Thursday, May 10, 2012

"for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - America's Last Enemy, Shinto or Islam?

A Tokyo's Station Area...

America's Last Enemy, Shinto or Islam?

The true enemy in the Japan-US War, which was fought as part of WWII, was thought by General MacArthur and other US leaders to be the Japanese shinto religion.
Dec 15, 1945:
MacArthur orders end of Shinto as Japanese state religion

On this day, General Douglas MacArthur, in his capacity as Supreme Commander of Allied Powers in the Pacific, brings an end to Shintoism as Japan's established religion. The Shinto system included the belief that the emperor, in this case Hirohito, was divine.

On September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, MacArthur signed the instrument of Japanese surrender on behalf of the victorious Allies. Before the economic and political reforms the Allies devised for Japan's future could be enacted, however, the country had to be demilitarized. Step one in the plan to reform Japan entailed the demobilization of Japan's armed forces, and the return of all troops from abroad. Japan had had a long history of its foreign policy being dominated by the military, as evidenced by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye's failed attempts to reform his government and being virtually pushed out of power by career army officer Hideki Tojo.

Step two was the dismantling of Shintoism as the Japanese national religion. Allied powers believed that serious democratic reforms, and a constitutional form of government, could not be put into place as long as the Japanese people looked to an emperor as their ultimate authority. Hirohito was forced to renounce his divine status, and his powers were severely limited—he was reduced to little more than a figurehead. And not merely religion, but even compulsory courses on ethics—the power to influence the Japanese population's traditional religious and moral duties—were wrenched from state control as part of a larger decentralization of all power.  

So, when the US and allied forces occupied Japan after WWII, their supreme commander General MacArthur made very strong efforts to weaken power of the religion shintoism in the Japanese society.  However, to effectively carry out his occupation mission and policies, the General needed a kind of help from the Emperor of Japan.  As long as the most influential person in Japan, the Emperor, acted following advice, suggestions, and intentions of the General Headquarters of the allied forces in Tokyo, the Japanese people accepted peacefully the occupation by foreign troops.  But, the religion of the imperial house is one school of shinto.  Accordingly, General MacArthur could not fully demolish the shinto system and traditions deeply rooted in the living of the Japanese people.  And in this context the notable Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo could survive this difficult era after WWII, though the Shrine enshrined fallen soldiers of the Empire of Japan.

The point at issue is that the US tried after WWII or while occupying Japan militarily to lessen the power and the influence the Japanese inherent religion shinto had, since shinto was regraded as the great source of courage and allegiance of tough Japanese soldiers.  But, the US has not systematically lessened the power and the influence of Islam in Iraq and Afghanistan, though it blindly purged the Taliban regime based on a stern school of Islam.  This is a big difference between America's occupation of Japan after WWII and that of Iraq and Afghanistan in the War on Terror.
BBC: Do you think the war against terror is really a war against Islam? Are Muslims being targeted by the war on terror?
Your reaction :
...If America avenges the terrible attack on their own people by killing far more people from Muslim countries, which it has done in Afghanistan and shortly will in Iraq, then it will be seen as a war on Muslims, and that Muslim life is worth less than American life. It will also increase not reduce terrorism.
Paul, England
When the War on the Pacific, as fought as part of WWII, ended, the US found that its true enemy is not good-natured Japanese people but shinto, a religion that gave effective power to Japanese militarists to control sternly Japanese soldiers and civilians.

But will the US, when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are ended, regard Islam as the true enemy of America?

On the other hand there are many Muslims in the US, though only very few shintoists in America.  America might come to draw a distinction between Islam in the US and Islam outside the US.

Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream
May 22, 2007

- A large majority of Muslim Americans believe that hard work pays off in this society. Fully 71% agree that most people who want to get ahead in the United States can make it if they are willing to work hard. 
- Based on data from this survey, along with available Census Bureau data on immigrants' nativity and nationality, the Pew Research Center estimates the total population of Muslims in the United States at 2.35 million.

- A majority of Muslim Americans (53%) say it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Most also believe that the government "singles out" Muslims for increased surveillance and monitoring. 
- Relatively few Muslim Americans believe the U.S.-led war on terror is a sincere effort to reduce terrorism, and many doubt that Arabs were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Just 40% of Muslim Americans say groups of Arabs carried out those attacks.

From other point of a view, shinto is a religion for Japanese living in Japan.  If Japanese move to  America, they will become naturally less and less shinto.  But, Muslims are Muslims if they live in the US.  Or have they become an American version of Muslims?

One thing sure is that the US has not become safer from a military threat of Japan because it made strong efforts to decrease influence of shinto on the Japanese society after WWII.  The US has become safer as the Japanese people understood after WWII that America was based on American democracy and American Christianity the Japanese could understand and even respect.

Put simply, the War on Terror should be executed with intention to make American democracy and American Christianity fully respected by Muslims and poor Muslims in the world.

It means the key to American success in any war against a foreign country is more in its political system and religion than those in Islamic nations or even in China.

So, it also means the last enemy of America is something against its sound political system and religion that is inside the US.

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Emperor of Japan as Great Shinto Priest

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Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.