- 東京大学宗教学年報 (ISSN:2896400)
- vol.17, pp.145-158, 2000-03-31
In 1895, there was a cholera epidemic in Japan. Masuda Keitaro, a policeman, died of the epidemic as he instructed people about hygiene and nursing patients in Takakushi, Saga. He is said to have said, "I will take away the cholera of this area when I die." After he died, people in Takakushi considered Masuda a deity and made a monument in stone to him. Later, people regarded him as a god of disease, and worshippers praying for their recovery from illness increased in number. The monument became Masuda Shrine. Early in the Showa era, people in police and education circles began admiring Masuda for his self-sacrificing behavior. A nationalistic thought movement, "Nihonseishin ron" (the Japanese Spirit argument), was behind these admiring movements. After the war, a doctor, Uchida Mamoru, interpreted Masuda's behavior as philanthropy. The policy "Shinto Shirei" of GHQ lay behind this thought. In this process of Masuda worship the acceptance of the death by the living changed from the second personal death "thy death" to the third personal death "his death". It is possible to interpret Masuda worship by examining this shift.