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Teaching Japanese Religion(s): Balancing Materials and Approaches

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by H. Byron Earhart

Looking at a course on Japanese religion (or religions) more from the perspective of the undergraduate
audience than from the professoriate persuades me that the aim of such a course should be to challenge and awaken young minds to the richness and variety —and ambiguity—of religion in Japan through its historical span and diverse manifestations.1 This enables students both to appreciate the Japanese heritage and to raise questions about the nature of a religion or tradition such that they can reflect meaningfully on their own cultural and religious backgrounds.