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The Spiritual World: Aspects Of New Age In Japan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces the development, the audience and some popular themes of the seishin sekai, the ‘spiritual world’, the Japanese counterpart of New Age in the West. In sharp contrast to the latter scene, Japan’s New Age is distinctive in its discourse on the nature of spirituality typical for Japanese religions, in which many intellectuals, authors and artists participate. The chapter discusses the emergence of the spiritual world and this ‘spiritual discourse’ in the contexts of both Japanese religions and contemporary Japanese society. It describes some tendencies of New Age in Japan in the early twenty-first century. Japanese religious traditions such as Zen Buddhism, esoteric Buddhism or Shintô have been ‘rediscovered’, as it were. The Funai phenomenon exemplifies the broad acceptance of the ideas and practices emanating from the spiritual world throughout contemporary Japanese society.

Keywords: Funai phenomenon; Japan; New Age; seishin sekai; Shintô; spiritual world; Zen Buddhism



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