Religion in the postwar era

Authored by: Ian Reader

Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese History

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138815186
eBook ISBN: 9781315746678
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter focuses on religion in Japan since 1945 by examining the erosion of older religious institutions, the rise and decline in support for new religions, and the legal and constitutional issues surrounding religion. The 1947 constitution, guaranteeing freedom of religion and severing the bonds of state and religion, altered the religious landscape, and population movements into mass conurbations weakened the established religions already discredited by their support of the defeated regime. In this context, many new religions grew rapidly. Both Shinto and Buddhism continued to attract large crowds for festivals and ritual events; however, they have faced a gradual erosion of support since the 1950s. After the 1995 Tokyo subway attack by the new religion Aum Shinriky?, a wave of hostility to religious movements of all types has especially affected new religions while raising questions about the protection of religion enshrined in the postwar constitution.

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