The Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Worship

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University of Hawaii Press, 1999 - Religion - 271 pages
3 Reviews
The deity Inari has been worshipped in Japan since at least the early eighth century and today is a revered presence in such varied venues as Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, factories, theaters, private households, restaurants, beauty shops, and rice fields. Although at first glance and to its many devotees Inari worship may seem to be a unified phenomenon, it is in fact exceedingly multiple, noncodified, and noncentralized. No single regulating institution, dogma, scripture, or myth centers the practice. In this exceptionally insightful study, the author explores the worship of Inari in the context of homogeneity and diversity in Japan. The shape-shifting fox and the wish-fulfilling jewel, the main symbols of Inari, serve as interpretive metaphors to describe the simultaneously shared yet infinitely diverse meanings that duster around the deity.

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User Review  - ladycato - LibraryThing

While this book is targeted at more academic readers, I found it to be fascinating and highly relevant to my research. Smyers explores the nature of Inari within Japanese culture: how Inari is ... Read full review

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Excellent information on a variety of subjects concerning kitsune. Well recommended.

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References to this book

The Lost Wolves of Japan
Brett L. Walker
No preview available - 2009
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About the author (1999)

Smyers is assistant professor of religion at Wesleyan University.

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