My name is Aike Rots. I am a scholar of religion specialised in Japan, currently based in Oslo. My main research interests are, first, religions in East and Southeast Asia; second, theories of sacred space, in relation to politics and society; and, third, religion, nature and the environment. In February 2014, I successfully defended my PhD dissertation, Forests of the Gods: Shinto, Nature and Sacred Space in Contemporary Japan, at the University of Oslo in Norway. Previously, I studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (MA), Leiden University in the Netherlands (BA), and Waseda University in Tokyo (one-year exchange program). In between my MA and PhD, I spent a year and a half in Vietnam, where I worked as a language teacher.
During the past couple of years, I have published articles and book chapters on various topics, including the following: conceptualisations of Shinto in modern Japan; religious environmentalism; Japanese theories of sacred space, and processes of sacralisation; Shinto responses to natural disaster; and Japanese Christianity. Some of these articles are available online. I am currently working on an article on religion in contemporary Vietnam, papers on the ongoing globalisation of Shinto, and a future research project focusing on religion and environmental issues in Okinawa.
In the course of the past ten years, I have written blog posts about my experiences as a student in Japan and the UK; my life in Vietnam, Norway and the Netherlands; my travel experiences in East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; and, more recently, my research in Japan. They can be found on this blog (needless to say, some of them are a bit outdated, but they still contain some interesting observations). In the future, I will continue using this blog to write about my travel and research experiences, in a manner slightly more informal and impressionistic than my academic publications.
In addition to religion, philosophy and Asian culture, I am interested in a variety of topics, some of which I discuss on my blog. These include theatre, politics, environmental issues, walking, art, literature and cooking.