This article is a translation of the first thirty-five pages ( the introduction and part 1 ) of Kuroda Toshio's essay “Chousei ni okeru kenmitsu taisei no tenkai” 中世における顕密体制の展開 (reprinted in Kuroda 1994, pp.45-182). Part 4 of this long essay is translated below (pp. 353-85) as “The Discourse on the ‘Land of Kami，(Shinkoku) in Medieval Japan.
BUDDHISM--JAPAN; ESOTERICISM; SOCIAL CHANGE; STATE AND SOCIETY; JAPAN--HISTORY--TO 1333
Medieval Japan was dominated by a religious system, the so-called kenmitsu system, which provided a cohesive ideological structure for its social and political order. It arose against the backdrop of the medieval estate system and the emerging peasant class. The core of the kenmitsu system was esoteric beliefs and practices, around which the different exoteric doctrines of Tendai and other schools coalesced. Esoteric practices were thought to embody the truths of Mahdydna Buddhism, but also to provide thau-maturgic means to control the ominous spirit world recognized by society. The teachings and practices of Pure Land Buddhism were born out of this system, and the Tendai doctrine of original enlightenment (hongaku) was an archetypal expression of it. The kenmitsu worldview provided the ideological basis for the medieval Japanese state, and was integrated into its system of rule.