Dance for the dead: Belief, anxiety, and social cohesion in the Japanese Bon Festival
This thesis aimed to investigate the role of belief in reducing anxiety and increasing social cohesion outcomes of collective ritual. To accomplish this, we developed a belief scale specific to the Japanese Bon Festival, based on ethnographic research and focus groups. We also present a modern ethnographic account of the Bon Festival, one of the most widely celebrated festivals in Japan. Belief in the spiritual background on the Bon Festival did not seem to have an effect on the anxiety and social cohesion outcomes of participation in the ritual. This suggests that the existence of meaning is enough and belief in it is not important for gaining these benefits.