The Favourable Reception of Gustav Fechner's 'The Little Book of Life after Death' in Japan
AbstractGustav Fechner addressed philosophical and religious issues in his works. In â€˜The Little Bookof Life after Deathâ€™, Fechner expressed a unique view of life and death combining Christian,pantheist and panpsychist motives, which was highly evaluated by William James. We find anassociation between â€˜The Little Bookâ€™ and â€˜Elements of Psychophysicsâ€™â€”which describes amutual relationship of many peopleâ€™s conscious statesâ€”through a premature idea involving awave image that later develops into a wave scheme. â€˜The Little Bookâ€™ has been translated intomany languages, including English, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Icelandic and Japanese.Importantly, there are five different Japanese translations, even though there are fewChristians in Japan. This study discusses the wide acceptance of Fechnerâ€™s view of life anddeath among the Japanese. The reasons behind this acceptance are that his doctrinesresembled, at least superficially, traditional Japanese spiritual thoughts and also provided anon-materialistic worldview, which was longed for by the Japanese.