Brian D. Ruppert

Kazushige Hirasawa Chair of Japanese Studies & Prof, Chair of Asian Studies Prog


Asian Studies

Roger Williams Hall, Room 208


Brian Ruppert, Ph.D. (Princeton), is Kazushige Hirasawa Professor of Japanese Studies and Chair of the Asian Studies Program, having formerly chaired the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is author of Jewel in the Ashes: Buddha Relics and Power in Early Medieval Japan (Harvard U. Asia Center, Harvard UP), and co-author of A Cultural History of Japanese Buddhism (Wiley-Blackwell). He is also author of the articles “Buddhism in Japan” (Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed.), “Buddhism and Law in Japan” (in Buddhism and Law, Cambridge UP), “Religion in Medieval Japan” (in Routledge Handbook of Premodern Japanese History), and many other publications on premodern Japanese religions in both English and Japanese.

In 2015 he presented the keynote lecture at Kyoto Prefectural University on the value of the Tōji Hyakugō Monjo archival collection (UNESCO Memory of the World Register), and previously presented a keynote lecture on the founding occasion of the Nagoya University Research Center for Cultural Heritage and Texts (2013). Having done over seven years of research stints in Japan, he has hosted international conferences on Japanese Buddhism, conducted collaborative research with Japanese colleagues, and is known particularly for his archival research in the Buddhist temples and research institutes there. Recently, he has also become active in Study Abroad and served as Director of Year in Japan, Kobe, 2016-2017.

At Bates, he teaches courses on the cultural history of Japan as well as Japanese religions and in the Japanese language program. Devoted to teaching students at every level of study about Japan and its place within East Asia, he wants to share his excitement about the study and experience of Japanese language and culture with the Bates community.