The Shōkokuji Pagoda

Collaboration with Tomishima Yoshiyuki 冨島義幸.

The Shōkokuji pagoda was a breathtaking statement about the capacity of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu 足利義満 (1358-1408) to leverage the symbolic power of architecture and ritual pageantry to advance his political aims. It towered a staggering 109 meters above Kyoto's urban landscape and was decorated to represent a stacked mandala of the two realms (ryōkai mandara 両界 曼荼羅). By building the structure, Yoshimitsu sought to create a context within which the symbols and rituals of Hindu-Buddhist kingship could be deployed to assert a status synonymous with dharma king (hoō 法皇).

Find out more from this article in the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, written with Tomishima Yoshiyuki of Kyoto University: