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David Quinter

Abstract

This chapter provides a short introduction to the book’s topic and the main questions motivating this study. I focus particularly on the multiple identities of Eison (1201-90), founder of the Shingon Ritsu movement (also known as the Saidaiji order); his grand-disciple Monkan (1278–1357); and the cult of the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. I also briefly situate my interest in the diverse identities of these monks and the Mañjuśrī cult within broader issues in medieval Japanese society and religion.

When the Tsunami Came to Shore

Culture and Disaster in Japan

Edited by Roy Starrs

Edited by Roy Starrs, this collection of essays by an international group of leading experts on Japanese religion, anthropology, history, literature and music presents new research and thinking on the long and complex relationship between culture and disaster in Japan, one of the most “disaster-prone” countries in the world. Focusing first on responses to the triple disasters of March 2011, the book then puts the topic in a wider historical context by looking at responses to earlier disasters, both natural and man-made, including the great quakes of 1995 and 1923 and the atomic bombings of 1945. This wide-ranging “double structure” enables an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the issues involved that goes well beyond the clichés and the headlines.