The New Religions of Japan

The New Religions of Japan

The New Religions of Japan

The New Religions of Japan

Excerpt

The new religions of Japan are as yet more or less terra incognita, and few people are aware of the political and religious impact and potential strength of the 171 religions that come under this title. To most observers they are "an interesting and exotic phenomenon," but I feel that they constitute the third major milestone in the religious history of Japan. A study of these new religions is an absolute necessity for any student of the religious situation in Japan. Furthermore, the financial and political strength of several of these religions is such that students and other observers of the Japan of today would do well to devote time and effort toward an understanding of this startling development.

The task of compiling this book has not been an easy one as there has been no such previous English-language work in this field. I am conscious of the limitations of this volume and aggravated by the fact that the rapidly developing religions are likely to render many of the details recorded here obsolete in short time. However, as the time is at hand where such a work is needed, I have attempted this book conscious of these limitations.

As far as has been possible, I have allowed the new religions to speak for themselves. That is, I have quoted original sources as often as possible, only adjusting the English translations where awkward phrasing occurred. Most of my sources, however, had to be translated from the original Japanese. I have tried to give some objective evaluation as to the reasons for the success or failure of each religion, and have tried to give some idea as to what might be expected in the future. My source material, listed in the notes and in the bibliography, should make it possible for the student to go beyond the scope of this book into a deeper penetration of the relatively unplowed soil of the new religions.

The outline of the book follows a grouping that is natural . . .

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