This paper considers recent developments in the relations between state, education and religion in Britain in the light of analogous developments in pre-war Japan. The discussion focuses on the emergence of a government-sponsored state cult developed in the late 19th century and retrospectively referred to as `state Shinto¿. Defined as `non-religious¿ and disseminated through the school system, it eventually incorporated all other Japanese religions. The analogy with contemporary Britain involves an examination of the background and content of the 1988 Education Reform Act and subsequent (1994) government `Guidance¿ to schools, particularly in relation to schools religious worship and Religious Education (RE). The analogy with pre-war Japan highlights shifts in the `constitutional topography of the sacred¿, only partially achieved so far in Britain, whereby religious authority passes from `real¿ religions to the state, and is then disseminated through the education system as morality.