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Presented By: Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)

Spring 2023 MEMS Lecture. In the Aftermath of the Divine Winds: Religious Responses to the Mongol Threat and the Medieval Reimagining of Japan

Jacqueline I. Stone, Princeton University

Battle engaged with Mongol forces Battle engaged with Mongol forces
Battle engaged with Mongol forces
Twice in the late thirteenth century, the Mongol empire launched attack fleets against Japan. On both occasions, they were repelled by fortuitous storms. Scholarly accounts of the Mongol threat have focused on Japan’s military defense. However, massive efforts were also poured into ritual countermeasures: Sacred texts were copied and recited, buddha images commissioned, and enemy-subduing rites performed. The failure of the invasion attempts was attributed to the intervention of Japan’s local deities (kami) and catalyzed a conceptual inversion of Japan’s cosmological status, from “a marginal land in the last age” to a timeless, inviolable realm at the very center of the Buddhist world.

Bio: Jacqueline Stone is professor emerita of Japanese Religions in the Religion Department of Princeton University. She focuses on Japanese Buddhism of the medieval and modern periods. Her current research interests include traditions of the Lotus Sutra, particularly the Tendai and Nichiren sects; Buddhism and Japanese identity formation; and modern reinterpretations of Buddhist thought and practice. She is the author of Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (1999) and Right Thoughts at the Last Moment: Buddhism and Deathbed Practices in Early Medieval Japan (2016).
Battle engaged with Mongol forces Battle engaged with Mongol forces
Battle engaged with Mongol forces

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