Associate Professor TOISHIBA Shiho

Affiliations :

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

How do you look at religion?

When dispassionately viewed from a distance, religion appears as one of the “information flows” in our society. In modern and contemporary Japan, religion is not the monopoly of religious orders and their followers, nor is it exclusively shared within families or local communities. Rather, people discuss and express their religious beliefs in countless ways and spread them through multiple media. For instance, a grave-visiting scene is a staple of Japanese TV drama. One can ask what effect such publicity has on the Japanese religious culture. The ever-changing position of religion in society is extremely intriguing.
On the other hand, it is worth taking a step closer, listening directly to the heartfelt claims of believers, and observing their practices with your own eyes. This may lead to revelations and experiences that will change your entire outlook on life. For instance, it is impossible to stay unmoved by the Hollywood adaptation of Endō Shūsaku’s Silence (2016). What does it mean to live a life so bound with faith that one cannot forsake it even in the face of terrible torture and death? Experiences like this underscore that even though we all may share physical reality, our worlds vary radically depending on our religious beliefs.
Problems of religion get more complicated and more exciting the more you learn about them. I intend to continue this fascinating research.

  • Research, History
  • Courses
    Religious Studies (Advanced Lecture); Science of Religions (General Lecture); Science of Religions (Special Lecture)
    Personal History
    Born 1984, Sapporo
    Graduated from the College of Comparative Culture, University of Tsukuba
    Received an M.A. in Religious Studies at the Graduate School of Advanced Literary Studies, Taisho University
    Completed the full-term (5-year) doctoral program in Philosophy at the Graduate School of Business Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba
    Awarded DC and PD Research Fellowship for Young Scientists, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

    Corporate worker (5 years)
    Researcher, International Institute for the Study of Religions
    Research Fellow (PD), The Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University
    Part-time Lecturer
    Apr. 2022 Appointed to current position
    Ph.D (Literature)
    Religious Studies; Sociology of Religion; History of Religion in Contemporary Japan
    Research Subject
    Ancestor worship, funeral rites, and burial systems in modern and contemporary Japan
    Japanese Association for Religious Studies; The Japanese Association for the Study of Religion and Society; The Folklore Society of Japan; University of Tsukuba Philosophical Association