SOAS University of London

Centre of Buddhist Studies

Mutual Strangers Sino-Japanese encounters in Buddhism at the end of the 19th century

Prof. Chen Jidong (Aoyamagakin University)

Date: 8 February 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 8 February 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: SALT (Alumni Lecture Theatre)

Type of Event: Lecture


Throughout their long history, the varieties of Buddhism in China and Japan have been seen as sharing a common origin and holding identical teachings. However, in the modern period, their mutual differences have been gradually recognized, until it has become apparent that they bear little resemblance to each other. These differences are not limited to traditional forms and doctrines, but are closely related to the formation of distinctive Buddhist national identities in modern times. Understanding the shift from the view of a common Buddhism in China and Japan to one in which the two countries were ‘others’ is crucial for any discussion of Buddhist modernity in East Asia. This paper will explore the issue by looking at the figure of Ogurusu Kōchō 小栗栖香頂 (1831–1905), a pioneer in spreading the teachings of the True Pure Land School (Jōdo Shinshū 浄土真宗) in China.


Jidong Chen is Professor at Aoyamagakuin University (Tokyo,Japan). He holds a PhD from the University of Tokyo (1999). His research interests cover the history of Ming and Qing dynasty’s Chinese religions, modern Chinese intellectual history and Sino-Japanese cultural interactions. He has published two books, Shin matsu Bukkyō no kenkyū: Yangwenhui wo chūshin toshite, 『清末仏教の研究:楊文会を中心として』(Sankibo, Tokyo, 2003) and Ogurusu Kochō no Shin matsu Chūgoku taiken: Kindai Nitchū Bukkyō kōryū no kaitan『小栗栖香頂の清末中国体験: 近代日中仏教交流の開端』(Sankibo, Tokyo, 2016) and several articles, including two in English in The Eastern Buddhist. He currently is a visiting scholar at the Oriental Institute, Oxford University, working on two different projects: Meiji-period contacts between Japanese and Chinese Buddhists and the belief in the Buddhist deity Budai in East Asia.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies & Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions

Contact email: