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Sneakers for a GodAlexander N. Meshcheryakov

The temple of Kegonji in the Arashiyama district of western Kyoto is popularly known as Suzumushidera on account of the many bell crickets (suzumushi) found there. I am extremely fond of this temple, which has been a thriving place of worship for centuries. In winter, with a fresh layer of snow covering the roofs and trees, the temple grounds have an inexpressible beauty. Suzumushidera is a ver…

Japan’s Religious Ambivalence: The Shaping and Dismantling of a National PolityShimazono Susumu

Religion is often regarded as playing a comparatively minor role in Japanese society, but is this really true? Religious scholar Shimazono Susumu examines the historical evolution of religion as a social force in Japan.

Japanese Religion Comes Full Circle: Millennials in Search of Their Spiritual RootsShimada Hiromi

In the wake of the “new religion” movements of the 1960s and “new new religions” of the 1970s and 1980s comes the newest thing yet—young Japanese men and women drawing inspiration from Japan's ancient spiritual heritage. Religious scholar Shimada Hiromi offers a historical perspective on this latest phenomenon.

The Japanese World View: Three Keys to UnderstandingYamaori Tetsuo

A distinctively Japanese view of life and death has persisted since ancient times, despite overlays of imported culture and religion. The distinguished religious studies scholar Yamaori Tetsuo looks at the physical and environmental roots of this world view and its distillation in Japanese religion and mythology.

Kami: The Evolution of Japan’s Native GodsHashizume Daisaburō

Since ancient times, Japanese people have revered kami, the gods of Shintō. And for over a millennium they have also practiced Buddhism, sometimes conflating Buddhas with their native divinities. Sociologist Hashizume Daisaburō traces the changes in the Japanese view of kami over the centuries.

Kominato Akihisa “The Song of the Shakuhachi”

Kominato Akihisa is a ground-breaking virtuoso on the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute. For Kominato, the appeal of the shakuhachi lies in its resemblance to the human voice. It is this proximity to song that makes the shakuhachi a perfect match with music of all kinds. Kominato is embarking on an ambitious mission to bring the pleasures of the shakuhachi to the world.

Exploring Kenninji’s Beauty (360˚ Panorama)Somese Naoto (Photographer)

Kenninji is the oldest Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Our 360˚ immersive panorama gives you an up-close look at the temple’s enormous ceiling painting of two dragons and its renowned Fūjin raijinzu screen. The panoramic camera angles go beyond what temple visitors can normally see, making the experience even more awe-inspiring.

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