SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Masato Kato

BA (Tenri University) MA (Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley) MA (SOAS)
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Masato Kato
Mr Masato Kato
Email address:
Thesis title:
Cultural Negotiation of a Japanese New Religion in Postwar Europe (working title)
Year of Study:
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PhD Research

This research focuses on a Japanese ‘new religion’ known as Tenrikyō as it operates in postwar France to explore the themes and issues pertaining to the particular institutional strategy the religious group has adopted in this socio-cultural milieu. From the inception of its organisational development in the country in early 1970s, Tenrikyō has been conducting religious activities at a religious association (Tenrikyo Europe Centre, originally Tenrikyo Mission Centre in Paris, in Antony) as well as promoting cultural activities at a cultural association (Tenri France-Japan Cultural Association in central Paris) as a way to increase the visibility and legitimacy of the religious group. This organisational development, which reflects an institutional demarcation necessitated by the French legal framework relating to the 1901 and 1905 laws, has coincided with a period of growing interests in the Japanese language and popular cultures in France as well as of the public sentiment against ‘cults’ (sectes). In this study, I seek to contextualise these institutional initiatives in this particular socio-cultural context in light of the religious tradition’s postwar doctrinal discourse, which, paradoxically, presents an abstracted interpretation of its cultural particularity and historical roots.



  • 'Propagating a Religion with Non-Propagation?: A Non-Religious Strategy of a Japanese New Religion in France'. The British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference, Lancaster University. 12–14 July 2016.
  • 'Promoting a “Religion”, a “Culture”, or Both?: Cultural Negotiation of a Japanese New Religion in Postwar France’. Postgraduate Forum at the Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions, SOAS, University of London. 17 March 2016.
  • ‘Universalising the Particular or Vice Versa?: Cultural Negotiation of a Japanese New Religion in Postwar Europe’. Year 3 PhD Student Research Seminar, Department of Religions and Philosophies, SOAS, University of London. 23 February 2016.
  • ‘Tenrikyō no Yōroppa fukyō no ichikōsatsu: Sengo Furansu ni okeru bunka shakaiteki haikei ni chakumoku shite’ [Tenrikyō’s propagation in Europe: In relation to socio-cultural background in postwar France]. Research seminar at Tenri University’s Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion. 21 May 2015.
  • ‘Sengo Yōroppa ni okeru Tenrikyō no tenkai: Soshiki senryaku to sono shakaiteki haikei ni chakumoku shite’ [The Development of Tenrikyō in Postwar Europe: Organisational Strategies and Social Contexts]. Research seminar at Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture. 30 March 2015.
  • ‘Japanese New Religions and Cultural Negotiation: Tenrikyō’s Postwar Propagation in Europe’. The Santander International Winter School, Kyoto University. 9–18 March 2015.


  • Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions (CSJR)
  • Japanese Association for Religious Studies (JARS)
  • Japanese Association for the Study of Religion and Society (JASRS)
  • BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group (SOCREL)
  • European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS)


  • Japanese new religions
  • Sociology of religion
  • Religion and globalisation
  • Religion and migration
  • Religion and ethnicity