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Alīse Donnere: Changing temple events in Japan

On Thursday, February 11, at 12:00 PM (EET) religious studies scholar Alīse Donnere will give apublic talk titled Changing temple events in Japan: Fewer prayers, more free talk. Please register for the event here. Upon registration, you will receive a personalized event Zoom link.


About the talk:

Japanese Temple Buddhism has been struggling to revitalize itself since the Meiji Restoration (1868),and the fight continues into the 21st century. Today, one of the biggest problems that temple priestsneed to solve is the impression of Buddhist temples as mere graveyard holders. The majority of Japanese visit temples only for O-Bon or Higan-traditional events dedicated to grave-visiting (O-haka-mairi). One of the ways to change the impression is to maintain traditional monthly or annualevents that are not connected with death and ancestor veneration, and also to come up with new kinds of temple activities - fun and practical. During this lecture, we are going to examine traditional regular meetings of temple parishioners - Kō, look into some of the new ways to gather people at a temple, and discuss new problems that temples face during the COVID-19 pandemic.


About the speaker:

Alīse Eishō Donnere received her PhD in Religious Studies from Tohoku University. She now continues her research on Jizō and other imagery used at modern Buddhist temples. Her academic interests include modern temple Buddhism, the role of non-Japanese nationals in Japanese religions, the role of gender in folk Buddhism, and the history of religion in Japan’s Tohoku region. She also runs a YouTube channel where she provides accessible information on Japanese Buddhism (in Russian).


Event language: English