The 15th GJS Lecture Series "Shinto—A Religion of the Signifier?" was held


On November 7th, The 15th GJS lecture was held at IASA. Prof. Fabio Rambelli delivered a lecture about his semiotic approach to Shinto, in which symbols(signifier), signifieds, the code (that sets the simbol-signified relation), and the contexts (in which the symbols are interpreted) are analyzed, against the conventional approach that sees the Shinto as national ideology and neglects the elusiveness of Shinto symbols. Using this new approach, professor Rambelli shows that many symbols in Shinto, such as the names of gods and an unbroken line of Imperial House, are actually the "symbolic value zero" (Levi-Strauss), and this elusive nature of the symbols that make various interpretation possible, is actually the ideosyncratic feature of Shinto compared with other religions. His lecture was then followed by a lively discussion with the audience.

Scene of this event


Title: Shinto—A Religion of the Signifier?

Speaker: Professor Fabio Rambelli (Religious Studies and East Asian Languages, The University of California, Santa Barbara)

Date and time: November 7 (Mon.), 2:00-4:00PM

Venue: Main Conference Room (3F), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo(IASA)

Language: English

Organizer: The Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)

Co-organizer: Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo (IASA)

Contact: gjs[at]