Accepted paper:

Two Types of Japanese Pilgrimage to Britain

Authors:

Eriko Kawanishi (Kyoto University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper compares two types of Japanese pilgrimage to Britain; spiritual pilgrimage by those who are interested in or practising spirituality and Paganism and consider Britain as the sacred centre; and secular pilgrimage by those who love anime, because some anime locate their setting in Britain.

Paper long abstract:

Although Japan does not share a long history with Europe, compared to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Christianity has not become popular there, some Japanese people visit Europe as a pilgrimage. In this paper, I would like to examine two types of Japanese pilgrimage to Britain; spiritual pilgrimage (Pagans and spiritual seekers) and secular pilgrimage (anime fans). This paper is based on research conducted in the UK since 2005 and research on Japanese Pagans since 2017. Japanese people who are interested in or practising alternative spirituality, magic and Paganism, often consider Britain as the sacred centre of their interest or practice. Some people stay and study magic or spiritual practices, and others visit London, Stonehenge, Glastonbury or Cornwall as a pilgrimage. They use what they saw and studied in Britain as daily practice after they return home. I will focus on London and Glastonbury as pilgrimage sites because both places are often identified as magical or spiritual spots in occult or spiritual magazines. Although the number is small, some Japanese come to Britain as an "anime pilgrimage," which means visiting the location of specific anime, and is popular in Japan. Some anime locate the setting in Britain, and as a result big fans (otaku) visit the sites, such as Glastonbury Abbey and Fosse Farm in Wiltshire. This phenomenon can be regarded as an example of the new type of Japanese pilgrimage in Britain. I conclude the paper by making a comparison of two types of pilgrimage.

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Changing face of European pilgrimage [Pilgrimage Studies Network] I