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This book forms an introduction to the emerging discipline of “psychology of migration”, which is an interdisciplinary field of reflection and research, joining together diverse subfields of psychology with anthropological, sociological, demographic and historical inquiry on migration processes. The introductory chapter marks the borders of this borderline discipline, defines important notions and the subject of inquiry, and presents its main research themes together with prospective paths for the discipline’s development. The second chapter presents research methods applied in psychology of migration. Acculturation processes and their psychological analysis as well an impact on the mental health of migrants are the main topics of interest in the third chapter. The last chapter covers issues of mutual relations between religion and migration. Conclusive remarks on contemporary psychology of migration facing cultural and religious diversity in COVID-19 pandemic times are outlined, pointing at challenges the discipline will surely meet in the future.

Abstract

This paper explores the role of Hara Tanzan 原坦山 (1819–1892) in the transformation of Buddhism into an “experiential religion” during the Meiji period. Scholars such as Sharf have argued that this transformation is due to Western influence on figures such as DT Suzuki. Japanese language scholarship has instead shown that in the early 1900s, the notion of Buddhism as experiential religion was already widespread, considering Tanzan as a predecessor of this discourse. I argue that Tanzan was among the first to discover the importance of “experience” in the confrontation with science, yet interpreted it as an empirical standard for both religious and scientific knowledge. However, Tanzan did not yet establish the separation of science and religion characteristic of the modern understanding of both terms. I conclude that Tanzan was one starting point in a dialectic that is integral to the indigenous genealogy of “religious experience” in Japan.

In: Journal of Religion in Japan
Author: Mariko Hamaya

Abstract

This article aims to explore how people make pilgrimages not as a temporary journey but as a persistent way of life, using case studies I collected from fieldwork in Shikoku Island, Japan. The Shikoku pilgrimage is one of the most popular Buddhist pilgrimages, involving a 1,400-kilometre journey, where pilgrims visit 88 temples spread across the island. While previous studies have argued that the tradition of almsgiving helps marginal people such as the poor and those with Hansen’s disease to survive, it is not yet clear how those people, in reality, make a living on alms alone. In recent years, the pilgrimage authority and some of the local people have attempted to regulate begging and exclude “beggars” from the pilgrimage sites, differentiating them from the “true” pilgrims. This article will clarify how pilgrims, nevertheless, struggle to reconstruct their lives and then cultivate the self through their everyday practice of begging.

In: Journal of Religion in Japan
Author: Paola Cavaliere

Abstract

This paper discusses adaptations and alternatives that religious institutions in Japan have formulated to help communities develop the capacity to cope with the crisis and perceived risk generated by Covid-19. Qualitative data and observations of online information were collected between February and June 2020. Guided by a crisis approach, the study explores inward and outward responses that some Japanese religious institutions and their members have enacted. The investigation uses Douglas’ (1994) interpretative model of risk and explores those “thought-styles” that religious institutions have engendered that are conducive to cohesion and stability. Findings show that established and new religions alike swiftly responded to Covid-19-induced safety measures by embracing digital technology to continue their core function as cohesion-providers for their social and spiritual communities. The analysis shows that adjustments toward disembodied religious practices might hold potential to continue beyond current Covid-19-related social restrictions.

In: Journal of Religion in Japan
In: Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract

Malawi is a profoundly religious society and faith-based organisations (FBO s) play a significant role in politics, addressing social concerns and governance. This article investigates their role in Malawi’s political realm when engaging with the state and argues that the FBO s are opportunistic in their engagement. They seize upon opportunities for exerting influence when political and social issues dictate that action be taken in accordance with religious tenets of social responsibility, in tandem with fluctuating levels of political tension. Typical high points of tension are elections, but other controversial issues may also feature prominently. FBO s consider suitable entry points and tools of advocacy at their disposal within existing opportunity structures. As organised religion, we find that faith communities have engaged and continue to engage with the political establishment through various means, predominantly by issuing pastoral letters and statements.

In: Journal of Religion in Africa