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The Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture was founded in 1976 and incorporated into Nanzan University in 1979. Nanzan University is a leading university in Japan that distinguishes itself with an international perspective on studies. The University is a constituent educational institution of a regional educational complex: Nanzan Gakuen.

The community of scholars that make up the Institute is dedicated to promoting dialogue among religions, philosophies, and cultures. Its ample facilities and resource materials attract scholars from within Japan and around the world. It has shaped itself as much to the skills and interests of its researchers as to the changing face of religion in Japan and Eastern Asia.

Primarily, the Institute assists foreign scholars, religious leaders, and other interested persons in gaining a better understanding of religions in Japan. It was also instrumental in initiating an exchange among Buddhist and Christian monastics from Japan and Europe, a project that has continued to this day and has come to be known as the “East-West Spiritual Exchange”. The preparation and publication of monographs, open seminars for the general public, colloquia with visiting scholars, symposia, regular discussions of research in progress and a wide array of publications also form part of the Institute’s ongoing academic life.

The development of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture is reflected in the publication of an English-language scholarly review: the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, a nonsectarian English language journal devoted to Japanese religions.

Japanese Journal of Religious Studies is supported by an international Advisory Board and Editorial Consultants composed by leading research institutions such as: Aichi Gakuin University, Harvard University, Aichi Gakuin University, Taishō University, Nanzan University, University of Manchester, University of Tokyo, Princeton University, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, University of Notre Dame, Tsukuba University, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, University of London, Nagoya Institute of Technology, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign and University of California, Berkeley.

Through Asian Ethnology, - a peer-reviewed English-language journal - the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture seeks to deepen understanding and further the pursuit of knowledge about the peoples and cultures of Asia.

The journal began in China as Asian Folklore Studies in 1942. Acutely aware of the changing demands of the academic and educational communities - in an increasingly interconnected world - it was retitled to be published as Asian Ethnology in 2008 at Nanzan University in Japan, with a collaborative relationship with the University of Iowa in the United States to co-edit the journal. The new name of the journal takes advantage of a more inclusive identity that welcomes the contributions of scholars from various academic disciplines, all focused on the manifestations of people's life and cultures of Asia, including their territorial expansion and their historical development. Its Editorial Advisors belong to major institutions such as: Indiana University, University of Pittsburgh, Bucknell University, Lancaster University, American Museum of Natural History, Boston University, Australian National University, University of Melbourne

Asian Ethnology encourages intellectual exchange between Asia and the rest of the world. To do so, it publishes formal essays and analyses, research reports, and critical book reviews relating to a wide range of topical categories, including:

  • narratives, performances, and other forms of cultural representation,
  • popular religious concepts,
  • vernacular approaches to health and healing,
  • local knowledge,
  • collective memory and uses of the past.

Japanese Journal of Religious Studies and Asian Ethnology are published semi-annually. Their full content – including issues as Contemporary Religions in Japan and Asian Folklore Studies – is available at Asia-Studies Full Text.

For further information, please visit: Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture