Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Full Access Secularization, Deprivatization, and the Reappearance of ‘Public Religion’ in Japanese Society1

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Secularization, Deprivatization, and the Reappearance of ‘Public Religion’ in Japanese Society1

  • PDF
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Journal of Religion in Japan

AbstractSociological theories about the fate of religion in modern societies originated in Europe and were initially based on the history of Western Christianity. Whether or not these theoretical perspectives are useful for the analysis of other religious traditions in non-Western regions of the world has been the focus of considerable debate for decades. This article engages some of the familiar theories of secularization in light of major developments in Japanese religion and society over the past two centuries. While it has been widely assumed that modernization inevitably brings with it a decline in religion, the first phase of this process in Japan was accompanied by the creation of a powerful new form of religion—State Shintō—that served to unite the nation around a common set of symbols and institutions for half a century. This was followed by the rapid and forced secularization of Shintō during the Allied Occupation (1945-1952), which essentially privatized or removed it from public institutions. Since the end of the Occupation, however, there has been an ongoing movement to restore the special status of Shintō and its role in the public sphere. Even though recent case studies and survey research indicate that individual religiosity and organized religions are facing serious decline today, the reappearance of religion in public life and institutions represented by this restoration movement also needs to be taken into account in our assessment of secularization in contemporary Japan.

Affiliations: 1: Sophia University Tokyo Japan, Email:


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Abe Shinzō 安倍晋三 Utsukushii kuni e 2006 Tokyo Bungei Shunju 美しい国へ
2. Baffelli Erica "“Sōka Gakkai and Politics in Japan.”" Religion Compass 2010 Vol 4 12 746 756
3. Berger Peter L. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion 1967 New York Anchor Books
4. Breen John , Teeuwen Mark A New History of Shinto 2010 Chichester Wiley-Blackwell
5. Casanova José Public Religions in the Modern World 1994 Chicago University of Chicago Press
6. Cripps Denise Goodman Roger , Neary Ian "“Flags and Fanfares: The Hinomaru Flag and Kimigayo Anthem.”" Case Studies on Human Rights in Japan 1996 Curzon Press/Japan Library 76 108
7. Davis Winston Toward Modernity: A Developmental Typology of Popular Religious Affiliations in Japan 1977 Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press East Asia Papers Series
8. Davis Winston Japanese Religion and Society 2007 New York SUNY Press
9. Demerath Nicholas J. Beckford James , Demerath N.J. III "“Secularization and Sacralization Deconstructed and Reconstructed.”" The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion 2007 London, Los Angeles Sage Publications 57 80
10. Dessì Ugo "“Shin Buddhism, Authority, and the Fundamental Law of Education.”" Numen 2009 Vol 56 5 523 544
11. Eger Max "“Modernization and Secularization in Japan: A Polemical Essay.”" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1980 Vol 7 1 7 24
12. Fenn Richard K. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Toward a Theory of Secularization 1978 Monograph Series Number 1
13. Fitzgerald Timothy "“Japanese Religion as Ritual Order.”" Religion 1993 Vol 23 315 341
14. Forfar David Goodman Roger , Neary Ian "“Individuals Against the State? The Politics of Opposition to the Re-emergence of State Shintō.”" Case Studies on Human Rights in Japan 1996 Curzon Press/Japan Library 245 276
15. Fukuda Shigeru 福田繁 Fujio Ikado 井門富二夫 "“Kenshō: GHQ no shūkyō seisaku 検証: GHQ の宗教政策.”" Senryō to Nihon shūkyō 1993 Tokyo Miraisha 521 560 占領と日本宗教
16. Hardacre Helen Shintō and the State, 1968–1988 1989 Princeton Princeton University Press
17. Hishiki Masaharu 菱木政晴 Shiminteki jiyū no kiki to shūkyō: Kenpō, Yasukuni jinja, seikyō bunri 2007 Tokyo Hakutakusha 市民的自由の危機と宗教—憲法、靖国神社、政教分離
18. Hobsbawm Eric Hobsbawm Eric , Ranger Terence "“Introduction: Inventing Traditions.”" The Invention of Tradition 1983 Cambridge Cambridge University Press 1 14
19. Irie Yōko 入江曜子 Nihon ga “kami no kuni” datta jidai: Kokumin gakkō no kyōkasho o yomu 2001 Tokyo Iwanami Shoten 日本が「神の国」だった時代―国民学校の教科書を読む
20. Isomae Jun’ichi 磯前順一 Kindai Nihon no shūkyō gensetsu to sono keifū: Shūkyō, kokka, shintō 2003 Tokyo Iwanami Shoten 近代日本の宗教言説とその系譜―宗教・国家・神道
21. Shinpōsha Jinja 神社新報社 Shintō shirei to sengo no shintō 1969 Tokyo Jinja Shinpōsha 神道指令と戦後の神道
22. Katorikku Chūō Kyōgikai カトリック中央協議会 Shinkyō no jiyū to seikyō bunri 2007 Tokyo Katorikku Chūō Kyōgikai 信教の自由と政教分離
23. Madsen Richard Calhoun Craig , Juergensmeyer Mark , Van Antwerpen Jonathan "“Secularism, Religious Change, and Social Conflict in Asia.”" Rethinking Secularism 2011 Oxford University Press 248 269
24. Martin David A General Theory of Secularization 1978 New York Harper and Row
25. Maruyama Masao Hane Mikiso Studies in the Intellectual History of Tokugawa Japan 1974 Princeton Princeton University Press
26. Mullins Mark R. "“From ‘Departures’ to ‘Yasukuni Shrine’: Caring for the Dead and Bereaved in Contemporary Japanese Society.”" Japanese Religions 2010a Vol 35 1-2 101 112
27. Mullins Mark R. "“How Yasukuni Shrine Survived the Occupation: A Critical Examination of Popular Claims.”" Monumenta Nipponica 2010b Vol 65 1 89 136
28. Mullins Mark R. Bestor Theodore C. , Bestor Victoria Lyon "“Religion in Contemporary Japanese Lives.”" Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society 2011 Abingdon Routledge 63 74
29. Mullins Mark R. "“The Neonationlist Response to the Aum Crisis: A Return of Civil Religion and Coercion in the Public Sphere?”" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 2012 Vol 39 1-2 99 125
30. Munakata Iwao "“The Ambivalent Effects of Modernization on Traditional Folk Religion.”" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1976 Vol 3 2-3 99 126
31. Murakami Shigeyoshi 村上重良 Kokka shintō 1970 Tokyo Iwanami Shinsho 国家神道
32. Murakami Shigeyoshi 村上重良 Kokka shintō to minshū shūkyō 1982 Tokyo Yoshikawa Kōbunkan 国家神道と民衆宗教
33. Nelson John K. Enduring Identities: The Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan 2000 Honolulu University of Hawaii Press
34. Okuyama Michiaki "“Soka Gakkai as a Challenge to Japanese Society and Politics.”" Politics and Religion 2010 Vol 4 1 83 96
35. Ōsaki Motoshi 大崎素史 "“Kyōiku kihon hō kaisei no rekishi to mondai ten: Shūkyō kyōiku no shiten kara 教育基法本改正の歴史と問題点―宗教教育の視点から.”" Gendai shūkyō 2007 39 62 現代宗教
36. Rubenstein Richard L. Garrett William Reace "“Japan and Biblical Religion: The Religious Significance of the Japanese Economic Challenge.”" Social Consequences of Religious Belief 1989 New York Paragon House 116 117
37. Ruoff Kenneth J. The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy, 1945-1995 2001 Cambridge Harvard University Asia Center
38. Seraphim Franziska War Memory and Social Politics in Japan, 1945-2005 2000 Cambridge Harvard University Asia Center
39. Shimazono Susumu 島薗進 Posutomodan no shinshūkyō: Gendai Nihon no seishin jōkyō no teiryū 2001 Tokyo Tokyodo ポストモダンの新宗教―現代日本の精神状況の底流
40. Shimazono Susumu 島薗進 Beckford James A. , Demerath N.J. III "“State Shinto and Religion in Post-War Japan.”" The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion 2007 London Sage Publications 697 709
41. Shimazono Susumu 島薗進 Kokka shintō to nihonjinron 2010 Tokyo Iwanami Shoten 国家神道と日本人論
42. Renmei Shintō Seiji 神道政治連盟 Shinseiren jūgonenshi 1984 Tokyo Shintō Seiji Renmei Chūō Honbu 神政連十五年史
43. Takayama K. Peter "“The Revitalization of Japanese Civil Religion.”" Sociological Analysis 1988 Vol 48 4 328 341
44. Thal Sarah Peterson Derek R. , Walhof Darren R. "“A Religion That Was Not a Religion.”" The Invention of Religion: Rethinking Belief in Politics and History 2002 New Jersey Rutgers University Press 100 114 New Brunswick
45. Ueda Kenji "“Contemporary Social Change and Shinto Traditions.”" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1979 Vol 6 1-2 303 327
46. Young Isaac "“Shut Up and Sing: The Rights of Japanese Teachers in an Era of Conservative Educational Reform.”" Cornell International Law Journal 2009 Vol 42 157 192

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation