Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Bocking, Brian
Contemporary Buddhism
Flagging up Buddhism: Charles Pfoundes (Omoie Tetzunostzuke) among the international congresses and expositions, 1893-1905
Optional Fields
Buddhism Japan Japanese Pfoundes Japan Hanoi Buddhist Revival Shingon Tendai Irish Ireland

This paper draws attention, through the figure of the forgotten expatriate Irish Japanese Buddhist Charles Pfoundes, to the distinctive 19th century phenomenon of great international exhibitions, expositions and their associated congresses, viewing them as innovative nodes and material stimuli to the kinds of travel, cultural communication and exchange which, like monastic, trade, political and ethnic networks helped to exchange and promote modern representations of Buddhism. Charles James William Pfoundes (1840-1907), a young emigrant from Southeast Ireland, spent most of his adult life in Japan, received a Japanese name “Omoie Tetzunostzuke”, embraced then turned against Theosophy and from 1893 was ordained in several Japanese Buddhist traditions. Lacking independent means but educated, intellectually curious, entrepreneurial, fluent in Japanese and with a keen interest in Asian culture, Pfoundes subsisted as a cultural intermediary, explaining Japan and Asia to both Japanese and foreign audiences and actively seeking involvement in global expositions and congresses, in Asia and beyond. Drawing mainly on a previously unstudied collection of Pfoundes’ personal documents, this paper briefly outlines Pfoundes’ unusual career and then focuses on his engagement, in the last 15 years of his life, in actual or proposed international congresses and expositions in Chicago, Japan, Hanoi and Oregon. 

1463-9947, 1476-7953
Grant Details