Shinra Myojin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian “Mediterranean” (University of Hawaii Press, 2020) is a fascinating study of the transcultural underpinnings of Medieval East Asian Buddhist traditions with an emphasis on Shinra Myōjin, a deity integral to the institutional development of the Medieval Japanese Tendai faction, the Jimon. It demonstrates the linkage between continental Buddhist Culture and Buddhism in Medieval Japan through the intersectionality of various subjective and objective actors such as, traveling monks from Japan bound for China, merchants and other immigrants from the Korean peninsula, archetypal old man and pestilence deities, as well as medieval Japanese aristocrats and Shugendō practitioners in the theoretical space of the East Asian Mediterranean. For those interested in transcultural Buddhist studies, Tendai Buddhism, and the diffusion of Buddhism in East Asia, this interview with Sujung Kim, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePauw University should be an enjoyable and insightful listen.
Trevor McManis is a recent graduate of the Geography Program at California State University, Stanislaus, and an aspiring Buddhist Studies Scholar. His research interests include Buddhist material and intellectual culture in Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.