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6 The Process of Development of Religious Studies: From History of Theory to History of Reflective Discourse

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Chapter Summary

In recent years, as indicated by research both inside and outside Japan, even though this world of religious studies includes within it a diversity of scholarly discourse, a "distinguishing essence of religion" - an idea of sui generis religion - has been maintained as a standard unifying criterion. Religious studies had in the pre-war period been engaged in narrower matters: criticizing the State Shinto system as violating freedom of religion and defending religion and in the post-war period opposing the secularization implemented throughout society. Anesaki Masaharu's active contributions to both the imperial lineage dispute of 1911 and the convening of the Conference of the Three Religions in 1912; the close connections of Okawa Shumei, Minoda Muneki, and others to the emperor system ideology; Aum Shinrikyo incident, speaking about religion cannot be something neutral, for the reason that such discussion is always an act of intervention in the present.

Keywords: Anesaki Masaharu; Minoda Muneki; Okawa shumei; secularization; State Shinto system; sui generis

10.1163/9789004272682_008
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