Janine Sawada specializes in the religious and intellectual history of early modern Japan. She is currently studying the religious movement dedicated to Mt. Fuji (later called Fujiko) with particular attention to the role of prayer rituals (kaji kito) in its formative phases, during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Janine Sawada has worked on the popularization of Zen Buddhist and Neo-Confucian ideas and practices among the working classes of early modern Japan, including various forms of personal cultivation that emerged in the early nineteenth century and the early Meiji period (Shinto-type new religions, Confucian-inspired revival movements, divination practitioners, lay Rinzai communities, etc.). She is now focusing on the late medieval to early Tokugawa development of Mt. Fuji devotionalism as documented in pilgrimage mandalas, talismans, sermon texts, and hagio-narratives generated by lay ascetics and pilgrims of the time.