Waseda Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies Seminar Series
“Unraveling the Symbiotic Relationship Between Religion, Nationalism, and Politics in Postwar Japan”
Date and venue:
July 8th, 2021 (Thursday) at 16:00-17:30 (JST) / Online (Zoom)
Mark R. Mullins is Professor of Japanese Studies and Director of the Japan Studies Centre at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to this appointment in 2013, he was engaged in academic work in Japan for twenty-seven years and taught at Shikoku Gakuin University, Meiji Gakuin University, and Sophia University. He is the author and co-editor of a number of works, including Religious Minorities in Canada: A Sociological Study of the Japanese Experience (1989), Religion and Society in Modern Japan, co-edited with Shimazono Susumu and Paul Swanson (1993), Christianity Made in Japan (1998), Religion and Social Crisis in Japan, co-edited with Robert Kisala (2001), Disasters and Social Crisis in Contemporary Japan, co-edited with Kōichi Nakano (2016). Yasukuni Fundamentalism: Japanese Religions and the Politics of Restoration (2021) is his latest published monograph.
Yasukuni Fundamentalism examines the relationship between religion and resurgent nationalism in contemporary Japan. Although religious fundamentalism is often thought to be confined to monotheistic “religions of the book,” this study identifies the emergence of a fundamentalism rooted in the Shinto tradition and considers its role in shaping postwar Japanese nationalism and politics. Over the past half-century, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Association of Shintō Shrines, and, more recently Nippon Kaigi, have been engaged in collaborative efforts to “recover” or “restore” what was destroyed by the process of imperialist secularization during the Allied Occupation of Japan. This seminar will highlight some of the key findings of this study, including the increased support for the political agenda to revive patriotic education, promote Yasukuni Shrine, and revise the constitution, particularly by LDP Diet members and prime ministers since the disaster years of 1995 and 2011, and the emergence of a critical opposition to this agenda by religious minorities and public intellectuals.