Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 10

Inside Tokugawa Religion: Stars, Planets and the Calendar-as-method

John Breen


The study of religion in early modern (Tokugawa) Japan has failed to keep pace with the study of religion in the periods that preceded and followed it. What has been lacking particularly are explorations of religious praxis. The present study proposes a novel approach to this subject with its critical focus on the Tokugawa calendar and its almanac commentaries. Calendars, and their multiple prescriptions for particular types of action and non-action, informed as they are by the cosmic wisdom of yin yang (onmyō) and five-phases-of-matter thinking (gogyō shisō), offer unique insights into precisely the neglected field of religious practice. This study sets out to decode the calendar and explore the ways in which it determined religious practice in early modern Japan. It discloses the centrality of the worship of stellar kami.

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