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Assoc/Prof Elisabetta Porcu

Elisabetta Porcu was born in Cagliari, Italy. She has studied in Italy, India, and Germany, where she earned her PhD in religious studies (2006). She worked in several universities in Japan (2004-2010) and taught Japanese religions at the University of Leipzig (2010-2014). She has been Visiting Research Scholar at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto (2013-2014), Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Hawaii (2013) and undertook extensive fieldwork in Japan (2004-2014). She is currently writing a book on Japanese religions and popular culture and conducting a research on the Gion Festival in Kyoto. She is the founding editor and co-editor of the Journal of Religion in Japan (Brill). Her research interests include: Japanese religions; Japanese Buddhism; Pure Land Buddhism; Japanese religions, culture, media and consumerism; and the religious and the secular at the community level.





Japanese Religions, Popular Culture and the Media (in preparation).


Pure Land Buddhism in Modern Japanese Culture. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2008.


(co-author). Il bodhisattva Kannon nel Buddhismo giapponese. [The bodhisattva Kannon in Japanese Buddhism], Cosenza: Giordano editore, 2007.



Articles in journals and book chapters


“Down-to-Earth Zen: Zen Buddhism in Japanese Manga and Movies.” Journal of Global Buddhism 16 (2015):37-50.


“The Religious-Secular Divide at the Community Level in Contemporary Japan.” In: Marian Burchardt, Monika Wohlrab-Sahr and Matthias Middell (eds.). Multiple Secularities Beyond the West: Religion and Modernity in the Global Age. Boston and Berlin: deGruyter (2015), pp. 167-186.


“Pop Religion in Japan: Buddhist Temples, Icons and Branding.” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 26/2 (2014): 157-172.


“Religion and the State in Contemporary Japan.” In Religion and Politics: European and Global Perspectives. Johann Arnason and Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2014), pp. 168-182.


“Staging Zen Buddhism: Image Creation in Contemporary Films.” Contemporary Buddhism 15/1 (2014): 81-96. and


“Sacred Spaces Reloaded: New Trends in Shintō.” In Matthias Middell (ed.). Self-Reflexive Area Studies. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag (2013), pp. 279-294.


Observations on the Blurring of the Religious and the Secular in a Japanese Urban Setting.” Journal of Religion in Japan 1/1 (2012): 83-106.

[Observations on the Blurring of the Religious and the Secular in a Japanese Urban Setting” is currently under translation into Japanese by request of the 21st Century Center for Excellence Program at Kokugakuin University, Tokyo]


“On- and Off-line Representations of Japanese Buddhism: Reflections on a Multifaceted Religious Tradition.” In Pacific World 32/1 (2010): 91-107.


“Speaking through the Media: Shin Buddhism, Popular Culture, and the Internet.” In The Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism, Ugo Dessì (ed.). Leiden, Boston: Brill (2010), pp. 209-239.


“Gendai Shakai ni okeru nihon shūkyō to media” 現代社会における日本宗教とメディア (Japanese Religions and Media in Contemporary Society). In Shūkyō Kenkyū 宗教研究 83/4 (2010): 342-343.


“Anniversaries, Founders, Slogans, and Visual Media in Shin Buddhism.” In Japanese Religions 34/1 (2009): 53-73.


“Glimpses of the Pure Land in Wartime Italy.” In The Pure Land ns 25 (2009): 71-86.


Jōdo Shinshū ni okeru gyōji to shūha no jiko hyōshō 浄土真宗における行事と宗派の自己表象 (Religious Events and Self-Representations in Shin Buddhism). In Shūkyō Kenkyū 宗教研究 82/4 (2009): 337-338.


“Jōdo Shinshū no gendaitekina hyōshō” 浄土真宗の現代的な表象 (Modern Representations of Jōdo Shinshū). In Bukkyō Bunka Kenkyūjo Kiyō 仏教文化研究所紀要 47 (2008): 109-119.


“Aesthetics and Art in Modern Pure Land Buddhism.” In Japanese Religions 32/1-2 (2007): 53-68.


“Shin Buddhism and Japanese Culture.” In The Pure Land ns 22 (2006): 93-101.


Edited journals


Journal of Religion in Japan 4/1 (February 2015).

Journal of Religion in Japan

Journal of Religion in Japan 3/2&3 (June 2014)

Journal of Religion in Japan 3/1 (February 2014).

Journal of Religion in Japan 2/2&3 (December 2013). Special issue: Buddhism and the Performing Arts (Geinō).

Journal of Religion in Japan 2/1 (March 2013).

Journal of Religion in Japan 1/ 3 (December 2012).

Journal of Religion in Japan 1/ 2 (June 2012).

Journal of Religion in Japan 1/1. (March 2012). Special issue: Religion and the Secular in Japan.

Japanese Religions 35/1&2 (Spring & Fall 2010)

Japanese Religions 34/1 (January 2009).

Japanese Religions 34/2 (July 2009).


Translations (selected)

Simone Heidegger. “Shin Buddhism and Gender: The Discourse on Gender Discrimination and Related Reforms.” In The Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism, U. Dessì (ed.). Leiden, Boston: Brill (2010), pp. 165-208.

Minowa Kenryō, “The Movement for the Revival of the Precepts by the Ritsu School in Medieval Japan.” In The Eastern Buddhist 29/2 (2009): 125-158.


(with U. Dessì). Kannongyō [I versi del Sūtra di Kannon], in: Dessì et al., Il bodhisattva Kannon nel Buddhismo giapponese, 29-33. Cosenza: Giordano Editore, 2007.


(with U. Dessì). Hannya shingyō [Il Sūtra del Cuore della Prajñāpāramitā], in: Dessì, et al., Il bodhisattva Kannon nel Buddhismo giapponese, 43-44. Cosenza: Giordano Editore, 2007.




Book reviews


"Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Contemporary Japanese Buddhism." A review of Nelson, John K.

        Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013. In

        H-Shukyo, H-Net Reviews (2015).  

Ishii Kenji (ed.), Shintō wa doko ni iku ka. Tokyo: Perikansha, 2010; and Shibuya no kamigami, Tokyo: Yuzankaku, 2013. In Religious Studies in Japan 2 (2014): 65-70. 


Prohl, Inken and John Nelson (eds.). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Leiden: Brill, 2012. In Religioni e Società 76 (2013): 109-110.


Fisker-Nielsen, Anne Mette. Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito. London and New York: Routledge, 2012. In Journal of Religion in Japan 1/3 (2012): 253-258.


Baffelli Erica, Ian Reader and Birgit Staemmler (eds.). Japanese Religions on the Internet: Innovation, Representation and Authority. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2011. In Journal of Religion in Japan 1/2 (June 2012): 189-193.


Pye Michael, and Triplett Katja. Streben nach Glück: Schicksalsdeutung und Lebensgestaltung in japanischen Religionen. Mit Beiträge von Monika Schrimpf. Berlin: LIT-Verlag, 2007. In Japanese Religions 34/1 (2009): 101-104.


Triplett Katja. Menschenopfer und Selbstopfer in den japanischen Legenden: Das Frankfurter Manuskript der Matsura Sayohime-Legende. Münster: LIT-Verlag, 2004. In: Japanese Religions 33/1-2 (2008): 148-151.


Heidegger, Simone. Buddhismus, Geschlechterverhältnis und Diskriminierung: Die gegenwärtige Diskussion im Shin-Buddhismus Japans. Münster, Berlin: LIT-Verlag, 2006. In: Japanese Religions 32/1-2 (2007): 119-121.


Rocha, Cristina. Zen in Brazil: The Quest for Cosmopolitan Modernity. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006. In: The Eastern Buddhist ns 38/1-2 (2007): 226-229.


Blum, Mark L., and Yasutomi, Shin’ya (eds.). Rennyo and the Roots of Modern Japanese Buddhism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. In Japanese Religions, 31/2 (July 2006): 213-216.


Snodgrass, Judith. Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism and the Columbian Exposition. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. In The Eastern Buddhist ns 36/1-2 (2004): 232-236.


Morris, Kent H., The Historical Development and Contemporary Perspective of the Japanese Urasenke Way of Tea as Practiced in California, The Edwin Mellen Press, 2003 in: “Marburg Journal of Religion” 9/1 (September 2004).




“My Encounter with the Gion Matsuri and my Ensuing Research.” Nichibunken Newsletter 89 (2014).

“Japanese Studies and Area Studies at the University of Leipzig.” Sekai no nihon kenkyū/Japanese Studies around the World 2014 (2015: 31-35.

“Yōroppa no tagengoteki apurōchi: Fukusū gengo no hazama kara Nihon to shūkyōgaku o kangaeru.Nichibunken  53 (2014): 10-14.