Professor Seiji Kumagai

The Past, Present, and Future of Buddhism and Buddhology in Japan

Despite the spread of Buddhism and Buddhist studies across the globe, Buddhism appears to have been declining in popularity since Japan opened itself to the world in the 19th century. The field of Buddhology at Japanese universities continues to shrink as well. One reason for this is that both the religious and the academic spheres connected to Buddhism in Japan have been less concerned with “ultimate happiness” or even “happiness in this world,” instead becoming increasingly conservative and anachronistic. What solutions might exist to revive Buddhism in Japan? This talk will explore the history and current state of Buddhism and Buddhology in Japan, with an eye toward what they might aspire to become in the future.