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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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Limitless Connections—Tōchōji

Limitless Connections—Tōchōji

(p.112) Chapter Four Limitless Connections—Tōchōji
Bonds of the Dead

Mark Michael Rowe

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on Tochoji in downtown Tokyo and arguably the most successful eternal memorial grave in Japan. When it first created its eternal memorial grave and burial society, En no Kai in 1996, Tochoji was already considered quite prosperous. Within eight years, En no Kai had approaching six thousand new members, and by 2008 it had sold out all of its ten thousand spots. Needless to say, such staggering numbers would have been impossible with traditional graves, particularly in central Tokyo, where any land, let alone that designated for graves, is at a premium. Located on three-quarters of an acre near the heart of Shinjuku, Tochoji is hardly representative of the nearly fifteen thousand Soto Zen temples spread across Japan. Established early in the Tokugawa era, this wealthy urban temple displays a fascinating mixture of traditional and modern imagery.

Keywords:   downtown tokyo, tochoji, eternal memorial grave, burial society, en no kai, traditional graves, shinjuku, soto zen temples

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