Paulina (Paula) Kolata has recently graduated from Lancaster University with an MA in Religious Studies and is currently applying for PhD programmes to pursue her research into the relationship between religion, locality, tourism, and identity in today’s Japan. She has been an interviewer for the RSP since January 2015.
Paulina believes that research into the survival of Buddhist temples and their encounter with modernity/post-modernity in Japan has a tendency to focus on the commercialisation of religion without a significant inquiry into the economic and often political survival of religious/Buddhist institutions. Paulina intends to broaden the field by taking note of religious decline, which is a further element in the wider issue of the economic decline of temples, and the transformations of communal identity in rural Japan. Paulina’s MA thesis focused on locating religion in advertising of Japan’s inbound tourism and its role in the geography of imagination by presenting a case study of the travel industry. Her undergraduate background is in Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester, where she investigated the conflation of religion and entertainment (shūkyō asobi), and the relationship between advertising and religious life of Japanese people. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and a personal blog is Japan through a key hole.