Levi McLaughlin is Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at North Carolina State University. His work deals primarily with religion and politics in contemporary Japan. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University after previous study at the University of Tokyo, and he holds a B.A. and M.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. He is co-author and co-editor of Kōmeitō: Politics and Religion in Japan (IEAS Berkeley, 2014), co-editor of the special issue “Salvage and Salvation: Religion and Disaster Relief in Asia” (Asian Ethnology, June 2016), and author of numerous articles and book chapters in English and Japanese. His book Soka Gakkai’s Human Revolution: The Rise of a Mimetic Nation is forthcoming in late 2018 from the University of Hawai`i Press.
Throughout Japanese history, religion has always coloured and influenced the matters of the state. Religious validation of imperialist aggression and Japan’s war efforts in the first half of the 20th century is just one example of this.