This week we are joined by Kaitlyn Ugoretz, anthropologist of religion and a PhD candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at UC Santa Barbara, to discuss the global appeal of Shinto in the digital era. Kaitlyn introduces us to online Shinto communities as old as the internet itself, as well as the many international faces of Shinto, from official shrines in the USA to localised rituals and Marie Kondo’s brand of spiritualism.
Oliver is joined by Marcus Teeuwen, Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Oslo, who explains the changing faiths of Japan in the 7th century through the Buddhist concept of honji suijaku (本地垂迹), a notion which allowed Buddhist monks to explain the gods, or kami, worshipped in Japan at the time as traces of Buddhist deities.
Oliver is joined by Aike Rots, Associate Professor of Japan Studies at the University of Oslo, to discuss Heritage-Making in Japan, examining how the process of ‘heritagisation’ can secularise and politicise religious sites, such as Shinto shrines and natural areas of religious significance to Okinawan and Ainu communities, and the role of nationalism within heritage.
Oliver is joined by Dana Mirsalis, PhD candidate at Harvard University, to take a look at Shinto in modern Japan.