A New History of Shinto / Edition 1

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This accessible guide to the development of Japan’s indigenous religion from ancient times to the present day offers an illuminating introduction to the myths, sites and rituals of kami worship, and their role in Shinto’s enduring religious identity.

  • Offers a unique new approach to Shinto history that combines critical analysis with original research
  • Examines key evolutionary moments in the long history of Shinto, including the Meiji Revolution of 1868, and provides the first critical history  in English or Japanese of the Hie shrine, one of the most important in all Japan
  • Traces the development of various shrines, myths, and rituals through history as uniquely diverse phenomena, exploring how and when they merged into the modern notion of Shinto that exists in Japan today
  • Challenges the historic stereotype of Shinto as the unchanging, all-defining core of Japanese culture
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It is a measure of the book’s achievement that ithas managed to introduce such scholarly notions in a way that is atonce accessible and instructive. Even  those skeptical aboutits claims would have to admit the solidity of the research, andthe book renders valuable service by opening up debate aboutShinto’s origins to a general readership. Its influence islikely to be long lasting.”  (Japan Review,2012)

"Breen and Teeuwen offer a postmodern, historical exposition ofShinto. In addition to independent research, they draw on a widefield of contemporary Japanese Shinto studies . . . The book isthus not only a result of solid academic work-it is also anambitious political assessment." (Japanese Journal of ReligiousStudies, 2010)

"But for anyone interested in Shinto studies, religion andnationalism, and the contested and ever-changing nature ofreligious traditions, this is an essential read." (ReligiousStudies Review, 1 March 2011)

"Written by two scholars at the forefront of the study ofJapanese religions, this book offers much more than a ‘briefhistory’. It is in fact a very bold and lucid attempt toredraw the parameters that govern our understanding of that elusivebody of thought and practice we call Shinto … This book willsurprise and on occasion shock; it will surely be required readingfor all those interested in Japan and the Japanese."
—Richard Bowring, Professor of Japanese Studies, University ofCambridge

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Breen is Reader in Japanese at SOAS (University ofLondon) and Associate Professor at the International ResearchCentre for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, where he edits   thejournal Japan Review. His publications include Yasukuni,the War Dead and the Struggle for Japan’s Past (edited,2008), Inoue Nobutaka, Shintō: A Short History(translated and adapted with Mark Teeuwen, 2002), Shintō inHistory: Ways of the Kami (edited with Mark Teeuwen, 2000), andJapan and Christianity: Impacts and Responses, (edited withMark Williams, 1996).

Mark Teeuwen is Professor of Japanese Studies at theUniversity of Oslo. As well as the books authored and edited withJohn Breen, he is co-editor of Buddhas and Kami in Japan: HonjiSuijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm (with Fabio Rambelli, 2003)and The Culture of Secrecy in Japanese Religion (withBernhard Scheid, 2006).

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Table of Contents

1 An alternative approach to the history of Shinto 1

2 Kami shrines, myths, and rituals in premodern times 24

3 The history of a shrine : Hie 66

4 The history of a myth : the sun-goddess and the rock-cave 129

5 The Daijosai : a "Shinto" rite of imperial accession 168

6 Issues in contemporary Shinto 199

Conclusion 221

Notes 229

References 242

Index 253

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