UR history professor wins grant for research in Japan; writing book focusing on Okinawa's religious landscape prior to WWII

May 9, 2017

Tze LooUniversity of Richmond history and international studies professor Tze M. Loo has received a Japan Foundation grant for her research project, “Religion and Rule in Prewar Okinawa.”

During a 10-month fellowship, Loo will focus on writing one of the few books in either English or Japanese that examines how Okinawa’s religious landscape, practices and discourses functioned as a mechanism for both political control and performance of political subordination prior to WWII.

“Studies of prewar Okinawa have paid scant attention to what happened to the indigenous religion following Okinawa’s formal annexation by Japan in 1879,” Loo said. “Such attention will render a more complex picture of how mainland rule was extended over the islands and how Okinawans responded to that rule.”

Loo will be able to visit and conduct research in shrines, libraries and archives containing unpublished privately-held materials in Tokyo and northern Okinawa. She also will interview Okinawan practitioners of religious rites who remember the prewar period.

Loo began teaching at the University of Richmond in 2006 after receiving her Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in history from Cornell University, a Master of Arts in Japanese studies from the National University of Singapore, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney.

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The mission of the Japan Foundation is to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. The Japan Foundation Fellowships program provides support to outstanding scholars in the field by offering the opportunity to conduct research in Japan.