A Center for Buddhist Studies Numata Colloquium Series lecture by Professor Hwansoo Kim of Duke University.
The attempt of the Wonjong of Korean Buddhism to form an alliance with the Japanese Sotoshu in late 1910 is a moment that lives in infamy in traditional Korean Buddhist historiography. The Korean monks who headed up the initiative have been portrayed as traitors and collaborators, while their Japanese counterparts have been characterized as imperialists trying to conquer Korean Buddhism on behalf of their colonial government. All the key figures‐Yi Hoegwang, Takeda Hanshi, clergy from the Wonjong and Sotoshu, and colonial government officials‐are portrayed as villains in the traditional histories. But the story of the alliance is actually more complex. For example, Yi and the Wonjong were using the Sotoshu for their own institutional gains, and Takeda's vision for the alliance was at odds with that of his own sect and government. This presentation draws on extensive findings in primary sources‐about the influential players, the Japanese sects' motives, and the governments' responses‐to reconstruct the history of the attempted alliance and its impact on the subsequent development of Korean Buddhism.
Cost: Free and open to the public
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