- The Way to a State without Spiritual Protection -
Ryuko Matsushita, Chief Priest of Hozenin

This essay was written in response to a request for contribution to a memorial booklet issued in conjunction with the 23rd To-ji Conference of the Shingon Young Buddhism Federation (with memorial lectures by Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara and Cartoonist Yoshinori Kobayashi) held at the head temple To-ji on October 28, 2002.
 What's wrong with Japan these days? Many Japanese utter this question, are disquieted about their country. Public concerns in Japan include prolonged economic stagnation, financial instability, falling birthrate and aging population, high unemployment rate, rise in serious crimes, and a sharp increase in crimes by foreigners to name just a few. Recently in Japan, something is not right for sure. A straight-forward question held by many people is: Why has Japan become such a lamentable country? People wonder if there are any assignable causes, direct or remote, for the deterioration. The following would be one of the probable answers to this question.

 On August 15, 1945, the Japanese people experienced two forms of defeat unprecedented in the history of mankind.

 In the first form of defeat, Japan became the first people in history to be driven into submission by the power of a nuclear weapon. In the second form of defeat, Japan became the first people in history to be forced to amend the law of succession. While there are plenty of peoples in the world who were robbed of their lives, territories, or armed forces as a result of defeat, Japan is quite a rare people in that they were intentionally forced to radically amend the law of succession; although such a change may seem trivial to the victor.

 As a matter of fact, most Japanese people were unaware of the fact that the primogeniture law in force in Japan through to the end of WWII was heretical in the sphere of Chinese culture and was an idiosyncratic succession law possessed by only Japan in all of East Asia. Post-war democratic education has concentrated most of its focus on the 9th Article of the new Constitution, keeping the amendments made secretly in the succession law in as low a profile as possible, as if such fact had never occurred. What was this maneuvering for?

 "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" by Ruth Benedict, which was published immediately after the end of the war, gave me a fresh knowledge as to how Anglo-Saxons had been viewing the Japanese. What surprised me, in addition to this, was that civil affairs researches as described in the book had been conducted within the U.S. military budgets since long before the outbreak of the Japan-U.S. war. American researchers studied to reveal the reasons for Japan's victory over Russia --- the reasons why a backward feudal nation in Asia was able to so thoroughly humble one of the world's great powers, as early as only forty years after opening its doors to the world. They discovered that the greatest source of power that made the victory of Japan possible was the family structure of Japanese and the extended family system based on the principle of patriarchy. The U.S. government concluded that this family system should be destroyed in order to never allow Japanese to stand against Anglo-Saxons again. That the real purpose for radically changing the Japanese law of succession was to destroy the Japanese family system is hidden history. And now, turning to the present state of affairs in Japan, we can see that the hidden purpose of the amendment of the succession law is being accomplished quite successfully.

 Brothers and sisters or even whole families break down due to disputes over tiny plots of land and small inheritances. Children escape from looking after their elder parents by arbitrarily asserting the spirits of the new and old Constitutions. Junior siblings thrust responsibilities for the care of their invalid parents to the eldest sons, relying on the principle of patriarchy under the Meiji Constitution. When their parents die, they quickly shift to the new Constitution and begin to act on their beliefs of equal division of inheritances. Japan is an opportunist people who conveniently shift back and forth between the two different Constitutions. A country of "Zipangu Myth," indeed.

 The Japanese people are facing the worst crisis since the rise of the curtain of the archipelago's history. Neighboring countries are waiting for any opportunity to take advantage of Japan. Confronting its people is a choice between two conflicting decisions: whether to take the way to a "state with spiritual protection" or the way to a "state without spiritual protection." The choice is all the more difficult in the face of a tragic reality that the truth is kept from most of the Japanese general public. It is my belief that the theme of "country with spiritual protection" is currently the most important issue for Japanese. I hope that beneficial arguments will be developed in the quest for a deeper understanding at the seminaries of "Kyo-o" and "Gokoku."