"Religion" in Practice: Making the Mood of the Nation through Tourism in Japan
Yamada, S. (2017). "Religion" in Practice: Making the Mood of the Nation through Tourism in Japan. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.1784
This thesis explores the affective intersection of secularism and nationalism in contemporary Japanese tourism. It draws from ethnographic fieldwork conducted with volunteer tour guide organizations at two popular tourist destinations in the larger Tokyo area. Even though the modern Japanese state has long been invested in the secular project of producing rationalized, privatized forms of religion, the practices at Buddhist and Shinto sites in contemporary tourism are public, physical, and affective. Even the seemingly rational practice of tours produces not only representational meanings about the sites, but also highly desired moods associated with the nation. Through a close examination of these practices in tourism as well as the history of the state’s secular project, this thesis analyzes the discourses on religion among the tour guides. By showing how their discursive practices are embedded in their larger practices, it argues that the attempt to delineate religion produces an affective presence of the nation.