Shinto Sects and Schools
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Shinto Sects and Schools
Torii gate typical of Shinto shrines

Shinto (, shint?), the folk religion of Japan, developed a diversity of schools and sects, outbranching from the original Ko-Shint? (ancient Shint?) since Buddhism was introduced into Japan in the sixth century.[1]

Early period schools and groups

The main Shinto schools with traditions traceable to early periods, according to authoritative published records are:

Bukka Shint?
These were the various forms of Shint? developed by Buddhist thinkers, also known as Bukke Shint?. These doctrines combine Buddhist elements with Shint? elements (Shinbutsu sh?g?).
Gory? Shint?
Gory? refers to the Buddhist Dharma lineage. This Shinto schools was part of Ry?bu Shint?.
Hakke Shint?
The Shirakawa Haku? House, in charge of the post of superintendent of the Ministry of Deities (Jingi-kan) transmitted this school. Also called Shirakawa Shint?.
Hokke Shint?
These doctrines were influenced by the Nichiren sect of Buddhism which incorporated kami cults within its own system.
Inbe Shint?
This is the Inbe clan lineage and commonly held to have been created by Inbe Masamichi that was in charge of court rituals together with the Nakatomi clan.
Ise Shint?
Transmitted by priests of the Watarai clan at the Outer Shrine (Gek?) of the Grand Shrine of Ise (Ise Jing?). It is also called Watarai Shint?.
A collective term for lineages which were mainly occupied with Shinto, these included the jingi clans (jingi shizoku) and clans connected to the Jingi-kan such as the Nakatomi and Inbe.
J?hachi Shint?
Yoshida Kanetomo, taught his principles in his work Essentials of Prime Shinto (Yuiitsu Shint? my?b? y?sh?).
Juka Shint?
Shinto explained by Japanese Confucianists. These teachings claim the unity of Shinto and Confucianism.
Kaden Shint?
The Shinto transmitted by hereditary Shinto priests, known as shinshokuke or shake. It is also called shake Shint?, shaden Shint? or densha Shint?.
Kikke Shint?
Transmitted by the Tachibana clan. Kikke Shinto became widely known during the mid-Edo H?ei era (1704-1710).

Is a folk faith in Japan with Taoist origins, influenced by Shinto, Buddhism and other local beliefs.


"Ancient Shint?". These were the various doctrines and myths of Shint? before the integration of Buddhism elements.

Miwa-ry? Shint?
A form of Ry?bu Shint? that developed primarily at By?d?ji and ?gorinji (?miwadera), temples serving as the "parish temples" (jing?-ji) of ?miwa Shrine in Nara Prefecture.
Mononobe Shint?
Based on the text Sendai kuji hongi taiseiky?.
?gimachi Shint?
Originated by Suika Shinto by ?gimachi Kinmichi's (1653-1733) transmission to the sovereign and court retainers. In 1680 Kinmichi presented a Shinto oath to Yamazaki Ansai, taking up a full-scale study of Suika Shinto.
Reis? Shint?
Buddhist Shint? (Bukka Shint?) created in the Edo period by Ch?on D? kai (1628-1695) and further developed by J?in (1683-1739).
Rit? Shinchi Shint?
Created by Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan (1583-1657). Razan was the only Confucian scholar officially employed by the Tokugawa government.
Ry?bu Shint?
These are the Shint? doctrines derived from Shingon Buddhism. These doctrines relate the Inner Shrine of Ise with Dainichi of the Womb Realm (taiz?kai) and the Outer Shrine with Dainichi of the Vajra realm (kong?kai).
Sann? Shint?
Tendai sect Shint?, based on the cult of the Mountain King (Sann?) at the Hiyoshi Taisha.
Shugend? and its practitioners, shugen, teaches the attainment of supranormal, magico-religious power through ascetic activities in the mountains. It was submissive to Buddhism for some time, later dividing into sects with more or less Buddhist or Koshint? influence.
Suika Shint?
Created by Yamazaki Ansai, a Confucian-Shintoist of the early Edo period.
Taishi-ry? Shint?
Founded by Prince Sh?toku (Sh?toku Taishi, 574-622) and unifying Shint?, Confucianism, and Buddhism (sanky? itchi).
Tsuchimikado Shint?
Created by the head court diviner Tsuchimikado Yasutomi. Yasutomi integrated the astrological and calendrical theories transmitted by the Onmy?d? specialists of the Abe clan.
Tsushima Shint?
Originated at Tsushima Island in the Sea of Japan.
Uden Shint?
Created by Kamo no Norikiyo (a.k.a. Umetsuji no Norikiyo, 1798-1862). Norikiyo developed his teachings on the basis of the Shinto transmissions at the shrine of Kamo wake Ikazuchi Jinja.
Unden Shint?
Founded by Shingon monk Jiun Onk? (1718-1804). It is also known as Katsuragi Shint? because Jiun lived on Mt. Katsuragi. It integrates esoteric Buddhism, siddham (Sanskrit philology), and Zen, as well as Confucianism and Shinto.
Yoshida Shint?
Founded by Yoshida Kanetomo (1435-1511), who called his tradition yuiitsu shint? ("only-one Shint?"). His adherents and Yoshida Shrine, until the end of the Edo period, retained the right to award ranks to all shrines and priests except for a few associated with the Imperial family.[2]
Yoshikawa Shint?
This is a lineage transmitted by Shinto scholar Yoshikawa Koretari (1616-1694).

Shint?-inspired religions

Two main types of Shinto-inspired religion have emerged in modern times: Sect Shinto (ky?ha Shint?) and "Shinto-derived new religions" (Shint?kei shinsh?ky?). A concise list of these new religions and their founders, according to authoritative sources (see References), is given below:

Sect Shinto

One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shint?. It was organized by Shishino Nakaba (1844-84) based on the mountain cult to Mount Fuji (Fuji shink?) founded by Hasegawa Kakugy? (1541?-1646?).
Izumo ?yashiroky?
Founded by Senge Takatomi (1845-1918) and one of the original thirteen pre-war sects of Shinto.
One of the thirteen sects of pre-war Shinto. Based on Fujid?, founded by Hasegawa Kakugy? (born in Nagasaki, 1541-1646). A mountain cult focused on Mount Fuji (Fuji shink?).
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto. Founded by Konk? Daijin (1814-83) (born Akazawa Bunji).
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto, founded by Kurozumi Munetada (1780-1850).
Ky?ha Shint? Reng?kai
A prewar federation of Shinto sects following the Shint? D?shikai ("Society of Shinto Colleagues"), organized in 1895.
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto. Founded by Inoue Masakane (1790-1849).
One of the thirteen sects of Shinto in the prewar period centered on the faith in Mount Ontake (ontake shink?).
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto founded by Sano Tsunehiko (1834-1906).
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto founded by Yoshimura Masamochi (1839-1915).
Shint? Sh?seiha
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto founded by Nitta Kuniteru (1829-1902).
Shint? Taiky?
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto known previously as Shint? Honkyoku (its formal name was simply "Shint?").
Shint? Taiseiky?
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shint? founded by Hirayama Seisai (1815-1890).
One of the thirteen sects of prewar Shinto. Founded by Nakayama Miki (1798-1887) after having a sudden experience of spirit possession (kamigakari) in the tenth lunar month of 1863.

Shint?-derived new religions

An ?moto-lineage religion founded by Nakano Yonosuke (1887-1974).
Art of Ninzuwu
A spiritual practice said to have originated during the J?mon period.
Chikakusan Minshuky? Ky?dan
Based on the mountain-worship cult of Mount Ontake in the Kiso region founded by Nehashi Umetar? (1868-1922) as the Chikaku K?sha (Chikaku Religious Association).
A movement focused on divination and onomancy, founded by Kumazaki Ken'? (1881-1961).
Founded by Orimo Nami (1893-1966).
Founded by Fukada Chiyoko (1887-1925).
Hachidai Ry Daishizen Aishinky?dan
Founded by Ishikawa Sen (1886-1961), who declared to be possessed (kamigakari) by a spirit.
Hachidai Ryjin Hakk? Seidan
Founded by Demura Ry?sei (1926- ).
Hachirakukai Ky?dan
Founded by Ogawa K?ichir? (1919-80).
Hi no Oshie
Teaching of the Sun. Founded by Sakuma Nikk? (1884-1954) (Nikk? means "sun-light").
Hikari Ky?kai
Derived from ?moto. Founded by painter Okamoto Tenmei (1897-1963).
Hizuki no Miya
Founded by Fujimoto Toshinari (1930-1989). The founding of the religion is dated from January 11, 1956, when Fujimoto received a revelation from the kami Amaterasu ?mikami.
A group from Tenriky? lineage. Founded by ?nishi Tama (1916-1969), the group originated in 1961 within Honmichi as the Tenri Mirokukai (Tenri Miroku Association) and later seceded.
Founded by ?nishi Aijir? (1881-1958) a teacher in Tenriky?.
Founded by Takayasu Ry?sen (1934-) as an Okinawan religion.
Founded by Hashiguchi Reizui (1879-1963).
Izumo Shin'y? Ky?kai
Founded in 1968 by Hosoya Seiko (1927-) after she had practiced austerities in Izumo, Nara and Eiheiji.
This is a religion reminiscent of sectarian Shinto (Ky?ha Shint?). It was started by Kitajima Naganori (1834-93).
Lineage of Sekai Ky?seiky?, founded by Katsunuma Hisako (1927-).
With characteristics of sect Shinto (ky?ha Shint?) and founded by Urata Nagatami and others.
Kakushin Sh?ky? Nipponky?
Originated in 1940, when the "Father-deity Kotoshironushi no ?kami" descended upon Chitose Makami (1879-1986).
Founded by Mizuno Fusa (1883-1970).
Kikueikai Ky?dan
Founded in 1928 by the sculptor of Buddhist images Hayashi Shik? (1901-88). Shik? claimed that a golden sphere with the form of a "nine-star divination pattern" came floating towards him, after which he began to engage in spiritual healing.
Kogi Shint?
Founded by the Shinto priest Kuwabara Yachio (1910-) after World War II.
Koshint? Senp?ky?
Founded by Masai Yoshimitsu (1907-1970), and known for its claim to be related to the tradition of "ancient Shinto" (Koshint?).
K?so K?tai Jing? Amatsuky?
Founded by Takeuchi Kiyomaro (also ?maro) (1874-1965) based on an ancient text known as the "Takeuchi document'" (Takeuchi monjo).
Kuzury? Taisha
Founded by ?nishi Masajir? (1913-88) after receiving a dream oracle from the deity Benzaiten (Sanskrit Sarasvati) during a dream in 1954.
Resulting from the merging of four branches of Sekai Ky?seiky?, it began its activities in 1955 after the death of the founder of Sekai Ky?seiky?, Okada M?kichi (1882-1955).
Makoto no Michi
Founded by Ogiwara Makoto (1910-81) who experienced paranormal powers since before World War II.
Makoto no Michiky?
Founded by Matsumoto J?tar? (September 1881-1944).
Founded by It? Rokurobei (1829-94).
Misogiky? Shinpa
Founded by Sakata Yasuhiro (1962-).
Founded by Nagata Fuku (1891-1975).
Miyaji Shinsend?
Founded by Miyaji Suii (known as Kakiwa, 1852-1904) and with strong Taoist influence.
Nihon Jing? Honch?
Founded by Nakajima Sh?k? (1902-88) who was deeply interested in the study of the traditional calendar (rekigaku) and the theory of five phases of matter (gogy?).
Nihon Seid? Ky?dan
Founded by Iwasaki Sh (1934-) who had a mystical experience while in a coma.
Founded by Teraguchi K?jir? (1881-1960).
Founded by Yamada Baijir? (1875-1941), a Tenriky? teacher.
?miwaky? (Sako)
Founded by Sako Kan (1878-1937).
?miwaky? (Kojima)
Founded by Kojima Moriyoshi in 1872.
Founded by Deguchi Nao (1836-1918) and Deguchi Onisabur? (1871-1948) after a "spirit dream" at the lunar New Year in 1892.
?moto Hikari no Michi
Founded by H?kan Meiky? (1923-) based on ?moto and Sekai Ky?seiky?.
?yamanezu no Mikoto Shinji Ky?kai
Founded by Inai Sadao (1906-88).
Perfect Liberty Ky?dan (PL Ky?dan)
Known as Church of Perfect Liberty frequently abbreviated as merely "PL", founded by Miki Tokuharu (1871-1938), a Zen monk.
Reiha no Hikari Ky?kai
Founded by Hase Yoshio (1915-84).
Founded by Shimamura Mitsu (1831-1904) who was saved from serious illness by Yanagita Ichibei, who had studied the "marvelous law of things" (my?h? no ji).
Renshind? Ky?dan
Founded by Tanaka Jigohei (1886-1973).
Samuhara Jinja
Started in 1935 when Tanaka Tomisabur? (1868-1967) rebuilt a dilapidated shrine in Okayama.
Seich? no Ie
Connected to ?moto and founded by Taniguchi Masaharu (1893-1985).
Founded by Fujita Nobuhiko (1889-1977).
Derived from Sekai Ky?seiky? and created in 1955 by Kihara Yoshihiko.
Seishin My?j?kai
Founded by Fujita Motonari (1903-85).
Sekai Ky?seiky?
Church of World Messianity from the ?moto lineage. It was founded by Okada Mokichi.
Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Ky?dan
Derivation from ?moto and Sekai Ky?seiky?, founded by Okada K?tama (1901-1974, born Yoshikazu).
Sekai Shind?ky?
Founded by Aida Hide (1898-1973).
Founded by Nagahashi Yasuhiko (1895-1981) in 1931.
Shin Nihon Sh?ky? Dantai Reng?kai
Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan, founded by and for new Japanese religious movements. Established in 1951 with a membership of twenty-four groups.
Shind? Tenk?kyo
Founded by Tomokiyo Yoshizane (1888-1952).
Shinji Sh?meikai
Founded by Koyama Mihoko (1910-).
Shinmei Aishinkai
Founded by Komatsu Shin'y? (1928- ).
Shinreikai Ky?dan
Founded by Ishii Reizan (born Iwayoshi, 1884-58) who had a revelation in 1932.
Founded by ?tsuka Kan'ichi (1891-72).
Shinri Jikk? no Oshie
Founded by Honj? Chiyoko (1902-1957).
Shinsei Tengan Manaita no Kai
Founded by Kurata Chiky? (1906-91).
Shint? Shinky?
Founded by Unigame Ito (1876-1976).
Shint? Shinshinky?
Founded by Adachi Taij?r? (1841-1895) who received a divine revelation after nine years of his own unique form of practice.
Founded by Hashimoto Satomi (1899-1984).
Sh?roku Shint? Yamatoyama
Founded by Tazawa Seishir? (1884-1966) after dedicating a shrine to a "mountain kami" (yama no kami) in 1919, witnessing extraordinary astronomical phenomena, and hearing divine voices.
Sh?ky? H?jin Byakk? Shink?kai
Founded by Goi Masahisa (1916-1980) emphasizes two characteristic ?moto doctrines, the notion that all religions emanate from the same root (banky? d?kon), and the principle of world peace.
Sh?ky? H?jin Shik? Gakuen
Founded by Kawakami Seizan (1908-51).
Sh?y?dan H?seikai
Founded by Idei Seitar? (1899-1983).
Started focused on Matsushita Matsuz? (1873-1947), a spirit medium (rein?sha) active from the Taisho era (1912-26) to the World War II period.
Soshind? Ky?dan
Founded by Yoshioka Taj?r? (1905-87).
Subikari K?ha Sekai Shindan
Founded by the spiritualist manga artist Kuroda Minoru (1928- ).
Sukui no Hikari Ky?dan
A new religion deriving from Sekai Ky?seiky?, one several groups in opposition to that religion's policy of centralization (ichigenka) implemented in the mid-1960s.
S?ky? Mahikari
Derived from the lineages of ?moto and Sekai Ky?seiky?, founded by K?tama Okada (Sukuinushisama) (1901-74) on August 28, 1959 and established as a registered religious organisation on 1978 by Mr Okada's daughter Sachiko Keishu Okada (Oshienushisama), (1929- ).
Founded by Onikura Taruhiko after having experienced possession (kamigakari) by a deity around 1919.
Founded by Tanaka Morihei (1884-1928) who was said to have acquired a kind of supranormal power (reishiryoku) after a four-month ascetic seclusion in the mountains.
Taiwa Ky?dan
Emerged from Yamatoky?, founded by Hozumi Kenk? (1913-76) and his wife Hisako (1908-2003).
Tamamitsu Jinja
Founded by the spirit medium Motoyama Kinue (1909-74).
Founded by Hachiro Fukuji (1899-1962) who experienced the ability to converse with a spirit, and thereafter received visitations from various deities.
Founded by Uozumi Masanobu (1852-1928).
Founded by Naniwa Hisakazu (1902-84).
Founded by Ishiguro J? (1908- ).
Tenj?ky? Hon'in
Founded by Kuramoto Ito (1895-1985).
Founded by Fujita Shinsh? (?-1966) who received at age nineteen a revelation from a deity he called Tenchikane no kami ("heaven-earth gold deity").
Founded by Nakayama Miki, who received revelations from a deity she called Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.
Tensei Shinbikai
Founded by Iwanaga Kayoko (1934-).
Tensenku Monky? (Tendan)
Known locally as Tinsinkun Munchu (Tinkha), emerged from ancient Shint? (Koshint?) in the southern Ryukyu islands.
Tensha Tsuchimikado Shint? Honch?
Inspired in Tsuchimikado Shint? (Tensha Shint?).
Tenshin Seiky?
Founded by Shimada Seiichi (1896-1985).
Tenshind? Ky?dan
Founded by Tamura Reish? (1890-1968) who received the revelation of Kami on April 3, 1927. [1][permanent dead link] While working in the office of the Governor-General of Korea, Reish? studied the Daoistic magical arts transmitted in Korea since ancient times.[3]
Tenshinky? Shin'y?den Ky?kai
Founded by Kamiide Fusae (1922-1980) who had a sudden experience of spirit possession (kamigakari) in 1958.
Tensh? K?tai Jing?ky?
Founded by Kitamura Sayo (1900-1967).
Founded by Senba Hideo (1925-) and his wife Senba Kimiko.
Founded by Unagami Haruho (1896-1965).
Founded by Kanada Tokumitsu (1863-1919).
Worldmate (formerly Cosmomate)
Founded by Fukami Seizan (aka Fukami T?sh?, born Haruhisa Handa) (1951-).
Yamakage Shint?
Emerged from "ancient Shinto" (Koshint?) tradition, founded by the Yamakage family.
Founded by Hozumi Kenk? (1913-76), a practitioner of Shugend? at Dewa Sanzan.
Founded by Rikihisa Tatsusai (1906-77).

Other sects and schools

There may be some Shinto schools and sects, that even having a structure and followers, are not included in authoritative publications. This may be because of their small size and influence, fairly unknown presence or practices, or because those schools are new branches from older schools and still considered within their structure.


  1. ^ MacKenzie, Donald A (2005). Myth of China and Japan. London, UK: Kessinger Publishing. p. 387. ISBN 978-1-4179-6429-1.
  2. ^ Breen, John et al. (2000). Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami, p. 176.
  3. ^ Tenshind? Ky?dan By Yumiyama Tatsuya, 2006/ 5/ 25, Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture


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