13. Sect Shinto and the Case of Ooyashirokyo
Exploring Shinto - Michael Pye
Michael Pye [+]
Marburg University (Emeritus) and Ōtani University
Michael Pye (born 1939) first resided in Japan from 1961 onwards. From 1968 he taught Religious Studies in England and, in 1982, became professor for the Study of Religions at Marburg University, Germany. On retirement he returned to Japan for several years, being associated with Ōtani University, Kyōto. He was president of the International Association for the History of Religions from 1995 to 2000 and is currently President of the International Shinto Studies Association. His major publications include Skilful Means (1978 and 2003), Strategies in the Study of Religions (2013) and Japanese Buddhist Pilgrimage (2015).
If, as we sometimes hear, Shinto is “the ethnic religion of the Japanese people” it might seem difficult to understand how there can be Shinto “sects.” And yet there are several distinctive groups which claim both to pertain to Shinto and to be somehow special in their orientation and activity. This paper provides a reflective introduction to the paradoxical subject of Sect Shinto, with various examples. In particular it presents the case of Izumo Ooyashiro-kyō, which has branches all over Japan but has previously been little studied.