Important review article on H-Japan: Jolyon Thomas on studies of Shinto

Ryan Dunch's picture

As readers will know, there are active reviews programs on many H-Net networks, and in general at H-Asia we rely on the weekly digest post from H-Net to keep our readers aware of Asia-related reviews published on other networks. 

However, a recent review article on H-Japan requires special mention due to its scope and usefulness. Written by Jolyon Thomas, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, it reviews six recent books (listed below) on the history of Shinto. In subsequent discussion, one scholar describes the article as a "tour de force [that] comprises the most comprehensive and up-to-the-minute scholarly overview of Shinto studies in English to appear in any academic publication or online platform anywhere."

Well worth a read for H-Asia readers:

John Breen, Mark Teeuwen. A New History of Shinto. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 280 pp. $38.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-4051-5516-8; $109.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4051-5515-1.

Helen Hardacre. Shinto: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. 720 pp. $26.99 (e-book), ISBN 978-0-19-062172-8; $39.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-062171-1.

Bernhard Scheid, ed., with Kate Wildman Nakai. Kami Ways in Nationalist Territory: Shinto Studies in Prewar Japan and the West. Beitrage Zur Kultur- Und Geistesgeschichte Asiens Series. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2013. x + 277 pp. $80.00 (paper), ISBN 978-3-7001-7400-4.

Akiko Takenaka. Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2015. 287 pp. $57.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8248-4678-7.

Mark Teeuwen, John Breen. A Social History of the Ise Shrines: Divine Capital. Bloomsbury Shinto Studies Series. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. 320 pp. $114.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4742-7279-7.

Yijiang Zhong. The Origin of Modern Shinto in Japan: The Vanquished Gods of Izumo. Bloomsbury Shinto Studies Series. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. 272 pp. $114.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4742-7108-0.

Reviewed by Jolyon B. Thomas (University of Pennsylvania)
Published on H-Japan (November, 2017)
Commissioned by Jessica Starling