An Introduction to Japanese Buddhism with Dr. Gavin Campbell

An Introduction to Japanese Buddhism with Dr. Gavin Campbell


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

Buddhism has profoundly shaped Japan for well over a thousand years, touching everything from politics to art to daily customs. This conversation provides a broad overview of Buddhism's history in Japan, its impact on Japanese culture, and its place in contemporary society. Our journey begins in the sixth century with Buddhism's arrival in Japan and follows its gradual transformation from an elite religion to mass practice. 

We will explore the explosion of Buddhist sects in the medieval period, and the ways Buddhism and Shinto gradually blended together. Our discussion concludes by exploring the role of Buddhism in contemporary Japan, along with tips about how to visit a temple and the meaning of what you will see, hear and experience there. 

Led by an expert on Japanese history, culture, and religion, Gavin James Campbell, this conversation will reveal the broad contours of Japanese Buddhism and its enormous impact on society and art. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation for the cultural and intellectual richness of Japanese Buddhism.

Gavin received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and came to Kyoto in 2001. He is a Ph.D. professor of history at Doshisha University. His teaching and research revolve around Japan's cultural encounters with the West, particularly during the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and early Showa periods (1600-1940), and he has published on the history of foreign tourism and of Protestant missionaries in Japan. To further explore Japan's global cultural encounters, he is currently writing a book on the history of Japanese menswear from the 1600s through the early 20th century. He is also an expert on Kyoto geisha culture and a frequent participant in geisha entertainment.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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