046. Japanese Religion and Pop Culture: Manga and Anime

C. Callahan (Religion)
4 HU W-INT
Full Course -- 4 Credits
Fall Semester FYSP 046-01  TR 1:30-2:45

Modern Japan is often characterized as a largely secularized society with the majority of its citizens describing themselves as non-religious, and yet, when we look at the popular media of manga (graphic novels) and anime (animated features), one cannot but help notice the ubiquitous presence of the religion.  Replete with images of benevolent buddhas and gods, engaging tales of miracle-working monks and mischievous spirits, and resplendent and sometimes horrifying visions of transcendence and the apocalypse, the rich popular culture of manga and anime provides a window into contemporary Japan and its complex relationship with religion. 

This course examines the representation of religion in manga and anime and explores the role these new media have played in re-creating the religious and cultural landscape of modern Japan.  In addition to analyzing the form and content of these new media, we will be looking at the production of manga and anime by religious organizations and analyzing the reception of these popular media by devout fans and religious practitioners.