Mr John Lo Breglio

Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies



  • U63025 Advanced Japanese Reading and Translation
  • U63080 Japan: Myth and Reality
  • U20105 Introduction to Japanese Society
  • U63040 Japanese Religions (2 years on; 2 years off)
  • U63041 Making of Modern Japan (2 years on; 2 years off)


John LoBreglio's doctoral research examines the doctrinal, ritual and institutional modernisation of Sōtō Zen Buddhism during the Meiji period (1868-1911) and considers the implications that these changes have for the Buddhist institutions in contemporary Japan.

He is also interested in the study of Japanese religions from pre-history to the present, East Asian Buddhism generally, and methodological issues in the study of religion.

Research Dissemination

  • February 2016, 'Early 20th c. Japanese Buddhist Perceptions of Western Imperialism and Why they Matter’, Europe Japan Research Centre (EJRC), Oxford Brookes University.
  • September 2015, 'Japanese Buddhist Perceptions of Western Imperialism', British Association of Japanese Studies (BAJS) Annual Conference, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. 

  • July 2015, ‘Japanese Buddhist Perspectives on the Paris Peace Conference and Early Twentieth-Century Imperialism’, Ōtani University, Kyoto, Japan, Department of Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Letters, ‘Public Talks’ Series. 

  • October 2013 'Japanese Buddhists and Twentieth-Century Imperialism,' Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • June 2009 'Buddhist Visions of Race Before, During and After Versailles', Symposium: Asia after Versailles, 1919-1933, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, Germany.
  • April 2009 'Standardizing Lay Training in Meiji-period Sōtō Zen', Numata Buddhist Studies Conference: Buddhist Training in Japan, University of Toronto.
  • April 2009 'Orthodox, Heterodox, Heretical: Defining Doctrinal Boundaries in Meiji-period Sōtō Zen',Workshop: Defining Religion, Defining Heresy in Meiji-period Japan, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
  • March 2005 'On the Fault Lines of Japanese Buddhism: Takada Dōken's Vision of a Non-sectarian Buddhism', International Association for the History of Religion (IAHR) Conference, Tokyo.
  • December 2001 'The Essence of Sōtō Zen', School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.
  • October 1999 'Fashioning Doctrine in Meiji Sōtō Zen: The Case of the Shushōgi', Sōtō Zen Conference, Stanford University.
  • August 1999 'Fashioning Doctrine in Meiji Sōtō  Zen: The Case of the Shushōgi', International Association of Buddhist Studies Conference, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • November 1998 'Ōuchi Seiran and Buddhist Modernization in Meiji Japan', at meeting of the 'Asian Studies Group', Stanford Center, Kyoto, Japan.
  • May 1998 '神道とエコロジー’ ('Shinto and Ecology') at the Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.

John LoBreglio has taught courses on various aspects of Japanese religious history at Dōshisha University in Kyoto, the Antioch College Buddhist Studies Program, Kyoto, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and the British Museum's Postgraduate Diploma Course in Asian Arts. He has also taught Japanese language (Unseen Translation and Reading Japanese Texts) at the Oriental Institute, Oxford University. John has an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and has completed doctoral coursework both there and at Kyoto University.


  • Journal articles
  • Book chapters
  • Other

Journal articles

  • 2009 'Orthodox, Heterodox, Heretical: Defining Doctrinal Boundaries in Meiji-period Soto Zen', Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung (Bochum Yearbook of East Asian Studies). 
  • 2005 'Uniting Buddhism: Tsūbukkyō in Meiji-Taishō Japan and the Case of Takada Dōken', Eastern Buddhist, Vol. XXXVII, Nos. 1&2, 39-76.
  • 1997 'The Revisions to the Religious Corporations Law: An Introduction and Annotated Translation', Japanese Religions 22 (1): 38-59.

Book chapters

  • 2016 'Dashed Hopes: Japanese Buddhist Reactions to the Paris Peace Conference.' In Zachmann, Urs Matthias, ed., Asia After Versailles: Asian Perspectives on the Paris Peace Conference and the Post-War World, 1919-1933., Edinburgh University Press. (In Press)
  • 2016 Translation and Introduction, 'Watanabe Kaigyoku's "The Hopes of Buddhists for the Peace Conference".' In Kraemer, Hans Martin, ed., Religious Dynamics in the Age of Imperialism and Colonialism. (In Press)
  • 2006 'Genron no jiyū to sono aimai na genkai -- Igirisu kara no hannō,' Chapter 8 in Muhanmado no fūshiga, Tokyo: Meiseki shoten publishers. ('Freedom of Expression and its Ambiguous Limits: The British Reaction,' in The Mohammed Cartoons.)


Reference Articles

Encyclopedia Entries
  • 2001 'Japan Buddhist Federation', Encyclopedia entry, The 21st Century Encyclopedia of World Religions, ABC Clio Reference-book House, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • 2001 'Nipponzan Myohoji,' Encyclopedia entry, The 21st Century Encyclopedia of World Religions, ABC Clio Reference-book House, Santa Barbara, CA.
Book Reviews
  • 2013 Book Review. Purifying Zen: Watsuji Tetsuro's  Shamon Dogen, by Steven Bein.  Japan Review, No. 25, Kyoto: International Research Center for Japanese Studies, 197-200.
  • 2009 Book Review. Yasukuni: the War Dead and the Struggle for Japan's Past by John Breen, ed. School of Oriental and African Studies, Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions Newsletter
  • 2003 Book Review. Neither Monk nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism by Richard Jaffe. The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 62, no.2, May, 2003, 617-18.
  • 1999 Video: Mitsuke Tenjin Hadakasai: 'The Naked Festival of the Mitsuke Tenjin Shrine,' Translation (with Mark Rowe) and Narration. Jinja Honchō (Association of ShintÅ Shrines).