International Institute for the Study of Religions

Religious Information Research Center

Religious Articles Select 5 (Nov 2004 - Feb 2005)

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 Publications

November 11-20, 2004
The consecration of Buddhas at Shinnyoen's under-construction Taiwanese headquarters, located in Taipei, was held. This is Shinyoen's first overseas base of operations in which the threefold circle-bodies of the Buddha - the Buddha entering Parinirvana, the 11-faced Avalokitesvra, and Acala Eare all represented.

November 30- December 2, 2004
The second World Buddhist Summit, which was dedicated to fostering world peace, was held in Lumbini, Nepal.

January 1, 2005
The non-profit International Shinto Foundation elected Sonoda Minoru, head priest of Chichibu Shrine, as it's new chairperson. Fukami Toshu, head of Worldmate, abdicated his current position as both director and vice-chair. Umeda Yoshimi continued his position as Director General.

January 3, 2005
According to the National Police Agency the number of visitors to shrines and temples over the three-day New Year's period was 89, 660,000, an increase of 770,000 over last year. Further, as a series of counterfeit currency incidents have been occurring throughout the nation, many shrines and temples were busy taking various countermeasures.

February 22, 2005
Germany's Dr. Hans Kung, a Catholic theologian and chair of the Global Ethic Foundation, was selected as recipient of the 22nd Niwano Peace Prize.

From Domestic News Sources

January 1, 2005
In preparation for the 62nd reconstruction of the Ise Shrine, which will occur later this year, the Shrine Reconstruction Department was created inside the shrine compound, located in Ise, Mie Prefecture. The general director of the agency is main shrine priest Kitashirakawa Michihisa.

January 2, 2005
A head member of the group Aleph (formerly Aum Shinrikyo) and resident of Tokyo's Adachi Ward died in a training ritual in which one submerges themselves in extremely hot water for prolonged periods of time. The group has announced that they will permanently ban this practice in the future.

January 26, 2005
Crown Princess Takamatsu died of blood poisoning (septicemia) at Tokyo's St. Luke's International Hospital. She was 92.?The main funeral ceremonies, attended by the Emperor and Empress, the Imperial family, Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, and some other 570 dignitaries, were held at the Imperial Household Agency's Toshimagaoka Cemetary. 1370 members of the general public also attended and paid their last respects.

January 28, 2005
Judge Nishi Kazuto of the Okinawa District Court turned down a lawsuit by plaintiffs composed of families of the bereaved of those who died in the Battle of Okinawa. The plaintiffs, who demanded compensation of 100,000 yen per person, were suing Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro and the Japanese government based on the fact that they believed his visits to Yasukuni Shrine were in violation of the constitutional separation of religion and state.

January 19, 2005
According to the results of a survey released by the Prime Minister's Cabinet, more than 84.1% of Japanese accept capital punishment. This is the first time that this figure has gone above 80%. The survey was conducted in December 2004, and had a sample group of 3000 men and women over the age of 20.

From Foreign News Sources

December 3-5, 2004
The Biswa Ijtema (World Congregation of Muslims) was held in Tongi, Bangladesh. Over 300-million Muslims attended.

December 19, 2004
Comprehensive laws known as the "Religious Affairs Provisions" were announced in the People's Daily today. Although the provisions recognize “religious freedom,Ethey simultaneously clarify that the government can be active in being involved in intervening with religious groups and also emphasize that Chinese religious groups should function without influence from foreign religious bodies.

December 30, 2004
Elections to decide the interim Iraqi government were held, and results were reported the same day. The Shia majority won an overwhelming number of positions. More than 60% of the population voted.

January 21, 2005
The Danish Supreme Court ruled that a supermarket which fired a female Muslim employee for wearing a head scarf while at work was acting within it's legal jurisdiction.

January 25, 2005
More than 200 people were killed and nearly 100 injured when pilgrims rushed into the Hindu Mandher Devi temple in Wai, India. More than 300,000 pilgrims had been attending the festivities when the incident occurred.

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