New Religious Movements: New Panorama of Japanese Religion

Mohammad Jahangir Alam*
Abdus Samad**

* Associate Professor & Chair, World Religions and Culture, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh. E-mail:
** Japanese Language Instructor, Daffodil Japan It, E-mail:


New religions have been especially appealing to people in a rapidly changing society. Conservative and traditional moral values are often articulated in such a changing society. In a changing Japanese society, conservative and traditional moral values are often articulated; modes of hopes, understanding and meaning are provided; meaningful teaching and promises of salvation for people are offered. It should be mentioned that the various Japanese traditional ways of religious practices, such as magical healing, spirit possessions, and the gaining of worldly benefits, are the standard features of almost all of the New Religious Movements in Japan. This article contributes to the discussion on the background of New Religious Movements, the meaning of NMRs, their standard features, and persistent themes from a Japanese perspective. Thus, this paper proceeds by presenting some of the different socio-historical contexts based on which new religious movements emerged. It is an attempt of the current paper that can help us explain and evaluate the socio-historical facts of the rise of New Religious Movements in Japan. In addition, the current paper presents how New Religious Movements demonstrate their magnetic attraction for the ordinary people in Japan and create a new panorama providing the opportunity of being treated in a particular way. Finally, as for implication, this paper gives importance to some crucial issues that focus on further study of religion in Japan from different approaches in future that cannot be avoided the significant problems of democratisation, secularisation, and atheism in Japan.

Keywords New Religious Movements . Persistent Themes . New Panorama . Democratisation . Secularisation . Organisational development . Multiplicity of religions .