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

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9780824821029: The Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Worship

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 cluster around the deity. That such diversity exists without the apparent knowledge of Inari worshippers is explained by the use of several communicative strategies that minimize the exchange of substantive information. Shared generalized meanings (tatemae) are articulated while private meanings and complexities (honne) are left unspoken. The appearance of unity is reinforced by a set of symbols representing fertility, change, and growth in ways that can be interpreted and understood by many individuals of various ages and occupations.

The Fox and the Jewel describes the rich complexity of Inari worship in contemporary Japan. It explores questions of institutional and popular power in religion, demonstrates the ways people make religious figures personally meaningful, and documents the kinds of communicative styles that preserve the appearance of homogeneity in the face of astonishing factionalism.

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About the Author:

Karen A. Smyers is assistant professor of religion at Wesleyan University

Review:

A well written and detailed report on a religious phenomenon that can be found throughout Japan, and even in Japanese diasporas. (Journal of Japanese Studies)

A highly focused anthropological study that has all the academic virtues ... combined with the best qualities of good journalism ... that bring a subject to life. (Japan Times)

An excellent overview of not only Inari worship, but of how one element of religion functions in Japanese society. And the author also has a very readable style. (H-Net Reviews)

Not only closes the gap [in critical scholarship on Shinto] but offers a new model of scholarship by encouraging the rest of us to examine the textual with the experiential, the institutional with the personal. The book is also accessible for the general public. (Journal of Asian Studies)

A sustained reflection, supported by keen and sympathetic observation ... rich in hints about the way Japan really works. It is well worth reading. (Japanese Studies)

Smyers presents a very individualized form of Japanese religion ... challeng[ing] the perception of cultural uniformity. (Japanese Journal of Religious Studies)

The Fox and the Jewel is not only a study of Japanese religion but of Japanese society in general, doing away with the simple prejudice that the Japanese are less individualistic and more group oriented than other people. This book also shows how interdisciplinary work by anthropologists can give a more complete picture of a society than the more highly specialized studies of some Japanologists limiting their view, for example, to literature, sociology, or a single religious tradition of Japan. (Asian Folklore)

Richement documentée (Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions)

Präsentiert faszinierendes ethnographisches Material und bietet Einblick in die Abläufe an bedeutenden Kultstätten Japans. (NOAG)

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Karen A. Smyers
Editore: University of Hawai i Press, United States (1998)
ISBN 10: 0824821025 ISBN 13: 9780824821029
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Descrizione libro University of Hawai i Press, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book describes the rich complexity of Inari worship in contemporary Japan. It explores questions of institutional and popular power in religion, demonstrates the ways people make religious figures personally meaningful, and documents the kinds of communicative styles that preserve the appearance of homogeneity in the face of astonishing factionalism. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780824821029

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Descrizione libro University of Hawai'i Press, 1998. PAP. Condizione libro: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Codice libro della libreria IQ-9780824821029

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Descrizione libro 1998. PAP. Condizione libro: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Codice libro della libreria KS-9780824821029

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Descrizione libro University of Hawai i Press, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book describes the rich complexity of Inari worship in contemporary Japan. It explores questions of institutional and popular power in religion, demonstrates the ways people make religious figures personally meaningful, and documents the kinds of communicative styles that preserve the appearance of homogeneity in the face of astonishing factionalism. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780824821029

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Descrizione libro University of Hawai i Press, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This book describes the rich complexity of Inari worship in contemporary Japan. It explores questions of institutional and popular power in religion, demonstrates the ways people make religious figures personally meaningful, and documents the kinds of communicative styles that preserve the appearance of homogeneity in the face of astonishing factionalism. Codice libro della libreria TNP9780824821029

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Descrizione libro University of Hawaii Press 12/1/1998, 1998. Paperback or Softback. Condizione libro: New. The Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Workship. Book. Codice libro della libreria BBS-9780824821029

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Descrizione libro University of Hawaii Press, 2017. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Never used! This item is printed on demand. Codice libro della libreria 0824821025

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Descrizione libro University of Hawaii Press. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Paperback. 288 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.0in. x 0.7in.This book describes the rich complexity of Inari worship in contemporary Japan. It explores questions of institutional and popular power in religion, demonstrates the ways people make religious figures personally meaningful, and documents the kinds of communicative styles that preserve the appearance of homogeneity in the face of astonishing factionalism. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Codice libro della libreria 9780824821029

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Descrizione libro University of Hawaii Press. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Codice libro della libreria B9780824821029

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Descrizione libro University of Hawai'i Press, 1998. PAP. Condizione libro: New. New Book. Delivered from our UK warehouse in 3 to 5 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Codice libro della libreria IQ-9780824821029

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