Danilo Giambra BA MA, PhD candidate
Japanese New Religions Online Communication: a Sociolinguistic Analysis
New Religious Movements (NRM) in Japan, known among the scholars as shinshūkyō, are increasing their presence online, creating not only newer and user-friendly websites, but also offering new important religious services to their actual and potential believers.
The (religious) communication occurring online adopts a language which is easier to understand and seems to present several characteristics typical of the Asynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication (ACMC).
According to Trevor Astley’s description of the main phases into which Japanese New Religions history can be divided, in this work I would like to pay particular attention to those NRMs that have arisen in Japan after the “Oil shock” of 1973.
My research will provide a sociolinguistic frame for analyzing Japanese religious communication online, focusing on the language used both by religious institutions and believers in a comparative way. Finally, following Christopher Helland’s dichotomy, I will try to explain how religious communication is changing in Japan and to what extent Computer-Mediated Communication can be considered a democratic and innovating way for transforming “Religion Online” into “Online Religion”.