Religious ideas and actors have shaped Asian cultural practices for millennia, and have played a decisive role in charting the course of its history. In this engaging and informative book, Thomas David DuBois sets out to explain how religion has influenced the political, social, and economic transformation of Asia from the fourteenth century to the present day. Crossing a broad terrain from Tokyo to Tibet, the book highlights long-term trends and key moments, such as the expulsion of Catholic missionaries from Japan, or the Taiping Rebellion in China, when religion dramatically transformed the political fate of a nation. Contemporary chapters reflect on the wartime deification of the Japanese emperor, Marxism as religion, the persecution of the Dalai Lama, and the fate of Asian religion in a globalized world.
1. In the beginning: religion and history; 2. Ming China: the fourteenth-century's new world order; 3. The Buddha and the shogun in sixteenth-century Japan; 4. Opportunities lost: the failure of Christianity, 1550–1750; 5. Buddhism: incarnations and reincarnations; 6. Apocalypse now; 7. Out of the twilight: religion and the late nineteenth century; 8. Into the abyss: religion and the road to disaster during the early twentieth century; 9. Brave new world: religion in the reinvention of postwar Asia; 10. The globalization of Asian religion.
"DuBois provides a fresh look at East Asian history that establishes religion’s rightful place therein for a broader audience. His study is highly informative and provides intriguing and insightful details for both specialists and non-specialists."
Thoralf Klein, Journal of Chinese Religions