In Cultural and Theological Reflections on the Japanese Quest for Divinity, John J. Keane offers an explanation of Japanese divinity ( kami 神) using sociology, anthropology, linguistics, literature and history. He presents an overview of how the Japanese have sought to love and serve their kami - a quest that rivals the interest that the West gives to God. The principles of interreligious dialogue are applied to the meaning of kami and a plea is made for a dialogue that respectfully accepts differences between the cultures and the theologies of Eastern and Western thought. Important cultural themes are discussed as a part of this quest, such as the emperors of Japan and the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The work also challenges the understanding of kami as highlighted by Akutagawa Ryunosuke and Endo Shusaku.
Theological Themes in Shusaku Endo's Literary Works
This ground-breaking study on the Roman Catholic, Japanese novelist Endo Shusaku (1923-1996) uniquely combines western and Japanese religious, theological and philosophical thought. The author interprets Endo’s central works such as Silence (1966), The Samurai (1980), and Deep River (1996), from a theological point of view as documents of inculturation of Christianity in Japan. Analysing the social and religious context of Japan in a global perspective, the author identifies a central role for koshinto - a traditional Japanese ethos - in Endo's thought on inculturation. Endo’s change from a critical to a positive acceptance of the koshinto tradition partly accounts for his move from a pessimistic attitude of Christian inculturation in his early years to the growing theocentric and pneumatic concerns of his later years. Essential for Western readers.