1st Edition

Buddhist Exchanges Between India and Japan Japanese Buddhists Encountering India and Modern Buddhist Studies

Edited By Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya, Togawa Masahiko Copyright 2025
    294 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book examines the role of Buddhism in India–Japan relations through three approaches.

     First, it studies the history of interactions between India and Japan, especially through Buddhist pilgrimages from Japan to India and how it has influenced both Japanese and Indian Buddhism, particularly the Buddhist revival movements and the development of Buddhist sacred sites, such as Bodhgaya, in India. Second, it analyses the ideological implications of these Buddhist interactions between Japan and India by focusing on the role of Japanese monks and scholars as agents of Buddhist encounters between the two countries, and their contribution towards Buddhist scholarship in Japan, and the development of ideologies such as Buddhist nationalism or Pan-Asianism in India, Japan as well as in other Asian countries. Finally, it highlights how these historic Buddhist linkages between India and Japan has led to transnational collaborations between Buddhists / Buddhist organizations as well as the governments of the two countries, and the use of Buddhist heritage as a soft power in the diplomatic relations between India and Japan.

    Drawing on inter-disciplinary studies, the essays in the volume will be of interest to scholars in history, heritage studies, religious studies, especially Buddhist studies, international relations, and Asian studies.

    Introduction: Narratives in Buddhist Exchanges between India and Japan

    Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya

    Introduction: Japanese Buddhists Encountering India and Modern Buddhist Studies

    Togawa Masahiko

    1. Bodhisena and the Consecration of the Great Buddha: “India” in the History of Japanese Culture                                                

    Kojima Yasuko

    2. Longing for India: Japanese Buddhists and India                         

    Minowa Kenryo

    3. Following the Footsteps of Shakyamuni: Nanjō Bun’yū’s Journey to India

    Paride Stortini

    4. A Trajectory of the Literary Work by Kimura Nichiki: Indo-Japanese Relationship in 20th Century Bengal

    Sumit Kumar Barua

    5. From Bongaku (梵学) to Indo Tetsugaku (印度哲学): Indology at Japanese Public Universities from the Meiji to the Taishō Eras

    Thomas Newhall

    6. Shaku Kōzen and Japanese Buddhists in the Revival of the Bodh Gaya Temple

    Okuyama Naoji

    7. The Bodh Gaya Restoration Movement by Anagarika Dharmapala and the Japanese Buddhists

    Togawa Masahiko

    8. Ōtani Kozui and India: Seeking the Origin of the Eastward Spread of Buddhism

    Nohnin Masaaki

    9. Japanese Engagement with Tibetan and Indian Buddhism: Kawaguchi Ekai

    M N Rajesh

    10. The Prajna Paramita Conference Revisited: Japan–India Cultural Interactions at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

    Okamoto Yoshiko

    11. “Proselytizing in the “Western Paradise”: India in the making of Fuji Nichidatsu and Nipponzan Myohoji

    Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya

    12. The Monks Between Japan and India: Buddhist Conversion Movements in India and the Buddhists of Japan

    Funahashi Kenta

    13. “The Road by Which Buddhism Came”: Buddhist Diplomacy of Japan, India and China

    Bessho Yusuke



    Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya is Professor of Japanese Studies in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Delhi. She holds a doctoral degree in Religious Studies from the University of Tokyo, Japan. She previously worked as an Associate Professor at the Nagoya City University and was a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto.

    Togawa Masahiko is Professor of Cultural Anthropology of South Asia, and Comparative Studies of Religion at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA) in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS). He graduated from Keio University, Japan, and studied at Calcutta University, North Bengal University, and Visva-Bharati University in India from 1992-1997, conducting live-in fieldwork within a village in Bengal, and compiled an ethnography on ritual practices and inter-caste relations.