© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2003 Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 15, 1-27 MODERN JAPAN AND THE SCIENCE OF RELIGIONS M ichael P ye The history of the study of religions in Japan is presented in this article as an important counter-example to a commonly held assumption, namely that the aca- demic study of religion is a Western cultural project which has only been adopted derivatively in non-Western contexts. Introduction There is a widespread assumption that the academic study of religion(s) is a Western cultural project which, in some cases, has been adopted elsewhere in a derivative fashion. While there is some truth in this, it is not the whole story. Japan is a significant counter- example. The academic study of religion(s) in Japan has an extremely significant history with a complex relationship to its own intellectual traditions and to modernity. It is therefore of interest to discuss the Japanese situation as an important example in the wider pattern of the relations between “modernity” and the “science of religion”. What is needed, for this wider discussion, is a broad perspective in which some of the various strands in the Japanese tradition of shûkyôgaku , “study
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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