For more than 2,000 years, people have imagined the end of the world as they know it and the dawning of a glorious new world. That widespread phenomenon is generally known as millennialism or millenarianism. The name is derived from passages in Chapter 20 of the book of Revelation, which envisage the 1,000 (mille in Latin) year reign of Christ. Although the term derives from the Christian tradition, millennialism is found in many different religious and secular traditions. The Buddhist priest Nichiren (1222–1282), for example, preached that Japan was in the Latter Days of the Dharma (mappā) and could be saved only by fealty to the Lotus Sutra. Many contemporary Japanese new religions also have a millennialist focus.

Expectations of the imminent complete renovation of the ...

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