This volume of essays is the first comprehensive publication in English of the work of Miyake Hitoshi, a distinguished scholar of Shugendo (mountain asceticism) and one of the foremost researchers on Japanese folk religion. In Miyake's systematic methodological and theoretical approach, Shugendo is a classic example of Japanese folk religion, for it blends many traditions (shamanism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Shinto) into a distinctive Japanese religious worldview and is typical of Japanese religion generally.
The first part of this book is devoted to Shugendo's history, organization, ritual, austerities, thought, and cosmology. Related subjects include exorcism and the exclusion of women. The second part of the book provides research and reflection on Japanese folk religion, including essays on the idea of nature, worldly benefits, new religions, death and rebirth, and the structure of folk religion.
“A rich source for the study of folk religion in Japan, and Shugendo in particular . . . This collection is most welcome.”
—Paul L. Swanson, in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
“This elite religion, and Miyake’s exposition of it, is rich and learned.”
—George J. Tanabe, Jr., in the Journal of Asian Studies