NCC Center for the Study of Japanese Religions, Kyoto Japanese
Fall Curriculum

Detailed Curriculum of ISJP

Please note that particular contents may be subject to change according to preferences of the respective lecturer.

To get a better understanding of past ISJP activities, see also our report of previous semesters.

ISJP Fall Semester 2006

Courses held from October 10 to December 15:
  1. Shinto and Folk Religion (Prof. Peter Knecht, Nanzan University):
    Wednesdays, 13:15 - 16:30 (two classews every other week)
  2. Japanese Buddhism (Prof. Robert Rhodes, Otani University):
    Fridays, 10:45 - 12:15
  3. Japanese New Religions (Prof. Martin Repp, Ryukoku University):
    Tuesdays, 15:00 - 16:30
  4. Japanese Christianity and Theology (Prof. Yuki Hideo, Doshisha University; Prof. Mizugaki Wataru, Kyoto University):
    Thursdays, 10:45 - 12:15
  5. Theology of Religions (Prof. Jan van Bragt, Nanzan University):
    Thursdays, 13:15 - 14:45
  6. Reading a Classical Buddhist Text in English Translation: The Lotus Sutra (Prof. Michael Pye, Marburg University / Otani University):
    Tuesdays, 10:45 - 12:15

Students who want to attend the entire ISJP Program should follow the proper application procedure.

Students in the Kansai area who want to participate only in selected courses apply directly (PDF, 34 kB) at the NCC Study Center.

Participation fee per course (10 weeks): ¥10.000
(students of K-GURS: ¥8.000)


Folk (minzoku) shinto, sect (kyoha) shinto, shrine (jinja) shinto, state (kokka) shinto; shrine buildings and precincts, festivals (matsuri), social organizations (ujigami, ujiko), mythology, Izumo and Ise, basic concepts such as deities (kami) and evil beings (tengu), ritualists and rituals, etc.

Listening to a Priest at Daitoku-ji
Japanese Buddhism

Introduction of Buddhism to Japan; history, teaching and practice of the different Buddhist schools during the Nara period (Kegon, Hosso, etc.), Heian period (Saicho and Tendai), Kamakura period (Pure Land: Honen and Jodo-shu; Zen: Eisai and Rinzai-shu; Nichiren and Nichiren-shu), Buddhism during Muromachi and Edo periods.

Special topics such as Buddhism and the state, amalgamation of Buddhism and Shinto, social organizations (danka seido, etc.), Buddhist personalities, etc.
Japanese New Religions

Meiji period: Shinto derived: Tenri-kyo.
Pre/Post WW II: Mahikari group; Nichiren derived lay Buddhism: Rissho Koseikai.
1980/1990s (new-new religions): Agon-shu, Aum Shinri-kyo.
Special topics: Japan’s modernization and the response by new religions, social organization, relation to state, international activities and mission, use of media, transition from the founding period to the state of an established religion.

Christianity in Japan

Foreign mission to Japan in the 16/17th and 19/20th century; Japanese church history: formation of denominations, forced union in the United Church of Christ (Kyodan) during WW II, and restructuring thereafter, Christian social engagement, Mukyo-kai (Non-Church movement), Japanese indigenous churches (Makuya, Iesu no Mitama Kyokai, etc.), special topics: problems of indigenization (Gospel and culture), funeral services and ancestor veneration, Christian weddings, etc.

Theology of Religions

Inclusivistic (Karl Rahner, etc.), exclusivistic (Karl Barth, etc.), pluralistic (John Hick, Paul Knitter, etc.), and other approaches (R.Panikkar, John Cobb, Jacques Dupuis, etc.), Asian (Indian and Japanese) contributions, etc.

Reading Classic Japanese Buddhist Texts

A specialist will read together with the students an important Buddhist text and explain it (e.g. Honen’s Senchaku-shu, Shinran’s Tanni-sho, Dogen’s Shobo genzo, Nishitani’s What is Religion?, etc.)

Introduction to Basic Japanese language

Basic introduction to Japanese for beginners.

Exposure Program

Parallel to the classes, weekly fieldtrips to sacred places of various religions will be offered and dialogue meetings with their representatives will be arranged.

The fall semester also includes a one-week trip to Tokyo sponsored by Tomisaka Christian Center.
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