Defining Shugendo

Critical Studies on Japanese Mountain Religion

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Andrea Castiglioni, Fabio Rambelli, Carina Roth
  • New York: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , November
     304 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Daniel Friedrich forthcoming.


Defining Shugendo brings together leading international experts on Japanese mountain asceticism to discuss what has been an essential component of Japanese religions for more than a thousand years.

Contributors explore how mountains have been abodes of deities, a resting place for the dead, sources of natural bounty and calamities, places of religious activities, and a vast repository of symbols. The book shows that many peoples have chosen them as sites for ascetic practices, claiming the potential to attain supernatural powers there.

This book discusses the history of scholarship on Shugendo, the development process of mountain worship, and the religious and philosophical features of devotion at specific sacred mountains. Moreover, it reveals the rich material and visual culture associated with Shugendo, from statues and steles, to talismans and written oaths.

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

Andrea Castiglioni is senior lecturer in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nagoya City University, Japan.

Fabio Rambelli is professor of Japanese religions and cultural history and ISF Endowed Chair in Shinto Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.

Carina Roth is a teaching and research fellow at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.


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