JJRS 48/2 Religious Change in Modern Japanese Society: Established Religions and Spirituality

Yamanaka Hiroshi 山中 弘

Download PDF

This article examines the state of religion in contemporary Japan from the perspective of consumerism and marketization, focusing on the influence spirituality movements have had on the established religious traditions of Buddhism and Shinto as well as traditional practices such as visiting family graves. By introducing statistical data, the article analyzes the popular notion of shifts “away from temples” and “away from shrines” in Japanese society. As a case study, the article discusses Ehara Hiroyuki and his use of media such as television and magazines, which situates his notion of spirituality within a religious marketplace dominated by the fluidity of individual choice. These trends are not alternatives to the religious practices and worldviews of traditional religions, but rather are in continuity with dominant social values such as reverence of ancestors.