Zen at War: A Documentary and Discussion

Introductory comments by Prof. Brian Victoria

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:00-13:30
Place: PRIO, Hausmanns gate 7, Oslo

The 58 minute documentary "Zen and War" was produced by the Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation of the Netherlands in 2009. This documentary, based on Victoria’s 1997 book Zen at War, features, for the first time, contemporary Japanese Zen masters attempting to explain why their predecessors became such strong, if not fanatical, supporters of Japanese militarism. The film is narrated in Dutch, English and Japanese, with English subtitles for the Dutch and Japanese sections. Essentially it is a case study of institutional religion's involvement in the sacralization of violence, aka, "holy war," as manifested by Buddhism in twentieth century Japan." 

Brian Victoria currently serves as professor of Japanese Studies at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio. His time is divided between Yellow Springs and Kyoto In addition to authoring Zen at War (2nd, enlarged edition Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 

Victoria’s major writings include Zen War Stories (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003); an autobiographical work in Japanese entitled Gaijin de ari, Zen bozu de ari (As a Foreigner, As a Zen Priest), published by San-ichi Shobo in 1971; Zen Master Dōgen, coauthored with Prof. Yokoi Yūhō of Aichi-gakuin University (Weatherhill, 1976); and a translation of The Zen Life by Sato Koji (Weatherhill, 1972). In addition, Brian has published numerous journal articles, including research on the overall relationship of religion to violence and warfare.

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