Religion and Social Crisis in Japan: Understanding Japanese Society Through The Aum Affair

Hardcover | August 11, 2001

EditorRobert J. Kisala

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At the time Aum Shinrikyõ emerged, most Japanese assumed that they lived in one of the most well-ordered of societies, a model that had much to offer the chaotic Western world. This assumption was shaken on March 20, 1995 when the deadly nerve gas sarin was released on the Tokyo subway system. Since that incident, the "Aum Affai" has had widespread repercussions and shaken the Japanese psyche in a serious way. This volume provides a window onto contemporary Japanese society by considering the various reactions and responses to this crisis precipitated by this deviant religious movement.

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At the time Aum Shinrikyõ emerged, most Japanese assumed that they lived in one of the most well-ordered of societies, a model that had much to offer the chaotic Western world. This assumption was shaken on March 20, 1995 when the deadly nerve gas sarin was released on the Tokyo subway system. Since that incident, the "Aum Affai" has h...

Robert J. Kisala is Associate Professor and Permanent Fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Nanzan University, Japan. Mark R. Mullins is Professor of the Sociology of Religion and Christian Studies in the Faculty of Sociology, Meiji Gakuin University, Japan.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.9 × 5.56 × 0.87 inPublished:August 11, 2001Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0333772695

ISBN - 13:9780333772690

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Table of Contents

The Evolution of Aum Shinrikyõ as a Religious Movement--Shimazono Susumu * The Reaction of the Police and Security Authorities to Aum Shinrikyõ--Christopher W.Hughes * The Legal and Political Fallout of the "Aum Affair"--Mark R.Mullins * Opposition to Aum and the Rose of the"Anti-Cult" Movement in Japan--Watanabe Manabu * Religious Responses to the "Aum Affair"--Robert J. Kasala * Aum and the Media: Lost in the Cosmos and the Need to Know--Richard A.Gardner * Back to Invented Tradition: A Nativist Response to a National Crisis--Matsudo Yukio * When Prophecy Fails: The Response of Aum Members to the Crisis--Maelawa Michiko

Editorial Reviews

"...the editors have done a good job in assembling a well-rounded sampling of the best scholarship on Aum...."--Journal of Asian Studies, Helen Hardacre"...readers will gain important insights into how the Aum affair has become a cultural event ...."--Gary L. Ebersole, Journal of Religion, 2002"...lucidly contextualize[s] the various 'reactions and responses' to the movement with the benefit of hindsight."--Brian J. McVeigh, Journal of Japanese Studies“This is an important book that tells us a great deal about Japanese society through its varied responses to Aum. It is essential reading for all religious studies scholars and anyone interested in understanding more about the background and consequences of a small group which performed a horrendous act that was to affect not only Japan but the entire world.” —Eileen Barker, London School of Economics and Political Science“This book provides a window for English readers to view the social crisis in Japan precipitated by the 'AMU affair'. In addition to illuminating the various Japanese reactions to AMU Shinrikyõ, the articles prompt questions about the 'brainwashing' issue, whether religion scholars should be in the business of warning the public about dangerous groups, what constitutes religion, the media's relations to new religious movement, whether illegal tactics by law enforcement agents should be condoned when used against members of criminal religious groups, the proper relationship between the state and religion, and the healthiness of an ascetic, introversionist, world-denying outlook. This is an important collection of essays.” —Catherine Wessinger, Loyola University