Aloha Buddha-the secularization of ethnic Japanese-American Buddhism




The relations between religion, migration, transnationalism, pluralism, and ethnicity have gained increasing focus in religious, cultural, sociological, and anthropological studies. With its manifold transfigurations across time and location, Buddhism is an obvious case for investigating such issues. Hawaii, with its long migration history and religious pluralism, is an obvious living laboratory for studying such configurations. This article investigates Japanese American Buddhism in Hawaii, focusing on the relationship between religion and ethnicity. By analyzing contemporary religious life and the historical context of two Japanese American Zen temples in Maui, it is argued that the ethnic and cultural divide related to spirituality follow a general tendency by which the secularization of Japanese Americans' communal Sangha Buddhism is counterbalanced by a different group's spiritualization of Buddhism. 

Author Biography

Jørn Borup, Aarhus University

Department of Culture and Society


How to Cite

Borup, Jørn. 2015. “Aloha Buddha-the Secularization of Ethnic Japanese-American Buddhism”. Journal of Global Buddhism 14 (February):23-43.



Research Articles