Office of Japanese Classics Research
PredecessorBureau of Shinto Affairs
SuccessorAssociation of Shinto Shrines, Kokugakuin University
This monument is located in front of the Tokyo Kusei Kaikan in Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Tokyo Kusei Kaikan was the former location of the Office of Japanese Classics Research.[1]

The Office of Japanese Classics Research (皇典講究所, Kōten Kōkyūsho) was a central government organization for the training of the Shinto priesthood in Japan.[2][3][4][5] It was established by the Meiji Government in 1882 as the successor organization to the Bureau of Shinto Affairs. Prince Arisugawa Takahito was its first leader.

Under pressure from the Occupation Policy by the postwar GHQ, it was dissolved in 1946. The Association of Shinto Shrines was established and merged the National Association of Shinto Priests, Jingu-kyo, and Institute of Divinities into the same organization.[6] Kokugakuin University Foundation (the predecessor of Kokugakuin University) was then established as a stand-alone corporation.[7]


Imprint of the Office of Japanese Classics Research
Chairs used in the Imperial Lecture Hall in Kokugakuin University Museum [ja]
Tokyo Ward Government Building at the former location of the Imperial Palace Kosho

This school was opened as an institution to carry out the indoctrination of the Imperial Way to the masses as part of the religious policy of the Meiji era, when State Shinto was established.[8][9] In 1890, the organization expanded the educational business and opened Kokugakuin.[9]

After its establishment, as part of its business, it began publishing the Imperial Lectures from 1889 (1889) February.[10] In 1890 (Meiji 23), a compilation project of Koji Ruien was carried out. The Engishiki was also compiled, and in 1931 (Showa 6), a revised Engishiki was published to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the Engishiki compilation. The Ministry of Home Affairs was commissioned to train priests and priesthoods, and the Imperial Institute and Kokugakuin University Press published many reference books for the priesthood qualification examination.[11]

With the establishment of the Kyodo Shoku, the priesthood was abolished as a teaching ministry, and the main duties of the priesthood were limited to rituals.[12] Shinto priests who wanted to preach doctrine were marginalised into Sect Shinto.[13] The state continued to treat Shinto as a non-religious institution due to Secular Shrine Theory, while the priesthood continued to perform official state rituals.[14] When the foundation eventually developed into an incorporated foundation and the appearance of Shinto as the state religion came to an end and management became difficult, it was jointly run by private organizations related to shrine with the cooperation of Shintoists, along with the Dainippon Jingikai (大日本神祇会) and Jingū Hōsaikai (神宮奉斎会), until then.[15]


Around the 10th year of Meiji (1877), during the Bunmei-kaika era, the slump of the Proclamation of the Great Doctrine and the subsequent controversy over the ritual gods led to a proposal from within the government to establish a school focusing on Kokugaku research, and the subsequent controversy over the establishment of a school for Kokugaku studies. In the 15th year of Meiji (1882) August 23, Emperor Meiji appointed Prince Nobuhito Arisugawa, his most trusted advisor, as the president.[16] In the same year, Yamada Akiyoshi and other Ministry of the Interior High official, and several Japanese literature scholars, including Iidacho, on November 4 of the same year.[17]

The Imperial Academy was established with two divisions: the Faculty of Letters, which consisted of the four departments of shumon, history, law, and writing, and the Faculty of Work, which consisted of the three departments of etiquette, music, and gymnastics. According to the "Establishment Announcement" issued at the opening of the school, the philosophy and purpose of the Faculty of Literature was to "teach the national scriptures", "cultivate morality", "cultivate talent through Chinese and Western studies", "cultivate men of national utility", and "promote the beauty of the nation abroad.[18]

In 1888 (Meiji 21), six years after the opening of the school, the regulations were revised. According to the prospectus for the revision, the institute was to be an institution for the training of students specializing in Japanese literature, and it was to convene experts in Japanese literature to study every detail of Japanese literature that should be documented in the present day. The three departments were Political Science, Legislation, and Literature, with the Literature Department offering courses in language, writing, customs, natural products, crafts, fine arts, agriculture, and geography.[19]

Later, in 1890 (Meiji 23), the Kokugakuin, which taught national history, national literature, and national law, was opened at the Imperial Academy, and the place dedicated to national law was named the Japan Law School [ja] (which developed into Nihon University).[20]

On January 25, 1946 (Showa 21), after the end of World War II, the GHQ dissolved the Imperial Academy and Kokugakuin University was established. The Nihon Law School initially held lectures at night in classrooms rented from the Imperial Law School. Nihon University, because of its close relationship with the Imperial Academy, began offering Shinto courses in 1924 for the purpose of re-educating Shinto teachers, and the Shinto Scholarship Association was organized by the Shinto Sect United Association (later Sect Shinto Federation). The Shinto Scholarship Society was organized.


From inception to dissolution

After dissolution

Basic Data

Course of study (at the time of establishment)



On November 4, 1882, the school announced its intention to become a modern nation's [ja] academic school (Gakko, synonymous with "school" and read the same as "school").[23] On November 4, 1882, the government announced its intention to establish a modern national school (gakko, which is synonymous with "school" and reads the same way) for the study of Japan's original studies.[23]

The Imperial Household Law Institution is built.

We have selected Yoshitatsu to conduct the opening ceremony of the school today. The General Judge Noboru Hitoshi, who has been entrusted with the responsibility of presiding over the ceremony, addresses the staff and students in a friendly manner. The path of learning is far greater than the path of books. The teaching of the national form will strengthen the foundation of our nation and cultivate our moral character. and cultivate moral values in order to aim for the true purpose of life. This is a rule that should not be forgotten by the next generation. This is why we must establish this school Now after the staff student, this is the body of the body Takamasa Honjou Eternal Second Period Seyo

November 4, 1897

Prince Arisugawa Takahito
Date of Establishment

The establishment of the school was officially approved on August 23, 1882, and the opening ceremony was scheduled to take place on September 1, but was postponed due to the health condition of the president, Prince Nobuhito Arisugawa, and the school was opened on November 4. Classes were held from September.

On June 3, the school site was set at the residence of former Hatamoto Hayato Akimoto, 5-8 Iidacho, Kojimachi-ku, Tokyo, and on August 21, an "Application for the Establishment of an Imperial Institute for the Study of the Imperial Law" was sent in the name of Vice President of the Shinto School Hei Iwashitara Yamada Akiyoshi, the Vice President of Shintoism, and was approved on the 23rd of the same month. The date of registration of the Foundation (nonprofit) was later changed to the date of its establishment.[24]

Public and private schools

Nihon University, the site of the school's founding.
Kokugakuin University Opening Place

The Imperial Academy established an institution for research on its premises. The director, Akiyoshi Yamada Minister of Justice, founded the Japan Law School [ja] in 1889 (Meiji 22), followed by the Kokugakuin in the following year. He subsequently fostered public and private law schools.[25]

Law School

In 1889, the Minister of Justice, Yamada Kengi, who was the director of the Imperial Academy, established an educational institution within the Imperial Academy for the purpose of researching Japan's unique Code of law using ancient Japanese and foreign laws as a means of improving Japan's legal system.


Following the Law School, the Kokugakuin was established in 1890 to study national history, national literature, and national law, and to promote national studies and to train priests as an institution for teaching the concept of the nation, or national direction and Shinto.[26]

Positions held

For Kokugakuin University, see Kokugakuin University#People and organizations related to Kokugakuin


Vice President


Secretary General


Executive Director

Executive Director

Board of directors

Toyoji Wada 1921- * Shozo Kono 1935- * Shozo Kono 1935- * Shigeru Yoshida (bureaucrat)


As a reorganization of the former Ministry of the Interior due to the separation of teachings and studies, the Imperial Academy was decided upon by a motion made after the conclusion of the Grand Council on Shintoism by Home Minister Yamada Kenyoshi, who was appointed to the Shinto Interdisciplinary Office at the time.[note 1] In 1885 Cabinet System was established, and in 1886 Itō Hirobumi established a government official training institute. 1889 The Constitution of the Empire of Japan was enacted, which shifted the focus from imperial studies to government-oriented Higher education system. The priesthood training institutions were transformed into official training institutions under Ito's policy of establishing the Imperial University Ordinance. Thus, the establishment of public interest corporation under Act No. 89 of 1894 came into effect, and the new Civil law of 1898 transformed the organization into a foundation (public interest corporation), which was the modern organization at the time.[note 2]



  1. ^ The Imperial Academy, which was based on the Shinto Office Student Dormitory and expanded, was established from Yamada's It was established from a motion of the Kensho
  2. ^ In the same year, the Japan Law School [ja] also made the same transition.


  1. ^ "國學院大學の歴史" (PDF). 國學院大學. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Shinden/Takeda 2005, pp. 213–214.
  4. ^ Digital Daijisen.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Narita & Takeda 2005, pp. 252–253.
  7. ^ "History of Kokugakuin University" (PDF). Kokugakuin University. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  8. ^ 世界宗教用語大事典 2004.
  9. ^ a b ブリタニカ国際大百科事典 小項目事典 2014.
  10. ^ 丸善雄松堂. "皇典講究所講演". 丸善雄松堂. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  11. ^ 國學院大學. "近代—祓の制度化と大祓詞・中臣祓研究". 國學院大學伝統文化リサーチセンター資料館. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  12. ^ 新田・武田 2005, pp. 213.
  13. ^ Susumu, Shimazono; 島茴進; Murphy, Regan E. (2009). "State Shinto in the Lives of the People: The Establishment of Emperor Worship, Modern Nationalism, and Shrine Shinto in Late Meiji". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. 36 (1): 93–124. ISSN 0304-1042.
  14. ^ 松本久史 2011, pp. 78–79.
  15. ^ 神社新報 (2010). "神社新報の歩み". 神社新報社. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  16. ^ 木野主計. "『明治期國學研究雜誌集成』解題・総目次 : マイクロフィルム版" (PDF). 雄松堂書店. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
  17. ^ 京都國學院. "学院の沿革". 学校法人京都皇典研究所 京都國學院. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  18. ^ "学部・学科等の理念・目的" (PDF). 國學院大學. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  19. ^ "学部・学科等の理念・目的" (PDF). 國學院大學. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  20. ^ "学部・学科等の理念・目的" (PDF). 國學院大學. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  21. ^ Narita & Takeda 2005, pp. 213.
  22. ^ "登録5018534 J-PlatPat/AIPN". Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  23. ^ a b 設置の趣旨等を記載した書類 - 大学設置室 - 文部科学省
  24. ^ 國學院大學(『百二十周年小史』参照)
  25. ^ 萩市観光協会. "初代司法大臣で日大・国学院の学祖 山田顕義誕生地 (顕義園)". 萩市観光協会「ぶらり萩あるき」. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  26. ^ 國學院設立趣意書


See also