REL 233

Japanese Religious Traditions

This course explores the major expressions of religion in Japanese culture and history, including both popular and elite forms of religious practice and thought. Because Japan is home to a range of religious traditions, the course explores the various forms that have appeared there not only of Buddhism and Shinto, but also of Taoism, Confucianism, and even Christianity. A primary goal of this course is to develop both an empathetic understanding of Japanese religion and a critical appraisal of its expression in particular historical and cultural contexts. Throughout the course ample time is devoted to the role of aesthetics in Japanese religion (in film, literature, art, and ritual) as well as to the various ways that religion and the Japanese state have interacted over time.