Session Abstract: The challenge religious organizations face in cultivating people's faith while sustaining themselves financially is a universal one, but this panel's focus on early modern Japan aims to elucidate some of this period's unique characteristics. It has been described as a time in which religious organizations did the bidding of secular powers through the institutionalization of a head and branch temple system (honmatsu seido) that oppressed and controlled the populace. The first presentation about Enryakuji demonstrates how elements of this traditional interpretation remain applicable in some cases, but the other three presentations reveal how this narrative was inadequate in other contexts because society was too complex to be adequately described through a one-sided relationship of dominated and subjugated interactions.
This panel highlights "administration" because it emerged as a common concern across multiple traditions––religious practitioners and their organizations had to take the initiative in handling their affairs without recourse to the traditional system of having their interests guaranteed by dominant authorities. The panel members will examine a wide variety of cases ranging from the Onmyōdō tradition that transcended the borders of conventional sectarian denominations to interactions with the temple towns that grew up around two major religious sites in the capital of Kyoto.
Ample time will be provided for questions and comments in a hybrid format that combines synchronous and asynchronous online components in order to ensure an exchange of ideas and opinions among both onsite and online participants.
Paper Presenter: Satoshi Sonehara – Tohoku University
Paper Presenter: Naohide Hozawa – Toyo University
Paper Presenter: Chihiro Umeda – Kyoto Women’s University
Paper Presenter: Mayuko Seriguchi – Gifu University