This concluding chapter puts into perspective the three factors treated in the earlier chapters and seen as decisive for the formulation of a modern concept of religion in nineteenth-century Japan—namely, the Western impact, domestic political concerns, and the indigenous conceptual tradition—by balancing them against each other. In addition, it investigates the larger meaning of the reconception of religion for the place of Japanese religions in society by arguing that, in the face of the onslaught of the secular, what we in hindsight call “religion(s)” today would indeed not have survived but for the appropriation and reconception of the concept of “religion.” In Japan, the negotiation of religious actors with modernity was thus hardly different from that in the European and North American societies, where new understandings of religion took hold around the same time.
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