Special Issue "Religious Representations in and around War"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 4966

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Tsunehiko Sugiki
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-7-1 Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima 739-8521, Japan
Interests: esoteric Buddhism and Buddhist ethics in South Asia; theories in religious studies
Prof. Dr. Akira Nishimura
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Interests: spiritual commemoration of the war dead in modern Japan; religious studies and sociology of warfare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emile Durkheim, a sociologist of religion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, designated a “religion” (which Durkheim actually meant an institutionalized form of religion) as a unified system of beliefs and practices that unite people into a single moral community. These elements of religion, viz., beliefs, practices, and a moral community, have often served as channels for religious people to be involved in works in and around wars. Religions have united and divided people, have encouraged or restricted wars, have given soldiers moral instructions and ways to attain salvation, and have provided practices to commemorate wars and the war dead.

This Special Issue explores various patterns of religion–war relations and provides theoretical perspectives to understand why, how, and in which forms religion and war are connected. Within their own disciplines, authors can examine cases of religion–war relations in any place and in any age (from the ancient to the modern ages) and can extract any pattern from or present any perspective of these relations. “Religion” is not confined to those having established doctrines and church organizations, which is perhaps what people primarily mean by that concept. “Religion” includes any system with a “religious” nature or elements, which may not be socially recognized as a religion, but instead as a custom or tradition, and those that followers call “being spiritual and not religious”. “War” includes any forms of military battle between different groups, such as the Crusades, private wars in tribal societies, international wars, and asymmetric wars (guerrilla warfare and terrorism). We are calling for papers which, as a whole, deal with a broad range of cases, as this Special Issue intends to provide a wider view of the issue of religion–war relations.

The following are examples of paper topics: the historicity of the concepts of “religion” in relation to “war”; peculiarities of wars depicted in religious myths; elements of war represented in images of religious figures; religion’s resistance to battle; religious justification of warfare in a sacred mode; reformation of a group’s religious identity through tension and conflict; religious discourses developed for knights or soldiers, for whom fighting is a role; military chaplains or religious specialists who work for the military; religions and memories of war; religious practices to remember the war dead; and any aspect of the “culture of war.” This Special Issue will be a collaboration by researchers from different disciplines, such as religious studies, history, art history, history of thought, philology, literature, anthropology, and sociology, who have, in general, worked on this issue separately.

Prof. Dr. Tsunehiko Sugiki
Prof. Dr. Akira Nishimura
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • religion
  • war

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Just War and Anti-War: Two Stances of the Japanese Methodist Church toward the Russo-Japanese War
Religions 2022, 13(6), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13060557 - 16 Jun 2022
Viewed by 357
Abstract
If the Christian Church prioritizes its existence and expansion, it will turn to the entity that approves of it and protects it. When the Modern Japanese emperor’s state approached the church as his grace, the Japanese Christian Church showed its gratitude and pledged [...] Read more.
If the Christian Church prioritizes its existence and expansion, it will turn to the entity that approves of it and protects it. When the Modern Japanese emperor’s state approached the church as his grace, the Japanese Christian Church showed its gratitude and pledged its allegiance to the emperor. In the Sino-Japanese War, which assisted modern Japan in becoming an imperial-ist country, the Japanese Christian community was in favor of a war under the pretext of a “righteous war” to maintain a lasting peace in the East. However, during the Russo-Japanese War, when most of the Christians were actively in favor of the war, there were a few anti-war voices among small groups of Christians that had not been heard during the Sino-Japanese War. There was a tension that could not be easily resolved in the Japanese Christian Church. In particular, Gokyō, a Christian journal published by the Japanese Methodist Church, one of the major Protestant denominations, simultaneously presented two interesting and conflicting stances regarding the Russo-Japanese War (just war vs. anti-war). In this paper, we examine the diverging perspectives presented in Gokyō and explore various patterns of religion–war relations. Through this, we can see an example of two opposing arguments of just war and anti-war that coexisted and competed on the grounds of Christianity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)
Article
Applying Religious Studies Discourse during Wartime: On Katō Totsudō’s Discussion of Religious War
Religions 2022, 13(6), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13060533 - 10 Jun 2022
Viewed by 384
Abstract
This paper argues how the study of religion in Japan influenced the nation’s conduct during the Asia-Pacific War (1931–1945). Specifically, the paper addresses the wartime national indoctrination texts of Katō Totsudō 加藤咄堂 (a.k.a. Katō Yūichirō 加藤熊一郎, 1870–1949). Although Katō was not strictly a [...] Read more.
This paper argues how the study of religion in Japan influenced the nation’s conduct during the Asia-Pacific War (1931–1945). Specifically, the paper addresses the wartime national indoctrination texts of Katō Totsudō 加藤咄堂 (a.k.a. Katō Yūichirō 加藤熊一郎, 1870–1949). Although Katō was not strictly a religious scholar, analyzing Katō’s texts is significant in understanding the influence of religious theory and religious studies discourse on Japanese society during the war. To illustrate this point, this paper introduces previous studies that have discussed the movements of religious scholars during the war. It then clarifies the significance of discussing Katō’s texts, followed by an introduction to what has been revealed about Katō so far. The paper then examines Katō’s wartime texts that discuss the relationship between war, faith and the readiness to die. The East–West comparison of views of life and death used by Katō was characterized as a wartime application of comparative religion. It was intended to emphasize Japan’s superiority over other countries. Such features agitated Japanese readers to proactively enter the fight to the death through spiritual mobilization in a total war system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)
Article
Buddhism and Martial Arts in Premodern Japan: New Observations from a Religious Historical Perspective
Religions 2022, 13(5), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13050440 - 13 May 2022
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Abstract
This article investigates two issues regarding the Buddhism of premodern Japanese martial arts. The first issue concerns the historical channels through which Buddhist elements were adopted into martial lineages, and the second pertains to the general character of the Buddhism that can be [...] Read more.
This article investigates two issues regarding the Buddhism of premodern Japanese martial arts. The first issue concerns the historical channels through which Buddhist elements were adopted into martial lineages, and the second pertains to the general character of the Buddhism that can be found in the various martial art initiation documents (densho). As for the first issue, while previous scholarship underscored Shugendō (mountain asceticism) as an important factor in the earliest phases of the integration process of Buddhist elements in martial schools, this study focuses on textual evidence that points to what is referred to as “medieval Shinto”—a Shinto tradition that heavily relied on Esoteric Buddhist (Mikkyō) teachings—in scholarship. Regarding the second issue, although numerous studies have already shown the indebtedness of premodern martial schools to Buddhist teachings drawn mainly from the Esoteric Buddhist or Zen traditions, this article sheds more light on the nature of these teachings by drawing attention to the fact that they often emphasize the Buddhist thought of isshin or “One Mind”. The article illustrates how this thought was adopted in premodern martial art texts and in doing so clarifies the reasons why Buddhism was valued in those arts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)
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Article
Feeding the Enemy to the Goddess: War Magic in Śaiva Tantric Texts
Religions 2022, 13(4), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13040278 - 24 Mar 2022
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Abstract
This article deals with the war magic as described in Sanskrit Śaiva tantric texts written between the 5th and the 12th Century A.D. This period marks a shift from the invocation of Aghora/Bhairava as the main war-helping god to the rituals invoking terrible [...] Read more.
This article deals with the war magic as described in Sanskrit Śaiva tantric texts written between the 5th and the 12th Century A.D. This period marks a shift from the invocation of Aghora/Bhairava as the main war-helping god to the rituals invoking terrible goddesses, mātṛkās, yoginīs. At the same time, tantric religious specialists were invited to exchange their magical knowledge for kings’ patronage in such contexts as war, drought, epidemics and such. The original presupposition was that the rituals related to war shall be most violent and transgressive in the texts of the tantric initiated, compared to the Śaiva purāṇas written for broader public, and that of the “mixed” literature (that is one written by the initiated for the kings). However, this was contradicted by the text-based evidence, and it is the “mixed” literature that proposes the most violent rituals, while the whole subject of war happened to be of minor importance in the tantric literature. The war-prayogas were included to attract attention of the kings, but the aim of that was for the internal ritual use. The explanation of this contradiction is based on the fact that somewhere between the 10th and the 12th century, the tantric specialists working for the kings actually duped them into performing violent war-magic rituals, while the real intent of those procedures is actually calling the yoginīs in order to achieve a higher state in religious practice for the initiated himself. The article includes the materials from the Jayadrathayāmala and the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā edited and translated for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)
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Article
Significance of Military Power in the Jindai Moji Text Hotsuma Tsutae—With a Focus on Susanoo and Yamato Takeru
Religions 2022, 13(3), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030199 - 24 Feb 2022
Viewed by 597
Abstract
The jindai moji (神代文字—“characters of the Age of the Gods”) are pseudocharacters (疑字: “giji”) created in the early modern period, which purport to be an ancient Japanese writing script. One of the most famous examples of literature written in the jindai moji is [...] Read more.
The jindai moji (神代文字—“characters of the Age of the Gods”) are pseudocharacters (疑字: “giji”) created in the early modern period, which purport to be an ancient Japanese writing script. One of the most famous examples of literature written in the jindai moji is the epic poem Hotsuma Tsutae, which is regarded as an account of the development of medieval mythology in the early modern age. It includes tales of evil lords known as the hatare (rendered as 魔王 in Kanbun), who bring chaos to the land and are vanquished by a divine army led by gods. Ultranationalists in early modern Japan enthusiastically embraced these jindai moji writings. This article examines the significance of the divine battles in the early modern jindai moji literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)
Article
Warriors Who Do Not Kill in War: A Buddhist Interpretation of the Warrior’s Role in Relation to the Precept against Killing
Religions 2020, 11(10), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100530 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1581
Abstract
Buddhist scriptures in ancient South Asia include discourses that teach measures by which a warrior can face problems in confrontation with foreign armies and domestic rebel troops without resorting to killing them in battle. These moderate measures have not attracted much attention in [...] Read more.
Buddhist scriptures in ancient South Asia include discourses that teach measures by which a warrior can face problems in confrontation with foreign armies and domestic rebel troops without resorting to killing them in battle. These moderate measures have not attracted much attention in previous studies on Buddhist statecraft and warfare. There are eleven kinds, and they can be organized according to the following three types: retreat from the role of warrior, resolution without pitched battle, and fighting in a pitched battle without killing. Similar ideas regarding measures for resolving military confrontations can be found in Indian Classics in the context of statecraft. The compilers of the Buddhist discourses collected ideas about similar measures from common sources and reshaped those borrowed ideas from the perspective of the Buddhist precept against killing. A warrior who implemented such measures did not acquire as much negative karmic potential as intentional killing produces. In premodern warrior societies, religion often provided the institutional basis for both a code of ethics and a soteriology for warriors, for whom fighting was in fulfillment of their social role. The compilation of discourses containing measures that do not involve killing represents an aspect of Buddhism’s function in ancient South Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)
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