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 AA  Vol.7 No.2 , May 2017
Depictions and Modelings of the Body Seen in Japanese Folk Religion: Connections to Yokai Images
Abstract: Hoping to clarify the abundant creative ability that produced Japanese yokai, I have examined depictions and modelings of these supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore. In particular, I have focused on yokai fashioned in the manner of hitotsume kozō, by altering part of the human body. In so doing, I thought that clues to the creation of yokai based on bodily motifs might be found in examples from folk religion of depicting or modeling the body. Accordingly I took up the topic of ema and the folk practice of offering these small wooden boards invested with prayers for recovery from disease and so forth. Among parts of the body drawn on ema, the eyes, hands, breasts, and female and male genitalia are common, but in this contribution I analyze in particular the mode of expression used in ema for eyes, breasts, and female genitalia. As a result, it became clear that the of drawing seen in ema, of multiple eyes lined up or genitals and breasts depicted in exaggerated fashion, is linked to a considerable degree with the mode of expression used in creating bodily motif yokai. I believe this perspective may contribute to research clarifying views of the body and the creative power of people who produced and enjoyed yokai in the past.
Cite this paper: Yasui, M. (2017) Depictions and Modelings of the Body Seen in Japanese Folk Religion: Connections to Yokai Images. Advances in Anthropology, 7, 79-93. doi: 10.4236/aa.2017.72006.
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