Japanese Buddhist Art of the 19th–21st Centuries

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2024) | Viewed by 4128

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
College of Design, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA
Interests: Japanese Art; Japanese Buddhist; Buddhist relic devotion in Japan; performative nature of Buddhist reliquaries; Edo-period (1615-1868) literati painting; Buddhist scriptures and the materiality of East Asian calligraphy; Edo-period luxurious prints (surimono); Contemporary prints, particularly by Kusama Yayoi; manga modes of expression and the impact of onomatopoeia on animation sound effects

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The intersection between “prayer and play” (as explored in Nam-Lin Hur’s pioneering study of Sensōji) has served as an effective framework to investigate the arts and practices of Japanese devotion especially of the early modern period. Beyond Patricia Graham’s seminal work (Faith and Power in Japanese Buddhist Art, 1600-2005), however, Buddhist art of the modern and contemporary periods has not yet received as close or diverse attention as earlier eras. This Special Issue solicits papers that extend the discursive boundaries of devotion and leisure in Japanese Buddhist visual and material culture, focusing on the period from the 19th into the 21st century. How should our understanding of the relationship between monastic and lay, or sacred and mundane, be realigned as religious ideas and imagery become increasingly popularized? How have the fluctuations in people’s attitude toward religion as institution and practice affected the production of devotionally charged visual and material culture? How did individuals leverage their engagement with Buddhism and its arts to either advance or subvert the nation’s imperialist agenda of the modern era? How can we (re-)engage with the doctrinal teachings to enrich our understanding of play within prayer or prayer within play? What were or are the physical or observable impacts of leisure in devotion or devotion as leisure on human and nonhuman bodies and the environment? How can we better articulate the complex network of devotion, entertainment, and commerce between urban and rural centers and peripheries?

Dr. Akiko Walley
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Japanese Buddhist art
  • 19th century
  • early modern
  • bakumatsu
  • modern
  • contemporary
  • Edo
  • Meiji
  • Taishō
  • Shōwa
  • Heisei
  • Reiwa

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 7718 KiB  
Article
Sacralizing the Playful Secular: The Deity of Karuta-Gambling at the Nose Kannon Hall in Sannohe, Aomori
by Mew Lingjun Jiang
Arts 2024, 13(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13010027 - 04 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1896
Abstract
In a faraway apple orchard in Sannohe, a small town in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture, a zushi miniature wooden shrine at the Nose Kannon Hall caught the media’s attention with its unique adornment—the karuta playing cards with European-inspired abstract designs in bold red and [...] Read more.
In a faraway apple orchard in Sannohe, a small town in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture, a zushi miniature wooden shrine at the Nose Kannon Hall caught the media’s attention with its unique adornment—the karuta playing cards with European-inspired abstract designs in bold red and black colors that were used during the early modern period for pastime and gambling. Because of this decoration, the Nose Kannon Hall is known by locals as the Karuta Hall, and the zushi that enshrines the Buddhist deity Bodhisattva Shō-Kanzeon is also believed to be the home of bakuchi no kamisama “the kami deity of gambling”. Little is known about the nature of devotion to this bakuchi no kamisama or how the playing cards that were used for frivolous games came to be sacralized as items worthy to be used as decoration of a Buddhist shrine. This article considers the slippage between prayer and play in the regional Buddhist devotion by focusing on the Nose Kannon Hall, which presided at a key intersection along the northern trade route where the local community and outside visitors, such as pilgrims and traders, converged, especially during the Edo period (1603–1868). Marshaling historical records, televised interviews, and images provided by the town officials and guardian family of Nose Kannon Hall, I argue that the use of karuta playing cards on the miniature shrine at Nose Kannon Hall epitomizes a kind of localized early modern Shinto–Buddhist syncretism at the margins of the urban culture that is simultaneously devotional and tongue-in-cheek sacrilegious in a quintessentially Edo-esque way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Japanese Buddhist Art of the 19th–21st Centuries)
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15 pages, 9341 KiB  
Article
Reconsidering the “Popular View” (俗覧 zokuran): Tracing Vernacular Precedents in a Modern Illustrated Hagiography of Kakuban 覺鑁 (1095–1143)
by Matthew Hayes
Arts 2023, 12(6), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12060225 - 28 Oct 2023
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Abstract
As a supplement to sermonizing, the use of images has been crucial to growing the lay Buddhist following in Japan since at least the tenth century. While it may be the case that Buddhist images, much more so than texts, have historically been [...] Read more.
As a supplement to sermonizing, the use of images has been crucial to growing the lay Buddhist following in Japan since at least the tenth century. While it may be the case that Buddhist images, much more so than texts, have historically been better able to draw in popular audiences through their accessible means of communication, the emergence of contemporary literate audiences meant new modes of accessibility. This article explores both the textual and illustrative histories of a modern illustrated hagiography on the medieval Shingon Buddhist monk Kakuban 覺鑁 (1095–1143). By tracing earlier vernacular approaches to Kakuban’s narrative that emerged throughout the evolution of this hagiography, it becomes clear that images were merely auxiliary in their appeal to modern Japanese readers and that such an appeal had been a consideration for generations of Buddhist compilers. This example draws attention to the mutually constitutive relationship between otherwise traditionally distinct functions of text and image in Japanese Buddhist hagiography, but also common conceptual divisions between lay and monastic experiences and popular and elite reading practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Japanese Buddhist Art of the 19th–21st Centuries)
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