After completing an undergraduate degree in Economics at Keio University, Ryūichi Abé acquired a master’s degree from School of Advanced International Affairs, the Johns Hopkins University. He then turned to Religious Studies and was awarded an M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Abé’s research interests center around Buddhism and visual culture, Buddhism and literature, Buddhist theory of language, history of Japanese esoteric Buddhism, Shinto-Buddhist interaction, and Buddhism and gender. He has been teaching wide-ranging graduate and undergraduate courses on East Asian religions and premodern and early modern Japanese religions.
His publications include Great Fool–Zen Master Ryōkan (University of Hawaii Press), the Weaving of Mantra–Kūkai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse (Columbia University Press), “Word” (in Lopez ed., Critical Terms in Buddhist Studies, University of Chicago Press), “Genjō sanzō no tōei: Shingon hasso gyōjōzu no saikaishaku” (Tripitaka Master Xuanzang and His Reflections: reinterpreting the narrative painting series Deeds of the Shingon Patriarchs), Sano Midori, et al. eds., Chūsei kaiga no matorikkusu II (Matrix of Medieval Paintings II, Seikansha Press), “Heian shoki tennō no seiken kōtai to kanjō girei” (Early Heian Imperial Succession and Abhiseka Ritual), Nemoto Seiji, et al. eds., Nara Bukkyō no dentō to kakushin (Tradition and Innovation in the Buddhism of Nara, Bensei Shuppan Press), “Revisiting the Dragon Princess: her role in medieval origin stories and its implications in reading the Lotus Sutra” (Japanese Journal of Religious Studies), and "Women and the Heike nōkyō: The Dragon Princess, the Jewel and the Buddha" (Impressions, The Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America).