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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.

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.
Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions
Volume Editors: Anna Andreeva and Dominic Steavu
Transforming the Void: Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions considers paths to self-cultivation and salvation that are patterned on human embryological development or procreative imagery in the religions of China and Japan.
Focusing on Taoism, Esoteric Buddhism, Shinto, Shugendō, and local religious traditions, the contributors to the volume provide new insight into how the body’s generative processes are harnessed as powerful metaphors for spiritual attainment. This volume offers an in-depth examination of the religious dimensions of embryology and reproductive imagery, topics that have been hitherto solely approached through the lens of the history of medicine.
Contributors include: Brigitte Baptandier, Catherine Despeux, Grégoire Espesset, Christine Mollier, Fabrizio Pregadio, Dominic Steavu, Lucia Dolce, Bernard Faure, Iyanaga Nobumi, Anna Andreeva, Kigensan Licha, Gaynor Sekimori.
Author: David Quinter
In From Outcasts to Emperors, David Quinter illuminates the Shingon Ritsu movement founded by the charismatic monk Eison (1201–90) at Saidaiji in Nara, Japan. The book’s focus on Eison and his disciples’ involvement in the cult of Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva reveals their innovative synthesis of Shingon esotericism, Buddhist discipline (Ritsu; Sk. vinaya), icon and temple construction, and social welfare activities as the cult embraced a spectrum of supporters, from outcasts to warrior and imperial rulers. In so doing, the book redresses typical portrayals of “Kamakura Buddhism” that cast Eison and other Nara Buddhist leaders merely as conservative reformers, rather than creative innovators, amid the dynamic religious and social changes of medieval Japan.
Author: Jun'ichi Isomae
Religious Discourse in Modern Japan explores the introduction of the Western concept of “religion” to Japan in the modern era, and the emergence of discourse on Shinto, philosophy, and Buddhism. Taking Anesaki’s founding of religious studies ( shukyogaku) at Tokyo Imperial University as a pivot, Isomae examines the evolution of this academic discipline in the changing context of social conditions from the Meiji era through the present. Special attention is given to the development of Shinto studies/history of Shinto, and the problems of State Shinto and the emperor system are described in relation to the nature of the concept of religion. Isomae also explains how the discourse of religious studies developed in connection with secular discourses on literature and history, including Marxism.
The Fractured Pasts of Meiji Shrine, 1912-1958
Sacred Space in the Modern City offers strikingly new and original perspectives on a number of controversial issues and important questions concerning Japanese pre- and post-war ideology and identity. Meiji shrine is not just ‘a’ shrine; it is ‘the’ shrine of twentieth-century Japan. This book is also noteworthy on account of its use of previously untouched archival materials as well as for its broad range of theoretical approaches applied within a multidisciplinary context. The author uses Meiji shrine as a lens with which to investigate the nature of the society that created, experienced and reproduced this site. This long-overdue study will be widely welcomed by researchers interested in Shinto and Meiji Japan, as well as the wider readership wishing to access the social history of Taisho and early Showa Japan.