Taikyo

Doctrines Taikyo or 'Great Teaching' was the name of the government-inspired national religion promulgated between 1870-1884 following the Meiji restoration and the 'separation' of kami and Buddhas (shinbutsu bunri). Taikyo mingled archaic beliefs about the divinity of the emperor with traditional Confucian morality and new ideas connected with the advent of oligarchic constitutional government and the introduction of Western technology and institutions.
The main elements of Taikyo were summarised as the 'Three Great Teachings':
  1. respect for the gods, love of country;
  2. making clear the principles of Heaven and the Way of Man;
  3. reverence for the emperor and obedience to the will of the court.
These teachings remained vague and were interpreted in various ways by the 'national evangelists' who were trained to promulgate them. Broadly they encouraged citizens to pay taxes, comply with military conscription and compulsory education, adapt to the new solar calendar, etc. in accordance with the motto 'rich country, strong army'.

History The 'Great Teaching' represented the first attempt by the new Meiji administration to create a national religion separate from and superior to Christianity and Buddhism. It was intended to mobilise the population in support of Japan's modernisation. The elements of the Great Teaching Campaign of 1870-1884 were developed by Shinto-oriented administrators attached to the Meiji government who trained a corps of 'national evangelists' in Tokyo at the Great Teaching Institute. The evangelists were sent out to promulgate the Taikyo throughout Japan. The doctrines were taught to the accompaniment of Shinto-style shrine rites but the role of national evangelist was not restricted to Shinto priests and many Buddhists as well as leaders of new religions endorsed the broad aims of the Great Teaching and took part in its dissemination. However, the Taikyo campaign was beset with internal divisions and in 1875 leadership of the campaign and its more than 10,000 evangelists in hundreds of local teaching institutes was taken over by the Ise shrines and the activities of the Institute became part of the Office of Shinto Affairs. From then on, Taikyo had an unequivocally 'Shinto' character and Buddhist denominations withdrew their support for the campaign, leaving the way open for the development of a purely Shinto state religion by the end of the 19th century.

Symbols Taikyo uses traditional Shinto symbols.

Adherents No contemporary adherents.

Headquarters/
Main Centre
 The Great Teaching Institute was located in Tokyo, in a succession of different buildings including (in 1873) Zojoji, a Pure Land Buddhist temple.