International Institute for the Study of Religions

Religious Information Research Center

Religious Articles Select 5 (Mar 2004 - May 2004)

About these articles

"Religious Articles Select 5" is the contents that introduce the Religious News Digest in Japan. All articles are picked up by Prof. Nobutaka Inoue who is the chief of RIRC, and selceted from the last "RIRC REPORT"; the publication for our members by the seasons.

Articles of the Past

From Specialized News Sources

March 10, 2004
A special commemoration ceremony for chickens that were killed as part of a countermeasure against the outbreak of avian influenza was held at the "memorial mound for chickens" of the Benten Hall inside Kanei Temple, a temple affiliated with the Tendai school of Japanese Buddhism. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Tokyo Chicken Union. Numerous other commemorative monuments, including a memorial mound for blowfish, are also located on the grounds of the Benten Hall.

March 28, 2004
The Japan Muslim Association under its president, Tokumasu Kimiaki, celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation with a banquet at a hotel in Tokyo. The association was founded by the relatively small number of Japanese Muslims.

March 30, 2004
The board of directors of the Japan Buddhist Federation brought up the possibility of not further recommending political candidates who ask voters to give their secondary (party list) vote to the New Komei party in national elections.

May 8, 2004
Meiji Jingu released an announcement on the shrine grounds declaring its separation from the Association of Shinto Shrines, and notified the Association of the decision. The administration of Meiji Jingu gave issues relating to the future management of the shrine as the reason for the move, although details remain to be clarified. In response, the Association of Shinto Shrines issued at its regular council meeting on the 19th a resolution asking Meiji Jingu to reconsider its decision and Association representatives also met with Meiji Jingu head priest Toyama Katsushi.

May17-19, 2004
The Second Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The approximately 350 participants hailed from 68 countries and included representatives of Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha`i, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Sectarian Shinto. The inauguration address was given by Rev. Miyamoto Takeyasu, president of the Arigatou Fundation and Leader of Myochikai.

From Domestic News Sources

March 31, 2004
The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education reprimanded 171 municipal teaching staff for failing to comply with the notification of October last year concerning the use of the national flag (Hinomaru) and the national anthem (Kimigayo) at graduation ceremonies in March and canceled the up-coming contract renewal of 5 part-time lecturers

March, 2004
The Japan Stone Industrial Association, a nationwide organization of stone dealers, introduced in February a two-level examination for so-called 'grave directors' to train personnel "able to convey correct knowledge relating to graves to consumers and give appropriate support in these matters." As of March, it has been learned that 2,496 persons have acquired this qualification. The pass rate was 98.6%, and the average age of the successful candidates was 41.83 years old.

April 27, 2004
Kubo Tsugunari, former president of Reiyukai, who had declared his resignation from the post of president in 1993, but one-sidedly announced his comeback as president in 1996, had filed a lawsuit against Reiyukai to officially reinstall him as president. However, the Supreme Court decided to reject Mr. Kubo's appeal. This means that Reiyukai has won the lawsuit and Mr. Kubo will henceforth not be permitted to use the title President of Reiyukai.

April 28, 2004
The physician Yamaura Harutsugu of Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, presented Pope John Paul II with a translation of the Gospel in the Kesen dialect of the Kesen coastal district of northern Japan`s Sanriku region during an audience on occasion of his visit to the Vatican. He explained that as Jesus grew up in the countryside of Galilee, he certainly spoke in dialect. Therefore, according to Mr. Yamaura, a translation in dialect is very appropriate.

May, 2004
The third daughter of the founder of Aum Shinrikyo, Asahara Shoko (real name: Matsumoto Chizuo), who is currently under persecution for various crimes, was denied enrollment by Wako University, Musashino University and Bunkyo University, despite having passed the entrance examinations in March and completed all entrance formalities. The daughter objected to the rejection and filed a provisional complaint with the Tokyo District Court asking for her status as student to be protected, and the District Court decided to recognize her student status. Bunkyo University has accepted the court ruling and approved of her enrollment in May.

From Foreign News Sources

March 3, 2004
A law banning the wearing of Islamic scarves (hejab) at public elementary, middle and high schools passed the French National Legislature. The law will come into effect from September 2004 onwards.

March 5, 2004
The Methodist Church released advertisements searching for "Webpastors" to administer to the virtual congregation of their online church. The site features online sermons and prayers.

March 22, 2004
The founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic Fundamentalist organization Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, was killed in a missile strike by a Israeli helicopter gunship in Gaza. On April 16, Abdul Aziz Rantisi, co-founder of Hamas, and successor to Sheikh Yasin, was likewise killed in an Israeli missile strike

May 2, 2004
According to members of the Red Cross, ethnic strife that has broken out between the Christian Tarok and the Muslim Fulbe ethnic groups in the city of Yelva in central Nigeria, has claimed at least 630 lives. It is believed that the current clashes have been triggered by a combination of religious tensions and a struggle over land between the farming Tarok and pastoral Fulbe.

May 8, 2004
The formation of the United Iraqi Scholars Group as an ecumenical organization of cooperation between Sunnis and Shias was announced in Bagdhad.

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