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The Invention of Religion in Japan by [Josephson, Jason Ananda]
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The Invention of Religion in Japan Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 402 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

"The book is a linguistic and textual tour de force that challenges many preconceptions about the development of studies of religion in Japan as well as about religion as a defined, or definable, category in Japanese contexts. Its thesis, that "religion" as a conceptual category did not exist prior to Western incursions into Meiji Japan and that it thus needed to be invented by the Japanese, is argued convincingly and will make many who have held alternative viewpoints think again. Josephson also offers some new insights into the contentious terminology of the religious and the secular by focusing on Japanese concerns with heresy and "superstition," which were critical definitional categories through which the "religious" and the "secular" were framed. . . . One hopes very much that people outside of religious studies do not look at Josephson's title and think this is a book solely about religion. Indeed, it would not have been amiss to have titled the book "Politics, Diplomacy, and the Invention of Religion," for it is as much of relevance to students of politics, diplomacy, international relations, and law as it is to those of religious studies."--Ian Reader "Monumenta Nipponica "

The book is a linguistic and textual tour de force that challenges many preconceptions about the development of studies of religion in Japan as well as about religion as a defined, or definable, category in Japanese contexts. Its thesis, that religion as a conceptual category did not exist prior to Western incursions into Meiji Japan and that it thus needed to be invented by the Japanese, is argued convincingly and will make many who have held alternative viewpoints think again. Josephson also offers some new insights into the contentious terminology of the religious and the secular by focusing on Japanese concerns with heresy and superstition, which were critical definitional categories through which the religious and the secular were framed. . . . One hopes very much that people outside of religious studies do not look at Josephson s title and think this is a book solely about religion. Indeed, it would not have been amiss to have titled the book Politics, Diplomacy, and the Invention of Religion, for it is as much of relevance to students of politics, diplomacy, international relations, and law as it is to those of religious studies. --Ian Reader "Monumenta Nipponica ""

JasonA-nanda Josephson s book on the invention of religion is an informative, well-argued, and stimulating discussion of an important topic that shouldbe fascinating to anyone interested inreligion in modernJapan or religion inany historical or cultural context.
--Paul L. Swanson "International Bulletin of Missionary Research ""

Josephson weaves together a fresh narrative of Japanese nation-building in its relation to religion. . . . Sophisticated yet highly readable, The Invention of Religion in Japan will be edifying reading for general readers and students as much as for specialists.
--Jeff Schroeder "The Eastern Buddhist ""

[C]onvincingly describe[es] the reception of the term religion in Japan not as an imposition and thus passive reception of a foreign concept but as an active and deliberate acquisition. . . . [Josephson] does a brilliant job in showing how religion was used by state officials, scientists, and other protagonists in late 19th-century Japan as exactly what it is: a free-floating signifier with a strong discursive force that can be of great use for different processes of negotiation and naturalization.
--Inken Prohl "Religion ""

Presents an exciting challenge to the field of Japanese religious studies. . . . Josephson sheds much light on how the Western category of religion was adapted, interpreted, and transformed in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. . . . A powerful addition to the field and a must-read.
--Mark W. MacWilliams "Numen ""

An important contribution. . . . Studies such as Josephson s . . . that examine classification as a collaborative, situationally-specific exercise linked not just to ideas but to social interests, legal systems, and administrative structures . . . are an important corrective to those who understand situations of contact as merely involving the passive vanquished simply doing the bidding of invading conquerors.
--Russell T. McCutcheon "Numen ""

"Jason Ananda Josephson's book on the 'invention of religion' is an informative, well-argued, and stimulating discussion of an important topic that should be fascinating to anyone interested in religion in modern Japan or religion in any historical or cultural context."
--Paul L. Swanson "International Bulletin of Missionary Research "

"Josephson weaves together a fresh narrative of Japanese nation-building in its relation to religion. . . . Sophisticated yet highly readable, The Invention of Religion in Japan will be edifying reading for general readers and students as much as for specialists."
--Jeff Schroeder "The Eastern Buddhist "

"[C]onvincingly describe[es] the reception of the term 'religion' in Japan not as an 'imposition' and thus passive reception of a foreign concept but as an active and deliberate acquisition. . . . [Josephson] does a brilliant job in showing how 'religion' was used by state officials, scientists, and other protagonists in late 19th-century Japan as exactly what it is: a free-floating signifier with a strong discursive force that can be of great use for different processes of negotiation and naturalization."
--Inken Prohl "Religion "

"Presents an exciting challenge to the field of Japanese religious studies. . . . Josephson sheds much light on how the Western category of religion was adapted, interpreted, and transformed in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. . . . A powerful addition to the field and a must-read."
--Mark W. MacWilliams "Numen "

"An important contribution. . . . Studies such as Josephson's . . . that examine classification as a collaborative, situationally-specific exercise linked not just to ideas but to social interests, legal systems, and administrative structures . . . are an important corrective to those who understand situations of contact as merely involving the passive vanquished simply doing the bidding of invading conquerors."
--Russell T. McCutcheon "Numen "

Review

H-Shukyo “The range of Japanese primary sources consulted in his book is prodigious, as is his familiarity and usage of multidisciplinary theoretical works. . . . Josephson has used well-documented examples of the creation of various Japanese belief systems in the modern era to suggest a new model for understanding the colonial past of religious studies and to provide new tools and models for grappling with continuing change in religious studies theory. . . . Josephson’s book is erudite, informative, and interesting. It should be a worthwhile read for Japan scholars as well as scholars and students interested in religious studies theory and history.”

Japan Review
“Josephson’s book is a highly insightful and ingenious application of the constructivist approach to religion—the method of reverse-engineering the clockwork that makes the concept tick in particular historical and cultural cases. . . . By putting the stress on invention, Josephson foregrounds this backstage business of making, and in doing so, he demonstrates, to brilliant effect, the novelty and power of the products that resulted. . . . Josephson’s book will no doubt be generating further exciting inventions for some time to come.”

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2516 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0226412342
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (3 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009MBTR3O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #936,269 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good book if you want to learn more about history of Japan.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent overview of the history of State Shinto and its ... 8 Feb. 2017
By David K Groff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent overview of the history of State Shinto and its development as a tool both for control and for adaptation to international assumptions about religion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful dissection of what is science 16 Dec. 2016
By Calvin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful dissection of what is science, religion, and how they interweave. A must for any student of Japanese religion
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read with profound implications 21 Oct. 2012
By Jeremy Bellay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Josephson makes a profound argument about the nature of the category of religion through a detailed examination of how that category was formulated in Japan following Japan's encounter with The West. The implications of this work spill well beyond the bounds of Japanese religions, and "The Invention of Religion in Japan" can be read as a study of how a new shared concept comes into being. However, unlike many books making arguments about that nature of human culture, Josephson supports his arguments with a detailed historical narrative. I found the book to be extremely readable and many of the stories of early Japan-Western interaction are downright entertaining. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in religion, Japan, or the formation of shared conceptual categories.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book! 6 Jan. 2013
By cbest - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written by a friend from high school, The Invention of Religion in Japan was a requested Christmas gift for my son. Sixty pages into the book he called me to say that the book is amazing. He told me that it opens new territory in the understanding of the development of Buddhism in Japan and the effects of the intersection with Christianity on both the Japanese and Europeans who brought Christianity to Japan. Included are old Japanese documents and accounts that the author translated into English.
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