1st Edition

Clans and Religion in Ancient Japan
The mythology of Mt. Miwa

ISBN 9781138922877
Published May 25, 2016 by Routledge
170 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $190.00

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Book Description

Clans and Religion in Ancient Japan presents the latest research on the origin of Japanese religion and the clans in charge of religious services in ancient Japan. This book is written from a new analytical perspective and it utilizes not only well-known historical manuscripts which previous research relies upon, but also mythology, archaeological antiquities, pictorial materials and genealogies.

The book hopes to differentiate between the religious systems of Japan and those of other Asian countries, and also between eastern and western cultures. Although different and unique, the book aims to show how Japan plays a part in the global environment and captures attention by answering questions from a historical perspective such as "What is Japan?" and "How should Japan relate to the world?".

Table of Contents

1.  History of Study and Points of Controversy 

2.  Rise and Decline of the Ōmiwa Clan

3.  Constitution of the Ōmiwa Clan

4.  Dispersal Process of the Ōmiwa Clan

5.   Characterizations of the Ōmiwa God

6.  Transition of Religious Services at Mt. Miwa

7.  Legend of Religious Services at Mt. Miwa

8.  Conclusion and Future Prospects

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Masanobu Suzuki is Senior Analyst for Textbooks at the Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. He was formerly Associate Professor at Waseda University, Japan and has taught ancient Japanese history in many universities since 2008. He received his PhD  in Literature at Waseda University in 2012.


‘In ancient Japan, politics was closely connected with religion. Based on the analysis of ancient history books, archaeological relics, and old pictures, this book explains that the emperor sponsored religious service at Mt. Miwa and the Omiwa clan, consistently engaging in it from the fifth to the seventh century, strengthened its political power. By analyzing genealogical materials of the clan, this book also elucidates that the clan absorbed the legend of their ancestors for the legitimacy of their political position and reinterpreted their own history for future generations. These points are important when we consider the forming process of ancient Japanese nation. This book will offer the latest research of religion and clan in ancient Japan to international researchers.’Shinko Taniguchi, Associate Director, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)