152 , 2017-07-24 , International Research Center for Japanese Studies
Japanese new religions (shinshūkyō) have attempted to enter a wide range of secular domains, such as politics, education, and welfare, in order to offer alternative models to mainstream systems. This paper will discuss the importance placed by new religions on political and educational activities. In particular, it focuses on the activities of several new religions in the field of education, and their ideas on how the education system should be reformed to reflect the groups’ teachings and ideologies. Following a general discussion of this topic, the paper addresses the case of Kōfuku no Kagaku, a new religion founded in the 1980s, which applied for permission to establish a new university in 2014. Kōfuku no Kagaku’s response to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s (Monbukagakushō) rejection of this application provides a pertinent case study to investigate the group’s definition of learning and its vision of the role of education in society.