Religion and Politics in Japan: Mapping a Shifting Terrain

Levi McLaughlin, 2019-2020 Toyota Visiting Professor, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University

Recorded on January 9, 2020.

In Japan today, a wide range of religious actors are now shaping educational curricula, social policies, and defense postures promoted by Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and his governing coalition. So profound is religious influence on the coalition that one cannot understand Japanese politics without understanding its religious dimensions. In this talk, McLaughlin will draw on his ongoing ethnographic research on Shinto-, Buddhism- and Christian- aligned participants within Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), as well as his work within the Buddhist lay organization Soka Gakkai and its affiliated party Komeito, to bring to life religion-inspired people who compete to guide Japanese policymaking.

Levi McLaughlin is Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University. He is co-author of Kōmeitō: Politics and Religion in Japan (IEAS Berkeley, 2014) and author of Soka Gakkai’s Human Revolution: The Rise of a Mimetic Nation in Modern Japan (University of Hawai`i Press, 2019). Currently, he is the 2019-2020 Toyota Visiting Professor in the Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan

Category: National
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