Individuals Against the State? The Politics of Opposition to the Re-emergence of State Shintō
T he following chapter demonstrates the complex interaction between Shinto and politics in contemporary Japan. The cases below represent rare examples where the long-running conflict between sections of the political left and right over Articles 14, 19, 20 and 89 of the 1947 Japanese Constitution have become a public issue. Although these cases have been represented in terms of the state's violation of human rights, 1 I would argue that this is not the only way to view them. Through detailed analysis of two particular cases, I will show that individuals and the discourse on human rights are 'used' by larger institutions to achieve their political aims. This chapter shows how religious symbols are manipulated by political actors.