Impurity and Death: A Japanese Perspective

Front Cover
Universal-Publishers, 2003 - History - 108 pages
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Personal impurity caused by childbirth, menstrual blood or death is an issue of concern prevalent in many cultures. In Japan, the generic term for these kinds of impurities is kegare and death impurity, a sub-type of kegare, is known as shi-e. The major topic of this book is death impurity. The definition and genesis of shi-e are explained. In addition, details of the influence shi-e had on ancient Japanese society as well as its continuing influence on modern Japanese society are given. Three hypotheses are stated and supported: (1) the shi-e concept began in Japan during the Yayoi period (300 BC - 300 AD) rather than at a later date as previously hypothesized; (2) the basis for the aversion to dead bodies, i.e. shi-e, is that corpses remind people of the fact that they will soon die; (3) Buddhism and Shintoism merged in Japan because of the impact of shi-e on Shintoism. This book concludes with some comments on the relevance of knowledge of the death impurity for students of Japanese history, culture and society.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Kegare and Shie Definitions
4
22 Shie
8
Relationship between Shie and Japanese Religions
12
32 Buddhism
16
33 Onmyoodoo
19
The Origin of the Kegare Concept
22
42 The Origin of the Kegare Concept
26
Shie and Its Further Impact on Ancient Japanese Society
48
72 Changing Capital Cities and the Influence of Shie
53
73 Shie and the Abolition of the Death Penalty
58
74 Shie and the Emergence of the Samurai Warriors
61
The Influence of Shie on Japanese Society from the Edo Period to the Present
65
82 Shie in Japan Today
67
Shie and the Burakumin Past and Present
70
92 Some Hypotheses about the Origin of the Burakumin
72

The Dates When the Shie Concept Began
30
52 The Shie Concept in the Yayoi period
32
History of Shie Concept
36
62 Modification of the Shie Concept during the Asuka and Nara Periods
40
63 Development of the Shie Concept during the Heian Period
44
93 Discrimination against the Burakumin
74
Conclusion
79
Notes
84
References
89
Copyright

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Page 1 - ... guilty. 3 Or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort the uncleanness may be with which one becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it he shall be guilty.
Page 1 - Or if any one touches an unclean thing, whether the carcass of an unclean beast or a carcass of unclean cattle or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him, if someone comes to know it,* he shall be guilty.

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