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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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9/27/2002 Hardacre to lecture on the direction of popular Japanese culture

McMINNVILLE – Helen Hardacre, a Reischauer Institute professor of Japanese Religions and Society at Harvard University, will speak on “Anime and the Science of Happiness: Crossroads of Japanese Popular Culture and Religion” Monday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. in 101 Graf Hall at Linfield College.

The lecture will examine the emergence of the "new-new religions" of Japan in relation to contemporary Japanese popular culture and more specifically anime, Japanese animated film. The Science of Happiness, a ten-million member organization founded in 1986, is discussed as a significant example of these "new-new religions," new religious movements that have become prominent since the 1970s. An intersection of anime themes and Science of Happiness doctrine is analyzed through a focus on apocalypticism, a search to develop the self, and interest in supernatural powers and other worlds. Conclusions about the current direction of Japanese society and culture are presented as well.

Hardacre has extensively studied contemporary Shinto and Buddhist religious organizations and the religious life of Japan's Korean minority. She has taught at several universities throughout the world including Princeton University and Griffith University in Australia. Hardacre is the author of several books dealing with the religious movements in Japan including “The Religion of Japan’s Korean Minority” and “Kurozumikyo and the New Religions of Japan.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Linfield history department with a grant from the Association for Asian Studies. For more information, call