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  • Thumbnail for The flow of cultural tides : the Korean Wave in Japan
    The flow of cultural tides : the Korean Wave in Japan by Senn, Kathleen M.

    This thesis explores the Korean Wave, or the popularity of South Korean pop-cultural artifacts, on contemporary Japanese society. Emerging in the last decade, the Korean Wave may hold potential for the relationship between Japan's Zainichi Korean population and ethnically Japanese people to change.

  • Thumbnail for Oral Contraceptives in Japan: Government Influence on Modern-Day Perception and Use
  • Thumbnail for The Commodification of Kimonos: a Reflection on Cultural Appropriation
    The Commodification of Kimonos: a Reflection on Cultural Appropriation by Li, Boxin

    The growing tourist industry in Japan has brought up people's attention to the country's traditional culture. Kimono, the national costume of Japan, is one of the most attractive cultural symbols. As more foreigners get interested in trying on kimonos, there are questions about cultural appropriation--a term that should be understood within context but not negative stereotypes. In Japan, cultural appropriation of traditional cultures is a way of saving them in the current commercial era.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Main entrance
    Hasedera - Main entrance

    The folks dressed in white are pilgrims to the temple who commonly carry a staff that symbolizes the eternal copresence of the founder of the Shingon School, the great ninth century saint Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai). So real is his presence believed to be that written on the back of their white coats is 1ctwo of us, practicing together. 1d

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Alongside covered stairway
    Hasedera - Alongside covered stairway

    This is the view of the perimeter of the stairs leading to the main temple visible above. The terraces and the rain gutter are made of hand-placed stone. Note the small stone bridges apparently designed for access to the plants across the gutter.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - View alongside covered stairs
    Hasedera - View alongside covered stairs

    The ascending garden along the stairs is filled with gorgeous hydrangea (called "ajisai" in Japanese) in the summer.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Monks walking  up  stairs
    Hasedera - Monks walking up stairs

    Hasedera is an active training ground for Shingon Buddhist priests, who can be seen moving about the complex. Their prayers can often be heard resounding within many of the temple buildings, in which groups will chant in a hauntingly beautiful traditional manner.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Corridor stairs leading to main temple
    Hasedera - Corridor stairs leading to main temple

    This lovely covered stairway (nobori-ro) originally dates from 1039 but was reconstructed in the Meiji period. The stone lanterns and flowering shrubs on both sides make for an exquisite ascending garden, while at night the spherical lamps above cast a fine glow. The pillar on the left says that this is a place where heavenly deities reside, which is a Shinto-esque reference, while one not visible to its right states that Buddhas also are active here.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - The main gate
    Hasedera - The main gate

    The folks dressed in white are pilgrims to the temple who commonly carry a staff that symbolizes the eternal copresence of the founder of the Shingon School, the great ninth century saint Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai). So real is his presence believed to be that written on the back of their white coats is 1ctwo of us, practicing together. 1d

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Fudo image
    Hasedera - Fudo image

    An image of the fierce-looking protective deity Fudo-myo-o enshrined within the temple in cocrejpn0030.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Entrance to subsidiary temple
    Hasedera - Entrance to subsidiary temple

    A view through the gate of one of the larger sub-temples within the Hasedera complex.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Fudo image
    Hasedera - Fudo image

    Statue of Fudo Myo-o within sub-temple.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Old tree stump enshrined
    Ikuta Jinja - Old tree stump enshrined

    An old tree stump within the Ikuta Jinja is herein celebrated by having its own enclosed space. Wrapped around it is a "himorogi," which is a rope with stylized paper strips hanging from it that traditionally demarcates any sort of sacred space. Large old trees are frequently honored in this regard; the presence of the himorogi will prompt some Japanese visitors to place their hands together and bow briefly before such a tree. This particular tree, however, is unique because it survived the ravages of war. See the explanation accompanying the photo of the wooden plaque pictured in cocrejpn0087.

  • Thumbnail for Southeast Asian style pagoda memorial in the forest
    Southeast Asian style pagoda memorial in the forest

    I cannot recall what this shrine is for but it resembles others at Koyasan that embody the religious architectural conventions of Southeast Asia and so is likely dedicated to the many soldiers, Japanese and local, who lost their lives there during World War Two.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera
    Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera

    A woman unrolls a scroll painting of the bodhisattva of compassion Kannon purchased at the temple. She will eventually fill the spaces surrounding the image of Kannon (white head visible just below large wood block) with inscriptions by temple priests from various temples she intends to visit in the future.

  • Thumbnail for Random grave along path to Okunoin
    Random grave along path to Okunoin

    Like many graves, the main stone here has the geometric shapes marking Buddhist symbolism but the surrounding structures are clearly Shinto toriis. This natural blending of features of both traditions was exceedingly common in premodern Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Shrine souvenir and amulet shop
    Minatogawa Jinja - Shrine souvenir and amulet shop

    This shrine shop has posted above the left-hand side of the counter a chart indicating unlucky years (yakudoshi) when one might most feel the need for an amulet (o-mamori) or two.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Interior of main hall
    Hasedera - Interior of main hall

    The spacious interior of the main hall has natural light entering from three sides. The central image of Kannon is just off the right edge of this photo, behind the glass case for candle offerings to the bodhisattva.

  • Thumbnail for Kannon statue in forest
    Kannon statue in forest

    Along the path to Okunoin are many graceful statues. This one is of the bodhisattva of compassion Kannon (Kuan-yin in China). It looks almost as if it were a curving tree itself.

  • Thumbnail for Random view from main path to Okunoin
    Random view from main path to Okunoin

    The pillar to the left designates the small hall behind the tree as one dedicated to some practices of the Shingon school.

  • Thumbnail for Main gate of Henjoko-in at Koyasan
    Main gate of Henjoko-in at Koyasan

    This is just one of hundreds of such massive entrance gates to a temple in the town of Koyasan.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Prayers for college entrance
    Minatogawa Jinja - Prayers for college entrance

    The petitioner asks specifically for success in his applications to six universities, the first two spelled out nearly in full and the last four in extreme shorthand (either for lack of space or as an indication of lessened importance), that is nonetheless recognizable for any one who lives in the greater Kansai (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto) area. The ema includes the date and the petitioner's name and address.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Entrance to grove marking Kusunoki's death place
  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Shrine fortune telling
    Ikuta Jinja - Shrine fortune telling

    This is a "mikujior&quo box, from which one draws a paper packet in which is written a fortune. The fortune is printed on a small piece of paper and, if it is auspicious, a visitor will usually fold it into a long, thin strip and then tie it around a small branch of a tree in the shrine compound. It is as if this act also ties a bond between one's future and the deity of the temple: one wishes that the kami will help fulfill your good fortune. If the fortune does not bode well, the visitor has the option of taking another mikuji (which usually costs less -- this box says, "first fortune 200 yen," a little under $2).

  • Thumbnail for Memorial site for termites
    Memorial site for termites

    The black plaque on the large white stone says "Termites." In smaller letters below it says," .... in peace" (probably something like "rest in peace," but the verb is illegible). The pillar to the right says the site was dedicated by a company in Japan that eliminates termites.