Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Kūkai in China, What He Studied and Brought Back to Japan

The Japanese Buddhist priest Kūkai (774–835 CE) continues to be one of the most popular historical figures to persist in imagination and images around Japan. For introducing Shingon esoteric Buddhism into his country in the early Heian period (794–1184), the emperor awarded him the posthumous title Kōbō Daishi, literally “Great Master Who Propagated the Dharma.” Yet far from this being the extent of his accomplishments, Kūkai also exerted major influences on the development of Japane...

Feature Article

Teaching Cultural, Historical, and Religious Landscapes with the Anime Demon Slayer

  In 2020, the animated movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (Japanese: Gekijō-ban “Kimetsu no Yaiba” Mugen Ressha-hen) was No. 1 in the world for box office revenue.1 In the same year, it became the highest-grossing movie in Japanese history, surpassing Spirited Away, which had reigned No. 1 since 2001. Just as Miyazaki Hideo’s animated classic Spirited Away has been a staple for teaching about Japanese folklore and culture in classrooms around the wor...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Many Manifestations of Shintō: Key Issues in Asian Studies

As a child, I would gaze at the sky through pine needles in the deep woods of East Tennessee, often overcome with a vague but intense feeling about nature around and inside me. As I grew up, I was attracted to expressions of one’s connection to nature in Japanese poetry and cultural histories. I eventually came across Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Deep Interior in graduate school at the University of Oregon. Bashō traveled around the largest Japanese island, Honshū, molding his impres¬sions...