Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Christina R. Foust, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Armond Towns

Third Advisor

Santhosh Chandrashekar

Fourth Advisor

Rafael Ioris


Brazilian Amazon, Hito, Japanese-ness, Religious racism, Sūkyō Mahikari


This dissertation presented an analysis of how leaders and adherents of a Japanese religion called Sūkyō Mahikari understand and interpret jinshu (race) and hito(person) in a particular way, and how this ideology is practiced in the city of Belém, in the Brazilian Amazon. The teachings of Sūkyō Mahikari classify humanity into five races (yellow, white, red, blue/green, black/purple) and five religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism). In this classification, the original humans - hito, the kingly race ōbito, and the God-given supra-religion sūkyō - deteriorated into ningen (people), the other races, and shūkyō (religions) along an evolutionary timeline. I argued that this organization developed an overrepresented and ideal hito who is a wajin (predominant ethnicity of Japan), kumite (Sūkyō Mahikari practitioner), Japanese citizen, cisgender heterosexual male, middle- to higher-class, anti-Marx, rational and modern Man (Wynter). This instantiation of Man is based on a form of racism and systemic oppression centered on Japanese supremacy to which I have given the term Japanese-ness.

My objective is to present the concept of Japanese-ness and analyze case studies of oppression in Sūkyō Mahikari in Japan and Brazil. The methodology, framework, and research commitment is anti-racism, whereas the methods used to analyze the religious experience and texts are: representation analysis of its official literature (Hall), autoethnography (Ellis et al.; Jones), auto-archaeology (Fox; Harrison and Schofield), and participant observation (Bernard) to describe my insights first when I was a follower, and then in the role of ethnographer.

This study has contributed to the expansion of Communication Studies and Religious Studies by deepening research on Whiteness, religious racism, jinshu sabetsu (racism), and Brazilian racismo. To achieve this contribution, I directly challenged Euro-U.S.-centrism and Abrahamic-centrism.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Moana Luri de Almeida


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

274 p.


Communication, Religion, Ethnic studies