Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Religion, Society, and Environment in a Kyushu Village

Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Religion, Society, and Environment in a Kyushu Village

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Religion, Society, and Environment in a Kyushu Village Anne Bouchy, ed., Cahiers d'Extréme-Asie 22 (2013): Le vivre ensemble a Sasaguri, une commune de Kyūshū. Dans lentrelacs des dynamiques du dedans et du dehors-Études dethnologie du Japon. Living together in a Kyūshū Town. Kyoto: École française d'Extreme-Orient, 650 pages. Paperback, €40,00. isbn 13-9782-85539-174-8. issn 0766-1177.

This extensive special issue of Les Cahiers d'Extréme-Asie, published by the Kyoto office of the École française d'Extreme-Orient (efeo), is the result of an impressive collective enterprise that spread over several years (2004 to 2010). It is entirely dedicated to the multilateral and transdisciplinary study of Sasaguri ШШ, a municipality in northern Kyushu. Beyond a synthetic presentation at the beginning of the volume, the publication encloses eight in-depth essays, counting between fifty and one hundred pages each. Six of the eight articles are translated from the Japanese. The endeavor is as ambitious as it is innovative in many respects: it is the first such publication in French, and associates close French-Japanese scholarly collaboration with the population of Sasaguri and the local documentation center. In another aspect of the project- not yet implemented-a database comprising archives and other documents should be set up and made accessible on the efeo website.

As explained by Anne Bouchy, who took charge not only of the immense task of editing a research project on that scale but also of the quasi-totality of the translations, this volume is the result of a shared ethnological reflection. The project initially sprung forth from one of the quadrennial French-Japanese research programs of the efeo ("Between 'Inside' and 'Outside': Socio-Cultural Dynamics in Japan"). Based on six annual on-site investigations that lasted between ten days and three weeks, it included the participation of scholars, their students, and the population of Sasaguri. The choice of this location is based on a common denominator of interest among the scholars involved in the project: that it is focused on the religious aspects of a given place. Sasaguri, with its replicate circuit of the eighty-eight Shikoku temples and its aura of a "region of spiritual powers" (reino chitai ... ) represented an ideal site for observation. The internal cohesion of the project, already firmly established through the fact that all articles address the same relatively small geographical area, is further enhanced by a reflection based on the relational dynamics taking place between the inside and the outside in a variety of aspects. Far from being considered as airtight categories, these two sides of the same coin are perceived as complementary, non exclusive, and indivisible entities (7). Moreover, their use as hermeneutical tools allows for widely differing objects of enquiry to be brought to a common measurement.

The volume is divided into three parts, each one of which corresponds to a different approach. The first two essays establish the "socio-cultural, historical and environmental context." Suzuki Masataka, in the first of two articles, examines the strong sense of community-identity in Wakasugi ... , where one of the two main religious sites of Sasaguri, the Taiso Shrine ... is located. Anne Bouchy, in the following essay, describes the mountain forests (yama ... ) and the intercommunal relationships with regard to the environment in Sasaguri. The second part of the project is dedicated to the different and varied "textures of religious themes." Mori Hiroko analyzes the history of the Taiso Shrine cult on Mount Wakasugi, whereas Nakayama Kazuhisa interrogates that of the replicate of the Shikoku pilgrimage and its eighty-eight temples route, which represents the main attraction of Sasaguri as a religious site. In his second of two articles in the volume, Suzuki Masataka examines Nanzö'in ... , the temple that opens up the Sasaguri pilgrimage circuit, and the various strategies its successive head priests devised to renew and expand their audience. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.