Contemporary Japan: Society and Culture

The Japanese archipelago — with more than one thousand islands in all — spans diverse living environments: snowy mountains in the northern island of Hokkaido; bustling cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka; tropical rice paddies in southern Kyushu. In the video segments below, Harvard University professors Theodore Bestor (anthropology) and Helen Hardacre (Japanese society and religion) describe the character of both urban and rural life in Japan.  
Click to view video segments on the following topics, or click here to read a transcript of all five segments.
· Tokyo · Volunteer Fire Departments · Neighborhood Associations
· Neighborhoods, Crime, and Police · Rural Life  
Although Japanese family roles have changed considerably in the 20th century, aspects of the traditional ie, or “continuing family,” still remain. The Japanese have a saying that even if an extended family does not live together, parents and grandparents should live near enough to
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Home: Japan Society

Home: Japan Society

Japan Society Goes Virtual

In doing our part to contain the spread of COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel, digitize or postpone all public programs at Japan Society through May 31st. While the doors of our landmarked space remain closed, we are committed to programming virtually, innovating ways to connect us all through inspirational digital content.

Online Language Classes

Registration for Online Classes – Now Open!

We are excited to offer a variety of online classes this spring, conducted via Zoom. Please visit each course or workshop page for more information on how to register.

Presenting the JS-ENCORE Series

JS-ENCORE, the latest addition to our #JSFromHome initiative, is a new bi-weekly series of traditional and contemporary Japanese performances curated by Japan Society’s Artistic Director Yoko Shioya. Our lineup begins with two unique shamisen

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Religion and Politics in Japan: A Conversation With Religion Scholar Levi McLaughlin

Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party won an emphatic victory in Japan’s national elections Dec. 14, returning him to the Prime Minister’s seat. He is now claiming a mandate for his economic policies – which could have ramifications for the U.S. One of the people watching Japan’s elections is Levi McLaughlin, the co-author and co-editor of a new book on Japanese religion and politics and an assistant professor of religious studies at NC State. McLaughlin’s research has focused on links between a prominent Japanese religious organization and Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party.

We recently decided to do a Q&A with McLaughlin to learn more about what drew him to religious studies, and what he can tell us about Japanese religion and politics.

The Abstract: What’s your research background? What drew you to studying Asian religions, and Japanese religions in particular?

Levi McLaughlin: I received my Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University in

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