Text: Extract from “Young Japan priests try to breathe life into fading Buddhism.” Religious News Service.

“TOKYO (AP) — Buddhism suffers from a gloomy image in Japan. It is so closely linked to death — funerals, graves and memorial rituals in which priests chant sutras based on Chinese rendering of Sanskrit texts that no one else understands — that people refer to it as “funeral Buddhism.”

The powerful forces of secularization and population decline have caused the religion to steadily wane in Japanese society, with disinterest in Buddhism — and faith in general — particularly pronounced among the young…

Since most people don’t have much opportunity to interact with Buddhist priests, 43-year-old Yoshinobu Fujioka spends evenings in downtown Tokyo at his Vowz Bar, a play on “bouzu,” Japanese for monk…

Unlike Buddhist priests elsewhere, those in Japan can marry, drink alcohol and eat meat, thanks to an 1872 imperial edict. Sharing cocktails in a cozy atmosphere encourages people to open up about their struggles, Fujioka said.” https://religionnews.com/2020/06/12/young-japan-priests-try-to-breathe-life-into-fading-buddhism/

May 2021 TOK essay Prescribed Title #6 looks at how bias can play a positive and negative role in the pursuit of knowledge. Consider different links to bias in this RLE:

  • How bias affects Japanese views of religion and Buddhism
  • How bias may affect the editors of Religious News Service
  • The way in which a reader may be affected by the name of the website (“Religious News Service”)
  • How bias affects the interactions of people in the bar versus interactions in a Buddhism temple