Japanese Religious Traditions

Japanese Religious Traditions

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For undergraduate introductory-level courses in World Religions, Japanese Religions, Japanese Culture, East Asian Civilizations, Religion and Politics, and Women and Religion.

Giving students insight into the heart of Japanese culture and religion, this introductory text offers a chronological narrative to Japanese religions by focusing on major religious and political figures. It contains an in-depth study of "State Shinto" and how it underwent ideological and political transfigurations through the times.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 128 pages
  • 133 x 203 x 8.64mm | 141g
  • Pearson
  • Upper Saddle River, NJ, United States
  • English
  • 013091164X
  • 9780130911643
  • 2,389,574

Back cover copy

This series provides succinct and balanced overviews of the religions of the world. Written in an accessible and informative style, and assuming little or no prior knowledge on the part of the reader, each book gives a basic introduction to the faith--its history, beliefs, and practices--and emphasizes modern developments and the role and impact of the religion in today's world.

Japanese Religious Traditions focuses on major Japanese religious concepts, practices, and sects within the traditions of Shinto, Buddhism, and popular modern movements. It is written in an accessible narrative that provides a valuable insight into the heart of Japanese culture. The coverage of the various key players in religious sects presents challenging philosophical questions to the reader, which in turn highlight the subtle nuances and shifts of expression in our own time and society.
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Table of contents

1. Some Features of Japanese Religious Practices.

Twenty-Year Rotation of the Outer and the Inner Shrines. The Sacred. Buddhism and Shinto. Religion and Art.

2. Early Historical Developments.

Early Shinto. Shinto Myth. The Incident of the "Heavenly Rock Cave." Empress Jito as the Living Kami. The Imperial Priestesshood (Saigu, Saiin). Introduction of Buddhism. Prince Shotoku. The Cult of Prince Shotoku. Nara Buddhism. Hinayana, Mahayana, and the Doctrine of the "Bodies" of Buddha. Todaiji and the Great Buddha Image. Moving the Capital from Nara to Kyoto. Saicho (Dengyo-Daishi) and the Tendai Sect. Kukai (Kobo-Daishi) and the Shingon Sect. Mountains as the Sacred Religious Training Ground. Angry Spirits and other Folk Beliefs.

3. Medieval Period.

Entering the "Period of the end of Buddha's Teaching." Nenbutsu Practice and the Longing for the Western Paradise of the Amida Buddha. Transition of Power from the Imperial Court to the Shogunate. Salvation of Women. Honen and the Pure Land Sect. Shinran and the True Pure Land Sect. Eisai and the Rinzai Zen Sect. Dogen and the Soto Zen Sect. Nichiren and the Nichiren (or Lotus) Sect. Ippen and the Ji Sect.

4. From the Medieval to the Early Modern Period.

The relationship between Buddhism and Shinto. The "Essence-Manifestation" Theory. The Emergence of Self-Asssertion of Shinto. Patronage of Zen by the Kamakura Shogunate. Muromachi Shogunate and Conflicts among Buddhist Sects. Zen and Arts. Development of Militant Sects. An Interlude: Amida or the Lotus? Development of Popular Religiosity. Francis Xavier and the Introduction of Christianity. Obstacles. The Unification of Japan and the Fate of Christianity. Nobunaga and Christianity. Hideyoshi and Christianity. The Incident of San Felipe. Deification of Hideyoshi.

5. Early Modern-Late 16th through 18th Century.

Ieyasu and the Tokugawa Shogunate. Expulsion of the Christian Missionaries and the Closure of the Ports. The Hokoji Temple Bell. The Incident of the "Purple Priestly Robe." Deification of Leyasu. Methodical Persecutions of Christians. Obaku Zen Sect. Buddhism Becomes a Funeral Religion. Attraction of Neo-Confucianism. Women's Social Status. Renewed Interest in Shinto. The Poet Basho. Formation of Popular Ethics and the Spirit of Rationalism. Return to Antiquity: The "Native" Learning (Kokugaku), Shinto and "Nationalism. Hirata Shinto. Living Buddhism.

6. Modern Period-The 19th and 20th Century.

Outbursts of Popular Religious Movements in the Late Tokugawa Period. The Opening of the Ports and the Resurfacing of the "Hidden Christians. Meiji Restoration. Separation of Shinto and Buddhism. Making of the Image of the Emperor as a Kami. Abolishment of Old Festival Days, Creation of New Ones. National Mausoleum of the Fallen Soldiers. Lifting of the Ban against Christianity. Invention of State Shinto. Christianity in Meiji Japan. Spiritual Movements during the Meiji Period. Fascism and Shinto. The Storms of Fascism. Post-WWII "New" Japan.

7. Japanese Religions in the New Millennium.

Japanese Religions Today. Looking toward the Future.
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About Michiko Yusa

Mithiko Yusa is Professor of Japanese and East Asian Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington.

Ninian Smart was J. F. Rowny Professor of Comparative Religions at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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Rating details

38 ratings
3.45 out of 5 stars
5 16% (6)
4 24% (9)
3 50% (19)
2 11% (4)
1 0% (0)
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