Asian American Religious Cultures
[2 volumes]
by Jonathan H. X. Lee, Fumitaka Matsuoka, Edmond Yee, and Ronald Y. Nakasone, Editors
September 2015, 1060pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-330-9
$218, £168, 190€, A299
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-331-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A large number—more than 40%—of Asian Americans identify themselves as Christians.

A resource ideal for students as well as general readers, this two-volume encyclopedia examines the diversity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander spiritual experience.

Despite constituting a fairly small proportion of the U.S. population—roughly 5 percent—Asian Americans are a widely diverse group with equally heterogeneous religious beliefs and traditions. This encyclopedia provides a single source for authoritative information on the Asian American and Pacific Islander religious experience, addressing South Asian Americans, such as Indian Americans and Pakistani Americans; East Asian Americans, including Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Korean Americans; and Southeast Asian Americans, whose ethnicities include Filipino Americans, Thai Americans, and Vietnamese Americans. Pacific Islanders include Hawaiians, Samoans, Marshallese, Tongan, and Chamorro. The coverage includes not only traditional eastern belief systems and traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism as well as Micronesian and Polynesian religious traditions in the United States, but also the culture and religious rituals of Asian American Christians.


  • Covers both common motifs in Asian American religious culture, such as Chinese New Year festivals and mortuary rituals, as well as many newly established faith traditions
  • Contains entries on rarely addressed topics within Asian American religion, such as Hezhen Shamanism
Jonathan H. X. Lee, PhD, is an associate professor of Asian American studies who specializes in Southeast Asian and Sino-Southeast Asian American studies at San Francisco State University. He received his doctorate in religious studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2009. He is the founder and program co-chair of the Asian American Religious Studies section for the American Academy of Religion, Western Region (AAR/WR) conference. His work has been published in Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice; Nidan: International Journal for the Study of Hinduism; Chinese America: History & Perspectives—The Journal of the Chinese Historical Society of America; Empty Vessel: The Journal of the Daoist Arts; Spotlight on Teaching/American Academy of Religion; Asia Pacific Perspectives; Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies; JATI: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies; Amerasia Journal; and other journals and anthologies, both nationally and internationally. His published works include ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife as well as Cambodian American Experiences: Histories, Communities, Cultures and Identities; Asian American Identities and Practices: Folkloric Expressions in Everyday Life; and The Age of Asian Migration: Continuity, Diversity and Susceptibility, volume 1. He has published extensively on Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese-Southeast Asian, and Asian American histories, folklore, cultures, and religions.

Fumitaka Matsuoka, PhD, is Robert Gordon Sproul Professor of Theology Emeritus and the former Executive Director of the Institute for Leadership Development and the Study of Pacific and Asian American Religion (PANA) at Pacific School of Religion (PSR), Berkeley, CA. An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, Matsuoka served as a pastor in California, an educational missionary in Indonesia, and in campus ministries in Japan. He taught theology and Asian American ministries at PSR and served as director of the Pacific and Asian American Center for Theology and Strategies from 1984 to 1987. He was then appointed to be academic dean of Bethany Theological Seminary in Oakbrook, IL, from 1987 to 1992, and served as dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs at PSR from 1993 to 2000. Matsuoka delves into cross-cultural and cross-ethnic dimensions of ministry and theology in his books, The Color of Faith: Building Community in a Multiracial Society; Out of Silence: Emerging Theological Themes of Asian American Churches; and Realizing the America of Our Hearts: Theological Voices of Asian Americans. His publications also include Learning to Speak a New Tongue: Imagining a Way that Holds People Together—An Asian American Conversation and Asian and Oceanic Christianities in Conversation: Exploring Theological Identities at Home and in Diaspora.

Edmond Yee, CPhil, PhD, is an author, editor, translator, and professor emeritus of Asian Studies, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. He was also a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty for the Graduate Theological Union, of which Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is a member school. Both institutions are in Berkeley, CA. Yee received his advancement to candidacy and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He taught Confucianism, East Asian spirit heritage, East Asian arts and aesthetic, and classical Chinese at the Graduate Theological Union and multicultural studies at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. His selected publications, in Chinese and English, include the books The Soaring Crane: Stories of Asian Lutherans in North America and Abundant Harvest: Stories of Asian Lutherans as well as "Ming Ch'uan-ch'i: Conventions, Structure and Characterization," "The Language of Ming Drama: A Preliminary Study," "Yuzanji: Evolution, Legacy and Criticism," "Ming Drama: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography," "Chang Feng-i," "Ch'en Yu-chiao," "Hsu Fu-tso," "Kao Lien," "Mei Ting-tso," "Shen Ching," "Wang Chi-te," "Wang Heng," "Keep the Red Flag Flying," "Love vs. Neo-Confucian Orthodoxy," and "Confucianism and Daoism and Health Care."

Ronald Y. Nakasone, PhD, is a member of the core doctoral faculty at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA. His published work includes more than 120 academic books and articles on Buddhist studies, aging and spirituality, and Ryūkyūan (Okinawan) studies. Students and colleagues contributed essays to Memory and Imagination, Essays and Explorations in Buddhist Thought and Culture, a festschrift that commemorated his completion of one life cycle (60 years) according to the Chinese zodiac. He received the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graduate Theological Union in 2011. Nakasone earned a doctorate in Buddhist studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an ordained Jōdo Shinshū (Pure Land) priest and a skilled sho (calligrapher) artist.


2016 Editors' Top Community College Resources - Reference—Choice, July 27, 2016

Outstanding Academic Title, 2016—Choice, January 1, 2017


"As the first encyclopedia solely devoted to Asian American religion and religious cultures, this title fills a real gap in the literature. . . . Asian American Religious Cultures is an important core reference work suitable for all libraries, but particularly for collections supporting programs in Asian American studies, religious studies, sociology, and anthropology. Summing Up: Essential. All libraries. All levels."—Choice, June 1, 2016

"Given the subject-matter challenges, this work does an admirable job of being accessible to novices while not diluting the ubiquitous nuances characteristic of this topic. Recommended as a reference for advanced high school and undergraduate students."—Booklist, January 13, 2016

"Asian American Religious Cultures is a notable and unique source . . . [it] would be a welcome addition to any library lacking content in this area and looking for a good place where patrons can start their inquiries on these topics."—Reference Books, March 31, 2016

"This is an excellent starting point for exploring the Asian American religious experience and how traditions have migrated and evolved in the context of the USA. It is most appropriate for high school and college libraries."—Reference Reviews, July 7, 2017
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