Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation cover

Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation

Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904)

1. Difficulties
2. Strangeness and charm
3. The ancient cult
4. The religion of the home
5. The Japanese family
6. The communal cult
7. Developments of Shinto
8. Worship and purification
9. The rule of the dead
10. The introduction of Buddhism
11. The higher Buddhism
12. The social organization
13. The rise of the military power
14. The religion of loyalty
15. The Jesuit peril - Part 1
16. The Jesuit peril - Part 2
17. Feudal integration
18. The Shinto revival
19. Survivals
20. Modern restraints
21. Official education
22. Industrial danger
23. Reflections
24. Appendix: Herbert Spencer's advice to Japan

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Summary

Greece-born Lafcadio Hearn (1850 - 1904) spent decades of his life in Japan, even marrying a Japanese woman, thus becoming a Japanese citizen by the name of Koizumi Yakumo (小泉 八雲). He wrote many books on Japan, especially about its folklore. In this posthumously published book, he takes a closer look at Japan's religious history: How it developed from ancient beliefs into Shintoism, resisted suppression attempts by both Buddhism and Christianity and how – despite efforts to westernise Japan during the era known as Meiji Restoration – it remained the basis for Japanese society. Even today, over 100 years after this book was written, some of the described traditions and fundamental ideas still exist.