Professor Emeritus at Meiji University
Representative for the Thanatology and Fundamental Culture Research Institute
Deputy Representative for the International Society for Kumano Studies
President of the Inochi no Kizuna General Incorporated Association
Akio Kaneyama was born in Tochigi Prefecture in 1948. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo. Upon being diagnosed with a nervous disorder, Kaneyama entered Soji Temple to train in the Soto school of Zen Buddhism, and it was the section on “Life and Death” in Dogen’s “Treasury of the True Dharma Eye” that prompted his study of Thanatology. He began exploring views of the soul and spirits and the afterlife that are distinctively Japanese, and he began researching Japanese folklore centered on the mythology of Ise and Kumano. His work since then has primarily focused on Thanatology, mythology, religious folklore and Buddhist literature, and he has presented his findings in lectures to the International Society for Kumano Studies, various shrines and temples and other audiences both in Japan and overseas. He has a reputation as a skilled speaker who communicates his findings in terms which resonate with everyday life. He is particularly renowned for his ability to discuss the Japanese mindset towards birth, aging, sickness and death, as it is expressed in poetry.
Kaneyama is the author of Sei to Shi no Zushogaku and other books; he has helped with the editing and writing of various works, including Koten ni Miru Nihon-jin no Sei to Shi; and he supervised the compilation of Shinran Shonin no Oshie “Tannisho” wo Kaki-utusu.