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Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation

Book cover
By: (1850-1904)

Greece-born Lafcadio Hearn (1850 - 1904) spent decades of his life in Japan, even marrying a Japanese woman, thus becoming a Japanese citizen by the name of Koizumi Yakumo (小泉 八雲). He wrote many books on Japan, especially about its folklore. In this posthumously published book, he takes a closer look at Japan's religious history: How it developed from ancient beliefs into Shintoism, resisted suppression attempts by both Buddhism and Christianity and how – despite efforts to westernise Japan during the era known as Meiji Restoration – it remained the basis for Japanese society. Even today, over 100 years after this book was written, some of the described traditions and fundamental ideas still exist.

First Page:

[Transcriber's Note: Page numbers are retained in square brackets.]

JAPAN AN ATTEMPT AT INTERPRETATION

BY LAFCADIO HEARN

1904

Contents

CHAPTER PAGE

I. DIFFICULTIES.........................1

II. STRANGENESS AND CHARM................5

III. THE ANCIENT CULT....................21

IV. THE RELIGION OF THE HOME............33

V. THE JAPANESE FAMILY.................55

VI. THE COMMUNAL CULT...................81

VII. DEVELOPMENTS OF SHINTO.............107

VIII. WORSHIP AND PURIFICATION...........133

IX. THE RULE OF THE DEAD...............157

X. THE INTRODUCTION OF BUDDHISM.......183

XI. THE HIGHER BUDDHISM................207

XII. THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION............229

XIII. THE RISE OF THE MILITARY POWER.....259

XIV. THE RELIGION OF LOYALTY............283

XV. THE JESUIT PERIL...................303

XVI. FEUDAL INTEGRATION.................343

XVII. THE SHINTO REVIVAL.................367

XVIII. SURVIVALS..........................381

XIX. MODERN RESTRAINTS... Continue reading book >>


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