Events Vibrations of Word, Text, and Ritual in Medieval Japan: Interdisciplinary Approaches in the Study of Japanese Religious Culture

February 17th, 2024. 09:00 ~ February 18th, 2024. 11:30 JST


The PJRW symposium, “Vibrations of Word, Text, and Ritual in Medieval Japan,” co-hosted by the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies (Nanzan Institute of Religion and Culture), is dedicated to the academic contributions of the late Professor Kensuke Chikamoto. Professor Chikamoto’s work was impressive both in its expansive scope including topics relating to medieval literature, waka poetry, history, Buddhist ritual space, and medieval illustrated narratives (engi). His approach to these varying topics were marked with a deep understanding of the importance of interdisciplinarity, an attentiveness to close analysis of text and image, and a sensitivity to what these materials reveal to us about the medieval imagination. This two-day seminar will be divided into three sessions that represent broad topics of interest seen in Chikamoto’s work: Religious Text and Materiality, Ritual Space and Practice, and Religious Literature and Poetry.

Day 1: February 17 (Saturday)

9:00-9:05 Opening Remarks: Eric Haruki Swanson (Assistant Professor, Loyola Marymount University)

9:05-9:50: Session 1 (Theme: Religious Text and Materiality)
  • Presentation (20 min): Jesse Drian (Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Buddhism Public Scholar, University of California Los Angeles)
    • "Embedded Origin Narratives and Compiled Knowledge: The Itsukushima Origin Narrative within Medieval Legends of Prince Shōtoku"
  • Commentator (5 min): Motoi Makiko 本井牧子 (Professor, Kyoto Prefectural University)
  • Q&A (20 min)

9:50-10:00: Break

10:00-10:45: Session 2 (Theme: Ritual Space and Practice)
  • Presentation (20 min):Kawasaki Tsuyoshi 川崎剛志 (Professor, Shujitsu University)
    • “The Ascent and Ritualization of Ascetic Practice on Mt. Omine in the Insei Period”
  • Commentator (5 min): Caleb Carter (Associate Professor, Kyushu University)
  • Q&A (20 min)

10:45-11:30: Reflections on the Contributions of Chikamoto Kensuke’s Scholarship
  • Abe Mika (Joint Researcher, Research Center for Cultural Heritage and Texts, Nagoya University)
    • “Buddhas and Words of the Objects Contained within the Prince Shōtoku at Age Two Statue”
  • Rachel Saunders (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art, Harvard University)

Day 2: February 18 (Sunday)

9:00-9:05: Opening Remarks: Matthew McMullen (Senior Research Fellow, Nanzan Institute of Religion and Culture)

9:05-9:50: Session 3 (Theme: Religious Literature and Poetry)
Presentation (20 min): Ed Kamens (Sumitomo Professor Emeritus of Japanese Studies, Yale University)
Title: “The Ten Vimalakīrti Sūtra Tropes (Yuimakyō jūyu 維摩経十喩) and the Rhetoric of Waka”
Commentator (5 min): Yamamoto Akihiro 山本章博 (Professor, Sophia University)
Q&A (15 min)

9:50-10:00: Break

10:00-11:00: Panel Discussion (60 min)
  • Moderator: Eric Haruki Swanson (Assistant Professor, Loyola Marymount University)
  • Discussion Theme: “Word, Text, and Ritual in the Study of Japanese Religions: Reflections on Interdisciplinary Approaches and Global Collaboration”

11:00-11:25: Final Reflections
  • Abe Yasuro 阿部泰郎 (Professor, Ryukoku University; Visiting Professor, Nagoya University Institute for Advanced Research)
    • Resonance and Fusion: Reflections on Chikamoto Kensuke’s Contribution to the Study of Medieval Literature

11:25-11:30: Closing Remarks
Matsuo Kenji 松尾剛次 (Professor Emeritus, Yamagata University)

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