NCC Center for the Study of Japanese Religions, Kyoto Japanese
Spring 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.

Folk Religion

Shugen-do, Daoism, shamanism in Okinawa and among Ainu, ancestor veneration, pilgrimages, cults related to abortion (mizuko-kuyo) and aging (pokkuri), basic concepts such as pollution and purification (kegare and oharai), etc.

Dialogue in a Buddhist Temple
Japanese Buddhism

Introduction of Buddhism to Japan; Buddhism of the Asuka period;
History, teaching and practices of representative Buddhist schools: Heian period (Kukai and Shingon), Kamakura period (Pure Land: Shinran and Jodo Shinshu; Zen: Dogen and Soto-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 new religions: Oomoto-kyo, Konko-kyo.
Pre/Post WW II: Nichiren-derived lay Buddhism: Soka Gakkai; Shingon-derived: Shinnyoen.
1980/1990s: Kofuku no Kagaku and New Age in Japan.
Special topics: Japan's modernization and the response by the new religions; social organization; relation to state; international activities and mission; use of media; transition from founding period to status of an established religion.

Japanese Theology & Philosophy

Introduction to Japanese theologians and religious thinkers/writers:
Uemura Masahisa, Kagawa Toyohiko, Uchimura Kanzo, Hatano Seiichi, Ariga Tetsutaro, Muto Kazuo, Kitamori Kazo, Takizawa Katsumi, Endo Shusaku, etc.
Kyoto School: Nishida Kitaro, Tanabe Hajime, Nishitani Keiji, etc.

Theories of Interreligious Dialogue

Non-Christian approaches to other religions, conditions for authentic interreligious dialogue, Buddhist-Christian dialogue in Japan (with Zen and Pure Land Buddhism), 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

Set phrases for everyday conversation, key vocabulary for shopping, travel and living etc. Introduction to simple grammatical patterns.

Exposure Program

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

Student Voices