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Directions of Change in Japanese Religiosity

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Assertions about ‘secularisation’ in Japan are dependent on the accuracy of attempts to measure religiosity. Most indices try to measure observable religious practices, some also trying to assess levels of belief, but very few studies have attempted to measure the prevalence of religious experience. Measurements in each of these dimensions is problematic to some extent, so it is very difficult to know whether or not Japanese religiosity overall is increasing, declining or staying about the same, albeit with some surface changes. It is probably premature to assert too confidently that there is secularisation in Japan, or that religion is increasing or staying the same.This paper reviews some of the different dimensions of religiosity that need to be considered when trying to measure changes in religious behaviour. Statistics on alleged beliefs or observable practices need to be understood from the perspective of the motivations and attitudes behind them. In many cases, they are best understood in the perspective of the life-cycle, whereby expressions of religiosity change at different stages in a person’s life and are influenced by a variety of personal factors that affect whether or not an individual might participate in certain forms of religious practices.

Affiliations: 1: Yunnan University, Kunming, China MIASU, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England dlewis@yandex.ru

10.1163/22118349-00401002
/content/journals/10.1163/22118349-00401002
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/content/journals/10.1163/22118349-00401002
2015-01-01
2017-09-22

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