Date of Award/Publication

8-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in International Studies

Department

International Studies

Abstract

This paper examines the decline of traditional religions in Japan. With the impact of WWlI and post-war economic growth there has been a decline in traditional Japanese religions. However, there has been a growth of New Religions in Japan. Despite this there is still an overall decline in religiosity. The Aum incident contributed to suspicion of organized religion in general. Japanese society has also been changing from a collectivist to individualist oriented culture. Members of the New Generation especially embrace more Western oriented culture and are more likely to become involved in a New Religion. New Age ideas have also begun to gain an audience in Japan. These general trends are reflected by some modem Japanese films. This paper concludes that although religion, and especially traditional religion, has decreased in importance in the daily life of individuals, it is so closely connected to Japanese identity that it is not likely to disappear entirely, even if it is relegated to a cultural, rather than spiritual entity.

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