Assistant Professor ABE Tomonori

Affiliations :

  • Graduate School Faculty of Arts and Letters
  • Division of Department of Global Humanities
  • Comparative and Cross-Cultural Studies Course
  • Department of Religious Studies

Interaction between people and places of worship

Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines abound in all urban places, from the city centers to the outskirts. One often comes across them when walking around town. Not only do we see them on a daily basis, but we often visit them for sightseeing and on various ceremonial occasions, such as memorial services or hatsumōde (the first temple or shrine visit of the year). There are seventy-seven thousand Buddhist temples and eighty-one thousand Shinto shrines in Japan —almost 160 thousand in total! This is three times the total number of convenience stores (which count 56 thousand altogether). So, what kind of relationship have we established with these places of worship? “How” does contemporary society perceive them?
My chosen field of study is “religious folklore,” and I specialize in the religious culture cultivated by Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and the ways it has been processed and transformed at the grassroots. Japanese people have been active bearers rather than passive recipients of religious beliefs. As such, they have made various demands and imposed changes on shrines and temples. I have a keen interest in such interactions between the people and places of worship.

  • Research, History
  • Books, papers, etc.
  • Courses
    Science of Religions(Introductory Reading)
    Science of Religions(Special Lecture)
    Personal History
    Mar. 1997 BA, Religious Studies, Graduate School of Advanced Literary Studies, Taisho University
    Sep. 2012 PhD, Department of Human Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    2013–2015 Research Fellow, Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    2018–2021 Research Assistant, Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    2021–present Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    Ph.D. (Literature)
    Religious Studies; Religious Folklore; Religious Anthropology
    Research Subject
    Buddhism and folk customs; the genealogy of folk religion studies; contemporary changes in folk religion; changes in the concept of soul
    folk Buddhism; diversity of folk religions; religious culture
    Japanese Association for Religious Studies
    The Association for Indology and Study of Religion
    The Folklore Society of Japan
    Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology
  • Others
    Employed at the Department of General Affairs, The Association for Indology and Study of Religion;
    Standing Committee Member, The Folklore Society of Tohoku