New Wine

The Cultural Shaping of Japanese Christianity

David Reid

Fremont, CA: Asian Humanities Press, 1991.

How does a religion change as it moves from one culture to another? What values and traditions in the receiving culture mold the new religion into a shape that people can recognize as “natural” and “human.”

With questions like these in mind, this book focuses on an often-neglected area of study: Japanese Christianity. Beginning with a bird’s-eye view of Japanese religion as a whole, it continues with some of the larger issues of cultural context and method, then turns to specific issues important for understanding Christianity in contemporary Japan. It concludes with an examination of the role of “ancestor worship” in Japanese Christianity today.

Reid’s work is an excellent introduction to religion in Japan. It offers a brief historical survey and an overview of the present situation. The detailed accounts of the relation between religion and the state during the last quarter century and of ‘secularization’ are particularly informative…. Perhaps the best chapter traces the ramifications of the ancestral cult in Japanese society and its influence on Japanese Protestantism.

Thomas Luckmann

…an exceedingly valuable work written by one of the top specialists in the field.

Richard H. Drummond

David REID has served as director of the International Institute for the Study of Religion and editor of theJapanese Journal of Religious Studies. He was Professor of Sociology at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary and Professor in the Humanities Department of Seigakuin University.