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Bonds of the DeadTemples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism$
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Mark Michael Rowe

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226730134

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226730165.001.0001

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Challenging the Status Quo—Myōkōji

Challenging the Status Quo—Myōkōji

(p.69) Chapter Three Challenging the Status Quo—Myōkōji
Bonds of the Dead

Mark Michael Rowe

University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses two sets of important issues, as presented by the Asahi article and Ogawa's fax. The first concerns societal aspects of eternal memorial graves such as lack of grave space, changing family and social structures, and the relation between gender and burial. It is demonstrated here that the ways this new burial technology serves to counter muen by creating new types of bonds also can be used ritually to sever traditional bonds. The second concerns issues confronting temple Buddhism, specifically the need for innovative burial systems in the face of new social realities. In response, Ogawa offers a critique of the obligatory nature of religious affiliation and a staunch belief that fundamentally rethinking the traditional parishioner system is the only way to save his temple. The Asahi article set in motion events that began a nationwide discussion of the postwar fissures between traditional grave ideals and modern family realities.

Keywords:   eternal memorial graves, asahi article, ogawa's fax, burial technology, muen, temple buddhism, burial systems

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