International Institute for the Study of Religions

Religious Information Research Center

Religious Articles Select 5 (Mar 2006 - May 2006)

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

The religious awareness project of the Japanese Association for the Study of Religion and Society and the project of the Institute for the Study of Japanese Culture and Classics at Kokugakuin University announced the results of the jointly conducted survey on religious awareness among Japanese and Korean students. Among the results were the differences in attitudes regarding prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

As part of the anniversary celebrations of the 70th year since the founding of Shinnyo-en and the 100th anniversary of the birth of founder Itō Shinjō, the group constructed the Kōmyō Yūshō no Sha ōgen'in in Tachikawa City, Tokyo Prefecture, and a ceremony for the construction (rakkei hōyō) was conducted from March 25 until May.

April 29
Theravada monks from Sri Lanka and Myanmar conducted the first Theravada Buddhist ordination ceremony conducted in Japan at the Sōtō-shū Unryūji auxiliary temple and the independent Zen temple Zentōin.

May 3
From May 3-5, the Japanese Biblical Society held the "International Biblical Forum 2006" in Tokyo in order to "publicize the successes of the world's highest level research." A total of about 2,000 people participated in 31 seminars designed to reconsider the Bible from the three perspectives of "Biblical studies," "Biblical translation," and "the Church and society."

May 12
Welcoming the recipient group of the 23rd Niwano Peace Prize, the Israeli Jewish religious leaders' group "Rabbis for Human Rights," a symposium entitled "New Challenges for Religious People: The Pacifist Thought of Judaism" was held at the Rissho Kōseikai Kyoto Fumonkan.

From Domestic News Sources

March 27
In the appeal trial for defendant Matsumoto Chizuo, the former leader of Aum Shinrikyō who received the death penalty in the initial trial for the subway sarin gas incident, the Tokyo high court dismissed the appeal based upon the fact that an appeal prospectus had not been filed, and that the defendant had sufficient ability to appear in court.

April 1
In anticipation of the shikinen sengū (reconstruction of the Ise Shrines conducted every 20 years) scheduled for 2013, the initiating ceremony "okihiki gyōji," wherein the materials are carried to the shrines over the course of two years, took place at the Commerce and Industry Guild Headquarters in Ise City, Mie Prefecture. Also, on April 21 the Ise Jingū Shikinen Sengū Hōsankai (Society for the Periodic Reconstruction of the Grand Shrines of Ise) officially received permission to establish itself as a foundation from the Minister of Education.

April 26
The Research Division of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare announced the results of the study it administered to physicians at the 31 hospitals equipped to do organ transplants regarding whether brain death is an appropriate determinant of death (7456 medical professionals responded). 39% of physicians indicated that brain death is an "appropriate" measure of death, 15% said it was "inappropriate," and 47% either did not answer or answered "I don't know."

May 18
The "One Mountain Conference" was held at Enryaku-ji on Hieizan regarding the service (hōyō) held on April 21 for the successive leader of the designated underworld Yamaguchi Family; all seven officiants assumed responsibility and resigned due to participating in an "imprudent act."

May 20
The movie The DaVinci Code, which suggests that Jesus Christ had a wife and children, began screening at 863 theatres throughout Japan. Surpassing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the movie became the largest-scale screening in history, and mobilized 490,000 people and took in a record 660,000,000 yen in its first day of screening alone.

From Foreign News Sources

March 6
The Bureau of Religion in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, allowed the registration of three Christian churches (The Vietnam Methodist Church, The Grace Baptist Church, The Seventh Day Adventist Church).

March 6
In response to a Sikh lawsuit demanding the dismissal of a notice by France's Ministry of Transportation that driver's licenses with photos wherein the subject is wearing a turban cannot be used, the State Department dismissed the suit, stating that "the notice is legal because it was made in order to limit forgery."

March 7
20 people died in a series of bomb blasts at a train station and the Sankatomochan Temple in the sacred Hindu area of Varanasi. The temple is a famous temple to Hanuman, and at the time of the blast a large number of people were visiting for worship services.

April 13
From April 13 to 16 in China's Hangzhou City (Zhejiang Province), for the first time since the founding of the country the international conference "World Buddhism Forum" took place, and Gyancain Norbu, the boy the Chinese government has acknowledged as Tibetan Buddhism's second bodhisattva incarnate, the "11th Panchen Lama," attended.

April 24
Iranian President Ahmadinejad allowed men to attend soccer matches accompanied by wives and their families. However, with resistance from religious leaders, the decision was overturned.

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