1st Edition

Life After Death Today in the United States, Japan, and China

    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is about contemporary senses of life after death in the United States, Japan, and China.

    By collecting and examining hundreds of interviews with people from all walks of life in these three societies, the book presents and compares personally held beliefs, experiences, and interactions with the concept of life after death. Three major aspects covered by the book Include, but are certainly not limited to, the enduring tradition of Japanese ancestor veneration, China’s transition from state-sponsored materialism to the increasing belief in some form of afterlife, as well as the diversity in senses of, or disbelief in, life after death in the United States. Through these diverse first-hand testimonies the book reveals that underlying these changes in each society there is a shift from collective to individual belief, with people developing their own visions of what may, or may not, happen after death.

    This book will be valuable reading for students of Anthropology as well as Religious, Cultural, Asian and American Studies. It will also be an impactful resource for professionals such as doctors, nurses, and hospice workers.

    1. Senses of Life After Death Past and Present  2. The United States: Life After Death in a Christian/Post-Christian Nation  3. Japan: The Strictures of Life Before Death and the Freedom of Life After Death  4. China: The Loss of a This-World Utopia, and the Lure of a World Beyond  5. Life After Death/Life Before Death and Their Linkages


    Gordon Mathews is Professor in the Dept. of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Yang Yang has an M.Phil. degree in Anthropology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Miu Ying Kwong has an M.Phil. degree in Anthropology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, writing her thesis on senses of life after death in south China.

    "This is an insightful often compelling exploration into a topic that seldom receives the attention it deserves. Exceptionally important and enduring, it is a delight to read. The comparative aspect elevates the philosophical anthropology investigation into an analysis that is as satisfying as it is memorable."
    William Jankowiak, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

    "This research contributes to evolving concepts of death, afterlife, and immortality in the contemporary world, and how they mediate with the working of cultures. Its extensive examination of death, immortality, and afterlife crosses the boundaries of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and religious studies. The magnitude of ethnographic data collected by the authors will also impress academic or non-academic readers alike."
    Hikaru Suzuki, Editor of Death and Dying in Contemporary Japan (Routledge: 2012)