- 東京大学宗教学年報 (ISSN:2896400)
- vol.25, pp.31-48, 2008-03-31
Takagi Hiroo (1921-2005), a sociologist of religion, who was awarded the 1st Anezaki Memorial Prize (now, The Prize of Japanese Association for Religious Studies), paved the way for studies on Japanese new religion in the 1950-60s and broadly informed the common citizens about it through his works such as Shinko-Shukyo (New Religion, 1958) and Nihon-no-Shinko-Shukyo (Japanese New Religion, 1959). But, at present, his studies and works do not seem to be appreciated properly. Some subsequent scholars have considered him simply as a thinker based in Marxism, who had a external, critical and enlightened stance towards new religion. However, his perspective towards new religion, I think, consists of two distinct aspects. One is that which presumes new religion to be generally affected by social or economical changes. Thus new religion is a dependent variable. The other is an understanding as to why and how a person may commit him or herself to a new religion and accept its dogma; the aim being to grasp the group-resident logic. The former aspect was gradually shaped and acquired with his experiences in numerous fieldwork researches. The latter was cultivated while in contact with philosopher Miura Tsutomu (1911-1989) and participants to the Magazine Shisou-no-Kagaku, who were deeply affected by Pragmatism. Therefore, though he might have kept his external, critical stance, he can be considered to have achieved a "sympathetic interpretation" of new religion in terms of the means and contents of his studies. It can therefore be said that his works continue to be instructive and illuminating for those who deal with present-dav religion.