Sonic Japan: Sounds of religion

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Genkoan (源光庵)
Established as a temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism in 1346, Genko-an Temple was turned into a temple of the Soto sect in 1694. (2016/10/31)
More:Kyoto
Morning chants at a Kyoto Temple
This is a longish recording of the morning rituals conducted by Buddhist monks in a temple in Kyoto called Chishakuin. Often temples in Kyoto are very crowded with tourists, making it a sonically intense environment. This recording, however, was taken early in the morning. One can hear the sounds of nature, the recorder's footsteps and the chanting of the monks emanating outside the main hall into the temple garden. (2016/06/24)
More:Kyoto
Wishmaking under construction
This recording was taken on a rainy grey morning in April. Yasaka Shrine is another historic Shinto shrine located near Gion, a Kyoto neighborhood associated with the traditional arts and geisha performances. Usually this area is quite crowded but given the poor weather, and the fact the shrine was under restorative construction at the time, there aren't many tourists. The sounds of the few who are there compete with the sounds of construction, which are emitted from behind white sheets that shield our eyes from the work. In this recording we hear the ringing of the shrine bell and clapping of supplicants along with machinery. (2014/04/08)
More:Kyoto

Latest posts

Genkoan and the bloody footprints

Tue Jan 31 2017 by Tamara Kohn

This temple, founded in the 14th century, sits high in the hills in northwest Kyoto. Since the late 17th century it has belonged to the Sōtō School of Zen. It is famous for its main hall (hondo) where there are two windows – one perfectly round and another...>>

Embodied Senses in Reflection

Fri Jul 29 2016 by Tamara Kohn

I’ve recently returned to Melbourne from the 2016 Association of Social Anthropologists conference at the University of Durham, UK. It was a nostalgic visit for me. I had lived in Durham and had taught at that University for 14 years, from 1992-2006. This first visit back to the...>>

The Relationship between Sound and Space

Fri Jun 17 2016 by Carolyn Stevens

In this project, we are considering how sound and silence in various places are attended to in specific ways, and the dialogical relationship between sound and space. The mutually constitutive relationship between sound and space means that sounds are made diverse by the distinct characteristics of each place. At the...>>

Sweeping Silence

Fri Apr 01 2016 by Tamara Kohn

Four of us awoke at 5:30am, before dawn, and silently carried brooms from the dojo grounds down the drive and over the road to the Aiki Shrine. Sweeping the large 'dry' gravel garden in front of the shrine or the leaves under the trees is part of any live-in student's...>>

龍安寺の静かさとは How Quiet is 'Quiet'?! The Garden at Ryoan-ji, Kyoto

Wed Jun 18 2014 by Thomas Baudinette
Forming part of the UNESCO world heritage site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)," Ryoan-ji Temple in Western Kyoto is particularly famous for its Zen gardens. Indeed Nitschke (1999: 88-9) argues that the karesansui (dry landscape) rock garden at Ryoan-ji temple, which is pictured above, represents the finest extant example of the Zen rock gardens of the 15th century. >>

清水寺 Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto

Mon Jun 02 2014 by Thomas Baudinette
Kiyomizu Temple, officially known as Otowa-san Kiyomizu Temple, is a Buddhist temple and popular tourist spot in Eastern Kyoto. A practicing Buddhist temple, Kiyomizu Temple forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)".>>

岩間の合氣神社で掻く音 Raking the Aiki Shrine in Iwama

Fri May 23 2014 by Tamara Kohn
The live-in students at Iwama dojo wake at 5am every morning in the dark and very quietly get dressed, grab narrow-pronged bamboo rakes known as kumade (pictured above) and walk in silence from the dojo on the gravel driveway to the small road and the Shrine area on the other side. You hear the sound of our footsteps in the first recording - loud crunching noises that pierce the quiet pre-dawn.>>

永田町のデモ Friday night demonstrations near Nagatacho Station

Tue Apr 01 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
The following sounds were recorded during an evening protest in front of the Government offices in Kasumigaseki and  Nagatacho in central Tokyo. I began my sensory experience at the Anti Nuke Occupy Tent, which was located near exit A12 of the Kasumigaseki Station.>>