character of the divinity it is dedicated to. The Meiji dissociation that occurred there in 1868 was yet another change of definition of this character. But in this case, rather than being the expression of an ongoing process of cultural amalgamation and enrichment, it was an abrupt disruption of the cultural discourse and the creation of a Shinto divinity that appears to be quite empty of religious character, for the simple but tough reason that it never was Shinto to start with. Let us outline now the physical changes that were wrought on the center. At the limits of the compounds, there was a hall from which women had been allowed to pay their devotions; this nyonin-do was destroyed. Nearby, by the gate that still stands today, there were four pavilions, all gone now: the mine-do (Mountain Hall), the Jizo-d5 (Jizo, or Ksitigarbha Hall), the ara-jinja (?), and the Hakusan-sha, dedicated to the syncretic divinities of Mount Hakusan. At the foot of the steps leading to the Inner Sanctum, there is a hall that was called goma-do (Hall of Homa ritual); its ceiling is still black from the smoke that used to rise from its altar, which is now devoid of the statue of Fudo-myo-o (acala) that used to adorn it; today, this hall is called harai-den (Purification Hall). Near it stood the kanjo-do (Initiation Hall), which was destroyed. The kodo (Lecture Hall), which was the central part of the Myoraku-ji, and in which many of the rituals mentioned earlier were held, still stands today; but it has been repainted to make it look like a shrine (red and white), even though its architecture is entirely Buddhist. Because it stands just south of and below the thirteen-storied pagoda, it has been renamed Veneration Hall of the Divine Mausoleum. It used to hold a statue of Amida flanked by Kannon and Seishi, as well as statues of the Four Heavenly Kings and of the Thousand-handed Kannon, according to the Tonomine ryakki. These statues were probably destroyed in the following fires, for the statues present in this building in 1868 were of Shakamuni, Kannon, and Seishi. These statues disappeared in 1868. There was a bell hall with a bronze bell and a shrine dedicated to Benzaiten (Sarasvati), but they were all destroyed.

History of Religions

263

The most elegant thirteen-storied pagoda, long the symbol of Tonomine, still stands today, though it has also been painted in red and white. It used to hold a statue of Manijusri,the Bodhisattva of Wisdom and interlocutor of Vimalakirti; the statue is now gone. East of this pagoda is the Shoryo-in, now called shoden, in which Kamatari's statue was kept; I do not know whether the statue is still there. This hall has three wings: the southern wing, called Hall of the Protection of the Nation, serves today as a museum; the eastern wing, which used to serve as the hall for spiritual preparation before rituals, is now the site of performance of the kagura dances. The western wing serves now as an office. Further to the south was a building in which thousands of weapons were kept: swords, halberds, bows, and arrows. Next to it is a shrine that used to be called Hall of the Original Vow and was dedicated to Kamatari's first son, J6-e, whom the tradition credits with the creation of the center; today, this shrine is called Eastern Hall and is dedicated to Kamatari's two sons: J6-e (but under his child name before he became a monk, Mahito) and Fuhito. Still further east is a group of three shrines: the Nyakuoji-sha was renamed Hie-jinja, the Sugiyama-sha remained unchanged, and a haiden (Veneration Hall) became an Inari-sha. To the north of these was another group of three shrines, dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, Kishima Hime, and Uga no kami. They are gone. The pagoda is flanked to the west by what used to be called jogyosammai-do, but is called now Temporary Hall; it contained, as one would expect, a statue of Amida, not to be seen today. Further to the west were halls dedicated to Miroku and to the "Benevolent Spirits protecting the Dharma"; they have also disappeared. South from these, and west from the Lecture Hall, stands the sosha, supposedly created during the Heian period and dedicated to 116 divinities; it has obviously been rebuilt, for its architecture is typical of Tendai syncretism, such as can be seen in Nikko. The entire cultic center is nowadays called Tanzan Shrine. Besides this main compound, there were also the different halls called shi-in in which the monks resided: there were thirty-three of them in 1868. T6nomine received in 1868 specific orders from the government: (1) all monks must return immediately to lay life; (2) all Buddhist representations, buildings and objects of the cult must be removed; and (3) all divinities bearing syncretic names must be renamed. The three kannushi in charge at the time these orders arrived were monks of the Jimon-in, Kyoso-in, and My6gaku-in; they immediately returned to lay life and changed their names, respectively, to Suehara, Saeki, and Katsuragi, which they submitted for approval to the government of the Nara prefecture.

264

Japan s Ignored Cultural Revolution

These shrine monks apparently opted to follow the orders, but there seems to have been some opposition on the part of the elder population of the center, who suggested that, rather than being destroyed, the main buildings should be moved to the foot of the mountain to become a purely Buddhist temple. The younger residents of the center were opposed to this suggestion, as was the money changer, who claimed that the price of such a move was simply too high. Thus, the main buildings remained and were given new names and new colors; everybody took off the Buddhist robes and became instantly Shinto priests. There was apparently no argument of a philosophical or historical nature concerning these changes, or, perhaps more probably, they have been "forgotten." Tsuji Zennosuke comments about this and proposes that the absence of argument might be linked to the fact that "Chinese studies" (kangaku), and not "national studies" (kokugaku), were taught there before. That is, in my view, not convincing at all. The buildings that disappeared were destroyed over a period of ten years; all Buddhist and syncretic statues, paintings, texts, and ritual objects were removed from the various halls and piled up in the Initiation Hall, from which they gradually disappeared, broken, burnt, or sold to antiquarians or to foreigners. Fennollosa bought in 1890 a statue of Kannon from the superior of the Enjo-in, who called himself Nagai in 1868 and reported the following story: when Fennollosa asked for the price of the statue, the "priest" showed the five fingers of his hand, with the price of five yen in mind; but Fennollosa offered him fifty yen. The statue would then have been offered to the Tokyo Museum but disappeared in the great earthquake of 1924. Paintings, rolled in bunches of twenty-five items, went for the price of twenty-five sen. The new "priests"immediately spoke to the new "kami," instructing him of the recent changes and also instructing him that he would be offered food including fish and animal meat, that women were now allowed on the precincts, that the priests would now get married, and that "Shinto" funerals would now be performed, all of this "as was done in the great beginnings." But there were some technical difficulties: the priests apparently had forgotten the pure and old Shinto rituals and asked Tokyo to send a technical advisor. The following year, in 1869, the economic base of the cultic center was wiped out by governmental order, and a meager pay was granted to priests who were used to a much grander life-style. This is perhaps why the statues and paintings were sold. In any case, the priests sent in 1871 a complaint to the government, but there was no reaction. The majority of the residents of the mountain left the center to find

History of Religions

265

work, mostly to the cities of Sakurai and K6riyama; when Tsuji made his inquiries in 1926, only nine priestly families had remained on the precincts. Today, the priests are trained in Kokugaku-in University or in K6gakkan University and are not necessarily related to those families. This cultic center has now a religious life that is extremely pale, nearly nonexistent. The festivals are performed in spring and autumn by the priests and lay residents of the shrine, mostly for touristic purposes. The cosmetic changes of 1868, coupled with the power of changing names, have obviously taken their toll. But the case of T6nomine is not unique; most syncretic cult centers have suffered the same fate, and it is no surprise to the student of religious history that little or no interest is shown by the Japanese in religious matters: the religious contents of most of these cults have been destroyed by the Meiji ideologues, and I suspect that a systematic study of the history of all Japanese cultic centers will yield information necessary to evaluate contemporary Japanese religiosity, or the lack thereof. The usual arguments of modernization, urbanization, industrialization, and secularization advanced by scholars who project European or American models, do not, in fact, stand for Japan. The Meiji dissociations were, in my view, a major cultural revolution. I would like to insist on the fact that cultic centers were global, coherent, and complex evolving units in Japanese religions. I suggested at the beginning of this presentation that these centers constantly expressed a cultural discourse closely related to their doctrinal and political affiliations, to their economic structures, and to their local cultural attaches, and that, from this perspective, it is obvious that the Meiji dissociations were disruptions which invite us to think seriously about the problem of politics of culture, on the one hand, and politics of intercultural communication, on the other hand. These are the real problems that Japan faced ever since Yoshida Kanetomo and "solved" in a rather curious manner in Meiji. East-West Center, Honolulu

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful