Online ISSN : 2187-5278
Print ISSN : 0387-3161
ISSN-L : 0387-3161
Seishin-Sekai (New Age Movement in Japan) : A Superficial Pop Cultural Phenomenon or an Important Culture in the Post-Modern Society?
Tadashi Nishihira
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1999 Volume 66 Issue 4 Pages 395-405


The aim of this paper is to examine the culture of the New Age Movement in Japan. In Japanese, it is called "Seishin-Sekai". Since the 1980s this culture has developed in various fields as an alternative to modem-materialistic-established science (Academia). This culture should not be understood only as an occultic science, but also a new cosmology that people need in an age of earth crisis or at the dead-end of modem civilization. It is an altemative way of looking at things, and can be described with such adjectives as "ecological, holistic, transpersonal, spiritual, cosmological". How should Academia cope with such a popular movement? The first point is to examine three keywords. First, "KOKORO" (soul, mind, psyche), is within the field of psychological spiritual religious complex. Secondly, "KARADA" (human living body), is not a material, but a body in which we are living. Finally there is "INOCHI" (Life), which means not only the life of one person but the continued life of all living creatures or of the earth itself. These keywords represent an alternative framework to a modem materialistic reductionism. The second point is to examine two main theories: First, the Holistic movement in education, followed by the Transpersonal movement in psychology. These theories have the potential to maintain the dialogue with established Academics. Based on these analyses, this paper clarifies the characteristics of this movement: l. This movement will keep increasing in popularity, especially when supported by people who are sensitive to 1: he current ecological crisis and who are disappointed with modem science; 2. Because of its romantic tendency, this movement may eventually wind up as a pop science or as a form of popular entertainment; 3. To avoid such a fate, it will be necessary for its proponents to continue the dialogue with established Academia; 4. It is also necessary for the Academia itself to have a sympathetic and a critical approach to such popular movements, and, by extension, to the actual needs of this post-modern society.

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