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Against HarmonyProgressive and Radical Buddhism in Modern Japan$
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James Mark Shields

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190664008

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190664008.001.0001

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Extremes Meet

Extremes Meet

Radical Buddhists of Early Shōwa

(p.203) 6 Extremes Meet
Against Harmony

James Mark Shields

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6, “Extremes Meet: Radical Buddhists of Early Shōwa,” examines the intellectual discussions on modernity of the 1930s, as well as the struggles of Buddhist leaders, priests, scholars, and laypeople to adjust to the rising tide of nationalism. The chapter focuses in particular on the Youth League for Revitalizing Buddhism (Shinkō Bukkyō Seinen Dōmei 新‎興‎仏‎教‎青‎年‎同‎盟‎), led by Nichiren Buddhist layman Seno’o Girō. The case of Seno’o is used to explore some of the problems and tensions inherent in “engaged Buddhism,” as well as the use of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren/Nichirenist ideas as a locus for progressive Buddhist politics. The chapter ends with a discussion of the life and work of Sano Manabu 佐‎野‎学‎ (1892–1953), a leader of the interwar communist movement who “converted” to the imperial cause while espousing an alternative form of Buddhist Marxism.

Keywords:   radicalism, Marxism, revolution, conversion, Nichiren sect, Lotus Sutra

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