Japanese new religions sometimes undergo a radical alteration in doctrine or orientation during the course of their development. This article focuses on the politics of representation within the deliberate transformation of a Japanese new religious movement known as GLA or God Light Association from a popular shamanistic neo-Buddhist form of religiosity to an increasingly "rational" and psychological religion. This paradigm shift revolved around the contested practice of past-life glossolalia promoted by the religion's founder as proof of reincarnation. Direct or mediated representation of this phenomenon, serving initially as a locus of power, came to be viewed negatively as expressive of GLA's roots with Japan's folk religious past. Unsuitable for the new secularized target clientele in an age of globalization, representations of this behavior and the man who fostered it were gradually suppressed and history was re-inscribed.
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