In pre-Meiji Japan there existed no concept of religion as a general phenomenon, of which there would be variants like Christianity, Buddhism, and Shintō.  People spoke of having faith (shinkō) in particular kami and Buddhas, but no word existed to designate a separate sphere of life that could be called “religious,” as opposed to the rest of one’s existence.

Helen Hardacre, Shintō and The State 1868-1988, p.18

Although I only got to read a few chapters, this is one of the passages that stood out to me.


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