ABSTRACT

Information about Buddhist activities in Japanese-occupied areas is scarce for two reasons. First, monks and nuns were frightened to communicate with their colleagues outside the occupied areas lest they be suspected of being associated with anti-Japanese activists. Second, leading Buddhists who had collaborated with Japanese authorities were unlikely to keep or publish documents about their activities after the end of the war. However, by piecing together available information scattered in different sources, we are able to glimpse the general situation of Buddhists in these areas. After a short period of confusion at the beginning of the war, institutional Buddhism was reorganized under Japanese rule and Buddhist activities became more politicized; many Chinese clergy willingly or unwillingly cooperated with new social and political authorities. Having adapted themselves to the new environment, Buddhists, especially the clergy, engaged in disaster relief and other charitable works. By comparing Buddhist activities in areas controlled by resistance forces (as discussed in the last chapter) with those in Japanese occupied areas (as I am going to examine in this chapter), I intend to demonstrate how Buddhism was used for two opposite political purposes, working for and against the Japanese occupation.