Defining Shinto

A Reader

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Mark W. MacWilliams, Okuyama Michiaki
  • New York: 
    , October
     386 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Robert M McDonald forthcoming.


This book provides key official documents alongside political, religious-philosophical, and historical essays, illustrating how the term "Shinto" has metamorphosed terminologically from Japan’s emergence as a modern nation state in the late 19th century to the postmodern Japan of today.

"Shinto" is one of the most contested categories in the field of Japanese religious studies. While the term "Shinto" has a long history in the pre-modern period, this volume focuses on how the term has evolved in modern Japan. Divided into five parts, the book covers:

Shinto and the modern Japanese nation state

  • Pre-war Japanese intellectuals on Shinto
  • Shinto and ultra-nationalism of the 1930s and 1940s
  • Post-war reforms and reformulations
  • Contemporary ways of defining Shinto

Presenting a wealth of documents, most of which have been translated here for the first time, the book is an invaluable resource for scholars and students of Japanese religion.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Mark W. MacWilliams is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Lawrence University, USA, and has published widely in the field of Japanese religions.

Okuyama Michiaki is Research Fellow at the Nanzan Institute of Religion and Culture and Professor at the Faculty of Humanities at Nanzan University, Japan. He has written extensively on the concept of Shinto in the light of studies on comparative religion.



Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.