Household Altars in Contemporary Japan

Integrated butsudan

Integrated butsudan

Since this blog was created with the intention of addressing the weird and the wonderful in both anthropology and religion I’ve decided it would be a good idea to start producing reviews of interesting research.

My areas of ‘expertise’ are in the literature from the academic ‘study of religions’ and from anthropological studies (i.e. ethnographies) focusing on religion & East Asia so you can expect most of the material for these reviews to be drawn from those sources.

Now, to get things rolling, the first article I’m going to examine is a recently published article by John K. Nelson, a scholar specialising in Japanese religion, examining how the marketing of household altars in Japan reflects the changing attitudes towards spirituality and religion found in modern day Japan. The article is titled ‘Household Altars in Contemporary Japan: Rectifying Buddhist “Ancestor Worship” with Home Decor and Consumer Choice’ and was published in 2008 in the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies (incidentally, for anyone interested, the article can be viewed online, for free, here).