Paulina Kolata

Email address:

Twitter: PaulaKolata


Previous Education

2012-2014     MA Religious Studies (Distinction)

Lancaster University, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religious Studies

Dissertation title: “From a representation to a struggle of ‘soft’ authority. Locating religion in advertising of Japan’s inbound tourism and its role in the geography of imagination: the case study of the travel industry.”

2007-2011     BA (Hons.) Japanese Studies (First Class)

The University of Manchester, Department of East Asian Studies

Dissertation title: “Religion and entertainment (shūkyō asobi) – the commercialization of tradition in Japan? Relationship between advertising and religious life of Japanese people.”

2004-2007     BA (Hons.) English Studies with Japanese (Final classification 2:1)

Poznan College of Modern Languages, formerly The College of Foreign Languages in Poznan, Poland

Dissertation title: “The Cultural Clash of American and Japanese Cinematography.”

Thesis Title

The ongoing problem of religious decline and the loss of spiritual identity – what is the relationship between religion, region and communal identity in Japan today?


Main Supervisor: Dr Erica Baffelli, Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies

Co-supervisor: Dr Chika Watanabe, Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Research Summary

My research explores the realities of local Japanese Buddhist temples and their communities in the Japan’s shrinking regions battling depopulation and effects of Japan’s ageing society. This project addresses important questions of community erosion, consequences of social change, and institutional and community-level survival of Japanese Buddhism; and broadens the discussion on the current state of Japanese Buddhism by presenting a localised case study of a Jodo Shinshu bodaiji temple located in the northern parts of Hiroshima Prefecture.Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork of living at the temple, and data collected there, it examines the currents of change influencing notions of belonging and socio-economic existence within the temple and its broader communal, regional, and organisational frameworks.

The funding for my research has been jointly provided by two UK’s research councils: Economic and Social Research Council, and Arts and Humanities Research Council; as well as by the University of Manchester through the President’s Doctoral Scholar Award.

Research interests

Japanese religions, Japanese Buddhism, religion and socio-demographic changes, religion and tourism, temple economics, Buddhist modernism, religion and gender, ethnographic method, anthropology of Buddhism