"In China, Buddhism apparently took root among the common people before it found popularity with the elite. In Japan, despite the leading role of the state and great families in promoting Buddhism, the popular dispersion of the religion may have been greater than we realize." (Holcombe "Trade Buddhism")
Speaker: Charles Holcombe
Subject: the nature of Buddhism in Japan, also present is the idea that Buddhism was practiced first by immigrants and commoners.
Occasion: this is an argument against the conventional image of the state-driven Japanese conversion to Buddhism from the top down.
Purpose: introduce the effect that trade and immigration had on the spread of Buddhism in Japan. This passage suggests the spread of Buddhism was not entirely due to the promotion by ruling families and elites, because Buddhism first came through the Paekche mission to the Yamato court.
General Time period: 7-8th century