As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promises voters a bright future for Japan's economy, key parts of his conservative base want him to steer the nation back toward a traditional ethos mixing Shinto myth, patriotism and pride in the ancient Imperial line.

Proponents say such changes are needed to revive important aspects of Japanese culture eradicated by the U.S. Occupation after World War II and to counter modern materialism.

Critics say they mirror the Shinto ideology that mobilized the masses to fight the war in the name of a divine emperor. The legacy of that war still haunts ties with China and South Korea nearly 70 years after its end.