“Religion” and “Politics”

A Japanese Case


  • Mitsutoshi Horii Shumei University




Japan, Timothy Fitzgerald, mystification, secularity, politics


Timothy Fitzgerald’s The Ideology of Religious Studies should not be read as something just about “religion,” but about the modern Euro- American “secularity,” which functions to mystify the colonial matrix of power of Euro-American modernity. Fitzgerald’s later work focuses on two mutually parasitic categories of “religion” and “politics.” As a case study of the Fitzgeraldian perspective, this article examines the construction of the religion-politics distinction in Japan since the late nineteenth century. In the latter half of the nineteenth century the aggression of Euro-American colonial power motivated Japan’s elites to institutionalize the nation based upon the Euro-American concepts of “politics” and “religion.” After Japan’s defeat in the Second World War in 1945, the US-led Allied Occupation redefined prewar Japanese state orthodoxy and institutions as “religion,” in order to eliminate them from the post-war Japanese statecraft.


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How to Cite

Horii, M. (2020). “Religion” and “Politics”: A Japanese Case. Implicit Religion, 22(3-4), 413–428. https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.41013