REL303 F11 Japanese Religions Syllabus
Religious Studies 303 Japanese Religions, Fall
Instructor: Mark T. Unno, Office: PLC 812, Tel. 346-4973, Email:
Unno Home Page: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~munno/
Class meetings: 10:00-10:50 MWF, 16 PAC
Office Hours: Wednesdays & Fridays 1:00-2:00 p.m.
This course traces select themes and developments in the history of
Japanese religion. Based on an interdisciplinary approach, various
aspects of intellectual and social history are examined including:
the relation between state and religion; issues of gender, class, and
cultural identity; religious experience; and ritual and institutional
practices. We will examine representative samples of primary texts in
translation supported by secondary scholarly literature. Various
forms of Japanese Buddhism including Zen and Pure Land as well as
Shinto will be examined through such genres as journals, shamanic
oracles, philosophical texts, monastic schedules, poetry, fiction,
folk tales, and cooking instructions.
1. Attendance: Required. Students can have one unexcused absence
without penalty. Each class missed thereafter without prior
permission will result in 1/2 grade penalty for the course grade.
2. Short exam: There will be two short, in-class exams, based on
materials from the readings, lectures, and course web site. The first
exam will also contain questions on writing papers.
3. Short papers: Students will write two short papers based on topics
that will be provided by the instructor.
4. Final paper: Each student will hand in a medium length final paper
of 5-6 pages (approx 1500 words) double-spaced. Suggested topics will
be provided. Students may choose to create their own topics with the
consent of their section leader. In the case of the latter, a
one-paragraph description of the topic must be submitted by email to
the instructor one week prior to the due date.
5. Late policy on written assignments: Three grace days total will be
allotted excluding the medium-length final paper for which no
extensions will be given. For all other assignments, a cumulative
total of three late days will be allowed without penalty. Thereafter,
each late day will result in a two-point deduction from the course
grade. Weekends are not counted against the grace days.
Email accounts. Students should all have email accounts. Your
email address will be used to communicate with you during the
* Short exam 1 10% Short paper I 15% Short paper II 20%
* Short exam 2 10% Final paper 30% Attendance and participation
Note: You must complete all assignments in order to receive
Even if you are too late for an assignment to receive a passing
grade, you must hand it in.
Natalie Goldberg, Long Quiet Highway (New York: Bantam Books,
Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (New York:
Taitetsu Unno, trans., Tannisho-A Shin Buddhist Classic
(Honolulu: Buddhist Study Center, 1996).
Course Reader, REL 303 Japanese Religions, Fall 2006,
available at the Copy Shop, 539 E. 13th Street, Eugene, OR
97401, TEL 485 6253.
Weekly Schedule REL 303 Japanese Religions
(Reading assignments are to be completed by the date under which they
CR = Course Reader; RT = Required Text
Part I: The Religion of the Kami and the Development of
9/26 Introduction: Themes of Japanese Religion and Culture
9/28 Tribal Origins and the Formation of State Religion
Reading: CR: Paul Varley, Japanese Culture 1-23,
9/30 Social and Mythic Patterns of Early Japanese Religion
Reading: CR: Hayao KAWAI, "Japanese Mythology: Balancing the
10/3 Development of State Religion: Kojiki and
10/5 Shamanism in Early Japanese Religion
Reading: CR: Carmen Blacker, The Catalpa Bow
10/7 Shamanism in the New Religions of Modern Japan
Reading: CR: Carmen Blacker, The Catalpa Bow 186-207;
Christal Whelan, "In the Palace of the Dragon King," 4-8.
10/10 Divine Madness in Modern Japanese Religion
Reading: CR: Mark Unno, "Divine Madness" 96-112.
10/12 Inari - A Case of Contemporary Kami
Reading: CR: Karen A. Smyers, "´My Own Inari' "
10/14 Shamanism, Madness, and Inari - Kami at the
Divine Intersection Exam A in class
Reading: CR: Karen A. Smyers, "´My Own Inari' "
Part II: Medieval Japanese Buddhism - Zen and Pure Land
10/17 Zen Master Dogen
Reading: CR: Mark Unno, "Philosophical Terms in the Zen
Buddhist Thought of Dogen."
CR: Norman Waddell & Abe, tr. "Shobogenzo Genjokoan," by
Dogen Kigen 129-133.
10/19 Reading: CR: Norman Waddell & Abe, tr. "Shobogenzo
Genjokoan," by Dogen Kigen 134-140
10/21 Reading: CR: Barbara Ruch, "The Other Side of Culture in
Medieval Japan" 500-511.
Pure Land Path of Shinran Paper I due in class.
10/24 Reading: CR: Mark Unno, Key Terms: "Pure Land Buddhism
of Honen and Shinran"
10/26 Reading: CR: Mark Unno, "The Nembutsu of No-Meaning and
the Problem of Genres" 1-9.
RT: T. Unno, tr., Tannisho-A Shin Buddhist Classic,
SECTIONS 1, 3, 13, 4, 8, Afterword.
10/28 Reading: RT: T Unno, tr., Tannisho-A Shin
Buddhist Classic, SECTIONS 9, 5, 10, 6; Epilogue.
Part III: Buddhism, Pluralism, Art, and Culture
10/31 Film: Paprika
11/2 Myoe and Pluralism
Reading: CR: Robert E. Morell, "Zeami's Kasuga ryujin
(Dragon God of Kasuga)" 103-122.
11/4 Way of Tea - Culture, Commerce, Religion, and Art
Reading: CR: Theodore Ludwig, "The Way of Tea: A
Religio-Aesthetic Mode of Life" 28-50
11/7 Art, Religion and Death
Reading: CR: Stephen Grant, "Thoughts on Rikyu's Death" 1-2;
NISHITANI, "Ikebana" 33-35; LaFleur, "Chapter 2: In and Out of the
Rokudo." Paper II due in class
Part IV: Buddhism Between America and Japan
11/9 Readings: RT: Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's
Mind ix-xxi, 1-13, 18-27.
11/11 Readings: RT: Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's
Mind. 38-55. CR Fischer, "The Two Worlds."
11/14 Reading: RT: Natalie Goldberg, Long Quiet Highway
11/16 Reading: RT: Natalie Goldberg, Long Quiet Highway
11/18 Reading: RT: Natalie Goldberg, Long Quiet Highway
11/21 Exam B in class
11/23 Discussion of Paper Topics.
11/25 (Thanksgiving Break)
11/28 Zen Nuns Then and Now
Reading: CR: Paula Arai, "Soto Zen Nuns in Modern Japan"
38-51; Kumiko UCHINO, "The Status Elevation Process of Soto Sect Nuns
in Modern Japan" 177-184.
11/30 Reading: CR: Inoue YASUSHI, "Sekitei," trans. Mark Unno.
Kyoto Journal 4 (Fall 1987) 1-8.
12/2 Final Lecture: What is Japanese Religion? Final papers due in
Course Reader, REL 303 Japanese Religions
(Readings listed in order included. Entries given below follow
1. Major Periods and Cultural Epochs of Japanese History (from Paul
Varley, see below)
2. Paul Varley, Japanese Culture, 3rd ed. (Honolulu:
University of Hawai'i Press, 1984), 1-23, 32-36.
3. Hayao KAWAI, "Japanese Mythology: Balancing the Gods," in his
Dreams, Myths and Fairy Tales in Japan (Daimon, 1995)
4. Christal Whelan, "In the Palace of the Dragon King," Dharma
World Jul/Aug 2005 Vol.32
5. Carmen Blacker, The Catalpa Bow (London: George Allen &
Unwin) 104-139, 186-207.
6. Mark Unno, "Divine Madness-Exploring the Boundaries of Modern
Japanese Religion," Zen Buddhism Today 10: 96-112.
7. Karen A. Smyers, "´My Own Inari' - Personalization of the
Deity in the Inari Worship." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
23:1-2 (1996) 85-116.
8. William LaFleur, "Chapter 2: In and Out of the Rokudo," in his
The Karma of Words (Berkeley: University of California Press,
9.Mark Unno, "Philosophical Terms in the Zen Buddhist Thought of
10. Norman Waddell and Masao Abe, tr. "Shobogenzo Genjokoan," by
Dogen Kigen, The Eastern Buddhist 5:2 (10/1972) 129-140.
11. Barbara Ruch, "The Other Side of Culture in Medieval Japan," in
The Cambridge History of Japan-Volume 3 Medieval Japan, ed. by
Kozo Yamamura (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press,
12. Mark Unno, Key Terms: "Pure Land Buddhism of Honen and
13. Mark Unno, "The Nembutsu of No-Meaning and the Problem of Genres
in the Writings and Statements of Gutoku Shinran," The Pure Land
10-11 (12/1994) 1-9.
14. Robert E. Morell, "Zeami's Kasuga ryujin (Dragon God of
Kasuga)," in his Kamakura Buddhism: A Minority Report
(Berkeley, CA: Asian Humanities Press, 1987) 103-122.
15. Theodore M. Ludwig, "The Way of Tea: A Religio-Aesthetic Mode of
Life," History of Religions (1974) 28-50.
16. Stephen A. Grant, "Thoughts on Rikyu's Death," Wakamatsu
22 (1990) 1-2.
17. Keiji NISHITANI, "Ikebana." Kyoto Journal 4 (Fall 1987)
18. Paula Arai, "Soto Zen Nuns in Modern Japan: Keeping and Creating
Tradition." Bulletin of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and
Culture 14 (Summer 1990) 38-51.
19. Kumiko UCHINO, "The Status Elevation Process of Soto Sect Nuns in
Modern Japan," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 10:2-3:
20. Norman Fischer, "The Two Worlds," The Sun (April 2007)
21. Inoue YASUSHI, "Sekitei," trans. Mark Unno. Kyoto Journal
4 (Fall 1987) 1-8.