The unseen face of Japan

Book Review

In this wide-ranging book on Japanese religiosity, Lewis explores why Japanese people act in a religious way, based on what people say about their attitudes and experiences.

In his review of the first edition (1993), veteran missiologist David Hesselgrave said that all who have an interest in Christian witness in Japan should study this book.1 Lewis helps us understand the culture and the people with whom we are sharing the gospel.

In this second edition, Lewis has incorporated “some additional material and comparisons with more recent statistics.”2 Although the book cover refers to a fully revised edition, the book is essentially the same book as the 1993 edition (with a new publisher). It has been slightly edited and updated, and there is some interaction (especially in the endnotes) with relevant works that have been published since the first edition. The book has a full bibliography (18 pages that include numerous newer publications as recent as 2012) and a short index (3 pages).

If you have not read the first edition, get this book and learn about Japanese society and religion.

1 David Hesselgrave, Evangelical Missions Quarterly 31 (4 October, 1995): 494.
2 Page ix

Review by Don Schaeffer

Chapters Include:
Industrial Religion
Shrine and Temple
House/Building rituals
Purity and Pollution
Birth rituals, illness and calamitous years
Fortune-telling
The cult of the dead
Memorialism
A sin and shame society