Shamanic spirituality in contemporary Japan
(Ca' Foscari University of Venice)
Paper short abstract:
This paper aims to explore the characteristics of Japanese shamanic spirituality by showing how Japanese practitioners are (re-)creating their role in the urban context. Moreover, it will contribute to the understanding of how contemporary religiosity is being shaped all over the world.
Paper long abstract:
This paper seeks to explore the main elements that constitute contemporary Japanese shamanic spirituality. First, drawing on recent studies on the topic, the notion of spirituality will be examined with specific reference to the Japanese context, tracking its main characteristics and the main threads that practitioners and their clients/patients follow. Second, case-studies of Japanese urban shamans will be presented and discussed. This analysis will show how practitioners are constructing their own definition of what a shaman is and their personal way to perform the shamanic role, entering the field of what can be defined as shamanic spirituality. It will be clear how the 'sacred' is perceived and re-imagined in this context and how communication with spiritual beings - often vaguely defined - is sought and realized in order to achieve specific goals. In conclusion, this paper has three main aims intertwined with each other. It will shed light on how Japanese practitioners are (re-)creating and playing their role in the urban context. In doing so, it will trace the characteristics of the shamanic spirituality they contribute to build and connect them to the larger landscape of contemporary spirituality. At the same time, it will contribute to the understanding of how contemporary religiosity is being shaped all over the world following various - but also similar - paths.
Fluidity and transformation in contemporary religiosity: re-tracking the sacred in a changing world