TOKYO -- Gen. Douglas MacArthur tonight ordered the Japanese government to withdraw its sponsorship and financial support from state Shintoism which embraces the belief that the emperor is a god entitled to divine right to rule all lands and peoples.
It was the first positive step in Japan toward achieving one of four freedoms expounded by the late President Roosevelt -- freedom of religion.
State-sponsored Shintoism was described by Brig. Gen. Ken R. Dyke, chief of MacArthur's civil information and education section, as a religion "manufactured" by ultra nationalists and warlords to promote Japan's abortive attempt at world domination.
MacArthur's directive to the Japanese government does not pertain to private belief in the intricacies of Shintoism, the fundamental core of which is ancestor worship, particularly in connection with the imperial family, but "removes the bad aspects from it," the announcement said.
The directive was prepared by Lt. William K. Bunce, formerly professor of oriental history and dean of Otterbein college, Westerville O.
It probably will affect more Japanese subjects than any directive yet issued by MacArthur.
Dyke said it frees the Japanese from "75 years of moral and financial enslavement to an ideology which led him into war, defeat, suffering and privation."
Shintoism entailed the belief that all Japanese are superior to other peoples and that the Japanese homeland is superior to all other land.
The directive ordered removal of all forms of Shintoism from the public schools and forbids state or official participation in Shinto rites.