Matsuri Festival

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AIS4921 Japanese Culture Final Paper Instructor: Dennitza GABRAKOVA Matsuri: Globalizing Ritual and Cultural Identity of Japan By: ZHANG Wei SID: 54019865 Matsuri: Globalizing Ritual and Cultural Identity of Japan Introduction Matsuri is the Japanese word for festival. In general, it means any of a wide variety of civil and religious ceremonies in Japan; more particularly, the shrine festivals of Shintō. Matsuri vary according to the shrine, the deity or sacred power (kami) worshipped, and the purpose and occasion of the ceremony are often performed in accordance with traditions of great antiquity. A matsuri generally falls into two parts: the solemn ritual of worship, followed by a joyous celebration. (Plutchow, H., 1996) This…show more content…
The Gion Matsuri is a living symbol of Kyoto’s rich history and culture and is a must see festival in July. Matsuri as a Bridge between Sacred and Mundane To foreign eyes the combination of extreme solemnity and vulgar revelry can seem irreverent, but the mix of very different moods is an important feature that may encapsulate the intimate relationship that Shintō has with the world as it really exists. Starting from the ancient period of Japan, the onamesai, a harvest ritual has been kept as the major ceremony of accession. It reaffirmed at the time of each emperor’s accession the emperor’s religious, political, and economic power. The deity of onamesai, first a deity of production and reproduction, later the Sun Goddess, was the ancestor of the imperial family and, hence, the Japanese people. This ritual also reaffirmed the distinctive identity of the Japanese as defined in relation to the “other”, for example, the Chinese and their culture. (Ohnuki-Tierney, E., 1993) The term matsuri-goto, which literally means “affairs of religious festivals,” in common usage also means “government”. This is in accordance with the tradition that the ceremonies of Shintō were the proper business of the state, and that all important aspects of public just as of private life were the occasions for prayers and reports to the

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