Ascetic Practices in Japanese Religion: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Ascetic Practices in Japanese Religion

1st Edition

By Tullio Federico Lobetti


174 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138652064
pub: 2016-01-21
Hardback: 9780415833752
pub: 2013-08-13
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pub: 2013-09-11
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Ascetic practices are a common feature of religion in Japan, practiced by different religious traditions. This book looks at these ascetic practices in an inter-sectarian and inter-doctrinal fashion, in order to highlight the underlying themes common to all forms of asceticism. It does so by employing a multidisciplinary methodology, which integrates participant fieldwork – the author himself engaged extensively in ascetic practices – with a hermeneutical interpretation of the body as the primary locus of transmission of the ascetic ‘embodied tradition’. By unlocking this ‘bodily data’, the book unveils the human body as the main tool and text of ascetic practice. This book includes discussion of the many extraordinary rituals practiced by Japanese ascetics.


"Ascetic Practices in Japanese Religion makes a fine introductory read for students of Japanese religions and Shugendo and offers creative theoretical insights." - Shayne A. P. Dahl, University of Toronto

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction 1. Translating Fundamental Categories: The Human Body and Asceticism 2. Modes of Ascetic Practice 3. The Ascetic Practitioner: Identity and Motivation 4. Ascetic Practices in Context 5. Corporis Ascensus Conclusion

About the Author

Tullio Federico Lobetti is Senior Teaching Fellow in the Study of Religions Department at SOAS, University of London, UK.

Foreword writer, Hirochika Nakamaki, is Director of the Suita City Museum and Professor Emeritus of the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan.

About the Series

Japan Anthropology Workshop Series

Editorial Board:
Pamela Asquith, University of Alberta
Eyal Ben Ari, Kinneret Academic College, Sea of Galilee, Israel

Hirochika Nakamaki, Suita City Museum, Japan
Christoph Brumann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

Henry Johnson, University of Otago, New Zealand

Founder Member of the Editorial Board:
Jan van Bremen, University of Leiden

Routledge is very proud to be publishing this important series, which has already signed up a good list of high quality books on interesting topics, and has a truly international range of authors and editors.

A key aim of the series is to present studies that offer a deep understanding of aspects of Japanese society and culture to offset the impression of constant change and frivolity that so tempts the mass media around the world.  Living in Japan brings anyone into contact with the fervent mood of change, and former residents from many other countries enjoy reading about their temporary home, but there is a demand also to penetrate less obvious elements of this temporary life.  Anthropologists specialise in digging beneath the surface, in peeling off and examining layers of cultural wrapping, and in gaining an understanding of language and communication that goes beyond formal presentation and informal frolicking.  This series will help to open the eyes of readers around the world from many backgrounds to the work of these diligent anthropologists researching the social life of Japan.

Submissions from prospective authors are welcomed, and enquiries should be sent in the first instance to the series editor Professor Joy Hendry (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General