1st Edition

Sacred Heritage in Japan

Edited By Aike P. Rots, Mark Teeuwen Copyright 2020
    222 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Sacred Heritage in Japan is the first volume to explicitly address the topics of Japanese religion and heritage preservation in connection with each other.

    The book examines what happens when places of worship and ritual practices are rebranded as national culture. It also considers the impact of being designated tangible or intangible cultural properties and, more recently, as UNESCO World or Intangible Heritage. Drawing on primary ethnographic and historical research, the contributions to this volume show the variety of ways in which different actors have contributed to, negotiated, and at times resisted the transformation of religious traditions into heritage. They analyse the conflicts that emerge about questions of signification and authority during these processes of transformation. The book provides important new perspectives on the local implications of UNESCO listings in the Japanese context and showcases the diversity of "sacred heritage" in present-day Japan.

    Combining perspectives from heritage studies, Japanese studies, religious studies, history, and social anthropology, the volume will be of interest to scholars and students who want to learn more about the diversity of local responses to heritage conservation in non-Western societies. It will also be of interest to scholars and students engaged in the study of Japanese religion, society, or cultural policies.

    Chapter 1 Heritage-Making and the Transformation of Religion in Modern Japan

    Mark Teeuwen and Aike P. Rots

    Chapter 2 The Politics of Japan’s Use of World Heritage: From Ratifying the World Heritage Convention to the Mozu–Furuichi Tumulus Clusters

    Tze M. Loo

    Chapter 3 An Introduction to Multilateral Heritage Politics: Japan and the World Heritage Convention

    Herdis Hølleland

    Chapter 4 World Cultural Heritage and Women’s Exclusion from Sacred Sites in Japan

    Lindsey E. DeWitt

    Chapter 5 Whose Sacred Site? Contesting World Heritage at Sefa Utaki

    Aike P. Rots

    Chapter 6 What Does it Mean to Become UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage? The Case of aenokoto

    Kikuchi Akira

    Chapter 7 Kyoto’s Gion Float Parade as Heritage: Between Culture, Religion, and Faith

    Mark Teeuwen

    Chapter 8 The Story Beyond UNESCO: Local Buddhist Temples and the Heritage of Survival in Regional Japan

    Paulina K. Kolata

    Chapter 9 Omissions, Stratagems, and Dissent: The Shikoku Pilgrimage and the Problems of Applying for World Heritage Status

    Ian Reader


    Aike P. Rots is Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Oslo. His research interests include religion and the environment, ritual and sacred space, human–nature relations, and the politics of religion in contemporary East and Southeast Asia.

    Mark Teeuwen is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Oslo. His field of research is the history of religion in Japan.

    "Following the introduction, eight case studies show how heritage (and religion) is negotiated and contested, politicized, and claimed. Recommended!"
    Isabelle Prochaska- Meyer, University of Vienna, Religious Studies Review