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introduction
1. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Eriko Kawanishi

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articles
2. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Haruka Omichi

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The traditional Japanese shaman called itako is a kind of kuchiyose-mikos performing kuchiyose ritual to summon a spirit of the deceased and communicate with them. As a result of the decline in the number of once the common kuchiyose-mikos, the itako, who remains in Aomori, north Iwate and north Akita prefectures, happened to attract the attention of mass media. Itako began to appear in Japanese mass media in the 1950s, and by the 1960s they were already well known throughout Japan. This article will examine how mass media has changed the local folk culture, focusing on the kuchiyose practice on the sacred place Osorezan. Osorezan, located in Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori, is not only the sacred place for Buddhism but also for the folk beliefs that the spirits of the dead are gathered; therefore, various kinds of religious activities, including the kuchiyose, have taken place here. With the movement of rediscovering Japan and the boom of interesting in unexplored places in the 1950s, the mass media repeatedly picked up kuchiyose on Osorezan, and created a strong image of itako that has an inextricable connection with Osorezan. Although their relationship was actually transient, many people sharing the fictional image created by mass media visited here from around the country to observe or experience kuchiyose since the 1950s. The increase in the number of visitors from outside the region due to the new image altered the religious environment on the sacred place, and caused three changes in the kuchiyose practice, at the same time. Those three changes seem to function to avert a risk of miscommunication between itako and new clients under the phenomenon of delocalization. They can be evaluated as efforts to maintain the religious function to communicate with the dead even under new circumstances.
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3. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Aki Murakami

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This study illustrates how local shamans in the Tsugaru area in Japan adapt to contemporary society by focusing on their practices and self-identity formation process. There are two types of shamans in this area: itako and kamisama. The number of itako is decreasing drastically and kamisama are taking over the role. In this context, it is important to examine how and to what extent local contexts affect kamisama’s practices and their identity. Conversely, it is also important to understand the extent to which they are affected by phenomena outside of the local community, such as mass media and tourism. By examining two kamisama’s lives as cases, this study reveals that a shaman’s self-identity is neither just a result of a divine calling, nor a reflection of local shamanic traditions, but a dynamic, ever-changing reaction to the social surroundings.
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4. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Shuji Kamimoto

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The study aims to explore the relationship between Rastafari and the anti-nuclear movement in Japan, following the accident at Tokyo Electrical Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, an incident, which was a result of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. This event revitalised the anti-nuclear movement in Japan, which included Japanese Rastas among its participants. This study focuses specifically on the case of reggae singer Sing J Roy, who participated in the anti-nuclear movement and produced a song on the theme of community development in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture in 2013. In this case, it becomes clear that the intentions of the anti-nuclear movement backed by Rastafarai’s ideology are mixed with attempts to revitalise the region led by the local government and local residents in an inconspicuous way.
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5. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Eriko Kawanishi

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This article examines the importation of Paganism, mainly Witchcraft, from the West in Japan. Japanese witches do not resist the traditional religion; combined with their lack of Christian influence on their context, there is no image of evil connotation with witches in Japan. However, people who practice witchcraft are facing depictions of the “witch” in anime and children’s literature. If we regard Japan as a contact zone where Western witchcraft and Japanese tradition meet, various images of witches are produced there without the Christian context, and a localised witchcraft faith has been produced.
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6. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Mizuho Hashisako

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Discourse emphasizing “natural childbirth,” emerging at first in the 1980s in Britain, was welcomed to Japan, too, attracting high attention. The discourse in Japan has changed with the times and has gradually lost momentum, but is recently paid attention to again, which is shown by the fact that childbirth assisted by midwife has become more preferable than before. This kind of discussion tends to keep a distance from feminism although it gives holiness to childbirth, differently from trends overseas in which the discourse has a high affinity to feminism as well as spirituality.
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7. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Patrick S. D. McCartney

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The global consumption of yoga appears to have reached the saturation point in many market segments. In Japan, it is possible that with the seemingly endless array of X+Yoga hybrids that the consumption of Yoga is waning. While it is difficult to assess this with accuracy, it is increasingly difficult to delineate what yoga is. Therefore, how might one attend to answering a question related to yoga and sacred space in Japan? This paper explores the promotion of some relatively local hybrids such as temple yoga, face yoga, ninja yoga, nature yoga, and serotonin yoga.
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book reviews
8. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Eriko Kawanishi

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9. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Carole M. Cusack

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articles
10. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Bernard Doherty

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The Order of Saint Charbel, and its founding prophet William Kamm (b. 1950), also known as “The Little Pebble,” has been a marginal presence on the fringes of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia since the 1980s. While a series of bishops from the Diocese of Wollongong (and other dioceses) have issued official statements taking issue with the beliefs and practices of the group and publicly distancing the group from normative Catholicism, little systematic analysis of its beliefs has been undertaken which situate these within a wider historical Roman Catholic context. This article offers a preliminary analysis of some key themes occurring in the “private revelations” which form a key aspect of the Order of Saint Charbel’s religious repertoire and their relationship with the broader theological positions of Catholic traditionalists. This article suggests that the Order of Saint Charbel, while sharing some concerns with traditionalist and other groups across the spectrum of conservative reactions to Vatican II, is best classified as a “devotionally traditionalist” lay movement exhibiting a kind of popular theology that can only be properly understood when viewed against the wider backdrop of traditional vernacular Catholic devotional practices, many of which have either declined or become marginalized since Vatican II.
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11. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Jean E. Rosenfeld

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The experience of colonialization and Christianization among the Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Polynesians’ furthest settlement in the Southern Hemisphere, resulted in significant population decline of the Maori, land alienation, the rise of nativist revitalization movements, and British laws regarding land tenure that conformed to a Domesday Book tradition of conquest and social stratification. Nativist religious movements attempted to regain the land, reverse Maori population decline, and avoid the pathological consequences of aporia, a Greek word that signifies “without a bridge.” Three successive “Holy Spirit” movements arose to heal the breach between the old world of the Polynesians and the new world of British colonization and Christianization. Adherents assumed an identity as Israelites—the children of Shem—and challenged the Christian dominance of the Pakeha (European New Zealanders). From this culture clash came the Land Wars of the nineteenth century and the emergence of a new, biracial nation.
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12. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Mark Valentine St Leon

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Christianity and circus entered the Australian landscape within a few decades of each other. Christianity arrived with the First Fleet in 1788. Five years later, Australia’s first church was opened. In 1832, the first display of the circus arts was given by a ropewalker on the stage of Sydney’s Theatre Royal. Fifteen years later, Australia’s first circus was opened in Launceston. Nevertheless, Australia’s historians have tended to overlook both the nation’s religious history and its annals of popular entertainment. In their new antipodean setting, what did Christianity and circus offer each other? To what extent did each accommodate the other in terms of thought and behaviour? In raising these questions, this article suggests the need to remove the margins between the mainstreams of Australian religious and social histories. For the argument of this article: 1) the term “religion” will refer to Christianity, specifically its Roman Catholic and principal Protestant manifestations introduced in Australia, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist; and 2) the term “circus” will refer to the form of popular entertainment, a major branch of the performing arts and a sub-branch of theatre, as devised by Astley in London from 1768, and first displayed in the Australia in 1847.
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13. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Ethan Doyle White

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One of the most iconic television series of the 1990s, The X-Files drew on religious and folkloric traditions regarding supernatural phenomena for many of its plotlines. Among the themes that the show’s writers turned to repeatedly was witchcraft, using it as a major plot device in six episodes over the course of the series’ eleven season run. While drawing on longstanding ideas about witchcraft arising from European and European-American culture(s), these writers also had to contend with a social environment in which fears of witchcraft had resurfaced in the form of the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria and where various forms of modern religious witchcraft had arisen, often claiming proprietorship of the concept of the witch itself. How the show’s writers chose to portray this topic and navigate around the social issues it posed offers insight into the nature of beliefs about witchcraft present in American culture, especially at the close of the twentieth century.
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14. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
James Lu

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Nestorius and his relationship with his eponymous heresy, Nestorianism, has been a controversial topic in religious studies and in Christian theology. Largely thought to have been condemned for professing Nestorianism, the discovery of the Bazaar of Heracleides of Damascus (written by him in exile) led to a wide-reaching reassessment of this very relationship. Despite Nestorius’ protestations in defence of his own perceived orthodoxy, his rejection of the stronger term henosis for the weaker synapheia to describe the union of the natures of Christ and criticism of the use of the term “hypostatic union” both demonstrate that, implicitly, he did profess a two-person Christology. The authenticity of the Bazaar’s authorship and other historiographical issues came to the fore soon after its discovery. The dating of certain key events and the silence of Nestorius in other parts have led to a consensus of sorts amongst scholars in accepting the Bazaar, in large part, as being the work of Nestorius whilst still admitting of later additions and emendations. This article examines the relationship between Nestorius and Nestorianism, explains key theological terminology used in the Christological debates of the First Council of Ephesus and the Council of Chalcedon, situates Ephesus I and Chalcedon in their proper context and their relationship to Nestorius, provides an overview of the key arguments for and against the acceptance of the authorship of the Bazaar, and includes a concise summary of the most compelling arguments in favour of the acceptance of the Bazaar’s authorship.
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15. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Federico Palmieri Di Pietro

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The article investigates the relationship between religion and technology, referring to relevant topics in the concept of “human beings,” such as body and spirit. It particularly taking into consideration the transhumanist and posthumanist tenets, which are often regarded as conflicting with a spiritual/religious thought. The Dragon Ball franchise as a case of study provides insight into how elements of spirituality and technology can be well structured in a very popular medial product with a unique reference universe of significances using an history of ideas and historical-religious framework.
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book reviews
16. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Anthony Blake

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17. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack

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18. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack

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19. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Anna Lutkajtis

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20. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Anna Lutkajtis

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