Pilgrimage routes exist around the world and for centuries people have embarked on pilgrimages for religious training, self-reflection, or perhaps for an escape from their regular life. It is said that there are more than 200 pilgrimage routes in Japan, yet many have disappeared due to modernization and/or a lack of interest or upkeep. In recent years the Shikoku Pilgrimage – a 1,200 kilometre journey that circumambulates the island of Shikoku connected by eighty-eight temples and numerous other sacred sites – has been attracting more attention among people from around the world. Today there is a plethora of information available in English on how to best prepare for and to make this arduous, sacred journey, which is firmly connected to its “founder”, the Buddhist priest Kukai/Kobo Daishi. However, little is written in non-Japanese languages about the history, culture and stories of faith related to the Shikoku pilgrimage. In this talk, David Moreton took everyone on a journey back in time to about 100 years ago to learn about the first Westerners who experienced this pilgrimage, faith-building and miraculous stories related to the Shikoku pilgrimage, and how this journey was promoted to the world so long ago.
During the drink reception there was a performance by the Japanese music group Moon, Star and Sun.
A CD by Moon, Star and Sun was available to buy for £10.
A video of the talk can be found here:
About the contributors
David Moreton is Associate Professor in the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Tokushima University, Japan. He manages the Language Education Center and teaches EFL, Cross-Cultural Communication, Contemporary Japanese Society, and Shikoku Pilgrimage classes. David’s academic background is in Asian Studies with a focus on Japanese cultural and religious history. After obtaining his master’s degree from the University of British Columbia in 2001, he worked at Tokushima Bunri University for fifteen years before moving to Tokushima University in 2016. For the past twenty years David has researched the history of foreigners and the Shikoku pilgrimage. He has also written, translated and edited numerous articles and seven books on the Shikoku pilgrimage and appeared in films and documentaries, including the third episode of Joanna Lumley`s ITV documentary “Japan” about the Shikoku pilgrimage.