Narratives of Decline: the changing patterns of death and aging in contemporary Japanese religions

  • Aura Di Febo (Chair)
  • Paulina Kolata (Chair)

Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch


Japanese Studies Workshop, the University of Manchester, UK. Funded by the AHRC NWCDTP, ESRC NWSSDTP, the University of Manchester.

Narratives of decline are embedded in both academic and popular discourses concerned with religion in today’s Japan. As contemporary Japanese society is faced with serious challenges of rapidly aging population, declining local communities, low fertility rate, and problematic social welfare measures, Japanese religious institutions are equally affected and confronted by stagnation and negativity in the public discourse. This one-day interdisciplinary workshop aimed to address the narratives of decline from a range of disciplinary perspectives incorporating sociological and anthropological discourses, and beyond. The workshop explored how Japanese religions, including both established religious traditions and “new religions”, address these challenges through reinventing their symbolic practices and adopting new forms of social engagement. Along with highlighting the discussion on narratives of decline in Japanese religious traditions, the event also aims to establish a network of researchers working in the area of religious studies in contemporary Japan.
Topics discussed in the presented papers included:
• rituals and narratives of death and dying
• aging society and religion
• faith-based welfare relating to death and elderly care
• narratives of religious decline
Keynote Speakers:
• Dr. Jason Danely, Oxford Brookes University
• Dr. Jessica Main, The University of British Columbia

Period31 May 2016
Event typeWorkshop
LocationManchester, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • religion
  • Japanese religions
  • decline
  • religious decline
  • death
  • aging
  • contemporary Japan