chapter  9
23 Pages

Heterodoxy, Orthodoxy and Religious Practice

In Japan, as elsewhere, the ruling class has long viewed both religion and education as vehicles for furthering the purposes of the state. Throughout much of the modern period, too, religious practice and formal instruction have been manipulated by those in power to enhance their own influence and that of their administration. The purpose of education has been primarily to produce the skills required by the state and inculcate the values the state deems desirable. Religious practice has been closely tied to the whole system of formal education and fostered by the state in accordance with its perceived needs. Heterodoxy has been so over­ shadowed by orthodoxy that its very existence has been doubted. This manipulation has been approached with varying degrees of subtlety and has met with differing degrees of success. This has been a two-way process, with the state compelled to compromise in the face of religious and educational pressures. In the case of religion in particular, state orthodoxy was counterbalanced by heterodox doctrines and by popular sentiment and religious practice.