Thursday, May 5, 2022

May 8 Speaker Dominick Scrangello : Metaphor and Myth in Religious Thought and Scriptural Traditions.


Subject: Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo Regular Meeting on ZOOM May 8 2022


Dear friends and members of the Fellowship,

 We are happy to welcome again Dominick Scarangello, Ph.d who will talk about  metaphor and myth in religious thought and  scriptural traditions.

 Moving beyond modern literal interpretations, or on the other hand,  rationalism or   intellectualized symbolic understanding,  back to  earlier generations'  approaches who often found emotional engagement and resonance with ineffable aspects of spirituality in rituals and mythic-metaphors.

Dominick Scarangello has joined us at Fellowship and spoken to us before.
He obtained his PhD from the University of Virginia in 2012. His interests include Lotus Sutra Buddhism in East Asia, Japanese religions, and religion and modernity. Dr. Scarangello has taught at the University of Virginia and was the Postdoctoral Scholar in Japanese Buddhism at the University of California, Berkeley (2013-14). Presently, he is the International Advisor to Rissho Kosei-kai and coordinator of the International Lotus Sutra Seminar. 

His talk on Sunday will summarize his paper on this topic in the Spring issue of Dharma World (p.28)

To attend our meeting the same Zoom link for previous meetings will be used.  If you need the link, please contact a member or contact us at 

The April 10th meeting was a general discussion of our organization going forward. 

  • Our June speaker on ZOOM  will be newly ordained Unitarian, Joshua Berg from L.A.
  • During our usual summer break for July and August, we hope to schedule a meal at the International House of Roppongi.  Date for resuming life meetings is still undecided.
The Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo has been meeting continuously for more that 50 years, and we hope to keep going.  Everyone with an open mind is welcome. 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Celtic Music for March 13

 Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo (March 13 2022) Last Minute Announcement

Join us for a fun (and informative) program of CELTIC MUSIC.
On ZOOM 3:00-5:00
Jean McDermott, is a musician and teacher, as well as cousin of our indefatigable UFT supporter, Jeff Bruce.
Jean, since 2008, has run a studio in Fairbanks Alaska "Tartan Tundra Music."
This is her base for music teaching and performances and also to promote Irish/Gaelic language and culture.
She has been on line since the pandemic in 2020.
Her first love is the fiddle(violin) but she also teaches mandolin, bodhran (Irish drum) and vocals.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Feb 13th meeting - Michael Conway - Buddhist Patriarchs on early Jodo-Shin Scrolls


Dear friends and members of the Fellowship,


Sorry for the late reminder. 

We have canceled our room and hybrid plans  and will meet only on ZOOM.


Feb 13th  3:00 to 5:00


Speaker: Michael Conway


Buddhist Patriarchs Depicted on Early Jodo-Shin Sect Devotional Scrolls


In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Japan, Kōmyō honzon 光明本尊 paintings played an important role as both objects of devotion during worship services and as teaching aids to relay central ideas of  the tradition centered on the Buddha Amida and rebirth in the Paradise Pure Land that Shinran 親鸞 (1173-1262) set forth for his followers. The scrolls contain images [sometimes called imaginary portraits] of the line of great teachers or  patriarchs who were important in the development of the Pure Land tradition from its roots in India and China to Japan. 

We can see by examining a scroll how these patriarchs were transformed through choices that were made to codify  their pictorial representations , but also in the choices of the quotations from each that are included. 

These depictions tell us  about important aspects of faith and  proselytization in these early centuries. 

The Zoom link will be the same as for previous meetings.   Contact a member or 


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Speaker Paul McCarthy who has a new Tanizaki translation of "Longing and Other Stories" Topic "Sons and Mothers"


Dear friends and members,


We will meet ONLY ON ZOOM from 3:00-5:00 ( JapanST) , Sunday December 9th. 


Speaker: Paul McCarthy, professor emeritus, literature specialist and translator.


Topic: "Sons and Mothers," a look at family relationships, society's expectations and uncomfortable even  unacknowledged realities.


McCarthy will read from and explore ideas from his  newly published  translation (jointly with A. Chambers)  entitled, "Longing and Other Stories."  The  three short stories are by

Tanizaki Jun'ichirō

 and were written early in his career.  That is around the time the author's own mother died in 1917. 

Tanizaki (1886-1965) is a major, prize-winning  20th century Japanese fiction writer.

To join the Zoom meeting request the link from


My apologies for the delay in sending out this notice as we regretfully backtracked at the last moment finally deciding NOT to meet at International House  for a "hybrid" combination  in person and ZOOM meeting. 


Repeat: no in-person meeting this month.


We hope the current Covid-19 surge will have resolved (as boosters also become available) and those of us who are vaccinated  can meet if they wish  at International House on February 13 for a hybrid meeting.


Please contact us at this email for any questions or problems. 


Your moderator,

-- who joins you all in hoping for a more peaceful , health-filled and happy year in 2022!

Peggy Kanada

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Rethinking Japanese Buddhism Through Cultural History Nov. 14 Sunday Zoom meeting


Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo ZOOM meeting 3:00 November 14

Dear friends and members of the fellowship

Our speaker will be Prof Brian Ruppert "Rethinking Japanese Buddhism Through Cultural History: Texts, Sites, Gatherings, Movements."

3:00 to 5:00 on ZOOM only.

He has sent us very interesting pre-presentation materials that are a summary and a chapter from

his 2015 co-authored book, The Cultural History of Japanese Buddhism.

[Brian Ruppert  ブライアン・ルパート]

Ph.D., Religion , Princeton University プリンストン大学 博士 (宗教史学)

Professor 教授  

Department of Cross-Cultural Studies, Kanagawa University

神奈川大学 国際日本学部 国際文化交流学科

Emeritus Faculty, University of Illinois

Selected publications:

Jewel in the Ashes: Buddha Relics and Power in Early Medieval Japan  (Harvard)

Co-Author,  A Cultural History of Japanese Buddhism  (Wiley-Blackwell)

"Buddhism in Japan" ( The Encyclopedia of Religion ,  2 nd  ed., Gale/Macmillan)

Please request at if you want his materials(2 PDF)or Zoom link.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Schedule January and February


We join Unitarians and people of good will of all faiths (and none)  in our hopes that the  new year in 2021 will  bring about an end to the pandemic.  

We look forward to happier days of  less restricted movement and unfettered ease in coming together for singing, worship, and live performances, schooling or business, shared meals and human touch.   And we hope that Humankind will be able to re-focus on  other dire problems like  systemic violence,  climate change, and  world-wide suffering (too often based in inequality and unequal access to life's resources).

Even small actions by each of us can bring about  change.


UFT plans to continue to meet thru zoom for the next several months. 

Contact us at if you need the ZOOM link especially if you are not on our list of attendees in December.



Regular Meeting: Sunday January 10   3:00 to 5:00 (Tokyo time) on ZOOM.


Topic: (Discussion) What do you wish you had known when you were 20?


January is typically a time to reflect about the past and to make resolutions (usually soon broken) for the coming year. 

As a twist  look back on your younger self and  what advice now would you give yourself  in your early twenties? Different goals or a different identity and roles? Insights you might pass on to your students, children or grandchildren? 



An INVITATION  For February 6,  

James Hagy, a  member (and past president) of North Shore Unitarian Church in suburban Chicago USA ( has sent us  this invite.


We are planning a series of fun, international, informal social gatherings via Zoom , and we would love to have  representatives from UFT join us. 


These programs Across Continents Coffee, are structured as an informal opportunity for members of our congregation to chat and learn more about UU congregations and their friends outside the United States. Our plan is for each session to include our members plus representatives from several UU congregations across Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America. 


We have scheduled one program to match best with your time zone. This program will be held on Saturday, February 6 TOKYO time (Friday night , Chicago time), starting at 11 a.m. your local time. 



Let me ( moderator Peggy Kanada) know and i will send further details. I plan to attend.



Our December UFT meeting had a lively discussion about our various childhood Christmases/Holidays. 

Original  love songs in Spanish  and then familiar carols (for a sing-a-long)  were beautifully performed by Roderigo Leija on guitar aided by his wife Konno Rieko.  Roderigo originally from Mexico came to Japan first in 2008 and is an IT specialist. They have a three year old daughter.


Your moderator,   Peggy Kanada



Sunday, December 6, 2020

Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo Dec 13 (2020) 3:00-5:00 on ZOOM

 Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo Dec 13 (2020) 3:00-5:00 on ZOOM

Dear friends and members of the Fellowship,
We trust you and loved ones are well.
Let's join together this year (how your moderator wishes it could be in person with refreshments and libations) to talk and think about Christmas and this holiday season.
Regular meeting: 3:00-5:00 Sunday Dec 13 on ZOOM.
Contact us at if you did not attend last month or otherwise need the ZOOM link (which we will send out around Dec 12).
Do you know some of the details of the history of Christmas in English speaking cultures?
This year Dec 13 is the third Sunday in Advent--the preparation period of waiting and hope.
What do UU's believe and practice about Christmas?
How do humanist Unitarians (that is many if not most Unitarians) who do not believe in the Trinity or that Jesus was uniquely " God made man" (many U's think he was a special teacher, but would say we are all made with the light of God inside), think about Christmas?
Do you (like some UU's) follow other traditions of the winter season like Jewish Chanukah (or Hanukkah) or Solstice practices? or cleaning house and paying bills (like the Scots and Japanese) for the coming new year?
And for those of us who do not have family and community ties or traditions to bring "holiday happiness" how do we enjoy this season that often brings out the worst material excess and waste (and degrading inequality and misery) in our capitalist postmodern societies? Music may be one answer.
Please if you can --- bring to share a joke or story or memory.
We will have Reiko's husband, Rodrigo Leija, on guitar to provide some music and also lead us in singing a few traditional songs of the season.
Peggy Kanada, moderator of UFT
Here is a link to an upbeat musical animated movie of Dickens's A Christmas Carol。

And an article from the UU World Magazine about how and why Humanists also celebrate Christmas.

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