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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
24. März 2016

Negotiating “Superstition” and “Religion”: The Case of the “Immoral Heresies Tenrikyō and Renmonkyō” in Meiji Japan

The rise of the so-called new religions (shinshūkyō) amidst Japan’s traditional religions Buddhism and Shintō had attracted much commentary already in the Meiji period, ever since they started vying for official recognition in Denominational Shintō. Research has tended to lock early groups like Tenrikyō and Renmonkyō in the narration of a modern Japan, placing them firmly in the pre-modern and superstitious “enchanted garden” of the Weberian modern “disenchanted” world.

In the context of the critique of modernization theory it is necessary to re-examine the formation of the new religions in the Meiji period.