Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

An android who thinks it's Hamlet
A monk in robes
Vaccine

Anti-Vax Japanese Religious Cult Apologizes for Measles Outbreak

News   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  January 24, 2019 • Tagged with health, religion, society

A religious group in Mie Prefecture apologizes after its resistance to modern medicine nearly causes an epidemic.

Kaminari Gate (雷門) at Sensouji (浅草寺).

Hatsumōde: Japan's First Shrine Visit of the New Year

Essay   By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  January 01, 2019 • Tagged with new years, holiday, culture, religion

How Japan's most popular New Years custom has changed over the centuries.

The Inari Shrine in Fushimi district, Kyoto, Japan.

Shinto: Japan's Non-Religious Religion?

Essay   By Krys Suzuki  ·  December 14, 2018 • Tagged with religion, faith, spirituality, society, culture

Shinto is more than a religion - it's also an indelible part of Japanese culture. Krys Suzuki discusses the structure, beliefs, and complex history of Japan's native faith.

How Japan Re-Branded Christmas

Essay   By Krys Suzuki  ·  December 11, 2018 • Tagged with holidays, christmas, new years, celebrations, events, culture, religion

How did a non-Christian nation make a holiday rooted in Christian tradition its own?

Prince Akishinonomiya and his wife, Kiko, at a press conference.

The 2 Billion Yen Ascension: Japan's Budget-Busting Royal Ritual

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  December 10, 2018 • Tagged with religion, shinto, politics, culture, emperor, royal family, daijousai

When the new Emperor takes his throne in 2019, Japan’s taxpayers will spend billions on a Shinto religious rite. Some - including a Prince - say that’s unconstitutional.

A saisenbako, or change collection box used at Shinto shrines.

QR Code of the Gods: Will Tech Save Religion in Japan?

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  November 28, 2018 • Tagged with religion, faith, culture, shinto, buddhism, technology

From drone-riding Buddhas to monk rentals on Amazon, Japan's temples and shrines are finding unique ways to stay solvent during uncertain times.

Dazaifu Tenmanguu Shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Why Are the Japanese Not Religious?

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 18, 2018 • Tagged with essay, culture, society, religion

Why, in a country littered with shrines and temples, does the majority of the population claim to practice no religion? I examine some pet theories on how history and culture have shaped worship (and the lack thereof) in Japan.