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Publication History and Catholic Missions in the Spanish World (Spain, New Spain, and the Philippines, 1597–1700)
In The Martyrs of Japan, Rady Roldán-Figueroa examines the role that Catholic missionary orders played in the dissemination of accounts of Christian martyrdom in Japan. The work combines several historiographical approaches, including publication history, history of missions, and “new” institutional history. The author offers an overarching portrayal of the writing, printing, and circulation of books of ‘Japano-martyrology.’
The book is organized into two parts. The first part, “Spirituality of Writing, Publication History, and Japano-martyrology,” addresses topics ranging from the historical background of Christianity in Japan to the publishers of Japano-martyrology. The second part, “Jesuits, Discalced Franciscans, and the Production of Japano-martyrology in the Early Modern Spanish World,” features closer analysis of selected works of Japano-martyrology by Jesuit and Discalced Franciscan writers.
Author: Alexander Vovin
“The echo of the stone/ where I carved the [Buddha’s] honorable footprints/ reaches the Heaven, […]”.
This book presents the transcription, translation, and analysis of Chinese (753 AD) and Japanese inscriptions (end of the 8th century AD) found on two stones now in the possession of the Yakushiji temple in Nara. All these inscriptions praise the footprints of Buddha, and more exactly their carvings in the stone. The language of the Japanese inscription, which consists of twenty-one poems, reflects the contemporary dialect of Nara. Its writing system shows a quite unique trait, being practically monophonic. The book is richly illustrated by photos of the temple and of the inscriptions.
Editor: Galen Amstutz
Pure Land was one of the main fields of mythopoesis and discourse among the Asian Buddhist traditions, and in Japan of central cultural importance from the Heian period right up to the present. However, its range, inconsistency, variability, and complexity have tended to be misevaluated. The pieces reproduced in this set, organized both chronologically and thematically, have been chosen as linchpin works accentuating the diversity of what evolved under this heading of Buddhism. Special attention is given to the traps into which Western observers may fall, the role of the large True Pure Land ( Jōdoshinshū) school, and the richness of Tokugawa and twentieth-century developments. These selections of previously published articles will serve as an essential starting point for anyone interested in this perhaps underestimated area of Buddhist studies.
Editor: Galen Amstutz
Pure Land was one of the main fields of mythopoesis and discourse among the Asian Buddhist traditions, and in Japan of central cultural importance from the Heian period right up to the present. However, its range, inconsistency, variability, and complexity have tended to be misevaluated. The pieces reproduced in this set, organized both chronologically and thematically, have been chosen as linchpin works accentuating the diversity of what evolved under this heading of Buddhism. Special attention is given to the traps into which Western observers may fall, the role of the large True Pure Land ( Jōdoshinshū) school, and the richness of Tokugawa and twentieth-century developments. These selections of previously published articles will serve as an essential starting point for anyone interested in this perhaps underestimated area of Buddhist studies.
Editor: Galen Amstutz
Pure Land was one of the main fields of mythopoesis and discourse among the Asian Buddhist traditions, and in Japan of central cultural importance from the Heian period right up to the present. However, its range, inconsistency, variability, and complexity have tended to be misevaluated. The pieces reproduced in this set, organized both chronologically and thematically, have been chosen as linchpin works accentuating the diversity of what evolved under this heading of Buddhism. Special attention is given to the traps into which Western observers may fall, the role of the large True Pure Land ( Jōdoshinshū) school, and the richness of Tokugawa and twentieth-century developments. These selections of previously published articles will serve as an essential starting point for anyone interested in this perhaps underestimated area of Buddhist studies.
Author: Molly Vallor
Not Seeing Snow: Musō Soseki and Medieval Japanese Zen offers a detailed look at a crucial yet sorely neglected figure in medieval Japan. It clarifies Musō’s far-reaching significance as a Buddhist leader, waka poet, landscape designer, and political figure. In doing so, it sheds light on how elite Zen culture was formed through a complex interplay of politics, religious pedagogy and praxis, poetry, landscape design, and the concerns of institution building. The appendix contains the first complete English translation of Musō’s personal waka anthology, Shōgaku Kokushishū.
Women, Rites, and Ritual Objects in Premodern Japan, edited by Karen M. Gerhart, is a multidisciplinary examination of rituals featuring women, in which significant attention is paid to objects produced for and utilized in these rites as a lens through which larger cultural concerns, such as gender politics, the female body, and the materiality of the ritual objects, are explored. The ten chapters encounter women, rites, and ritual objects in many new and interactive ways and constitute a pioneering attempt to combine ritual and gendered analysis with the study of objects.
Contributors include: Anna Andreeva, Monica Bethe, Patricia Fister, Sherry Fowler, Karen M. Gerhart, Hank Glassman, Naoko Gunji, Elizabeth Morrissey, Chari Pradel, Barbara Ruch, Elizabeth Self.

Gyōnen’s Transmission of the Buddha Dharma in Three Countries is the first English translation of this work and a new assessment of it. Gyōnen (1240-1321) has been recognized for establishing a methodology for the study of Buddhism that would come to dominate Japan. The three countries Gyōnen considers are India, China and Japan. Ronald S. Green and Chanju Mun describe Gyōnen’s innovative doctrinal classification system ( panjiao) for the first time and compare it to other panjiao systems. They argue that Gyōnen’s arrangement and what he chose to exclude served political purposes in the Kamakura period, and thus engage current scholarship on the construction of Japanese Buddhism.
Author: David J. Gundry
The first monograph published in English on Ihara Saikaku’s fiction, David J. Gundry’s lucid, compelling study examines the tension reflected in key works by Edo-period Japan’s leading writer of ‘floating world’ literature between the official societal hierarchy dictated by the Tokugawa shogunate’s hereditary status-group system and the era’s de facto, fluid, wealth-based social hierarchy. The book’s nuanced, theoretically engaged explorations of Saikaku’s narratives’ uses of irony and parody demonstrate how these often function to undermine their own narrators' intermittent moralizing. Gundry also analyzes these texts’ depiction of the fleeting pleasures of love, sex, wealth and consumerism as Buddhistic object lessons in the illusory nature of phenomenal reality, the mastery of which leads to a sort of enlightenment.
Author: John J. Keane
In Cultural and Theological Reflections on the Japanese Quest for Divinity, John J. Keane offers an explanation of Japanese divinity ( kami 神) using sociology, anthropology, linguistics, literature and history. He presents an overview of how the Japanese have sought to love and serve their kami - a quest that rivals the interest that the West gives to God. The principles of interreligious dialogue are applied to the meaning of kami and a plea is made for a dialogue that respectfully accepts differences between the cultures and the theologies of Eastern and Western thought. Important cultural themes are discussed as a part of this quest, such as the emperors of Japan and the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The work also challenges the understanding of kami as highlighted by Akutagawa Ryunosuke and Endo Shusaku.