In 2008, two new research groups were organized to enable specialized studies, and we are working on more focused theme.
Conceptual research in increasingly global monotheistic religions
Leader: Kenji Tomita (Professor, School of Theology, Doshisha University)
In Japan, there are several area studies centers and anthropological research institutes that study the worlds of the monotheistic religions, but none that conducts research from an ideological and theological perspective. Such research, however, plays a most critical role in actual conflict resolution and the understanding of the monotheistic worlds. Our research projects seek not only to deepen ideological and theological research on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but also to intensively tackle ideological and theological issues shared by the three religions and points of contention among them.
All three of these monotheisms have branched out from the places where they were formed, and are now active in regions throughout the world. We will conduct research into the conceptual issues surrounding the world of monotheism, including issues that cannot be avoided in the context of globalization, such as modernization, secularization, and western thought. We will also examine these issues from the perspective of political thought. Another focus of our research will be the changes and conflicts that monotheistic values have brought to Japanese society. Past research has generally focused on separate studies of the three major monotheisms: Judaism, Islam, and Christian theology. Particularly since the start of the modern era, these three monotheisms have been characterized by a repeated history of conflicts. The core theme of this project is to lay the groundwork for comprehensive 'Monotheistic research' that takes into account theology, law, philosophy, and thought, in order to achieve a grasp of the common roots shared by these three religions, and to enable conflict-free co-existence.
To implement these research projects, detailed planning is carried out by the Judaic studies unit (leader: Isaiah Teshima), Christian theology unit (leader: Takehito Miyake), and Islamic studies unit (leader: Ko Nakata). At the same time, in order for each unit to build organic connections with one other, we will share work on major topics, such as 'the strained relationship between conservatives and liberals within a monotheistic religion,' 'the monotheistic worlds and secularization, modernization, and nationalism,' and 'Japanese society and the monotheistic religions.'
Co-existence and social integration of diverse elements
Leader: Koji Murata (Professor, Faculty of Law, Doshisha University)
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the Iraq war that followed, are deeply related to the three monotheisms that originated in the Middle East. In recent years, the European Union, which at one time was a mainly Christian region, has seen an increase in the number of Muslim immigrants. This has raised an urgent issue for EU countries: how to guarantee diversity of ethnicity and religion, while at the same time enabling social integration. Despite the fact that such critical challenges facing the world today are deeply related to monotheism, there is no research center in Japan that comprehensively studies the monotheistic religions.
This research project has been separated into two research divisions:
- American Research(Leader: Koji Murata):
'The effects of monotheism on domestic and foreign affairs in the United States'
- EU Research(Leader: Masanori Naito):
'The relationship between social integration and monotheism in the European Union and the United States'
- One unique characteristic of foreign affairs in the U.S. is that ideologies have a dramatic effect on foreign policy decision-making. In this research division, we will conduct an interdisciplinary analysis of the religious dimensions of America’s global strategies, and seek out a path for the co-existence of diverse elements in the world. We will also analyze the history, current status, and changes with regard to the 'religious right' and evangelical factions that have substantial influence on internal politics in the U.S.
- We will investigate the relationship between monotheism and social integration, which holds the key to the success of the EU’s path to 'expansion and integration.' The focal points in the future integration of European society are characterized by two main points of contention: Secular Europe vs. Muslim society, and Christian conservatives vs. Muslim society. Based on this understanding, in the EU research division, we will make a comparison with the United States, which is a prior example of a multi-ethnic, multicultural society, and illustrate the potential and limitations of EU integration to the EU itself and to Muslim society. Our ultimate goal is to offer hints that will enable both parties to seek out a means for peaceful co-existence.
Strategic Young Researcher Overseas Visits Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation
This research project is being carried out from AY2011 to 2013, in which we send our young researchers to overseas research institutes in four countries, namely, the U.S., the U.K., Israel, and Malaysia, with a view to promoting international joint research efforts. By making the most of the research results we have gathered since the inception of CISMOR and by leveraging our unique capabilities, we will join efforts with overseas research institutes to encourage interactions and dialogue among the communities of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and to shape a model of multiculturalism, thereby building further research insights.