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A New History of Shinto
Cover of A New History of Shinto
A New History of Shinto
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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
  • 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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    About the Author-
    • John Breen is Reader in Japanese at SOAS (University of London) and Associate Professor at the International Research Centre for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, where he edits the journal 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 in History: Ways of the Kami (edited with Mark Teeuwen, 2000), and Japan and Christianity: Impacts and Responses, (edited with Mark Williams, 1996).
    Table of Contents-
    • List of Illustrations vi

      Conventions and Abbreviations Used in the Text vii

      Prologue ix

      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 Daijo-sai: A "Shinto" Rite of Imperial Accession 168

      6 Issues in Contemporary Shinto 199

      Conclusion 221

      Notes 229

      References 242

      Index 253

    Reviews-
    • Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 2010 "It is a measure of the book's achievement that it has managed to introduce such scholarly notions in a way that is at once accessible and instructive. Even those skeptical about its claims would have to admit the solidity of the research, and the book renders valuable service by opening up debate about Shinto's origins to a general readership. Its influence is likely to be long lasting." (Japan Review, 2012)"Breen and Teeuwen offer a postmodern, historical exposition of Shinto. In addition to independent research, they draw on a wide field of contemporary Japanese Shinto studies . . . The book is thus not only a result of solid academic work-it is also an ambitious political assessment."
    • Religious Studies Review, 1 March 2011 "But for anyone interested in Shinto studies, religion and nationalism, and the contested and ever-changing nature of religious traditions, this is an essential read."
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      Wiley
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