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Agents of World Renewal : The Rise of Yonaoshi Gods in Japan

Author :  Takashi Miura

Product Details

United States
University of Hawaii Press, USA
ISBN 9780824880378
Format HardBound
Language English
Year of Publication 2019
Bib. Info x, 236p. Includes Index; Bibliography
Product Weight 550 gms.
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Product Description

1. God, Japanese. 2. Japan – Religious life and customs. This volume examines a category of Japanese divinities that centered on the concept of “world renewal” (yonaoshi). In the latter half of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), a number of entities, both natural and supernatural, came to be worshipped as “gods of world renewal.” These included disgruntled peasants who demanded their local governments repeal unfair taxation, government bureaucrats who implemented special fiscal measures to help the poor, and a giant subterranean catfish believed to cause earthquakes to punish the hoarding rich. In the modern period, yonaoshi gods took on more explicitly anti-authoritarian characteristics. During a major uprising in Saitama Prefecture in 1884, a yonaoshi god was invoked to deny the legitimacy of the Meiji regime, and in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the new religion Omoto predicted an apocalyptic end of the world presided over by a messianic yonaoshi god.

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