‘Postmodern animism’ first emerged in grassroots Japan in the aftermath of mercury poisoning in Minamata and the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. Fusing critiques of modernity with intangible cultural heritages, it represents a philosophy of the life-world, where nature is a manifestation of a dynamic life force where all life is interconnected. This new animism, it is argued, could inspire a fundamental rethink of the human-nature relationship.

The book explores this notion of animism through the lens of four prominent figures in Japan: animation film director Miyazaki Hayao, sociologist Tsurumi Kazuko, writer Ishimure Michiko, and Minamata fisherman-philosopher Ogata Masato. Taking a biographical approach, it illustrates how these individuals moved towards the conclusion that animism can help humanity survive modernity. It contributes to the Anthropocene discourse from a transcultural and transdisciplinary perspective, thus addressing themes of nature and spirituality, whilst also engaging with arguments from mainstream social sciences.

Presenting a new perspective for a post-anthropocentric paradigm, Animism in Contemporary Japan will be useful to students and scholars of sociology, anthropology, philosophy and Japanese Studies.

chapter |40 pages


A theoretical map: Reflections from post-Fukushima Japan 1

part I|2 pages

Animism as a grassroots response to a socio-ecological disaster

chapter 1|36 pages


43A critique of modernity by Minamata fisherman Ogata Masato 1

chapter 2|30 pages

Stories of soul

Animistic cosmology by Ishimure Michiko 1

part II|2 pages

Inspiring modernity with animism

chapter 3|48 pages

Animism for the sociological imagination

110The theory of endogenous development by Tsurumi Kazuko 1

chapter 4|46 pages

Animating the life-world

Animism by film director Miyazaki Hayao

chapter |26 pages


Postmodern animism for a new modernity

chapter |7 pages


The re-enchanted world of post-Fukushima Japan 1