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New religions in Japan

New religions in Japan (Jap., shinkō shūkyō). While new religious movements are a common and recurrent phenomenon, the strength and importance of new religions in Japan is such that it makes them distinct. They are made up of movements which have emerged during the last two cents., and which may have connections with Buddhism, Shinto, or Christianity, or may be entirely independent. They are ‘new’ in relation to shrine Shinto and temple Buddhism, both of which carried with them the control of vital rituals.

Early examples of new religions in the 19th cent. are Nyoraikyō (cf. nyorai), Kurozumikyō (see KUROZŪMĪ MUNETADA), Tenrikyō, Konkōkyō, and Ōmotokyō. All of these emphasized the importance of lay members (over against the exclusive role of the priests in traditional religions), and made healing available outside the traditional rituals. In the 20th cent., important examples are Reiyūkai, Sōka Gakkai, and Seichō no ie.

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