From Situated Selves to the Self

Conversion and Personhood among Roman Catholics in Tokyo

Hisako Omori
eISBN-13: 9781438478166

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In many parts of the world, the Roman Catholic Church in the twenty-first century finds itself mired in scandal, and its future prospects appear fairly dim in the eyes of many social critics. In From Situated Selves to the Self, however, Hisako Omori finds a radically different situation, with jubilant Roman Catholics in an unexpected place: Tokyo, Japan. Based on twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork, the author provides a culturally sensitive account of the transformative processes associated with becoming Catholic in Tokyo. Her ethnographically rich narrative reveals the ways in which Christianity as a cultural force can effect changes in one's personhood by juxtaposing two models of the self—one based on conventional Japanese social ideals and the other on Roman Catholic teachings. Omori takes readers to a living room ("ochanoma") in a parish, a Catholic bar in a nightclub area, Catholic charismatic meetings, and busy intersections in Tokyo. In so doing, she traces subtle yet emerging changes in women's agentive power that accompany the processes of deepening faith. From Situated Selves to the Self gives us a rare glimpse into Christianity as a cultural force in an East Asian context where Confucianism has historically been the dominant ethical framework.

ISBNs 9781438478142, 143847816X, 9781438478166
Language English
Number of Pages 240