Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, Anti-Christianity, and the Danka System. By Nam-lin Hur. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2007. Pp. 550. Hardcover. $55.00. Reviewed by Laura Nenzi Florida International University The premise of Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, AntiChristianity, and the Danka System by Nam-lin Hur is that ``for a majority of the Edo temples, land property was simply not a dependable source of income'' (p. 8). Where, then, did they find enough resources to survive and, in some cases, actually thrive? As Nam-lin Hur puts it, ``The answer is simple: death'' (p. 9). Thus begins a lengthy and detailed study on the place and meaning of death and death rituals in Tokugawa Japan. At the center of Hur's investigation is the danka system, which required all households to register under a Buddhist temple. This is, in other words, a study of what the author himself refers to as an ``economy of death'' (pp. 9, 13). Death and Social Order is divided into four main sections. Part 1, comprising chapters 1 through 3, follows in chronological order the creation of the temple certification system and its significance as part of the
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 9, 2009
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