Th is article challenges claims that the Japanese neologism shukyo (as a translation for "religion") lacked an established nature prior to the twentieth century and had little to do with experiences of the urban masses. It accordingly problematizes the term as a largely legal concept, highlighting historical newspapers as underutilized sources that off er insight into Meiji popular discourse and attendant conceptualizations of "religion." Th is article endorses a shift in both our chronological understanding of shukyo's conceptual history as well as its sociocultural mobility. By expanding the milieu understood as being familiar with debates on a range of "religious" issues, this article thereby off ers a counter-narrative in which regular use of shukyo begins to clearly emerge from the mid-1880s, exponentially increasing with the following decades.
- Conceptual history
- Popular discourse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science