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The Missing Link: Bridging the Gap Between Meiji Universalism, Postwar Pacifism, and Future Transreligious Developments

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Title: The Missing Link: Bridging the Gap Between Meiji Universalism, Postwar Pacifism, and Future Transreligious Developments
Authors: Mohr, Michel
Keywords: universalism
Japanese religions
transreligious endeavors
show 8 morepostwar Japan
new religious movements
nondenominational approaches
International Association for Religious Freedom
Jiyū Shūkyō
Imaoka Shin’ichirō
Nishida Tenkō

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Issue Date: 21 Mar 2014
Abstract: This paper scrutinizes past attempts to embrace universalism in Japan and extrapolates from them that some ideas conceived in religious circles have the potential to overcome their own boundaries, opening avenues for future transreligious endeavors. In postwar Japan, lessons learned from past failures triggered the acute awareness that universalist claims made by the religious traditions could sometimes be recast in a humanistic garb, thus leading to cross-pollination with pacifism and nondenominational approaches. Yet some of the postwar peace building organizations that rely on Japanese support have lost their appeal and gone stale. The historical section of this paper first retraces the trajectory of Imaoka Shin’ichirō (1881–1988), the Japanese Unitarian Association’s former secretary. It shows Imaoka’s role as one of the missing links between Meiji and postwar movements, while repositioning his encounter with Nishida Tenkō (1872–1968). This paper’s second half focuses on tendencies identified in the postwar period and on their implications for the future of transreligious developments. Examining areas of continuity and discontinuity since the 1900 foundation of the International Association for Religious Freedom to the present will lead us to consider conceptual frameworks that could withstand jingoistic onslaughts and yield concrete educational benefits.
Description: Presented at the Numata Conference in Buddhist Studies / “Violence, Nonviolence, and Japanese Religions: Past, Present, and Future,” held in Honolulu, Hawaii, March 20–21, 2014
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs
Appears in Collections:Conference on Violence, Nonviolence, and Japanese Religions

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