Regarding Rowan Hooper’s July 8 Natural Selections article, “How astrology and superstition drove an increase in abortions in Japan“: I disagree with the acknowledgment (attributed to a Kyushu University researcher) that the absence of a single powerful religious belief in Japan may explain the sheer number of superstitions. I am concerned with what this implies.
The researcher’s concluding remark — “I think Islamic or Christian authority somehow controls superstition in many countries, but in Japan the lack of influential religious dominations allows people to go crazy” — also worries me as it implies that a larger religious authority actually stops superstition.
Anybody who seeks the truth and has done much historical or sociological research has come across things like the Spanish Inquisition, the cases of domestic abuse of Islamic women, the Salem Witch Trials, and even modern-day witch hunts in Africa.
Therefore, I find that the opinion stated quite ignorant. Having a larger authority or organization does not stop ignorance; sometimes, in fact, it is the very thing that fosters superstition.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.