"Faking Liberties...sets new standards for methodological rigor in archival work on modern Japanese religions as it provides unprecedented access to key works by Buddhist and other religious figures, Japanese government officials, Occupation authorities, and numerous other contributors to discourse on religious freedom...Thomas's attention to injustice animates an overdue destruction of long-standing myths about Japanese and American exceptionalism. The result is the most important book on Japanese religion of our scholarly generation. It rewrites Japanese religious history in a way that requires all of us to follow Thomas in calling out racialized mythologies maintained by the institutions we study. Like it or not, we are now in a post-Faking Liberties era."--Levi McLaughlin "Journal of Asian Studies"
"Faking Liberties, drawing richly from archival materials and prewar and wartime books and newspapers in both English and Japanese, is thus a major disruption of the received narrative about religion, and freedom, in Japan...a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about religion and freedom in Japan or as 'universal' ideas."--Jason Morgan "Journal of American-East Asian Relations"
"Excellent . . . [the] connection to contemporary policy debates makes Faking Liberties an enormously valuable read beyond the scholarly world of Japanese studies. . . . Faking Liberties is an engrossing and valuable read for anyone involved in, or simply interested in, the interaction of scholarship and policy at the intersection of religion and international affairs."--Judd Birdsall "The Review of Faith & International Affairs"
"Through archival prowess and intra-textual paradox, Thomas offers a well-timed reminder: to
stake out ground in the capacious is to take a partisan position. It is to recognize, again, the
ways that our critical projects remain enmeshed with hard-won visions of social good and with
so many ambivalent projects of humanism that--still, somehow--we cannot manage not to
want."--Lucia Hulsether "Reading Religion"
"Faking Liberties is a challenging intervention into not only the historiography of modern Japan, but religious studies more generally."-- "New Books Network"
"Given that the last decade has seen a number of scholarly works detailing the establishment of 'religion' as a concept in early Meiji Japan, Thomas's efforts to show how the category of religion was negotiated in Japan during the entire first half of the twentieth century represents a welcome move forward in time. Meticulously researched, theoretically sharp, and elegantly written, Faking Liberties is an excellent study not only of how religious freedom was constructed as a transnational ideal through mutual negotiation during the period of American occupation, but also of how various actors interacted with religious freedom during the interbellum period. Faking Liberties is a welcome addition to the field of Japanese religious studies as well as to the critical study of religion and law."-- "H-Net Reviews"