Journal of Sociology and Anthropology
ISSN (Print): ISSN Pending ISSN (Online): ISSN Pending Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2021, 5(1), 17-24
DOI: 10.12691/jsa-5-1-3
Open AccessCase Study

Nationalism in Japanese New Religions: What are the National Conceptions of Japanese New-New Religion in the Post-Bubble Era? A Case Study of Konohana Family Community

Lilia Shahar Griffin1,

1Kyoto University, Japan

Pub. Date: November 01, 2021

Cite this paper:
Lilia Shahar Griffin. Nationalism in Japanese New Religions: What are the National Conceptions of Japanese New-New Religion in the Post-Bubble Era? A Case Study of Konohana Family Community. Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2021; 5(1):17-24. doi: 10.12691/jsa-5-1-3


Nationalism in Japanese New-new religions (NNR) was evident since the establishment of such religious groups in the 1970s. While before the price bubble burst and Japan's economy stagnated, the justification for national supremacy relied heavily on Japan’s economic power, since the 1990s, nationalist ideas stems from the cultural superiority of Japan, justified by the Shinto religion, the role of Japan as the land of the Buddha and the country which world peace will rise from, and the role of the Japanese as the chosen people. This study investigates a new justification for Japanese nationalism in a NNR established in the 1990s, Konohana Family Community (KH). The justification this group offers to the superiority of the Japanese is by the fact they are the descendants of the Katakamuna Civilization, the mythological inhabitants of Japan, which existed 13,000 years ago, had a supreme spirituality, and that could sense phenomena prior to their existence. The similarities between KH’s and other current NNR’s nationalism and the distinctiveness of KH’s nationalist ideas will be discussed.

nationalism New-new religions Konohana Family community Japan Shinto Buddhism

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Brownlee, J. S. (2000, October). Four stages of the Japanese kokutai (national essence). In JSAC Conference, University of British Columbia, October.
[2]  Orbach, D. (2017). Cherry Blossom: From Resistance to Rebellion, 1931. In Curse on This Country (pp. 193-224). Cornell University Press.
[3]  Esenbel, S. (2004). Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900-1945. The American Historical Review, 109(4), 1140-1170.
[4]  Shimazono, S. (1997). Gendainihon no han sezoku-nushi-kai gi to nashonarizumu [Anti-Secular Principals and Nationalism in Contemporary Japan]. In Nakano, T., Iida, T., and Yamanaka, H. (Eds.), Shūkyō to nashonarizumu [Religion and Nationalism] (pp. 217-235). Kyoto: Sekai shishōsha.
[5]  Hotaka, T. (2012). Cultural Nationalism in Japanese Neo-New Religions: A Comparative Study of Mahikari and Kōfuku no Kagaku. Monumenta Nipponica, 67(1), 133-157.
[6]  Reader, I. (1988). The rise of a Japanese “New New Religion”: Themes in the development of Agonshū. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 235-261.
[7]  Tsukada, H. (2012). Cultural Nationalism in Japanese Neo-New Religions: A Comparative Study of Mahikari and Kōfuku no Kagaku. Monumenta Nipponica 67(1): 133-157.
[8]  Prohl, I. (2012). New religions in Japan: Adaptation and transformation in contemporary society. In I. Prohl & J. K. Nelson (Eds.), Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions, (pp. 241–267). Boston: Brill.
[9]  Calhoun, C. (1993). Nationalism and ethnicity. Annual review of sociology, 19(1), 211-239.
[10]  Zimmer, O. (2003). Nationalism in Europe, 1890-1940. Macmillan International Higher Education.
[11]  Oxford dictionary. (n.d.). Citation. In oxfordlearners dictionary. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from
[12]  Orwell, G. (2018). Notes on nationalism. London: Penguin.
[13]  Breuilly, J. (1993). Nationalism and the State. Manchester University Press.
[14]  Benedict, R. (1946). The Sword and the chrysanthemum. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
[15]  Brown, D. M. (1955). Nationalism in Japan: An Introductory Historical Analysis. Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press.
[16]  Paramore, K. (2010). Ideology and Christianity in Japan. Routledge.
[17]  Earhart, H. B. (1974). The Religious Life of Man: Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations. Dickenson Publishing Company.
[18]  Larsson, E. (2020). Rituals of a Secular Nation: Shinto Normativity and the Separation of Religion and State in Postwar Japan (Doctoral dissertation, Uppsala universitet).
[19]  Shimazono, S. (2004). From Salvation to Spirituality: Popular Religious Movements in Modern Japan. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.
[20]  Pye, M. (1986). National and international identity in a Japanese religion (Byakkō Shinkōkai). In V. Hayes, (Ed.), Identity Issues and World Religions: Selected Proceedings of the fifteenth Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions. Sydney: Australian Association for the Study of Religion.
[21]  Suzuki, S. (2005). Nihon no bunka nashonarizumu [Cultural Nationalism of Japan]. Tokyo: Heibonsha Shinsho.
[22]  Zhong, Y. (2016). The origin of modern Shinto in Japan: The vanquished gods of Izumo. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
[23]  Gläser, Jochen, & Laudel, Grit (1999). Theoriegeleitete Textanalyse? Das Potential einer variablenorientierten qualitativen Inhaltsanalyse. Berlin: Wissensschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung GmbH.
[24]  Hartley, Jean (1994). Case studies in organizational research. In Catherine Cassell & Gillian Symon (Eds.), Qualitative methods in organizational research, a practical guide (pp.208-229). London: Sage.
[25]  Titscher, Stefan, Meyer, Michael, Wodak, Ruth, & Vetter, Eva (2000). Methods of text and discourse analysis (Bryan Jenner, Trans.). London: Sage.
[26]  Parachini, J. (2005). Aum Shinrikyo, in B. Jackson, A. Brian, J. C. Baker, C. Kim, J. Parachini, H. R. Trujillo, and P. Chalk (Eds.), Aptitude for Destruction, Volume 2: Case Studies of Organizational Learning in Five Terrorist Groups, (pp. 11-34). Santa Monica: Rand.