religion

Nationwide Pokémon GO ban sought by Indian lawsuit that claims title is religiously offensive

Pokémon GO’s eggs apparently contain not only baby Pokémon, but seeds of controversy too.

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We try “The Pope’s Rice,” one of the rarest types of Japan’s favorite grain

Hard to find, but heavenly delicious.

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Muslim man goes on hunger strike after being served ham at Yokohama immigration center

A Muslim man being detained at a Yokohama immigration center was served pork and has gone on a hunger strike in protest.

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Religious solicitors bothering you? Japanese Twitter user has an easy way to get rid of them

If you’re one of the many people who’d rather be playing video games than discussing religion with a stranger, this is one trick you’ll want to know.

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Cute cat finds way to make humans bow down and worship him at Japanese shrine

The furry new deity, however, forgot about a couple of small yet important details.

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Japan’s new traffic cones come with built-in Jizō Bosatsu, the protective deity of travellers

There’s no better way to look after the roads than with built-in protection from one of Japan’s most revered deities.

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Japanese Buddhism in 10 minutes【Rocketpedia】

Today we’re introducing you to the basics of Japanese Buddhism, plus highlighting some of the Buddhist images you’ll see in Japan and help you distinguish them from Shinto ones.

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Japanese government recommends changing Buddhist temple mark on maps to avoid Nazi connotations

Use of Swastika-like maji symbol deemed “inappropriate” for maps for foreign users.

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Japanese artist re-invents religious art from the Renaissance Period

Anime is the new religion, at least when it comes to these re-imagined religious works of art by Hiroshi Mori.

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Buddhist schoolgirl idol group gets shut down for becoming too popular

In Japan, there truly is an all-singing, all-dancing “idol” group for everything. From plus-sized beauties to macho men and octogenarians, if you’ve got a unique message and a catchy tune, there’ll be a niche audience out there waiting to share your next video and dance along with glow sticks at your next performance.

Just when we thought the happy-go-lucky, free-for-all nature of the amateur idol world had no boundaries, it seems there is one line that can’t be crossed: schoolgirls and religion. Meet the “Num-Num Girls”, a Buddhism-based schoolgirl pop group that has been shut down for becoming too popular.

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Bali style: Is that a penjor or are you just happy to see me?

Penjor were pretty much the first thing I noticed about Bali. As soon as we left the airport, they began towering over our car from both sides of the street: long-necked, graceful swoops of bamboo arching and bobbing over the road, their strips of paper and coconut leaves fluttering in the air.

But what were these charming decorations? What was their significance? That took a little longer to find out. And to be honest, I’m still not sure I know.

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Two Thai models arrested and facing possible charges after dance video goes viral【Video】

Most of us have probably experienced a moment or two where it was necessary for us to take a step back and reflect on actions leading to undesirable consequences, even if those actions might have seemed like a good idea at the time.

We’re sure this is exactly what two Thai models are doing after a “tasteless” video of them dancing in front of one of the country’s most sacred monuments in skimpy attire hit the web and went viral, leading to large-scale public backlash and their arrest by local authorities.
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Meiji-era vision of Hell is not at all frightening, actually kind of cute

Depicting the horrors of hell through art is a tradition in Buddhism that goes back at least 1,000 years in Japan. By depicting the suffering in store for sinners, the artworks were supposed to scare people onto the straight and narrow.

But if that’s what this late 19th century scroll was for, it might have had the opposite effect. We’ve never seen such a cute hellscape!

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The Steeds of the Gods: The Shinto horses that no mortal may ride

Somewhere around the 500th step on the long approach to Kompira-san shrine in Kagawa Prefecture, you’ll find a small stable housing two special horses. They are pretty as a picture, but don’t get any ideas about hopping on for a ride, feeding them a little carrot, or even giving them a friendly pat.

These thoroughbreds are shinme, the steeds of the gods, and they are not for mere mortals like us.

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Buddhist temple singles parties: The enlightened way to find a romantic partner

Buddhism and Shintoism share space pretty peacefully in Japan, partially thanks to a division of duties. Shinto shrines, for example, handle weddings, while Buddhist temples are the locations of funerals and graveyards.

These days, though, a few Buddhist temples are helping singles find someone to marry at one of those Shinto weddings, though, as one sect of Buddhism in east Japan has branched out into organizing matchmaking parties.

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Meet Pyuri-tan, the new manga heroine who’s the literal embodiment of Puritan Christianity

For centuries, Christianity has had a role in the creation of some of the finest works of art. Any comprehensive discussion of art history has to include Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, and a host of other important paintings and sculptures from artists who don’t share their names with one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Speaking of comics, there’s a new manga that’s just started in Japan. Looking at its earnest, wholesome heroine, you might get the impression that it’s like any of a hundred other series the country has produced, but this manga lead has something that makes her unique: she’s the literal embodiment of Puritan Christianity.

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Indonesian Muslim cleric declares selfies a sin, youths reciprocate with new selfie trend

While Islam is practiced worldwide, many of us tend to only think of the Muslims in the Middle East, looking past those in Southeast Asia. However, with over 87% of its people identifying as Muslim, Indonesia actually has the largest population of Muslims in the world.

The young adult Muslim culture in Indonesia is not that much different from youth culture anywhere else in the world these days: everyone has smartphones and, like them or not, selfies are the norm. A previously celebrated young Muslim cleric, however, has recently proclaimed that the act of taking a selfie is a sin – a claim which many young Muslims in Indonesia have taken great offense to.

How did they respond to the condemnation of their smartphone snaps? By taking even more selfies than ever before.

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Face of Spanish monkey Jesus appears in Japanese roll cake

Usually, Jesus limits his food-based appearances to grilled cheese and Cheetos in certainshall we sayconservative areas of North America, but it seems like he is making inroads to Asian pastries with an appearance in a dessert offered by Japan’s popular Komeda Coffee chain. And not just that, he decided to present as a famous recent incarnation: the monkey-faced botched restoration of Ecce Homo!

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Ultra-cute moe pilgrims embark on Shikoku’s 88-temple journey in new TV show

2014 marks the 1,200th year since Buddhist monk Kukai made his holy journey to 88 temples on the southern Japanese island of Shikoku. The Shikoku Pilgrimage now attracts people from all over Japan as well as the world to visit the same temples along the 1,200 km-route.

Now, a new TV series, Ohenro, is out to appeal to a new generation of religious travelers and features three female pilgrims stylized in the ever popular moe fashion of super-cute anime characters.

But Japanese netizens, eager to soak up all things moe, are wondering if they will have to make their own “holy trip” since only four broadcasters are airing the show!

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Divine prevention – Japan using Shinto symbols to combat litter and public peeing

One of the trickier questions to answer about Japan is whether or not it’s a religious society. On one hand, the ideas of daily prayer, weekly visits to a temple, or consulting religious texts or advisors in times of personal crisis are about as foreign to most Japanese people as playing a game of cricket or eating a plate of grits and gravy.

Still, spiritualism is a big part of life in Japan. Most visitors to a shrine might not spend more than a few seconds reflecting on their place in the universe, but they’ll still toss a coin into the collection box in hope of pleasing the deity said to make its home there. Even as many Japanese people claim to have no religion, most homes include an alter with a place to hang photos of deceased relatives and offer incense.

The vagaries of theology in Japan are now being turned to in an effort to curb a growing problem in many neighborhoods, as people are putting up small versions of the torii gates that mark Shinto shrines to prevent people from illegally dumping waste, whether produced by their lifestyles or bodies.

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