Introduction: Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose: The Afterlives of Japanese Material Culture

Author: Halle O’Neal orcid logo (University of Edinburgh)

  • Introduction: Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose: The Afterlives of Japanese Material Culture


    Introduction: Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose: The Afterlives of Japanese Material Culture


Keywords: Japan, material culture, art, reuse, recyle, repurpose

How to Cite:

O’Neal, H., (2023) “Introduction: Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose: The Afterlives of Japanese Material Culture”, Ars Orientalis 52: 1. doi:



Published on
13 May 2023


The terms reuse, recycle, and repurpose—though ever-present exhortations in the face of the contemporary global ecological crisis—are not merely modern concepts and concerns. Premodern people deployed these ethics, techniques, and material reclamations in times of scarcity, in moments of artistic inspiration, at the juncture of transcultural exchange, and as a result of sociopolitical and religious impetus, among many other reasons both practical and poignant. Reuse and recycling required fundamental determinations of the evolving value and practicality of objects and materials. By analyzing these decisions to reuse, we can see what was treasured and considered salvageable, as well as what was beyond repair, ordinary, or ultimately disposable.

I propose that reuse and recycling as a frame is capable of uncovering the biographies of objects from their initial production throughout the material and functional transformations experienced by those pieces of history. Tracing the afterlives of objects is now a common lens for analyzing their multidimensional stories.1 The method of focusing on the nature of reuse and recycling gives object biography a more concentrated way of tracking changes and uncovering the meanings and significance of those transformations, be they intentional or accidental.2 Framing studies of objects through their reuse and recycling provides clarity to the more general afterlives approach. Pinpointing these crucial biographical moments can help us to understand how and why new lives come into being and what they tell us about the times and people who engendered them. This approach documents shifts in meaning, function, ownership, and agency as viewed through the practical and theoretical implications of an object’s reuse. It delineates the deteriorative effects on an object from prolonged and continued usage, from those caused by conscription into different sets of services and meanings. Reuse in the cases examined in this special issue is a selective, purposefully deliberate choice to reinscribe specific examples of visual and material culture into new contexts with altered purposes. Yet as our articles show, often these new manifestations are purposefully built on the previous iterations. The palimpsestic layering, both materially and conceptually, means that the earlier lives do not vanish; rather they accumulate, forming the (at times invisible) substrate upon which claims of authority, presence, and prestige are made.3 Studies of reuse, recycling, and repurposing, therefore, excavate tales of transformation, giving focus to what might otherwise be an impossibly protracted biography. The topic of reuse also draws a plethora of other important discussions into scholarly conversation, including larger issues of embodiment, fragmentation, materiality, tactility, and transference, all of which help uncover the many lives of Japanese cultural objects long after their creation and even up until their destruction.

There are countless forms of reuse throughout Japanese cultural history, embedded in the practices of daily life, in religious doctrine and praxis, and in literary and artistic activities ranging from poems to ceramics. Within this issue, we use the terms reuse, recycle, and repurpose to capture these changes, and there is an unavoidable degree of overlap between them. Reuse is frequently an umbrella term for all manner of shifts — materially, conceptually, and functionally. Reuse exists along a continuum with conceptual and/or functional change that largely preserves the material object at one end (e.g., a rubber boot repurposed as a planter) and destruction and remaking at the other (plastic bottles recycled into a park bench). Across a broad spectrum of changes, reuse can denote the application of a new function to an object, its transfer into different hands, as well as changes to its appearance and construction. Our studies of reuse center the materiality of the object, either in its continuation or adaptation. The reuse of objects requiring material transformations frequently manifests through fragmentation, addition, mounting/dismounting, repairs, and material layering. The concept of recycle, on the other hand, can be deployed for a more precise meaning. The contributors to this issue, by and large, have chosen to distinguish reuse from recycle by attributing to the latter the processes and outcomes resulting from fundamental physical changes that reformulate the object into a completely new function and/or appearance. This includes the end of the object’s prior physical form and rebirth into a new circumstance, such as used paper’s reformulation into recycled paper and Buddhist bells smelted down for bullets. We deploy repurposing to capture conceptual reframing, which does not have to entail a physical change to the object, but rather a shift in how it is understood and used, which can result from reconsecration/deactivation and reidentification and translation into different contexts. Reuse, recycle, repurpose are the key terms we use throughout this issue, but there are a multitude of descriptors that also delineate the various transformations that occur and nuance their material and conceptual shifts. And, of course, the definitions suggested here are by no means meant to be prescriptive or absolute.

The paradoxical constancy of change in visual, material, and textual cultures is a pattern so ubiquitous in Japanese history that it constitutes a fundamental characteristic across all areas of cultural production. When thinking through these branching, splintering, and interlacing rebirths of transformed objects, I continually returned to one primary question: what does it mean for an object to be extant—to exist today—in its altered form? This deceptively simple question spawned others: What has been retained? What has been transformed? What was deactivated? What was dispersed, reassembled, and recycled? And, of course, by and for whom and why? The following in-depth and cross-disciplinary studies focus on the critical moments of transformation that nearly all visual and material artifacts must undergo to survive, in one shape or another. Reorienting scholarly attention to the changing lives of objects reveals new stories and networks and shines a light on this overlooked yet ubiquitous pattern of re-creation and reinscription in Japan continuing today.4

Work on this special volume began in June 2019 when an interdisciplinary group of ten scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Europe gathered at the University of Edinburgh for a symposium on reuse and recycling in Japanese visual and material culture, generously funded by my British Academy grant on the same subject. Our collective consisted of Claire Akiko-Brisset, Lucia Dolce, Fabio Gygi, Edward Kamens, Benedetta Lomi, Anne Nishimura-Morse, Samuel Morse, Hillary Pedersen, Melanie Trede, and myself. Over two days, we workshopped our papers from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including art history, literature, anthropology, and religious studies, in order to uncover the diverse and critical roles of reuse and recycling in Japanese cultural productions from the eighth century to modern times. The papers theorized the religious, social, political, and personal reasons underlying the different practices and manifestations of reuse in order to foreground the significant role that material refashioning has played throughout Japanese history. Because of challenges stemming from the pandemic, our final lineup of contributors altered, and new topics were brought into the conversation, including an article by Sherry Fowler and practice-based pieces by Tanya Uyeda and Yayoi Shinoda.

An Object’s Value and the Ubiquity of Reuse and Recycling

The reuse and recycling of older materials in the making of composite objects inserts the original fragments’ history, visuality, and tangibility into a new afterlife that recalls and perpetuates its layered past while simultaneously crafting new trajectories and meanings. The refashioning of used, sentimental material thickens meaning, retaining and perpetuating collaged memory within the amalgamated object: a synecdoche of an experience or even an entire life. Very often, these fragments remain intentionally visible, while at other times they are dismantled, recycled, hidden, and embedded in ways that obscure the original form. They are, nonetheless, present.

To reuse, recycle, or repurpose an object often necessitates repairing that object so that its usefulness can continue, and this process requires determinations of an object’s multilayered value, involving monetary concerns, its condition, rarity in times of shortage, and its continued functionality as well as the sacred, personal, and sentimental meanings ascribed to the object. What started as one thing, by the nature of premodern ethics, scarcity, and attitudes toward an object’s adaptability, becomes a reinvigorated or even wholly new thing through the pervasive processes of reuse, repair, recycling, and repurposing. The following examples, beyond those examined in these articles, underscore the ubiquity of this practice, starting with the refashioning of space, both architectural and topographical.

Within the built environment, structures, landscape, and even topography were reimagined continually, including the case of kofun 古墳 (mounded tombs from the third to seventh centuries CE) being reused in modern-day Tokyo for cemeteries, gardens, and religious buildings, and for their soil and stone, among other reformulations.5 The practice of reuse at sacred sites might bring to mind the salvaging and dispersal of architectural wood resulting from the ritual reconstructions of Ise Grand Shrine 伊勢神宮 for supernormal reasons grounded in concerns about purity.6 Indeed, architectural reclamation or spolia was a common practice. Fushimi castle built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi 豊臣秀吉 (ca. 1536–1598) was destroyed by an earthquake in 1596 and rebuilt to serve as the site of sieges and battles, only to be later dismantled in the early seventeenth century. These displaced architectural fragments were supposedly disseminated to various other castles and temples, carrying with them a storied history into their new settings and lending rhetorical power and prestige.

Architectural space in premodern Japan was highly suitable for repurposing. The division of interior domestic space was flexible and non-static. Rooms were fluid and open to quick redesign and reassembly, and sparse furnishings meant that a space could serve at night as sleeping quarters and by day as a room of activity for living and working. Wooden floors and tatami mats served for times of both rest and domestic activities. Clothes doubled as sleeping mats, easily tidied and stored, or reworn in the morning. Agricultural byproducts like straw were transported to the cities to be used as cushions and insulation in the exterior walls of homes, while nightsoil collected from urban dwellings was sold back to the surrounding agricultural community as fertilizer for crops.

Well-worn household objects were repaired and sold secondhand for lower prices in early modern shops dedicated to the restoration and reselling of all manner of domestic, trade, and personal items such as textiles, tools, and books. Scrap dealers (kuzuya 屑屋) salvaged discarded objects classed as waste by their owners that were then resold as used items or recycled for their raw materials, such as metal objects or paper. Tales of tsukumogami 付喪神—unwanted objects like tools, musical instruments, religious accoutrements, and clothing that become vivified and vengeful once they reached one hundred years old—abound in medieval and early modern texts and illustrated scrolls. These animated and possessed objects can cause mischief and even harm, representing a different side to waste, disposal, and used possessions.

If we consider objects whose purposes changed over the course of their usefulness, the multifunctional tenugui 手拭い, a rectangular piece of cotton whose length varied according to its purpose, served a variety of operations such as a head covering, a hand or body towel, or an advertisement for a business or sacred site. Textile in general was a form of fungible wealth that saw it frequently given as gifts and used in trade. And when its reuse and repurposing wore thin the fibers of the cloth, it became a rag for cleaning. Indeed, cloth was frequently reinvented, such as secondhand textiles that were sold in used clothing shops known as furugiya 古着屋 in the thriving market for used and repaired goods in Edo. Garments no longer considered suitable for the original owner, or those sold in times of financial need, were redyed, refashioned, and mended in these used clothing shops.7 Boro ぼろ, meaning the successive mending of robes through patchwork, was popular in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, often with rural improvised families. Hand-me-downs within the family unit required continuous repairs in which patches cut from old bedding and tattered, used clothes visibly revived garments in a thrifty and sometimes creative way using sashiko 刺し子 stiches. These stitches of dotted white lines across the fabric were produced with a large, sturdy needle. This technique of patchwork and obviously stitched repairs has become something of a fashion in modern clothing and accessories, valued not so much for their functionality and thriftiness but for their bold aesthetics.

Paper was another remarkable product in premodern Japan with a great variety of versatile purposes, perfect for reuse and recycling with minimum effort. It was a central component of Japanese homes of the shinden zukuri 寝殿造 and shoin zukuri 書院造 styles; sliding doors (fusuma 襖), latticed doors made of translucent paper (shōji 障子), and folding screen partitions (byōbu 屏風) among other decorative and structural elements were key to interior life. Robes could even be made of paper (kamiko 紙子) and were worn by ordinary citizens and kami ritualists alike, although their durability was obviously less sustainable than garments made of textiles. Amy Stanley has described how Edo-period robes made from used paper that retained writing and other signs of its previous iteration sparked a popular trend in the capital for scribbling on costumes in the kabuki theater, which in turn spurred a fashion that mimicked used paper effects on robes of expensive silk.8

Stores selling used paper (koshi ton’ya 古紙問屋) dealt a thriving trade, and recycled paper (sukigaeshigami 漉返紙 or 漉き返し紙; also called shukushi 宿紙) was made by tearing used paper into scraps, boiling it for pulp, and then drying it once again on a bamboo screen. Early production of reclaimed paper was managed by the kamiya 紙屋 (kamiyain 紙屋院) established circa 806, which exclusively produced recycled paper and was a division of the Zushoryō 図書寮 or Bureau of Books and Drawings. During the process of maceration, the original ink dispersed across the fibers of the reformed paper and lent it a light gray color called usuzumi 薄墨 in the sources. This recycled paper was used for any number of documents, including court records and imperial decrees such as rinji 綸旨, leading recycled paper to sometimes be referred to as rinjigami 綸旨紙.

However, paper did not have to be recycled to be reclaimed. Paper that was reused without being remade was known as hogo 反古 (反故), waste or left-behind paper that was no longer needed. The reuse of this waste paper accounts for the survival of a tremendous number of extant historic documents because writing on the reverse of surplus and unwanted papers of all sorts (shihai monjo 紙背文書) was a standard, economically sensible practice throughout premodern Japan. The reuse of paper to write correspondence, to transcribe collections of poetry, to make lists, to draft letters, to practice waka and calligraphy, and for many other things is sometimes about availability or even scarcity. It was also a culturally imbued custom of resource conservation. The use of blank spaces such as the reverse and margins of calendrical scrolls made by the Onmyōryō (Yin-Yang Bureau) known as guchūreki 具注暦 were sometimes used for diary entries. And family records such as those for the Kujō 九条 family were written on the backs of their copies of Engishiki 延喜式, governmental protocols dictating the rules of law compiled in the early tenth century. Perhaps we should understand that the reuse of copies of historically significant texts such as Engishiki, Nihon shoki 日本書紀, or Huainanzi 淮南子 to compose a letter, write out phrases of waka, or keep familial records is not a meaningless act. The prestige and significance of these old texts did not simply evaporate once a new layer was added. This is also why palimpsest is such a useful frame for a wide range of manuscripts—it emphasizes the modalities and the existence of simultaneous texts that impart meaning and consequence to one another, all while new additions might have also eclipsed or obscured old layers. This is particularly potent when papers of the dead are reused as hangonshi 反魂紙 or kankonshi 還魂紙, paper infused with the spirit of the deceased. These forms of recycling are only part of the even more prevalent conceptual recycling of waka phrases, literary tropes and themes in the great prose compositions, and iconographic, stylistic, and subject borrowings in visual culture.

Even a cursory glance through Japanese material and cultural history turns up innumerable examples of reuse, recycling, and repurposing, and the above examples are just a small selection.9 But what of manuscripts, objects, and things no longer needed nor wanted? For everything that was retained and repurposed into new lives, there were also things that were viewed as fundamentally too broken, without further use or value, and things that were relegated as waste, necessitating decisions on how to dispose of them.10 Some objects must be ritualistically divorced from their imbued presence before they are reused, recycled, or destroyed. Recycling also imbeds a current of cyclicality, as in the creation of Thai Buddhist amulets made from recycled plastics.11 But some things are terminal commodities, as is the case with the disposal of many contemporary Japanese butsudan (Buddhist altars in the home).12

The cyclicality of use and reuse and the concomitant string of afterlives mean that objects have multiple life cycles. When a vessel is damaged, a decision must be made as to its value: whether to treat it as irreparable waste that will be discarded or as worthy of transformation into a reformed thing. The survival of an object, therefore, is intrinsically linked to its ascribed value. The stories uncovered by focusing on reuse and recycling show the changing approximations applied to the object by concentrating on the critical moments of transformation and reintroduction into a new life cycle through adaptation, renewal, repurposing, and, at the end of things, the death of an object.

Article Contributions

The articles in this volume are arranged into four thematic groups that explore examples that have undergone visible transformations, had their identities reframed, and survived disposal—or endured and been materially changed by it. The first section, “The Many Lives of Fragments and Palimpsests,” comprises three contributions that draw connections between fragments and palimpsests, revealing that these transformative, and at times destructive, reuses of paper and calligraphy signify their practical and poignant afterlives as parts of a new whole. These transformations create an augmented life splintered from the original design, both conceptually and materially. My article considers the conversion of ordinary handwritten letters into memorial palimpsests blending calligraphic writing with stamped Buddhist deities. It posits the paradox of deliberate retention through destruction, asking what these moments of alteration tell us about ephemerality, consistency of presence, and the integral nature of fragmented paper and handwriting in private Buddhist death rituals. Lucia Dolce’s article analyzes Nichiren’s Annotated Lotus Sutra, a thirteenth-century personal manuscript interlacing handwritten annotations and notes with the text of a Buddhist scripture. Dolce provides an examination of printed manuscript culture in medieval Japan and asks how insertions and supplemented writing interacts with the original surface. Through close analysis of Yale University’s calligraphy album Tekagamijō, Edward Kamens offers a sustained theoretical engagement on the meaning of fragmentation as exemplified in the reuse and reframing of calligraphy and waka 和歌 or poetry. His article demonstrates the inherent quality of waka’s reuse, from the borrowed verses of celebrated examples repurposed in new poetic formulations to the reassembled physical fragments of waka and calligraphy within album compendiums that even in these stabilized formats foster new arrangements across the mounted fragments and encourage ever-changing poetic adaptations. Together these three articles draw out the reinvented lives of reused paper by focusing on the themes of fragmentation, palimpsestic writing, and reformulated materialities.

The second section, “The Creative Reuse of Buddhist Sculptures,” features two papers that explore the rich life cycle of Buddhist sculptures by analyzing not only the significance of reinscribed materiality in crafting statues but also their repurposing into new roles. Samuel Morse’s article explores the historical significance of using reclaimed materials in crafting Buddhist icons that allowed both sculptors and the sculptures themselves to access spiritual authority. His essay traces the variety of instances in which salvaged wood from damaged icons and architecture were selectively and deliberately refashioned into new Buddhist projects, resonating with this special issue’s themes of palimpsestic layers, deconsecration, and reconsecration into new lives. Hillary Pedersen examines the conceptual reframing of an eighth-century Buddhist sculpture of Kokūzō Bosatsu co-opted into different functions and meanings. Her article demonstrates an alternate side of reuse wherein the visual and material remain more or less consistent, but through strategic epigraphic maneuvers across changing hands through time, the icon becomes a tool for legitimation and later an example of the Meiji-period (1868–1912) recasting of Buddhist sculptures as “art.” These two articles reveal that rather than erase the past, the preservation of previous identities and histories are crucially important to the new strategic purposes of these sacred materialities, regardless of whether it was the reclamation of a shard of wood or the repurposing of an unmodified and intact sculpture.

The third section, “The End of Things?,” offers three contributions that investigate the refashioning of artifacts, their methods of survival through transformation, and questions about their potential demise. The article by Benedetta Lomi poses challenging questions about the residency of presence within Buddhist sculptures, how it is impacted by damage and destruction, and a religious community’s obligations when disaster strikes. In doing so, she reveals that damage and subsequent repair or repurposing emphasized reconsecration rather than deactivation, suggestive of the cyclical nature of the reuse of icons and portraits caused by their perpetual embodiment. Sherry Fowler’s article investigates the fraught recycling of bronze temple bells for Asia-Pacific War (1937–1945) munitions with four case studies of bells that survive across a vast stretch land, sea, and time. Fowler considers not only the practical implications of recycling a huge amount of metal, but also how such important Buddhist objects came to be transformed ritualistically and conceptually into weapons of war. Fabio Gygi’s article explores the modern fates of dolls, affective objects of great personal significance to their owners that require Buddhist ritualistic intervention at the end of their life-use. Once deactivated, the uncanny doll can either meet its terminal death by fire as an object returned to its status as a mere commodity or be rescued into a new life as an antique cherished for its cultural heritage. These three articles draw out the nuanced understandings of materiality’s capacity for embodiment and salvific purpose, and the resultant ontological quandary that must be addressed and rectified when the objects are confronted with reuse and recycling.

The final section addresses reuse, recycling, and repurposing from the perspectives of a conservator and curator. Tanya Uyeda, conservator for Japanese paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, and Yayoi Shinoda, assistant curator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, tackle the subject from their practice-based expertise of handling, staging, repairing, and exhibiting objects within a museum context. Uyeda’s essay explicates the decisions behind repairs and whether to approximate the original materials through careful re-creation or to source older materials for their reuse in the conservation process.13 She selects several case studies concerning mounting choices at the MFA to reveal how materials and formats embed knotty interconnections from the (sometimes troubled) past to the current day. Uyeda’s essay encourages us to pay careful attention to the intricacies of materials and not to lose sight of them in the overall composition, for to do so leaves us with an incomplete understanding of making, unmaking, and meaning. Shinoda’s essay shares curatorial insights about how to contextualize visibly damaged and repaired objects for museum audiences. She addresses ceramics mended using the techniques of lacquer and kintsugi 金継ぎ (lacquer mixed with gold), and reflects on the nature of kintsugi as a restoration process both historically and in its contemporary adaptation as a self-help metaphor. Shinoda’s essay also considers the practice of visible, aesthetic ceramic mending to challenge straightforward assumptions about the authenticity and perfection of objects and to question why an original, unmarked object might be valued over a vessel that visualizes its eventful life through cracks and repairs. Analyzing the issue of reuse from a practical and materials-focused point of view gathered from their hands-on experience with repaired objects, the essays of Uyeda and Shinoda augment and extend the theoretical considerations of the longer research articles by providing expertise on the process of reuse and conservation as well as the presentation and framing of repaired works for a general public. Conversations between curators, conservators, and art historians in a range of occupations is crucially important to provide a richer study and understanding of objects, making, materials, and creative praxis. These dialogues only strengthen the broader field.

In order to demonstrate the widespread nature of reuse, the articles in this issue investigate a diverse range of objects, from ceramics, dolls, sculpture, and bronze bells to imperial calligraphy, scriptures, epistolary, and palimpsests. Each of the four sections illuminates a distinct form of reuse and recycling with interlinking themes both within the groupings and across the volume, such as fragmentation and tactility, meaningful reassembly and reconsecration, preservation and destruction, and materiality and ephemerality. This method asks what is original, augmented, or lost, and how and why these objects endured material and/or conceptual alteration. By refining our methods for interrogating object biographies and afterlives to focus on moments of conversion, we ask fundamental questions about the object’s current extant form by assiduously tracking and contextualizing the biographical moments of transformation to reveal the changing systems of value and use experienced by the wide range of Japanese cultural productions.


I am grateful to the British Academy for funding the project “Reuse, Recycling, and Redemption in Buddhist Manuscripts” and the associated symposium at the University of Edinburgh. The stimulating conversations at that workshop were critical in the development of all our papers. I am sincerely grateful to Kevin Carr, Mimi Chusid, and Sherry Fowler for their extensive and insightful comments on earlier drafts of this introduction and to the numerous peer reviewers of the special issue for their time and excellent feedback. Finally, I would like to thank Sana Mirza, Massumeh Farhad, Judy Lee, and Mary Cason at Ars Orientalis for their guidance and support.


  1. This grant ran from 2017–19 and was titled “Reuse, Recycling, and Redemption in Buddhist Manuscripts.”
  2. At the start of this project, I was inspired by the work on British and Roman artifacts by Jody Joy and Ellen Swift, scholars working far afield from my own area but writing object lives in a compelling and revealing way. See Joy, “Reinvigorating Object Biography: Reproducing the Drama of Object Lives,” World Archaeology 41.4 (2009): 540–56; and Swift, “Object Biography, Re-Use and Recycling in the Late to Post-Roman Transition Period and Beyond: Rings Made from Romano-British Bracelets,” Britannia 43 (2012): 167–215. Other studies from outside Asia but looking at recycling are Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (London: Routledge, 1966); Michael Thompson, Rubbish Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value, 2nd ed. (1979; London: Pluto, 2017]); Donald Woodward, “‘Swords into Ploughshares’: Recycling in Pre-Industrial England,” Economic History Review 38.2 (1985): 175–91; and Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash (New York: Macmillan, 2000).
  3. Kevin Gray Carr has also shown that this characteristic can be seen in the oral narrations of Prince Shōtoku’s 聖徳太子 (574–622) story, in which subsequent narrators built upon earlier stories rather than negate them, a morphological process he relates to agglutination; Plotting the Prince: Shotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012), 24.
  4. For studies of reuse in Japanese material culture, see, for example, Dora C. Y. Ching, Louise Allison Cort, and Andrew M. Watsky, eds., Around Chigusa: Tea and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017); and Caroline Hirasawa and Benedetta Lomi, introduction to “Modest Materialities: The Social Lives and Afterlives of Sacred Things in Japan,” ed. Hirasawa and Lomi, special issue, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 45.2 (2018): 217–26.
  5. Taisuke Kuroda, “Inheritance of Sanctuaries: The Reuse of Kofuns in Tokyo,” Almatourism 8 (2018): 78–106.
  6. There are many excellent publications on this topic. For a scientific survey of the wood, see Rie Nakayama, “Survey of the Actual Conditions of Wood Processing for Reusing Ise-Jingu Shrine’s Old Materials,” in East Asian Architecture in Globalization, ed. Subin Xu, Nobuo Aoki, and Bébio Vieira Amaro (Cham: Springer, 2021), 565–80.
  7. For a long view on textile reuse including contemporary shops and issues, see Tamada Maki 玉田真紀, “Nihon ni okeru sen’i risaikuru no bunka ni tsuite” 日本における繊維リサイクルの文化について (About the culture of textile recycling in Japan), Sen’i kikai gakkaishi 繊維機械学会誌 61.3 (2008): 189–94.
  8. Amy Stanley, Stranger in the Shogun’s City (New York: Scribner, 2020), 147.
  9. The practice of tea in Japan is replete with examples of reuse and repair.
  10. For more on sacred waste, see Trine Brox and Elizabeth Williams-Oerberg, eds., Buddhism and Waste: The Excess, Discard, and Afterlife of Buddhist Consumption (London: Bloomsbury, 2022); and Paulina Kolata, “Heritage Out of Control: Buddhist Material Excess in Contemporary Japan,” Allegra Lab, February 2022,
  11. Jiraporn Kuhakan, “Thais Make Amulets from Plastic Waste to Inspire More Recycling,” Reuters, February 14, 2022.
  12. Hannah Gould, “Caring for Sacred Waste: The Disposal of Butsudan (Buddhist Altars) in Contemporary Japan,” Japanese Religions 43.1/2 (2019): 197–220.
  13. Melanie Trede has explored issues of fragmentation and remounting in “Lives of the Japanese Picture,” in Arts of Japan: The John C. Weber Collection, ed. Trede (Berlin: Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst und Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 2006), 20–27. This recent catalogue is also a good source on fragmenting and refashioning calligraphy: Nezu bijutsukan 根津美術館, ed., Meiga o kiri, meiga o tsugu: bijutsu ni miru aizō no katachi 名画を切り, 名画を継ぐ: 美術にみる愛蔵のかたち (Transforming masterpieces: A collector’s love seen in art) (Tokyo: Nezu Bijutsukan, 2014).