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Can a ‘Religion’ Be Translated through ‘Culture’? Tenrikyō’s Cultural Approach in France – with Masato Kato

18 March — 6:45 pm

© Masato Kato

 

Monday 18 March 2019        6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free Lecture – booking recommended
Book online here

In this talk, Masato Kato will discuss a Japanese religion known as Tenrikyō as it operates in France to explore the question of translating a religion through ‘culture’. Tenrikyō traces its origin to a movement that centered on the teaching and practice of a woman named Nakayama Miki (1798–1887) and developed into a religious organisation during the period of Japan’s modernisation. As with the case with many other Japanese ‘new religions’ (shinshūkyō), Tenrikyō has spread to different parts of the world including Europe, with three missionaries arriving in London as early as in 1910. After several decades following the intial attempt, Tenrikyō has formally resumed its propagation in Europe in the early 1970s by establishing its organisations in France.

Tenrikyō’s propagation in France is characterised by its two-tier yet legally separate institutional structure involving ‘religious’ and ‘cultural’ associations—an institutional demarcation necessitated by the French legal framework relating to the 1901 and 1905 laws. In the course of promoting cultural activities as a way to increase the visibility and legitimacy of the name Tenri in the French public, Tenrikyō has at times used representations and activities associated with Japan in ways that allow religious messages and representations be translated into cultural counterparts. This paper will consider the implications of using cultural resources to present a religious tradition like Tenrikyō in light of the ambiguous cultural identity that it has constructed in the decades after 1945. 

Masato Kato is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions, SOAS University of London. He received a PhD (2018) from SOAS upon completing his doctoral research on the negotiation of cultural identity of Tenrikyo in relation to its propagation in France.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996, email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

 

Details

Date:
18 March
Time:
6:45 pm
Event Category:
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