The Enigmatic Japanese Spirit

Theology, spirituality, and organized religion would seem at first glance to be uniquely irrelevant to contemporary Japanese behavior in the international arena. Sometimes described as a nation without a religion, or for whom the nation itself serves as religion, Japan displays little public dialogue over foreign policy at all, much less a discourse informed by religious beliefs. And yet, Japan is home to virtually all of the worlds major religions–Buddhism, Christianity, even Islam, not to mention its indigenous Shinto–so the values of these religions must have some effects on the lives of believers. To identify them, and how they in turn affect politics, is no easy matter.

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