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About our Center

CIR Research Fellows

Hironori OKAZAKI

Hironori OKAZAKI was born in 1969, studied history at the Graduate School of Literature at Chuo University and has a Doctoral Degree in history.  He is in charge of managing the archives.


Midori FUJIYAMA provides information on religion and religious research. She has had many years of experience as an editor and in the field of social research specializing in the mass media. She graduated from the University of Tokyo's Department of Social Psychology and Institute of Journalism (now known as the Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies).


Kenta KASAI was born in 1966 in Tokyo. Majoring in Religious Studies, he earned a Ph. D. at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the University of Tokyo, in 1999. After 7 years teaching experience at the Joetsu University of Education, he accepted the position as a research fellow at the Center for Information on Religion. He also teaches at Komazawa University, the University of the Sacred-Heart, and Chiba University. In 2004, he went to the United States as a visiting scholar at Boston University, Harvard University, and the University of Southern California. His interest is on the historical interaction between psychology and religion in general. Meditation and Modernity: perspectives of Altered States of Consciousness (Shunjusya, 2010) is his latest book. Among his other works are:

"Religiosity in Intrapsychic space: a study of Alcoholic Anonymous," his dissertation at the University of Tokyo published as Communality of Sobriety: People who believe in their recovery from alcoholism (Sekai-shiso sha, 2007).

"People who use the term 'spirituality'" in Yasuo Yuasa, ed., The Current of Spirituality (Jinbun-shoin, 2003)

"Freudian psychoanalytic theory of religion," Shimazono and Nishihira eds., Search into the psychology of Religion, (University Press of Tokyo, 2001).

Also, he co-edited (with Susumu Shimazono, Shinkichi Fukushima and Satoko Fujiwara), Keywords for Religious Studies (Yuhikaku, 2006).

He is currently interested in reflections on the modern mind (psyche) focusing on two areas: comparative studies on meditation and action (practice); and research on the addiction recovery movement in Japan.

Naomi SATO  
  • Born in Kyoto 1971, completed Graduate School of Letters at Kyoto University 2001, and obtained D.Lit. by dissertation at Kyoto University in 2003.
  • Currently: Research Fellow of Center for Information on Religion from 2005, Part-time Lecturer at Osaka University teaching Classical Tibetan Grammar (from 2008) and at Kyoto Bunkyo University teaching Writing techniques for a Thesis.
  • Formerly: Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) 2000-2003, Part-time Lecturer at Shuchiin University 2000-2005 teaching Buddhism; at Osaka University for Foreign Studies 2001-2005 teaching Pali Grammar; at International Buddhist University, Osaka 2005-2009 teaching Buddhism and Sanskrit Grammar.
  • Main Subject of Research: 1. the rise of Mahāyāna Buddhism by studying the Buddha Akṣobhya who presides over the Buddha-field in the East; 2. process of maintaining and propagating the Buddha Śākyamuni's teaching after his death by studying the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra.
  • Doctoral Thesis: Comparative Study on Tibetan and Chinese Translations of the Akṣobhyavyūha.
  • Main Publication: ZOKANYAKU ASHUKUBUKKOKUKYO KENNKYU (Study on Tibetan and Chinese Translations on the Akṣobhyavyūha), Tokyo, 2009; ‘Preliminary remarks on the Old Tibetan Documents excavated from the Arjai Grotto’, International Accademic Conference of the Arjai Grotto(阿爾寨石窟国際学術研究会)p.496-p.504, 2009; ‘Some Aspects of the Cult of Akṣobhya in Mahāyāna Scriptures’, Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, #52(2) p.932-p.937, 2004.