In this important book, a leading authority on Japanese religions brings together for the first time in English his extensive work on the subject. The book is important both for what it reveals about Japanese religions, and also because it demonstrates for western readers the distinctive Japanese approaches to the study of the subject and the different Japanese intellectual traditions which inform it. The book includes historical, cultural, regional and social approaches, and explains historical changes and regional differences. It goes on to provide cultural and symbolic analyses of festivals to reveal their full meanings, and examines Japanese religions among Japanese and non-Japanese communities abroad, exploring the key role of religion in defining Japanese ethnic identity outside Japan.
Hirochika Nakamaki is Professor and Director of the Department of Advanced Studies Ethnology at the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan. He has conducted research on Japanese religions in Hawaii, California and Brazil as well as in Japan. He has edited The Culture of Association and Associations in Contemporary Japanese Society (2002), and co-edited Japanese Civilization in the Modern World VI Religion (1990) and Possessao e Procissao: Religiosidade Popular no Brasil (1994).