Japanese Religions

Religions of the World - Questions, Challenges, and New Directions - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Leslie Dorrough Smith [+-]
Avila University
Leslie Dorrough Smith is Professor of Religious Studies at Avila University and a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty.
Steven W Ramey [+-]
University of Alabama
Steven W. Ramey is a Professor in Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, where he also directs the Asian Studies Program.


This chapter explores and then interrogates four different representations of Japanese Religion. In the first, a popular, romanticized view of Japanese religion emphasizes what are often seen as its meditative and peaceful components. A second representation emphasizes the distinctions and tensions between foreign religions and indigenous traditions, differences that some people in Japan continually contest in discussions of what they identify as Japanese. In contrast, a third representation of Japanese religions highlights the ways Shinto and Buddhism intersect and people participate in both in Japan, even though Shinto is often seen as indigenous and Buddhism as foreign. The fourth representation discusses the ways various governments have constructed Japanese religions through different legal classifications.

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Dorrough Smith, Leslie; Ramey, Steven. Japanese Religions. Religions of the World - Questions, Challenges, and New Directions. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jan 2024. ISBN 9781800503762. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=44601. Date accessed: 08 Dec 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44601. Jan 2024

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