Programme

The Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences (ACP) is an interdisciplinary conference held alongside The Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy (ACERP) as part of “Think Tokyo". Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow participants to attend sessions in both.

This page provides details of featured presentations, the conference schedule and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


Conference Outline

Friday, March 31, 2023Saturday, April 1, 2023Sunday, April 2, 2023Monday, April 3, 2023

12:30-13:00: Conference Registration

13:00-13:05: Announcements & Welcome

13:05-13:20: Welcome Address and Recognition of IAFOR Scholarship Winners

13:20-14:20: Keynote Presentation

14:20-14:45: Coffee Break

14:45-15:45: Featured Panel Presentation

15:45-16:00: Short Break

16:00-16:45: Featured Panel Presentation

16:45-17:00: Conference Photograph

17:00-18:00: Conference Poster Session & Welcome Reception

10:00-11:40: On-site Parallel Presentation Session 1

11:40:13:00: Lunch Break

13:00-14:40: On-site Parallel Session 2

14:40-14:55: Coffee Break

14:55-16:35: On-site Parallel Session 3

16:35-16:50: Coffee Break

16:50-17:50: On-site Parallel Session 4

10:00-11:40: On-site Parallel Presentation Session 1

11:40:13:00: Lunch Break

13:00-14:40: On-site Parallel Session 2

14:40-14:55: Coffee Break

14:55-16:35: On-site Parallel Session 3

16:35-16:50: Coffee Break

16:50-17:50: On-site Parallel Session 4

09:30-11:10: Online Parallel Presentation Session 1

11:10-11:25: Short Break

11:25-12:40: Online Parallel Presentation Session 2

12:40-13:40: Extended Break

13:40-15:20: Online Parallel Presentation Session 3

15:20-15:35: Short Break

15:35-17:15: Online Parallel Presentation Session 4

17:15-17:30: Online Conference Closing Session

The above schedule may be subject to change.


Featured Presentations

  • Are Modern Understandings of Karma the Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha?
    Are Modern Understandings of Karma the Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha?
    Featured Presentation: Brian Victoria
  • Recent Developments Concerning the Separation of Religion and State in Contemporary Japan
    Recent Developments Concerning the Separation of Religion and State in Contemporary Japan
    Panel Presentation: Frank Ravitch, Haruko Satoh, Brian Victoria, Joseph Haldane (Moderator)
  • Ships in the Night: Expansion of the Separation of Politics and Religion in Japan as the U.S. Supreme Court Abandons the Separation of Church and State
    Ships in the Night: Expansion of the Separation of Politics and Religion in Japan as the U.S. Supreme Court Abandons the Separation of Church and State
    Keynote Presentation: Frank Ravitch
  • To Be Young and Depressed: Higher Prevalence Rates for Depression in Youngsters in the Netherlands
    To Be Young and Depressed: Higher Prevalence Rates for Depression in Youngsters in the Netherlands
    Keynote Presentation: Jan Spijker
  • Whose Time Am I Spending? Nonzero-sum Time Perception Promotes Psychological Well-being and Prosociality
    Whose Time Am I Spending? Nonzero-sum Time Perception Promotes Psychological Well-being and Prosociality
    Keynote Presentation: Yu Niiya

Virtual Presentations


Conference Programme

The draft version of the Conference Programme will be available online on February 20, 2023. All registered delegates will be notified of this publication by email.

*Please be aware that the above schedule may be subject to change.


Important Information Emails

All registered attendees will receive an Important Information email and updates in the run-up to the conference. Please check your email inbox for something from "iafor.org". If you can not find these emails in your normal inbox, it is worth checking in your spam or junk mail folders as many programs filter out emails this way. If these did end up in one of these folders, please add the address to your acceptable senders' folder by whatever method your email program can do this.


Previous Programming

View details of programming for past ACP conferences via the links below.

Are Modern Understandings of Karma the Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha?
Featured Presentation: Brian Victoria

"Karma," like the word "Buddha," is one of the few words of Buddhist/Hindu origin that have become so commonly used they no longer need to be italicised when written. Thus, when discussing something that happened to a particular person, usually of a negative character, it is unsurprising to hear someone say, “It was his karma, man.” Here, karma becomes very close to meaning "fate", suggesting a power outside of one’s control that determines one’s destiny. But is this the genuine meaning of karma?

This presentation will focus on the understanding of karma in twentieth-century Japan, beginning with that of Rinzai Zen master Shaku Sōen as presented at the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893, including an examination of the doctrinal underpinnings of Sōen's understanding in the Lotus Sutra. This will be followed by the contrasting understanding of Sōen's lay disciple, D. T. Suzuki, as well as that of the martyred Sōtō Zen priest Uchiyama Gudō.

To ensure that the understanding of karma held by Shaku Sōen, et al. is not regarded as a uniquely Mahayana interpretation, reference will also be made to examples of the use of karma in the Theravada tradition, specifically as used in contemporary Thailand.

In conclusion, an examination of karma as taught by Shakyamuni Buddha will be presented. It will be shown that both the Mahayana and Theravada understandings of karma are far removed, even contradictory, to the teachings of the Buddha himself.

Read presenter's biography
Recent Developments Concerning the Separation of Religion and State in Contemporary Japan
Panel Presentation: Frank Ravitch, Haruko Satoh, Brian Victoria, Joseph Haldane (Moderator)

The ongoing impact of religion on the state (and vice versa) remains an "evergreen" and controversial phenomenon in many countries of the world. Today, the split on national lines between the Christian Orthodox Church in Russia and Ukraine reveals once again how religions are both impacted by and impact upon nations at war. Even more recently, the relationship between Sweden and Turkey became strained due to the burning of the Quran by a right-wing group in the former country, and support for Kurdish groups fighting for their freedom from Turkey, but which Turkey views as terrorist groups.

The purpose of this panel is to introduce recent examples in Japan at both the national and local levels that illustrate the ongoing conflict that Japan, too, has in this regard. Professor Frank Ravitch will discuss relevant developments in Japan at the national level that followed in the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on July 8, 2022. These developments led to the linking of both Abe and numerous other Japanese politicians to the controversial Unification Church (also known as the "Moonies"). Prof. Ravitch will discuss the current attempts in the Japanese Diet to craft legislation that will make it easier to ban religious organisations that are accused of exerting undue pressure on their adherents to donate large sums of money to their religion of choice.

Dr Brian Victoria will introduce both sides of an ongoing court case in Kyoto concerning a local city government-affiliated neighbourhood association that stands accused of allocating some of its yearly membership funds to support activities of area Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. This violates the postwar Japanese Constitution, specifically Article Twenty of which states in part: "Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organisation shall receive any privileges from the state, nor exercise any political authority. No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite, or practice." The question will be asked whether this and other similar neighbourhood associations throughout the country are simply protecting long-established Japanese customs and culture, or, on the contrary, violating the constitution by contributing membership funds to specific religious organisations.

Read presenters' biographies
Ships in the Night: Expansion of the Separation of Politics and Religion in Japan as the U.S. Supreme Court Abandons the Separation of Church and State
Keynote Presentation: Frank Ravitch

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned more than 50 years of precedent on the establishment of religion (commonly referred to as the separation of church and state) in a case involving sectarian Christian prayer by a public high school football coach. This follows a recent trend of moving away from separationist concepts. This shift has already begun to have a negative impact on religious minorities and nonbelievers in some parts of the U.S.

Meanwhile, in Japan, recent decisions by the 最高裁判所 (Japanese Supreme Court) have continued to expand the concept of separation of politics and religion through the application of precedent to new situations. Several recent cases have involved a Shinto shrine in Sunigawa City, Hokkaido and a Confucian temple in Okinawa.
Of course, the US and Japanese legal systems and socio-political dynamics are quite different. If anything, however, these differences should have led to the opposite result because the U.S. system has a formal reliance on court precedents while the Japanese system has no such formal requirement.

What explains this difference in outcomes? This talk will explore this fascinating question.

Read presenter's biography
To Be Young and Depressed: Higher Prevalence Rates for Depression in Youngsters in the Netherlands
Keynote Presentation: Jan Spijker

According to recent results of NEMESIS, 26% of the Dutch adult population had a psychiatric condition in the past 12 months. Twelve years earlier this was 18%.

Especially, there was a sharp increase in the prevalence in depressive, anxiety and substance use disorders. Those aged under 35, living alone, without employment and living in cities were at higher risk of developing mental disorders.

NEMESIS-3 is a national psychiatric epidemiological survey with more than 6000 respondents (18-64 years old) that started in 2019. The MINI is used to assess psychiatric disorders according to DSM-IV and DSM-V. Earlier prevalence of psychiatric disorders were assessed in NEMESIS-2. COVID-19 does not seem to have influenced the rise in depression as prevalence in the year before, during and after the pandemic did not differ. There are other signals of an increase of depression and suicidality among students. The chronic stress and performance pressure that young people experience might be the explanation for this situation.

Read presenter's biography
Whose Time Am I Spending? Nonzero-sum Time Perception Promotes Psychological Well-being and Prosociality
Keynote Presentation: Yu Niiya

In modern societies, time is a precious asset. Just like money, we invest, trade, spend, save, borrow, give, lose, and even steal time. Just like money, we see it as a zero-sum resource that can be taken or given. But time could be also conceived as a nonzero-sum: Time may be just there, created moment by moment, and may not belong to anybody. Drawing on an experience sampling survey and a series of experiments, I will present empirical evidence which demonstrates that when people perceive that time spent on others is time spent on the self and vice versa (i.e., they perceive time as nonzero-sum), they experience greater relatedness, autonomy, competence, and satisfaction with life, less stress and time pressure, and more willingness to spend time helping others. None of these effects appeared when people perceived that they were offering or sacrificing their time for others or when others were taking away their time (i.e., perceive time as zero-sum). Drawing on the ecosystem theory of relationships (Crocker & Canevello, 2015), I will suggest that people can enhance psychological well-being and prosociality when they care for others without sacrificing the self.

Read presenter's biography
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