Japan

Celebrity Gods: New Religions, Media, and Authority in by Benjamin Dorman

By Benjamin Dorman

Famous person Gods explores the interplay of recent religions and the media in postwar Japan. It specializes in the leaders and founders (kyōsō) of Jiu and Tenshō Kōtai Jingū Kyō, new religions of Japan's instant postwar interval that obtained mammoth press awareness. Jiu was once associated with the preferred prewar crew Ōmotokyō, and its actions have been in line with the millennial visions of its chief, a girl known as Jikōson. whilst Jiu attracted the mythical sumo champion Futabayama to its reason, Jikōson and her actions turned a widely-covered reason célèbre within the press. Tenshō Kōtai Jingū Kyō (labeled odoru shūkyō, "the dancing religion," by means of the clicking) was once led by way of a farmer's spouse, Kitamura Sayo. Her uncompromising imaginative and prescient and activities towards making a new society--one that was once some distance faraway from what she defined because the "maggot world" of postwar Japan--drew harsh and infrequently mocking feedback from the print media. in retrospect for precursors to the postwar dating of recent religions and media, Benjamin Dorman explores the numerous position that the japanese media usually performed in defining acceptable and appropriate social habit, performing at instances as mouthpieces for presidency and spiritual experts. utilizing the instances of Renmonkyō within the Meiji period and Ōmotokyō within the Taishō and Shōwa eras, Dorman indicates how gathered pictures of recent religions in pre-1945 Japan turned absorbed into these of the instant postwar interval. Given the shortcoming of formal non secular schooling in Japan, the media performed an immense position in transmitting notions of applicable habit to the general public. He is going directly to symbolize the leaders of those teams as "celebrity gods," demonstrating that the media, that have been in general untrained in spiritual heritage or principles, selected to model them as "celebrities" whose antics deserved derision. whereas the prewar media had awarded different kyōsō because the antithesis of respectable, ethical voters who stood against the goals of the country, postwar media reviews offered them essentially as not worthy for democratic society. star Gods delves into an under-studied period of non secular historical past: the Allied profession and the postwar interval as much as the early Fifties. it really is a big interdisciplinary paintings that considers family members among jap and profession bureaucracies and the teams in query, and makes use of basic resource files from profession files and interviews with media employees and contributors of spiritual teams. For observers of postwar Japan, this study presents a roadmap to aid comprehend matters when it comes to the Aum Shinrikyō affair of the Nineties.

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Additional resources for Celebrity Gods: New Religions, Media, and Authority in Occupied Japan (Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture)

Example text

Students were required to study and 28 | celebrity gods memorize its text for their moral education classes. 11 Under the system introduced by the government, new groups that appeared either became a sub-sect of one of the thirteen groups or existed as semi-religious organizations (shūkyō ruiji dantai) or as suspect, quasi-religious organizations (giji shūkyō dantai). Groups in the latter category particularly were regarded with suspicion and contempt by the authorities. The language that had only recently been applied to Buddhism was used to distinguish genuine religion from heresy, superstition, or fraudulent faith.

9 However, this freedom came with substantial qualifications, and it meant that the duties of people as subjects took precedence over individual beliefs. 10 However, the government, in making a nominal guarantee of religious freedom, also at the same time labeled Shinto a cult of national morality and patriotism, which allowed it to provide special privileges to Shinto. The Meiji regime reinterpreted Shinto and the practice of emperor worship as constituting patriotic rather than religious acts.

In short, Mitsu was represented as an immoral woman who, together with her followers, engaged in shady business practices and sold fake “healing water” to gullible people. She was thus an evil “god” who not only did not adhere to a correct religious path, she was also the cause of social chaos. She stood accused of actively encouraging women to pursue an immoral spiritual path rather than encouraging them to live as role models who could raise their children within the traditional family structure to become good citizens and thus contribute to the nation’s well-being.

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