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In the Ruins of the Japanese EmpireImperial Violence, State Destruction, and the Reordering of Modern East Asia$
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Barak Kushner and Andrew Levidis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528288

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528288.001.0001

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Diplomatic Salvation: Buddhist Exchanges and Sino-Japanese Rapprochement

Diplomatic Salvation: Buddhist Exchanges and Sino-Japanese Rapprochement

(p.187) 8 Diplomatic Salvation: Buddhist Exchanges and Sino-Japanese Rapprochement
In the Ruins of the Japanese Empire

Lauren Richardson

Gregory Adam Scott

Hong Kong University Press

Beginning in the ruins of Buddhist sacred sites in China, Richardson and Scott unearths the reconstruction of post-imperial Sino-Japanese relations through the history of Buddhist exchanges. Building on important new trends in the diplomatic history of early Cold War East Asia, Richardson and Scott move well beyond the focus on Japan-PRC economic relations to minkan religious networks which tied Japan and China throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In so doing this chapter sheds light on the central role of temple priests and religious groups such as Jōdō shinshū and Sōka gakkai, illustrating how Buddhism and religion were pragmatically deployed to bypass official obstacles to bilateral relations. Ultimately, this chapter deepens our understanding of how Buddhist religious and cultural heritages were mobilized to build trust and cooperation beyond the violence of imperial wars. In memorializing war dead, and in returning the remains of forced laborers, religious leaders played an important role in normalizing relations between Japan and the PRC.

Keywords:   Diplomatic History, Sino-Japanese relations, Buddhism, Religion

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