Ghosts and the Japanese: Cultural Experience in Japanese Death Legends

Ghosts and the Japanese: Cultural Experience in Japanese Death Legends

Ghosts and the Japanese: Cultural Experience in Japanese Death Legends

Ghosts and the Japanese: Cultural Experience in Japanese Death Legends

Excerpt

In spite of a growing interest among Westerners to understand and analyze Japan and the Japanese--much of it sparked by rapidly developing business connections--what largely animates and informs the "Japaneseness" they seek to fathom actually lies where they do not look. People are reading everything possible (and impossible) about Japan that they can lay their hands on. Yet this eager pursuit seems one-dimensional, since people tend to seek answers only in particular directions, guided by their own (or someone else's) preconceptions, such as when they focus only on Confucianism, or Zen Buddhism, those impressive façades of Japan's culture which fascinate and impress Europeans and Americans as exotic and deeply meaningful.

Meaningful they certainly are, but in mistaking the façade for the building, the Westerner is often joined, unfortunately, by many of the Japanese themselves, who may not know their own culture very fully, or who find it profitable to advertise their country in the exotic terms so attractive to outsiders. Quite apart from the Confucian ethic, or the Zen Buddhist art . . .

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