Position: Graduate Students Email: email@example.com Areas: Asian Religions
Jolyon Baraka Thomas is a PhD candidate in the Asian religions subfield who specializes in modern Japanese religious history and the place of religion in contemporary Japanese society. His current research focuses on religion-state relations, with specific emphasis on religious freedom as a facet of domestic policy and international relations. Jolyon's dissertation argues that religious freedom first began to be understood as a universal "human right" in the unique transnational circumstances of the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945-1952); it traces the repercussions of that unprecedented interpretation in mainstream understandings of prewar Japanese religious history and its heretofore overlooked influence on the field of religious studies more broadly. Jolyon has also published extensively on religion and media in Japan, with emphasis on the popular and globally influential media of manga (illustrated serial novels) and anime (animated films). His book, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, examines the production and consumption of manga and anime in order to advance an argument about how the category of religion can be defined and applied in light of deep ambivalence about the position of religious traditions in Japanese society. Jolyon has earned several fellowships and awards while at Princeton, including the Mrs. Giles Whiting Fellowship, a Fulbright-IIE doctoral research fellowship, and a teaching award from the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni. He is active in the field as a member of scholarly associations in both the United States and Japan; he also serves as book review editor for the HNet scholarly community devoted to the study of Japanese religions, H-Shukyo.
Jolyon's website is the best place to find up-to-date information about his research.
Forthcoming "The Concept of Religion in Modern Japan: Imposition, Invention, or Innovation? (a comparative review of Hoshino Seiji, Kindai Nihon no shūkyō gainen: shūkyōsha no kotoba to kindai and Jason Ananda Josephson, The Invention of Religion in Japan). Religious Studies in Japan 2 (forthcoming Winter 2013/2014).
2012 Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
2012 "Horrific 'Cults' and Comic Religion: Manga after Aum." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39(1): 127-151.
2007 "Shūkyō Asobi and Miyazaki Hayao's Anime." Nova Religio 10(3): 73-95.