Wednesday, December 15, 2004


MacArthur's Way

On this day in history, a politically incorrect decision was made, with successful consequences:

December 15th, 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.
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.
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