Report: Seminar “Secularization, Religion, State” Session 2

3 June, 2008 Secularization, Religion, State

On May 26th, the second session of the Seminar "Secularization, Religion, State" was held in the Komaba campus. We aimed to build common ground on "secularization", "religion" and "state" in this session.

Participants read two articles in advance to discuss on "religion".
(1) Hidetaka Fukasawa, "The Creation of "Religion"," the Iwanami Series about Religion, vol.1 (Iwanami-Shoten, Tokyo, 2003, Japanese).
(2) Jun’ichi Isomae, "The Formation of Religious Concept in Modern Japan," the Iwanami Series of the Cultural History of Modern Japan, vol.3 (Iwanami-Shoten, Tokyo, 2002, Japanese).

Prof. Fukasawa made a research on the concept of "religion". According to his assertion, origin of the word “religion” came from the ancient and medieval era in Europe where "religio" meant to be honor behavior under justices. Current definition of “religion” was introduced since modern era. Author explained on this change through his analysis on four types of "modes of religious discourses" from England, Germany and France. Prof. Haneda pointed an importance of the role of science instead of religion at present. We discussed on the limitation of the author’s research as it only focused on three countries. Some participants commented that he should have included other countries such as Spain and Greece in the research scope.

Next discussion was on the article of Prof. Isomae. This article explains how the concept of "religion" formed in Western Europe was introduced in Japan from end of Edo era to early Meiji era. He classified religious essences into two categories such as "practice" and "belief". He concluded that "belief" came to show superiority to "practice". Furthermore, we can confirm the principle of separation between politics and religion from the Constitution of Imperial Japan established in 1889. This was prior to the French law on the laïcité established in 1905. Prof. Haneda questioned where was the origin of the principle of separation of politics and religion in the Constitution of Imperial Japan. In addition, we discussed on the appropriateness of the categorization between "practice" and "belief" and closed our second session.

Reported by SAWAI Kazuaki

  • HOME>
    • Blog>
      • Report: Seminar “Secularization, Religion, State” Session 2
//Page Top