Meeting an itako Matsuda
Anthropology, Field 2014, Field Journal

Meeting an itako: Matsuda-san #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I could met Matsuda san a second time in the summer 2014, the 31st July after the Osorezan Taisai; since the Taisai is a very intense and demanding moment for the itako (Matsuda expecially had a great number of clients for all the four days of the taisai), when we called her to ask a new meeting, she asked to arrange it a few days after the festival, so that she could recover from the fatigue and she could perform a proper kuchiyose for me.

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kegare in Japan
Anthropology, Culture tips

Kegare between power and discrimination

Reading Time: 9 minutes

A polluting person is always in the wrong. He has developed some wrong condition or simply crossed some line which should not have been crossed and this displacement unleashes danger for someone

Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger. An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo

In every culture, purity, impurity and pollution are concepts with important social implications that go beyond the simple concerns for health and hygene; they imply a more intricate relationship between different actors within a given social structure. Within these relationships, impurity is variously interpreted as the sign of divine rage, as a break in the social order, as a violation of the corporal borders or as the proof of uncertainty and of a threat against the community.

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History of Tohoku
Anthropology, Culture tips

History of Tōhoku

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Given its particular location, the Tōhoku region has an interesting history that slightly differs from the rest of the Japanese archipelago. We can start tracing its history beginning with the Jōmon 縄文 period (from about 12,000 BC to about 300 BC); in this time, in Tōhoku area as in other part of Japan, we have a predominance of such activities as gathering, hunting and fishing, also due to the climate warming of the era.

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Religion in Japan
Anthropology, Culture tips, JST Video

Religion in Japan – a brief Intro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Concerning Japan, the term, shūkyō 宗教 (religion) has a very complex history, which is closely connected with the relationship between modern Japan and the West. Before the encounter with the western colonial powers, different terms were commonly employed, such as o michi  道, (via, way, system, as in, Shintō, “The way of the Gods”), while we have no proper equivalent for the European and American notion of religion, nor the aristotelic logic that led to the non-contraddiction principle: therefore, rather than interpret different thought systems as irreconciliable, such background favoured the compromise, the similarities and the shared elements.

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