Invention of Religion in Japan

ISBN-10: 0226412342

ISBN-13: 9780226412344

Edition: 2012

Authors: Jason Ananda Josephson

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Description:

Throughout its long history, Japan had no concept of what we call “religion.” There was no corresponding Japanese word, nor anything close to its meaning. But when American warships appeared off the coast of Japan in 1853 and forced the Japanese government to sign treaties demanding, among other things, freedom of religion, the country had to contend with this Western idea. In this book, Jason Ananda Josephson reveals how Japanese officials invented religion in Japan and traces the sweeping intellectual, legal, and cultural changes that followed. More than a tale of oppression or hegemony, Josephson’s account demonstrates that the process of articulating religion offered the Japanese state a valuable opportunity. In addition to carving out space for belief in Christianity and certain forms of Buddhism, Japanese officials excluded Shinto from the category. Instead, they enshrined it as a national ideology while relegating the popular practices of indigenous shamans and female mediums to the category of “superstitions”—and thus beyond the sphere of tolerance. Josephson argues that the invention of religion in Japan was a politically charged, boundary-drawing exercise that not only extensively reclassified the inherited materials of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto to lasting effect, but also reshaped, in subtle but significant ways, our own formulation of the concept of religion today. This ambitious and wide-ranging book contributes an important perspective to broader debates on the nature of religion, the secular, science, and superstition.
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Book details

List price: $34.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/3/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 408
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

Preface and Acknowledgments
A Note on Texts and Translations
Introduction
The Advent of Religion in Japan
Obscure Obstacles
Unlearning Shukyo
Unlearning "Religion"
Overview of the Work
The Marks of Heresy: Organizing Difference in Premodern Japan
Difference Denied: Hierarchical Inclusion
Strange Aberrations: Exclusive Similarity
Hunting Heretics
Heretical Anthropology
Contested Silences: Two Versions of the Acts of the Saints
Demonic Dharma
Japanese Heretics and Pagans
The Arrival of Religion
Negotiating "Religion"
Taxonomy and Translation: Category in the Webs of Meaning
Unreasonable Demands
The Science of the Gods
Shinto as a "Nonreligion"
The Way of the Gods
Celestial Archeology: The Advent of European Science in Japan
The Science of the Gods: Philology and Cosmology
Ritual Therapeutics for the Body of the Nation
The Gods of Science
From Miraculous Revolution to Mechanistic Cosmos
Formations of the Shinto Secular
Secularism Revisited
Hygienic Modernity and the World of Reality
Secular Apotheosis
Taming Demons
The Demons of Modernity
Restraining the Wild
Monstrous Gods
Evil Cults
Disciplining Buddhism, Expelling Christianity
Inventing Japanese Religion
Religion in Japanese International Missions
Controlling the Heart: Debating the Role of Religion in the Modern State
Inventing "Japanese Religions"
Religion within the Limits
Internal Convictions
External Controls
The Birth of Religious Studies in Japan
Conclusion
The Invention of Superstition
The Invention of the Secular
The Invention of Religion
The Third Term
Postscript
Appendix: Religion Explained
Notes
Character Glossary
References
Index
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