Special Issue "Critical Approaches to 'Religion' in Japan: Case Studies and Redescriptions"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 18662
This Special Issue of Religions welcomes contributions that problematize the concept “religion” in Japanese contexts, and disaggregate and redescribe what is denoted as “religion” in Japan without invoking the sui generis idea of religion. The category of religion, and its imagined conceptual distinction from the idea of ostensibly non-religious secularity, has been critically deconstructed in Religious Studies for some decades. After deconstructing “religion”, there seem to be at least two innovative ways that have been put forward by this critical approach to “religion” or so-called “critical religion”. First, the critical deconstruction of “religion” enables scholars to effectively analyze the ways in which individuals, groups and institutions negotiate with the term “religion”. Here, the objects of analysis are norms and imperatives that govern specific utilizations of the term “religion”. Second, given the fact that “religion” is a modern concept, this approach invites scholars to imagine no “religion” in pre-modern or non-modern worlds in order to reimagine human communities and ways of living in these contexts. This line of thinking poses a serious question for projection upon pre-modern or non-modern contexts, not only of “religion” but also other related modern generic categories. This Special Issue calls for papers that take at least one of these two innovative directions in the context of Japan.
Recent years have witnessed an important development in the critical approach to “religion” in Japanese contexts. For example, major works on “religion” in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Japan include Jun’ichi Isomae’s Religious Discourse in Modern Japan (Isomae 2014), Jason Josephson’s Invention of Religion in Japan (Josephson 2012), and Trent Maxey’s The “Great Problem”: Religion and State Formation in Meiji Japan (Maxey 2014). In addition, Jolyon Thomas’ Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan (Thomas 2019) extended the scope of analysis up to 1952, whereas my own The Category of “Religion” in Contemporary Japan (Horii 2018) analyses “religion” in twenty-first-century Japan. Built on these works, the theme of this Special Issue stems from my most recent publications: “Problems of ‘Religion’ in Japan” Parts 1 and 2 (Horii 2020) and “‘Religion’ and ‘Politics’: A Japanese Case” (Horii 2019).
Given this theoretical thread, this Special Issue particularly welcomes contributions that explore one of the following two areas. The first is cases of negotiations over contested meanings and definitions of “religion” from the Meiji era to the present in relation to a variety of individual and institutional interests and identity claims. This also includes the colonial context of the Japanese Empire. The second area consists of historical investigations that attempt to disaggregate what has been assumed to be “religion” in pre-Meiji Japan, where the idea of religion did not exist, and then to reassemble and redescribe its components in more nuanced ways. The subjects of disaggregation in this area include not only the anachronistic projection of the religious-secular distinction, but also that of other related binaries such as religion/politics, sacred/profane, immanent/transcendent, and the like. This Special Issue wishes to reimagine Japan by imagining no sui generis religion in both contemporary and historical contexts.
Deadline for abstracts: 30 April 2021.
Word Limit: As for the length of the full paper for submission, we recommend 8,000 - 10,000 words including abstract, keywords, main text, and reference. However, we would accept up to 20,000 words. As for the abstract, we recommend 200 – 300 words, but we would accept up to 500 words.
Horii, Mitsutoshi. 2018. The Category of ‘Religion’in Contemporary Japan: Shūkyō and Temple Buddhism. London: Palgrave Macmillian.
Horii, Mitsutoshi. 2020. Problems of “Religion” in Japan: Part 1 and 2. Religion Compass 14: 1–10.
Horii, Mitsutoshi. 2019. “Religion” and “Politics”: A Japanese Case. Implicit Religion 22: 413–28.
Isomae, Jun’ichi. 2014. Religious discourse in modern Japan: Religion, state, and Shintō. Leiden: BRILL.
Josephson, Jason. 2012. The Invention of Religion in Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Maxey, Trent. 2014. The “Great Problem”: Religion and State Formation in Meiji Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.
Thomas, Jolyon. 2019. Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Prof. Mitsutoshi Horii
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- critical religion
- sui generis religion
- religious–secular distinction