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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents issues related to orientalism and occidentalism. They provide a meaningful background for the analysis of Japanese Buddhism in its intersection with modern and contemporary Japanese culture in the fields of literature, creative arts and traditional arts, which is the object of this book. Attention is focused here on the Japanese Pure Land tradition, and in particular on Jōdo Shinshū, which though constituting one of the largest Buddhist denominations in Japan, is not so well known outside Japan. Shin Buddhism, seems to have been regarded as not useful in the presentation of Japanese culture through agendas affected by orientalist and occidentalist approaches which have instead privileged other traditions, above all, a form of Zen Buddhism which has been adapted, decontextualized, simplified, and thus made more suitable for its popularization in the 'West'. The chapter provides a brief overview of each chapter in this book.

Keywords: Jōdo Shinshū; Japanese Buddhism; Japanese culture; occidentalism; orientalism; pure land tradition; Shin Buddhism; Zen Buddhism

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