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ERIC Number: EJ815456
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0141-6200
Problems of Teaching about Religion in Japan: Another Textbook Controversy against Peace?
Fujiwara, Satoko
British Journal of Religious Education, v29 n1 p45-61 Jan 2007
Although inter-religious conflicts have not yet surfaced as major social problems in Japan, religious education for peace and tolerance is needed in the country as much as in other countries. This article aims to disclose that, in light of political contexts, supposedly neutral "teaching about religion" can be as problematic as history education is in Japan. The central problem lies in how to represent the nationalistic aspects of Shinto to the "non-religious" majority of Japanese. While each nation has its own variety of "civil religion", Shinto, being an ethnic religion, can be entangled with nationalism more than other kinds of religion. I will begin by explaining the prejudice of "non-religious" Japanese people against religion as a background to the discussion of religious education in Japan. I will then take an example from a recent children's book and critique the politics of teaching about religion, in particular, Shinto in contrast with other religions. By employing my own survey data, I will also show how small the presence of Shinto is in Japanese education, even in higher education, where religious education is conducted most freely. I will further explain historically why this is so and what kind of problems the issue has been causing. (Contains 3 figures and 15 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan