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Response

Imagining American and Japanese Religious Freedom

"Diversity often lets us realize that we have limited our scope with no deliberation," writes Satoko Fujiwara in this response to Episode 332. "Regarding the study of Japanese religions," she continues, "diversity is even more necessary because scholars in the field have largely consisted of only two groups: Japanese scholars and white Westerners. It is too often as if only “white” scholars have the freedom to study anything and everything."
Response

Religious legislation as a place of religion-making

In this response to Episode 332, Ernils Larsson writes, "A central problem with the principles of religious freedom and the separation of religion and state as they were instituted in Japan under American occupation is that they assume a consensus with regards to what constitutes religion. As Japan was reshaped by the occupation authorities, an American understanding of religion forced a transformation of the public rites of the state in order for them to conform with the notion of Shrine Shinto as a private religion."
Podcast

Race, Religious Freedom & Empire in Post-War Japan

Jolyon Thomas talks American Empire, Racialization, and Religion in Post-War Japan with Brett Esaki at the 2019 AAR Conference in San Diego, CA.
Podcast

The Problem with ‘Religion’ (and related categories)

Tim Fitzgerald - a founding figure in the critical study of religion - discusses his career up to his seminal volume, The Ideology of Religious Studies, published twenty years ago this year.
Podcast

“Soka Gakkai, Kōmeitō and the religious voices of Japan’s political arena

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.
Podcast

From Static Categories to a River of Theories: “The Myth of Disenchantment”

In a free wheeling conversation, Dr. Jason Josephson-Storm and Dan Gorman discuss the intellectual history of religious studies and the myth that magic is dead.
Response

Tangential Thinking about “Faith-Based Organizations”

The title of the interview intrigued me: beyond ‘faith-based organizations’. I have always considered Erica Bornstein to be one of the pioneers in the anthropology of faith-based organizations in the fields of development and humanitarianism.
Podcast

Religion and the Psy-Disciplines

In this podcast, Dr. Christopher Harding uses his research on psychoanalysis and Buddhism in modern Japan to tackle the two-way dialogue between religion and the psy-disciplines. How have these shaped each other, and what are tensions between them?
Response

‘Lived Religion’ in the Japanese Context: Realities of Individual Practice and Institutional Survival

Japanese religiosity is not necessarily based on what one believes in, but rather on what one does or should do and what one can get out of such activities, regardless of whether the fruits are of a spiritual or material nature. In the current state of religious affairs, the concept of “lived religion” brought to us by Meredith McGuire in her latest book “Lived Religion: Faith and Practice” appears to be a highly relevant one, and most certainly, ...
Response

Learning to Unlearn “Religion”: Jason Ānanda Josephson on the Invention of Religion in Japan

Would it be better to say “Japanese Religions”? How about “religions of Japan”? Or, is “religion” even the best word to use to describe the Japanese traditions we’re studying? One of the first Religious Studies courses in which I enrolled was titled “Japanese Religion.” There were several themes running through the course, but the one that stuck with me as the most important was something the professor asked during the first meeting of the class:
Podcast

The Invention of Religion in Japan

In this interview, Jason Josephson discusses the Japanese appropriation of the modern category of "religion." He first describes how Shinto is typically represented in EuroAmerican religious studies courses. He then describes the various actors and processes (both European and native)...
Response

Religious Experience: Understanding and Explaining (Video)

The RSP collaborated with Society for the Scientific Study of Religion at their 2014 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis to offer and video record an interdisciplinary panel on the study of religion. Each of the papers presented are not only from different fields in the study of religion but also methodologically or theoretically apply an interdisciplinary approach. The authors represent the best in their fields. Some are established scholars with a body of work while others are up-and-coming talent.
Response

Religious Authority in a Post-Religious Society

Since the 1980s, social and economic pressures to stay within mainstream society have become more prominent, and spiritually minded individuals often seek more limited, loosely bonded participation in New Age-style modes of thought. The question of charismatic and spiritual authority has become ever more relevant in present day Japan, which is an exceedingly “non-religious but spiritual” nation.
Podcast

Religion and Authority in Asia

Given its contextual and perspectival malleability, the notion of ‘authority', and even more so of ‘religious authority’, is challenging to define and to study. In today’s interview with Paulina Kolata, Dr Erica Baffelli discusses the notion of authority and charismatic leadership in the context of her research on New and ‘New’ New religions in contemporary Japan.
Response

Where are you going…and Are you a Pilgrim?

What is a pilgrim? Who is a pilgrim? Simply visiting a shrine, cathedral, temple, or other ‘sacred’ site cannot be the defining characteristic. How do you choose a vacation destination? Is it a specific location with personal meaning, or is the potential for exploration more alluring than anything else?
Podcast

Pilgrimage in Japan and Beyond: Part 2

Professor Ian Reader discusses his publication ‘Pilgrimage in the Marketplace’, which explores the very ‘worldly’ conditions of development, popularisation, and ultimately, survival of pilgrimage centres in connection to the dynamics of the marketplace through which the ‘sacred’ as a category can be sustained.
Podcast

Pilgrimage in Japan and Beyond: Part 1

Professor Ian Reader discusses his publication ‘Pilgrimage in the Marketplace’, which explores the very ‘worldly’ conditions of development, popularisation, and ultimately, survival of pilgrimage centres in connection to the dynamics of the marketplace through which the ‘sacred’ as a category can be sustained.
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