Aspects of the Effect of Kami-Buddha Separation (Shinbutsu bunri) at Dewa Sanzan: Iconography, Liturgy and the Reconstruction of Popular Faith
Gaynor Sekimori (SOAS)
Lindsey DeWitt (Kyushu University)
Religion and Religious Thought
Torre A, Piso 0, Sala 03
Start time:
1 September, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Meiji religious policy to "clarify" the institutional relationship between kami and buddhas has generally been studied as a political process. This panel takes a concentrated look at its effects at one site, through liturgical and iconographic changes and alternative cults that emerged.

Long abstract:

Shinbutsu bunri at Hagurosan and Yudonosan has been studied in terms of its political, economic, and to a lesser extent, social effects. This panel will take this further by discussing changes and continuities in iconography, liturgy and cult following the imposition of the changes there in September 1873. The changes were only reluctantly accepted by the upper hierarchies of the former Shugendo shrine-temple complex of Jakkoji, so there was a continuing tension between the old and the new. A two-tiered system emerged between Ideha Shrine and the temple of Shozen'in, which inherited the traditions of Jakkoji, which meant the past remained continually in view. At Yudonosan too, the Buddhist presence remained but it was denied access to the sites associated with its cult and praxis. The papers in the panel will demonstrate how the presence of the other was accommodated and negotiated, so that shinbutsu bunri at Dewa Sanzan remained a compromise, which was not the case at most other former Shugendo sites. The first paper discusses the reconfiguration of deity at Hagurosan and Yudonosan, through topographical study and through a comparison of popular prints from before and after the Meiji changes. It will highlight how old identities were obscured and new identities constructed and how the site's history of opposition and compromise to the new order is reflected in its popular iconographic material. The second paper investigates how the performativity of liturgies and aural sensibility were involved in the process of the socio-religious upheaval brought on by kami-buddha separation, through a musical and historical analysis of the modification of the liturgy in a religio-political context. Changes to the liturgical text and its musical characteristics reveal a device for engineering a compromise between the Shugen tradition and the new religious movement to establish Shinto as a national religion through the senses. The third paper looks at the effects of the shinbutsu bunri policies and the 1880 penal code on the funerary procedures for mummifying corpses of Mount Yudono ascetics and on the devotional practices associated with the worship of these mummies.