Sightings Articles


pop culture | Japan | Shintoism

Kondo and Kuyō: Disposal as a Religious Experience?

What's religious (and what's not) about KonMari?...

February 14, 2019

pop culture | Japan | Shintoism

Kondo and Kuyō: Disposal as a Religious Experience?

“Does it spark joy?”   Since the release of the 2019 Netflix documentary Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, people across the globe have been inspired to take hold of each of their possessions and consider this simple but enigmatic question. If the a...

February 14, 2019

artificial intelligence | Confucianism | Neo-Confucianism | Dao | Neo-Dao | Silk Road | East Asia | China | Japan | South Korea | Karl Barth | humanity | Technology

AlphaGo's Victory Over Korean Go-Master Showcases Western vs. Neo-Confucian Values

In a historical milestone for Artificial Intelligence (AI), AlphaGo, an updated (General) AI developed by Google’s DeepMind unit, challenged Korean Go grandmaster Lee Sedol, and handily won, 4 to 1. Go is a game with a nearly infinite number of possi...

June 23, 2016

feminism | Buddhism | Japan | Episcopal Church | Otani sect | Pure Land School

When It Comes to Gender Equality, Religion in Japan Lags Behind

Religion in Japan still lags far behind Japanese politics when it comes to gender equality. The World Assembly for Women (WAW!) convened in Tokyo last August, and, although it focused on the protection of women against violence and discrimination,...

January 7, 2016

human rights | World War II | Japan | comfort women | Imperial state ideology | Japanese Emperor | Shinzo Abe | Shinto Political Federation's Parliamentarians Association | Nippon Kaigi | Yasukuni Shrine ritual | human trafficking | Meiji Japan | Buddhism | Shintoism | Japanese Christianity | Kofuku no Kagaku

Japanese Religions and the Issue of "Comfort Women"

Last month, Japan marked the 70 years which have passed since its World War II surrender to Allied Powers in 1945. Less known is that twenty-four years have passed since former Japanese military “comfort women” came forward for the first time and sue...

September 10, 2015

Jie Shi | Smart Museum | Arhat | Rakan | Theravada Buddhism | Dharma | Southern Song dynasty | Kamakura period | Japan | China

Musing on the Dharma through a Flower: A Medieval Japanese Arhat from the Smart Museum

In a hanging scroll newly acquired by the University of Chicago's Smart Museum, a bald Arhat sits in the foreground under a tree, with a young monk and a little lay-girl at his right side. Behind them, a tree with stout trunks, sprawling leafs, and r...

March 26, 2015