Unique But Not Different: Latter-day Saints in Japan


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by Shinji Takagi, Conan P. Grames, and Meagan R. Rainock


Book Description:

Unique But Not Different: Latter-day Saints in Japan offers an insightful exploration into the experiences of Japanese members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shedding light on their integration of religious identity within a predominantly non-Christian society. Through comprehensive survey data collected from active practitioners, authors Shinji Takagi, Conan Grames, and Meagan Rainock delve into the challenges and opportunities these Latter-day Saints face. In doing so, they examine the diverse social, political, and ideological backgrounds of Japanese Latter-day Saints, providing valuable insights for scholars, missionaries, Church leaders, and members alike.

With meticulous analysis, the authors navigate topics ranging from personal conversion experiences to religious beliefs and adherence to cultural practices. They examine how Japanese Latter-day Saints successfully negotiate identity conflicts and contribute to the broader societal landscape amidst Japan's evolving cultural institutions. Offering statistical profiles and key findings tailored to various stakeholders, Unique But Not Different serves as an indispensable resource for understanding the complex dynamics of religious identity and acculturation in Japan, while also providing valuable insights applicable to minority religious practices worldwide.

About the Authors:

Shinji Takagi (MTS, Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School; PhD, economics, University of Rochester) is professor emeritus of economics at Osaka University, Osaka, Japan. A specialist in international economics, Professor Takagi has also held senior positions at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC and visiting professorships at Brigham Young and Yale Universities, among other places. The author of nearly two hundred publications in economics, he has also published more than a dozen publications in Mormon history and biblical studies, including in the Journal of Mormon History, BYU Studies Quarterly, Biblical Theology Bulletin, Journal of the Bible and Its Reception, and Christianity & Literature, and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Mormon Studies Review. His previous book on Japan, The Trek East: Mormonism Meets Japan, 1902–1968 (Greg Kofford, 2016), won the Mormon History Association’s biennial Best Book on International Mormonism award. He divides his time between two homes in Ashburn, Virginia and Fukuoka, Japan, where he holds an honorary position as Distinguished Research Professor at the Asian Growth Research Institute in Kitakyushu.

Conan P. Grames is an international lawyer who has lived and worked in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Princeton, NJ, Washington DC, and Tokyo. His twenty years’ experience living in Japan was divided almost equally between his legal career and time as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as a young missionary in the Northern Far East Mission, then as president of the Japan Sendai Mission, public affairs director of the Asia North Area, and executive secretary to the Asia North Area Presidency. He is a graduate of the University of Utah and Harvard Law School. Conan is fluent in Japanese and has written and spoken extensively on the history of the Church in Japan. He and his wife, Cindy, are the parents of six married children and currently live in Draper, Utah.

Meagan Rainock holds a PhD in sociology from Vanderbilt University. As a researcher versed in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, she focuses on the experiences of marginalized communities as they navigate social institutions. Past research projects span the topics of health and well-being, race and ethnicity, social control, and social psychology. She currently performs research and teaches college courses as a Vanderbilt-Fisk Postdoctoral Scholar in Nashville, Tennessee.

More Information:

206 pages
ISBN: 978-1-58958-791-5 (paperback)

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