Introducing Japanese Religion (Paperback) book cover

Introducing Japanese Religion

By Robert Ellwood

© 2008 – Routledge

288 pages

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Paperback: 9780415774260
pub: 2007-11-08
Hardback: 9780415774253
pub: 2007-11-08

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Introducing Japanese Religion is the ideal resource for students who are beginning their studies in the religious traditions of Japan. It offers a living picture of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, and a rich understanding of the history and practice of religions in Japan.

Robert Ellwood explores the religious heritage of this fascinating country, from the dawn of spirituality to the present day. He gives special attention to the traditions of Shinto, the different forms of Buddhism in Japan, including Shingon and Tendai, and Confucianism. He also explores Japanese New Religious Movements, including Aum Shrinrikyo. Each religion is clearly described in terms of its history, practice, sociology and organization, and Ellwood emphasizes how in practice Japanese religion interacts and intermingles. Finally, Ellwood discusses the influence of Japan on popular culture, including discussion of animé, and the transmission of Japanese spiritual, mythical and religious themes to the rest of the world.

Introducing Japanese Religion also includes illustrations, lively quotations from original sources, learning goals, summary boxes, questions for discussion, suggestions for further reading and a glossary to aid study and revision. The accompanying website for this book can be found at

Table of Contents

1. Encountering the Japanese Religious World: Introduction 2. The Past in the Present: A Survey of Japanese Religions, Starting at Ise and Nara 3. The Way of the Kami: Shinto Then and Now 4. Butsudo: What Buddhism Is and How it Came to Japan 5. Magic Mountains and the Old Court: Heian Buddhism and Culture 6. Warrior Culture, Simple Faith: The Kamakura Buddhist Reformation 7. Swords and Satori: Zen and its Culture 8. Christ and Confucius: The West Arrives, and then Japan Turns Inward 9. The Rising Sun and the Dark Valley: The Meiji Restoration through 1945 10. Chanting and Dancing: The "New Religions" of Japan 11. Pilgrimages: Religion in Japan Today

About the Author

Robert Ellwood is Distinguished Professor of Religion Emeritus at the University of Southern California. He is the author of over twenty-five books, including Many Peoples, Many Faiths, The Fifties Spiritual Marketplace, The Sixties Spiritual Awakening, and Islands of the Dawn.

About the Series

World Religions

This exciting series introduces students to the major world religious traditions. Each religion is explored in a lively and clear fashion by experienced teachers and leading scholars in the field of world religions. Up to date scholarship is presented in a student-friendly fashion, covering history, core beliefs, sacred texts, key figures, religious practice and culture, and key contemporary issues. To aid learning and revision, each text includes illustrations, summaries, explanations of key terms, and further reading.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
RELIGION / Eastern