International Conference “Modernity and Esoteric Networks:Theosophy, Arts, Literature and Politics”

International Conference

Modernity and Esoteric NetworksTheosophy, Arts, Literature and Politics

 March 7 and 8, 2017

 National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka


 Aims and objectives:

 Theosophy had been underestimated unfairly, or to put it correctly, neglected by academics for a long time. It had been regarded as a bogus Buddhism, and not an appropriate theme for serious study. However, this academic tendency began to change towards the last decade of the 20th century owing to the development of several research fields: investigations on New Religious Movements, cultural studies of modern literature and art, and religious and political studies of the South Asian region; the shift was also due to the establishment of the academic discipline of Western Esotericism. In the 21st century, this trend has become evident in the growing number of scholarly publications and in the holding of international conferences in Europe, the United States an Israel, with Japan added to the list this year.

This conference has two objectives. First to discuss “networking” through Theosophy. As has been already pointed out, one characteristic of Theosophy lies in its fluidity as a thought and as an organization. It has trespassed the boundaries of nations and become the medium through which the East and the West influenced each other. Theosophy also broke the barriers between religious thoughts and those of other fields such as art, literature, and politics. Its hitherto unknown networks can be found in the unexpected quarters of modern history. In this conference, we will delve into these vast areas of hidden influences through an examination of network making processes in literature, art and politics.

The second objective of this conference is to explore the degree to which the term “esotericism” could be applied to Japanese phenomena. Indeed, Japan finds itself in a contradictory position. For, on the one hand, the Theosophical movement is weak and inconsistent here compared to other Asian countries, but, on the other hand, “esotericism” could be found abundantly in the traditional religions of Buddhism, Daoism and Shintoism. And the influences of Western esotericism in modern Japan are not small, but only rarely have been discussed. This conference will offer a reference point to think over local and the global usages of “esotericism,” through case studies from Japan.

In either way, we hope this conference will start international discussions about the meanings of Theosophy and of Western Esotericism not only for the West but also for the East.


Date: March 7 (Tuesday), 2017

Time: 10:30 am – 6:00 pm

Venue: Seminar Room 4, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka

(*simultaneous interpretation available for all presentations except for the keynote lecture)

  1. Opening Remarks 10:30 am – 10:40 am

ANDO, Reiji (Tama Art University)

  1. Keynote Speech 10:40 am – 12:15 pm

2-1 GODWIN, Joscelyn (Colgate University) 10:40 am – 11:40 am

  “The Secret Spring: Theosophy in Modern Literature and the Arts”

DISCUSSION  11:40 am – 12:15 pm

Chair: AKAI, Toshio (Kobe Gakuin University)

Lunch  12:15 pm – 1:30 pm

  1. 1st Session LITERATURE AND ESOTERICISM 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

3-1 HASHIMOTO, Yorimitsu (Osaka University) 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm

“The Mongolian Alexander’s Tomb as Heartland: Theosophy, the Naros Cycle, and the Resurrection of Genghis Khan”

3-2 TANAKA, Chieko (Sophia School Corporation) 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Frankenstein and Hermetic Philosophy”

3-3 HAMANO, Shiho (Chiba Institute of Technology) 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

“A Bag Full of Fairies: Edward Gardner, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Cottingley Fairies”

Discussant: GODWIN, Joscelyn 3:00 pm – 3:10 pm

Discussion 3:10 pm – 3:30 pm

Chair: OKAMOTO, Yoshiko (Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, ICU)

Tea break  3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

  1. 2nd Session ART AND ESOTERICISM 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

4-1 PASI, Marco (University of Erfurt) 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

“Theosophical Themes in Contemporary Art”

4-2 HIOKI, Naoko Frances (Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture) 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm

“Japanese Spiritology Meets Theosophy: Aura Mapping and the Art of Deguchi Onisaburō”

4-3 COWGILL ,Rachel (University of Huddersfield) 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

“’Tone Poems Born of the World-Soul’: John Foulds, Maud MacCarthy, and the Music of the Future”

Discussant: FUKASAWA, Hidetaka (Hitotsubashi University) 5:30 pm – 5:40 pm

Discussion 5:40 pm – 6:00 pm

Chair: OKAMOTO, Yoshiko (Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, ICU)

Date: March 8 (Wednesday), 2017

Time: 10:00 am – 4:55 pm

Venue: Seminar Room 4, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka

  1. 3rd Session POLITICS AND ESOTERICISM 10:00 am – 12:45 pm

5-1 CHUANG, Chienhui (Osaka University) 10:00 am – 10:30 am

“The Theosophical Educational Movement in Modern China: Conflicting Interactions Between Eastern and Western Ideologies”

5-2 HORI, Madoka (Osaka City University) 10:30 am – 11:00 am

“Literature of the Outlanders and the Drive for National Independence: Sarojini Naidu and Others”

5-3 SUGIMOTO, Yoshio (National Museum of Ethnology) 11:10 am – 11:40 am

“Mahatma Gandhi and Esotericism”

5-4 BEVIR, Mark (University of California, Berkeley) 11:40 am – 12:10 pm

“Theosophy and Indian Nationalism”

Discussant: AKAI, Toshio (Kobe Gakuin University) 12:10 pm – 12:20 pm

Discussion 12:20 pm – 12:45 pm

Chair: Ioannis Gaitanidis (Chiba University)

Lunch  12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

  1. 4th Session ESOTERICISM IN TAISHO (1912-1926) 1:45 pm – 3:15 pm

6-1 CAPKOVA, Helena (Waseda University) 1:45 pm – 2:15 pm

“The Garakuta Circle: Re-thinking Transnational Theosophical Networks in Interwar Japan”

6-2 ANDO, Reiji (Tama Art University) 2:15 pm – 2:45 pm

“Theosophy and Religious Movements in the Taisho Period: Suzuki Daisetsu, Orikuchi Shinobu, and Deguchi Onisaburō”

Discussant: KAWASHIMA, Akio (Kyoto University) 2:45 pm – 2:55 pm

Discussion: 2:55 pm – 3:15 pm

Chair: Ioannis Gaitanidis (Chiba University)

 Tea break  3:15 pm – 3:45 pm

  1. 5th Session GENERAL DISCUSSION 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Chair: AKAI, Toshio (Kobe Gakuin University)

  1. Closing remarks 4:45 pm – 4:55 pm

TSURUOKA, Mayumi (Tama Art University)

*If you wish to attend the conference, please contact us in advance at

*This conference is sponsored by

“Shinchi-gaku Kenkyukai (Research Group of Theosophy)

(Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research no. 26284054)”














時間:午前10時半 〜 午後6時



  1. 開会のあいさつ 10:40 am – 12:15 pm

安藤礼二 (多摩美術大学)

  1. 基調講演 10:40 am – 12:15 pm

2-1 ジョスリン・ゴドウィン(コルゲート大学)10:40 am – 11:40 am


討論:11:40 am – 12:15 pm


昼食:12:15 pm – 1:30 pm

  1. 第1セッション「文学と秘教」1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

3-1 橋本順光(大阪大学)1:30 pm – 2:00 pm


3-2 田中千惠子(上智学院)2:00 pm – 2:30 pm


3-3 浜野志保(千葉工業大学)2:30 pm – 3:00 pm


コメント: ジョスリン・ゴドウィン 3:00 pm – 3:10 pm

討論:3:10 pm – 3:30 pm


 休憩:3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

  1. 第2セッション「芸術と秘教」4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

4-1 マルコ・パシ (エアフルト大学) 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm


4-2 日沖直子(南山宗教文化研究所)4:30 pm – 5:00 pm


4-3 レイチェル・カウギル(ハダースフィールド大学) 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm


コメント:深澤英隆(一橋大学)5:30 pm – 5:40 pm

討論:5:40 pm – 6:00 pm



時間:午前10時 〜 午後4時55分


  1. 第3セッション「政治と秘教」10:00 am – 12:45 pm

5-1 荘千慧(大阪大学) 10:00 am – 10:30 am


5-2 堀まどか(大阪市立大学) 10:30 am – 11:00 am


5-3 杉本良男(国立民族学博物館) 11:10 am – 11:40 am


5-4 マーク・ベビア(カリフォルニア大学バークレー)11:40 am – 12:10 am


コメント: 赤井敏夫(神戸学院大学) 12:10 pm – 12:20 pm

討論: 12:20 pm – 12:45 pm


昼食:12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

  1. 第4セッション「大正時代の秘教」1:45 pm – 3:15 pm

6-1 ヘレナ・チャプコヴァー(早稲田大学)1:45 pm – 2:15 pm


6-2 安藤礼二(多摩美術大学)2:15 pm – 2:45 pm


コメント:川島昭夫(京都大学) 2:45 pm – 2:55 pm

討論:2:55 pm – 3:15 pm

司会: ヤニス・ガイタニディス(千葉大学)

 休憩:3:15 pm – 3:45 pm

  1. 第5セッション 総合討論 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

司会: 赤井敏夫(神戸学院大学)

  1. 閉会のことば 4:45 pm – 4:55 pm



*主催:神智学研究会(科研番号no. 26284054)”


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