The Sea and the Sacred in Japan is the first book to focus on the role of the sea in Japanese religions. While many leading Shinto deities tend to be understood today as unrelated to the sea, and mountains are considered the privileged sites of sacredness, this book provides new ways to understand Japanese religious culture and history. Scholars from North America, Japan and Europe explore the sea and the sacred in relation to history, culture, politics, geography, worldviews and cosmology, space and borders, and ritual practices and doctrines. Examples include Japanese indigenous conceptualizations of the sea from the Middle Ages to the 20th century; ancient sea myths and rituals; sea deities and sea cults; the role of the sea in Buddhist cosmology; and the international dimension of Japanese Buddhism and its maritime imaginary.
Identifies a number of important research themes that have long remained understudied. As such, it is a timely and relevant contribution to the field, groundbreaking in several respects, which offers a number of new insights and raises some fascinating questions ... This is a very rich volume ... Scholars of Japanese religion and history will undoubtedly find much of interest in the volume, which provides a number of intriguing new insights, based on sound textual and historical analyses. * Journal of Religion in Japan * This volume is a very welcome addition to the body of English-language literature on maritime perspectives of Japanese history. * Global Maritime History * Fabio Rambelli and the authors of the essays in this volume ask how our understanding of Japanese religions would change if we set aside our presumptions of the centrality of rice agriculture and instead thought of Japan in its other guise, as a seafaring society. This book offers a host of fresh approaches to familiar topics and brings new and exciting material to subjects that have not been extensively explored before now. This book will become essential reading for everyone interested in Japanese religions, culture, and society. * Helen Hardacre, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions and Society, Harvard University, USA * This book constitutes a landmark in the study of maritime factors in Japanese religion It comprises of a sparkling set of essays on a remarkable range of topics related to its main theme and points the way to much future research to be done. * T. H. Barrett, Professor Emeritus of East Asian History, SOAS, UK * This is a long-awaited, excellent volume that illuminates a central, though hitherto neglected, theme in the study of Japanese religions. Its thoughtful editor balanced a wide range of topics and research angles, considering sea myths, legends, rituals, deities and cults; locating Japan's sea religion in the ocean of Asian Buddhism; and offering interpretive conceptualizations of maritime religiosity in Japan. This inspiring, path-breaking book opens new directions in the study of Japanese religions and belongs in any academic library and on any Japanese religions' scholar's shelf. * Irit Averbuch, Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, Tel-Aviv University, Israel * Scholars have for some time argued about the importance of sea routes for East Asian trade and politics, but no one until now had examined their impact on religion and culture. Fabio Rambelli must be credited for bringing together eminent scholars from across the globe to produce a unique and important project in Japanese religious studies. Examples are used expertly to reflect the significance of the sea in Japanese religion. This will be essential reading for all those studying Japanese religion, culture, and history. * Bernard Faure, Professor of Japanese Religions, Columbia University, USA *