Journal Article

Rationalization of State and Society: A Weberian View of Early Japan

K. Peter Takayama

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 59, issue 1, pages 65-88
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Rationalization of State and Society: A Weberian View of Early Japan

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This paper attempts to interpret Japanese institutional syncretism in light of the Weberian theory of rationalization.

Much of the historical evidence revolves about the codification of Japanese law and the increasing formalization (e.g., bureaucratization) of both the political state and religion in early Japan, and particularly in reaction to the influence of China. Weber's differentiation of the types of rationality have enabled us to interpret the occurrence of the patterning of Japanese religion as syncretistic religion. A particular substantive rationality with an emphasis on methodical ways of life — with the Japanese emperor (tenno) and Shinto rituals as the sacred spiritual foundation, especially among aristocracies—subjugated practical rationality and led to the development of formal rationality in early Japan.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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