Jolyon Baraka Thomas calls into question the very idea of religious freedom in his study of definitions and applications of the concept of religious freedom in both the United States and Japan. He begins in the mid-nineteenth century—when Japan reopened to the world and was exposed to the rhetoric of “religion”—and continues through the Allied Occupation of Japan after World War II and beyond. Faking Liberties is clearly in conversation with books like Jason Josephson Storm’s The Invention of Religion in Japan (2012) and Trent Maxey’s The ‘Greatest Problem’: Religion and State Formation in Meiji Japan (2014), but Thomas goes further to explore the impact that definitions have on the communities being defined. He argues that in the same way that religion itself is a contested category, which out of necessity delineates “appropriate” religions through defining which are “inappropriate,” religious freedom can only be identified through deciding who gets what...

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