Dr. Riyako Cecilia Hikota


Dr. Riyako Cecilia Hikota

Academic Summary

Institut Catholique de Paris, Postdoctoral Studies, 2016-2018

University of Edinburgh, PhD in Systematic Theology, 2011-2016

Harvard Divinity School, MTS, 2007-2009

University of Tokyo, MA, BA, in Philosophy, 2001-2007


Research interests

20th-century Catholic Theology (Hans Urs von Balthasar, Erich Przywara, Adrienne von Speyr, etc.), Theological Aesthetics, Theology and Dance, Ignatian Spirituality



Postdoctoral Researcher funded by Volkswagen Foundation, 2021-2022

Research Assistant for the Chair of the Theology in the Transformation processes of the present, 2019-2020

DAAD-fellowship Postdoctoral Researcher, 2018- 2019

at Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Eichstätt, Germany

Adjunct Lecturer, 2018, at Yamanashi Gakuin University iLCA, Kofu, Japan




And Still We Wait: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theology of Holy Saturday and Christian Discipleship. Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers (Princeton Theological Monograph Series), January 2018.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters 

“Towards an Ecology from Within: Dance as a Medium to Realize the ‘Human Ecology’ Envisioned in Laudato Si’,” Creation-Transformation-Theology: International Congress of the European Society for Catholic Theology (August 2021- Osnabrück /Germany), ed. Margit Eckholt, Münster: LIT, October 2022, 533-542.

“The Christological Perichōrēsis and Dance,” Open Theology, 8/1 (April 2022): 191-204.

“Beyond Metaphor: The Trinitarian Perichōrēsis and Dance,” Open Theology, 8/1 (February 2022): 50-63.

“Dancing to the Rhythm of Analogia Entis: Exploration of Dance as a Christian Theological Category” in Dance as a Third Space. Interreligious, Intercultural, and Interdisciplinary Debates on Dance and Religions, ed. Heike Walz, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht / Göttingen, October 2021, 305-318.

“The Eucharist as a Source of Political Action: Dorothy Day as a living example of Johann Baptist Metz’s ‘Dangerous Memory’,” The Expository Times (November 2021).

Other details

Originally from Japan, Riyako has studied in Japan, the US, the UK, and France, and taught in Japan and Germany. As a Pearl Jubilee Fellow, Riyako will work on her project to construct a “dancing theology.” This is an innovative, ecumenical, and interdisciplinary project to explore dance as a Christian form of art, and its main thrust is to indicate that the relevance and significance of dance as sacred art can be sought within the essence of Christianity itself, namely, the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity. As one attempts to analyze the reasons for European Christianity’s negative attitude towards dance, one begins to see some major characteristics associated with dance (such as embodiment of spirit, expression of joy, affirmation of life, deep engagement with this world “here and now”) have been unjustly neglected and overlooked despite their obvious importance for the very essence of Christianity. In short, Riyako’s “dancing theology” project tries to show that dance has the potential to bring us closer and make us more faithful to the mystery of the Incarnation. Currently, she is also working on the Japanese translation project of the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.