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Historical Dictionary of Shinto


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Stuart D.B. Picken taught at the International Christian University in Tokyo, served as director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Stirling, and then concluded his career as Graduate School Dean at the Nagoya University of Commerce and Business Administration. He is currently Chair of the Japan Society of Scotland. He is a recipient of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government for pioneering research on Japan and for services to Japan-Scotland and Japan-U.K. relations for over three decades.


Given that so little in the way of reference literature exists in English, the publication of the second edition of Picken's dictionary is an event that merits close attention. The dictionary begins with a chronology of important dates in and a lengthy introduction to this tradition. Of the entries that follow, those for Kami, the object of reverence in Shinto; Nature in Shinto; and Sacredness in Shinto are foundational. Broad in scope, coverage includes entries for historical figures and periods, specific shrines, festivals, rituals, sects, and new religious movements with roots in Shinto. The work concludes with a lengthy bibliography that includes Internet resources....Historical Dictionary of a welcome contribution to the reference literature and recommended for academic collections and large public libraries. * Booklist *
Amid a recent explosion of texts on this ritual-dependent Japanese religion, this revised and updated historical dictionary edition seeks to define the major terms, symbols, devotional activities, figures, and places vital to Shinto practice, whose lack of doctrine and tendency toward religious blending has made consistent explanation difficult. Opening with a time line punctuated by ruling periods, Picken (philosophy, International Christian Univ., Tokyo) prefaces the lexicon with an absorbing chronological overview. Eight hundred newly expanded and alphabetized entries skillfully explain Shinto's complex aspects. An essential subject resource. * Library Journal *

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