Organized Panel Session
This NEAC-sponsored panel honors Helen Hardacre, on whom the Japanese government recently bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Neck Ribbon for her extraordinary contribution to Japanese Studies. Three of her former students and one second-generation student present their research on Buddhism and modernity and reflect on how Hardacre’s work on religion and the state, gender, local and folk religion, and new religious movements has shaped their projects in significant ways. The first paper examines the impact of the Great Teaching Campaign on Meiji-period Buddhist education. The second paper explores the role of an elite Buddhist laywoman in the making of modern Korean Buddhism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The third paper interrogates the intersections of race, religion, and national identity during the Japanese American internment during World War II. The last paper focuses on the case of a contemporary female Japanese Buddhist healer who defies modernist constructions of a sectarian identity. The session concludes with a response by Helen Hardacre. Employing both archival and ethnographic methods and spanning the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, the papers showcase the broad scope of Hardacre’s work and compel us to rethink Buddhist modernity in Japan and beyond.