Japanese Prayer Below the Equator: How Brazilians Believe in the Church of World Messianity

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9780739113790: Japanese Prayer Below the Equator: How Brazilians Believe in the Church of World Messianity
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The Church of World Messianity, a religion founded by Okada Mokichi (1882-1955), was introduced to Brazil in 1955. Messianity is best known for the religious activity Jhorei; transmission of the light of God by holding one's hand over a recipient. Messianity's doctrine and practice is strongly influenced by that of Shinto, a Japanese traditional religion. For this reason, it might be considered that Messianity would appear to be rather out of place in the Brazilian cultural milieu and different from Brazilian religious orientations. However in terms of doctrine and practice, there are some aspects that indicate continuity such as the belief in the existence of the world of spirits.
During fieldwork of a pilgrimage bus tour with Messianity followers, the author encounters a busjacking where highway robbers take over the bus at late night. Through this incident Matsuoka develops his analysis of the acceptance of the religion by collecting interpretations of the busjacking from the pilgrims.
Based on extensive fieldwork, this book studies several significant topics in anthropological study of religion such as sacred place, magic/religion argument, theodicy, conversion in Messianity. By doing so, Matsuoka not only elucidates the reasons why Messianity has been accepted by some non-ethnic Japanese Brazilians, but also analyzes the meaning and significance of fundamental features of the religion, which are common to Japanese new religions in general.

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About the Author:

Hideaki Matsuoka is professor of international communication at Shukutku University.

Review:

This study by Hideaki Matsuoka provides fresh insights regarding the religious views of recent generations of Japanese Brazilians. (Dan Masterson, U.S. Naval Academy The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History, January 2010)

Matsuoka's work is valuable not only because of his study of the COWM (Church of World Messianity) in Brazil but also for his extensive introductory analysis of the history and significance of Japanese new religions in general. Because of these extensive background comments, this study is accessible to both specialists and general readers alike. The research and bibliography are superb, and the writing is clear. (Southeast Review of Asian Studies, Volume 30 (2008))

The flows of religious beliefs and practices across ethnic and national boundaries around the world demand much more attention in globalization studies. This is a strikingly original investigation into a fascinating development―the powerful appeal of Japanese New Religions among over a million non-Japanese followers in Brazil. Matsuoka offers a compelling ethnographic portrait of Messianity, one of the most important of these spiritual movements. It is sectarian, messianic, even magical, and it demonstrates religion's capacity to travel widely and move people deeply. (William Kelly, Yale University; editor of Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan)

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Book Description Lexington Books, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Based on intensive fieldwork, Matsuoka vividly depicts the followers of Church of World Messianity, a Japanese new religion in Brazil, which has successfully acquired a strong following among Brazilians, most whom are nonethnic Japanese. This book should be of interest to academics of religion, anthropology, transculturalism, or those focusing on Latin America as the book elucidates the reasons why these nonethnic Japanese Brazilians have accepted Messianity including analysis of fundamental features of the religion. Seller Inventory # AAC9780739113790

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