Assistant Professor SAZAKI Ai

Affiliations :

Learning about
the ‘Other’ and Society

Christianity in Japan is a curious phenomenon. Many elements of Christian culture have taken root in Japanese soil (consider, for instance, holidays such as Christmas or St. Valentine’s Day). And yet, only one percent of the Japanese population is Christian. Furthermore, the religious life of these Christians is the product of the interplay between Christianity and Japanese culture. For instance, they address Christian prayers to their ancestors or set up family altars similar to those used in Buddhism. When two or more religions or cultures come together, people must assimilate them in some way, partially reject them, or reconcile them. How does this happen? To answer this question, one must first and foremost be willing to learn about ‘Others’ who possess different mindsets.
The same outlook drives my own studies, which involve both fieldwork and qualitative research. My career has led me to the Department of Behavioral Science. Here, I have been using statistical surveys to elucidate social mechanisms from the macro perspective. I believe, however, that the ultimate aim of both qualitative inquiry and statistical surveys is to understand the ‘Others’ that surround us and the society we all inhabit. Whatever the methodology, the core questions of our research remain the same.

  • Research, History
  • Books, papers, etc.
  • Personal History
    Graduated from the Department of Japanese Culture, Faculty of Humanities, Hokkai-Gakuen University.
    Received an M.A and a Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    Ph.D (Literature)
    Religious Studies; Religious Folklore; Religious Anthropology
    Research Subject
    Funeral practices and Memorial service for the dead of the Orthodox Church in Japan
    Reception of Christianity in Japan
    Transformations of the contemporary religious culture
    Contemporary changes in memorial service; the Orthodox Church in Japan
    Japanese Association for Religious Studies; The Folklore Society of Japan; The Association for lndology and Study of Religion
  • Academic Papers
    “〈Remembrances of Dead〉in the Orthodox Church in Japan,” in Ronshu: Studies in Religions East and West, No. 46 (2019), The Association for Indology and Study of Religion, 147-168
    “Materiality of the objects placed on the home altar― Through comparison of home altars in the Orthodox church in Japan," in Tohoku Journal of Religious Studies, No. 15 (2019), Department of Religious Studies, Tohoku University, 141-176
    “Views about memorials of priests and believers―from “The Wooden Cross” of the Orthodox Church in Nakaniida,” in Bulletin of the Folklore Society of Tohoku (Tohoku Minzoku), No. 52 (2018), The Folklore Society of Tohoku, 89-98
    “Acceptance and the present situations of the Orthodox Church in Japan viewed from “Monthly Panikhida,” Tohoku Journal of Religious Studies, No. 13 (2017), Department of Religious Studies, Tohoku University, 81-108