A LOOK AT RELIGION IN JAPAN
Seen in terms of culture, the theme of religion and politics in Japan, as everywhere else, is complicated, the more so because religion in this country is highly complicated. This essay—the aim of which is descriptive, not analytic—is an attempt at drawing a concrete picture of Shinto and Buddhism, both of which incorporate multiple strands of traditional religion. It is these that have shaped Japanese religiosity and culture. Politically prominent features are put up in front so to speak: that is, impressions of a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and a note on Yasukuni as a religious institution. An account of religious pluralism and the ‘religious division of labor’ constitute the central part, followed by a section on the characteristics of religion in Japan. Further, because religiously and politically momentous, an additional note is included about the popular image of Japan’s imperial throne. Finally, to emphasize the significance of religion, the essay ends with a word of hope for the future of religion.
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