Shinran and His Work

Shinran and His Work

Arthur Lloyd

The Reverend Arthur Lloyd spent many years in Japan as a missionary and scholar. He extensively studied the Pure Land school of Buddhism, particularly the Shinshu sect founded by Shinran Shonen. This book centers around Lloyd’s translation of the ‘Shoshinge’ or Hymn of True Faith, followed by extended commentary on the text…

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Genji Monogatari

Genji Monogatari

Murasaki Shikibu

Genji Monogatari, or the Tale of Genji, is a classic work of Japanese fiction from the tenth century. Written by a noblewoman, Lady Murasaki, Genji is a milestone in world literature. It is a gateway into the courtly life of 10th century feudal Japan, during the Heian period. It has been called the first novel, and the writer, Lady…

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Japanese Household Magic

Japanese Household Magic

W. L. Hildburgh

The fabric of this minor magic is, in Japan, of surprising extent, for there are special ceremonies or formulae or amulets to fit all sorts of extraordinary occasions as well as all the ordinary happenings of daily life. The methods for securing a certain desired result are, however, far from being the same in all parts of the country, or even in all parts of the main island, and comparatively few, I think (though I may not speak with…

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The Creed of Half Japan

The Creed of Half Japan

Arthur Lloyd

This is a scholarly study of the evolution of Mahayana Buddhism in Japan. Chapters include; Mahāyāna; The Stage on which S’akyamuni made his Appearance; The Buddha and his Greatest Disciple; The Pre-Christian Expansion of Buddhism; Pusityamitra; The New Testament in Touch with the East; Alexandria and Antioch at the Time of Christ…

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Bushido, The Soul of Japan

Bushido, The Soul of Japan

Inazo Nitobe

Bushido: The Soul of Japan written by Inazo Nitobe is, along with the classic text Hagakure by Tsunetomo Yamamoto, a study of the way of the samurai. A best-seller in its day, it was read by many influential foreigners, among them President Theodore Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy and Robert Baden-Powell. It may well have shaped Baden-Powell’s ideas on the Boy Scout movement he founded.

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The Gist of Japan

The Gist of Japan

R. B. Peery

Roughly the first half of this book is actually about Japan; the people, the religions, the way of life, etc. Then the second half turns into some kind of manual for Christian missionaries, with chapters on overcoming the problems of building churches, qualifications needed to be a missionary and a brief history of the missions in Japan.

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The Religion of the Samurai

The Religion of the Samurai

Kaiten Nukariya

Kaiten Nukariya’s 1913 Religion of the Samurai focuses on Northern (Mahayana) Buddhism, and Zen Buddhism in particular. This short book contains a wealth of detail, as well as very lucid explanations of seemingly elusive Zen Buddhist concepts. It includes a text on the ‘Origin of Man’ by Kwei Fung Tsung Mih, a notable Chinese scholar who was the seventh Patriarch of the Kegon sect. With extensive footnotes.

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Yukara, Epos of the Ainus

Yukara, Epos of the Ainus

Kiyoko Miura

The Ainu are Japans’ largest ethnic minority. They are known for Shamanistic beliefs and practises which are considered part of the Siberian tradition. Shamanism is probably one of the sources of Shinto, the indigenous religion of the ethnic Japanese. This book contains the Yukara. The “yukara” in the Ainu language means the singing voice, and the book has several stories told in prose.

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The Miscellany of a Japanese Priest

The Miscellany of a Japanese Priest

William N. Porter

From the Introduction: ‘Many are the books written on Japan and the Japanese. They are mostly written by those travellers who went out to Japan on a longer or shorter visit, and who, as the Japanese say, ‘travelled like dumb men.’ But few, few are the books which try to introduce to the West the beautiful products of the Japanese mind.’

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A Hundred Verses from Old Japan

A Hundred Verses from Old Japan

William N. Porter

Each poem is illustrated in this edition with an 18th century Japanese woodcut. This is a collection of 100 specimens of Japanese Tanka poetry collected in the 13th Century C.E., with some of the poems dating back to the 7th Centry. These little gems are on themes such as nature, the round of the seasons, the impermanence of life, and the…

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Principal Teachings of the True Sect of Pure Land

Principal Teachings of the True Sect of Pure Land

Yejitsu Okusa

This is a short book about the Pure Land Sect of Buddhism, specifically the Japanese Jodo Shinshui sect. It includes an historical account of the group, starting with the founder, Shinran Shonin, a 10th century CE Japanese monk. There are descriptions of the sacred texts of the group, as well as their theology, a doctrine of salvation through devotion to Amida, ‘the leader of all the Buddhas’ (Amitabha in Sanskrit). Pure…

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An Unabridged Japanese-English Dictionary

An Unabridged Japanese-English Dictionary

F. Brinkley

From the Preface: ‘The present work will, it is hoped, meet an evident need and prove as free from defects and deficiencies as can reasonably be expected under the circumstances. The authors would fain have added an English- Japanese section, but it became apparent that to wait until that were possible must involve very…

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In Ghostly Japan

In Ghostly Japan

Lafcadio Hearn

A collection of ghostly stories from Lafcadio Hearn. Images of ghosts and goblins, touches of folklore and superstition, salted with traditions of the nation. While some of these stories contain ghosts and monsters, others are not ghostly or ghastly at all. ‘Bits of Poetry’ offers an engaging study on verse, and ‘Japanese Buddhist Proverbs’ explains…

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Gleanings in Buddha-Fields

Gleanings in Buddha-Fields

Lafcadio Hearn

This is a wonderful collection of Lafcadio Hearn’s essays on Buddhism, Japan, and Japanese folklore. Chapters include: A Living God; Out Of The Street; Notes Of A Trip To Kyôto; Dust; About Faces In Japanese Art; Ningyô-No-Haka; In Ôsaka; Buddhist Allusions In Japanese Folk-Song; Nirvana, A Study In Synthetic Buddhism; The Rebirth Of Katsugorô; and, Within The Circle.

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Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, Vol 1

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, Vol 1

Lafcadio Hearn

Chapters include, My First Day In The Orient; The Writing Of Kobodaishi; Jizo; A Pilgrimage To Enoshima; At The Market Of The Dead; Bon-Odori; The Chief City Of The Province Of The Gods; Kitzuki: The Most Ancient Shrine In Japan; In The Cave Of The Children’s Ghosts; At Mionoseki; Notes On Kitzuki; At Hinomisaki; Shinju; Yaegaki-Jinja, and Kitsune.

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