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Grant number like: FA-50356-04

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Richard M. Jaffe
Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2004 – 8/31/2005

Seeking Sakyamuni: World Travel and the Reconstruction of Japanese Buddhism

The fellowship will be used to complete a book concerning Japanese Buddhist world travel and interchanges with Buddhists throughout the globe from 1868 to 1945. In the book I analyze a variety of sources, including travel diaries, newspapers, magazines, accounts of exhibitions, artworks imported from other parts of Asia or produced in Japan, and novel pan-Asian Buddhist monuments and temples. Japanese Buddhists made use of these exchanges and the new knowledge of other Buddhisms in order to enhance their prestige both at home and abroad. The renewed emphasis upon Buddhism as a pan-Asian or, even, a global religion figured importantly in the construction of new conceptions of Asia, the East, and Eastern culture in Japan. I will tie the reformulation of Japanese Buddhism as part of a pan-Asian tradition with global aspirations to broader historical issues that include the emergence of nation-states and Japanese imperialism in Asia. These new conceptions of Japanese Buddhism remain relevant during the post-war period, providing the groundwork for Japanese Buddhist pan-Asianism, international Buddhist cooperation, and the global Buddhist movement. The book, which describes the on-going importance of Buddhism in Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, will be of interest to scholars in Buddhist studies, religious studies, Japanese studies, and Asian history.