CALL FOR ARTICLES> Japanese Buddhism in Europe, a special issue of the Journal of Religion in Japan

jorn borup's picture

150 years ago, the West met Meiji Japan. The political, material and economic results of these early encounters have since been part of world history, and the cultural exchanges have had a significant impact on global culture. Also, the circulation of ideas, practices and religious institutions have made its marks in history. Not least Buddhism has been a major source of inspiration and key player in Japan’s cultural impact on Western countries. The incorporation and transformation of Japanese Buddhism has previously been examined, primarily in America. In Europe, this important part of Buddhist history still needs to be thoroughly investigated. While the histories and formations in many ways are parallel to the American ones, they are also interestingly different.

A special issue of the Journal of Religion in Japan seeks to investigate and analyze the European understanding, appropriation and transformation of various forms of Japanese Buddhism. We welcome scholars from different countries to address the following topics:

  • A country specific history of appropriation. How did Japanese Buddhism appear? What kind of (local, national, international) relations were there between individuals, networks or institutions? Which narratives and functions did it represent? (A general narrative of Westernization of Buddhism, of D. T. Suzuki and new religious movements, such as Soka Gakkai, will be included in the introduction, so please be country specific.)
  • Contemporary representation. What are the activities and practices carried out by Japanese Buddhist groups (if possible supported by quantitative data or general assumptions of numbers of groups and members)? How has Japanese Buddhism had an impact on local culture and society (popular culture, media etc.)?


Please send suggestions for contributions to Jørn Borup (, guest editor for this special issue of the Journal of Religion in Japan) with an abstract of about 200 words by the 1st of October (deadline for article 1st of May, 2019).

Authors will be invited to a workshop at Aarhus University in May 2019.



Jørn Borup

Associate professor and head of department

Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University