Zen War Stories: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Zen War Stories

1st Edition

By Brian Victoria

Routledge

288 pages

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Description

Following the critically acclaimed Zen at War (1997), Brian Victoria explores the intimate relationship between Japanese institutional Buddhism and militarism during the Second World War.

Victoria reveals for the first time, through examination of the wartime writings of the Japanese military itself, that the Zen school's view of life and death was deliberately incorporated into the military's programme of 'spiritual education' in order to develop a fanatical military spirit in both soldiers and civilians.  Furthermore, that D. T. Suzuki, the most famous exponent of Zen in the West, is shown to have been a wartime proponent of this Zen-inspired viewpoint which enabled Japanese soldiers to leave for the battlefield already resigned to death.  Victoria takes us onto the naval battlefield in the company of warrior-monk and Rinzai Zen Master Nakajima Genjô.  We view the war in China through the eyes of a Buddhist military chaplain.  The book also examines the relationship to Buddhism of Japan's seven Class-A war criminals who were hung by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal in 1948.

A highly controversial study, this book will be of interest, first and foremost, to students of Zen as well as all those studying the history of this period, not to mention anyone concerned with the perennial question of the 'proper' relationship between religion and the state.

Reviews

'Victoria presents us with a carefully documented study.' - Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Table of Contents

Part I. The Zen Master Wept. Monks and Soldiers Move on their Stomachs. The Zen of Assassination. Oomori Sôgen - The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of Zen. Zen Master Dôgen Goes to War - The Militarist and Anti-Semitic Writings of Yasutani Haku'un. Carrying Zen to China Zen Selflessness' in Japanese Militarism. Part II. Buddhist War Bereavement. Confessions of a Buddhist Chaplain. Buddhism - The Last Refuge of War Criminals. Buddhism - A Top Secret Religion in Wartime Japan. Epilogue. Works Cited. Index

About the Author

Brian Daizen Victoria holds a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Soto Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University. Brian entered the Soto Zen priesthood in 1964 and. following training at Daihonzan Eiheiji, pursued graduate studies in Buddhism at Soto Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo. At present, Brian is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Asian Studies at the University of Adelaide in South Australia

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism is a comprehensive study of the Buddhist tradition. The series explores this complex and extensive tradition from a variety of perspectives, using a range of different methodologies. The series is diverse in its focus, including historical, philological, cultural, and sociological investigations into the manifold features and expressions of Buddhism worldwide. It also presents works of constructive and reflective analysis, including the role of Buddhist thought and scholarship in a contemporary, critical context and in the light of current social issues. The series is expansive and imaginative in scope, spanning more than two and a half millennia of Buddhist history. It is receptive to all research works that are of significance and interest to the broader field of Buddhist Studies.

Some of the titles in the series are published in association with the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, which conducts and promotes rigorous teaching and research into all forms of the Buddhist tradition.

Editorial Advisory Board:
James A. Benn, McMaster University, Canada

Jinhua Chen, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Rupert Gethin, University of Bristol, UK

Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland, UK

Sallie King, James Madison University, USA

Anne Klein, Rice University, USA

Lori Meeks, University of Southern California, USA;

Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

John Powers, Australian National University, Australia;

Juliane Schober, Arizona State University, USA

Vesna A. Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Michael Zimmermann, University of Hamburg, Germany

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS027000
HISTORY / Military / General
PHI025000
PHILOSOPHY / Zen
REL092000
RELIGION / Buddhism / Zen (see also PHILOSOPHY / Zen)
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General