Organized Panel Session
The primary aim of this panel is to re-examine the relationship of religion in early-modern Japan to national integration and the emerging social order. Secondarily, in addition to deepening our understanding of existing lines of inquiry, the panel hopes to stake out some new directions in scholarship, particularly in deepening our understandings about characteristics of early modernity.
Representative scholarship on the period used to view religion as submitting to the central Tokugawa authority as a tool of the regime's rule over the country. However, in recent years, empirical research in many areas has begun to overturn this image, and it has become clear that religious organizations also had voices in establishing the early modern nation and a new social system. This panel highlights ways in which religion functioned as a force for cohesion in society––not as a tool monopolized by the powerful elite, but rather as something influenced by people at various strata in society. A multiplicity of voices required negotiations and adjustments to make the system fit reality. The first two panelists, Sonehara and Mayo, focus on sites of kami worship to offer insights into ideas and interests in tension at the Tōshōgū and Ise Jingū shrine complexes. For Buddhism, Hōzawa sheds light on the system whereby commoners had to register with temples to ensure they were Buddhist devotees, and Seriguchi examines effects seen with the circulation of doctrines. Finally, Umeda will comment on the panel content before beginning an open discussion with the audience.