• The Buddha in Yoshiwara: Religion and Visual Entertainment in Tokugawa Japan as Seen through Kibyōshi

      Miura, Takashi; Univ Arizona, Dept East Asian Studies (NANZAN INST RELIGION CULTURE, 2017-12-31)
      This article examines humorous portrayals of divinities in kibyoshi, a genre of satirical illustrated fiction that became popular in Edo in the late eighteenth century. Comical and irreverent appropriations of religious icons including kami, buddhas, and bodhisattvas constituted a common technique employed by kibyoshi artists to produce parodic effects. One of the most widely read genres in the latter part of the Tokugawa period, kibyoshi served as an important avenue through which people interacted with or "consumed" religious images in the early modern period. Although it is problematic to presume a direct historical link between kibyoshi and contemporary visual media such as manga and anime, the genre of kibyoshi represents a significant precedent in which religious icons served as key elements in popular entertainment. The article aims to historicize the relationship between religion and visual entertainment, which is a growing area of research in the study of religion in contemporary Japan.
    • Furusato and Emotional Pilgrimage Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro and Sakaiminato

      Greene, Barbara; Univ Arizona (NANZAN INST RELIGION CULTURE, 2017-08-01)
      The town of Sakaiminato, on the western coast of Japan, has revitalized its local economy through the transformation of the downtown into a tourist destination for fans of the popular manga creator Shigeru Mizuki. The strategy used by the local community closely replicates the traditional pilgrimage patterns established in Japan; however, the focus has been shifted from a religious to secular world view. While the iconography and meaning has changed, the emotional resonance has remained the same, with fans of the series developing a shared sense of community and a connection to some trans-societal force. This attempt to link older religious practices with modern fan cultures has been further strengthened by directly tying tourism with new releases of Mizuki's work.