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Rearranging the Landscape of the Gods

The Politics of a Pilgrimage Site in Japan, 1573-1912

When people create new societies, economies, and nations—both now and in the past—they create gods, rituals, and miracles to support them. Even what seem to be some of the most timeless and sacred sites in the world have been shaped, reshaped, and reinterpreted by countless people to produce oases of peace and nature today.

Using miracle tales, votive plaques, diaries, and newspapers, Sarah Thal traces such changes at one of the most popular Japanese pilgrimage sites of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the shrine of Konpira on the island of Shikoku. This rich and fascinating history explores how people from all walks of life gave shape to the gods, shrines, and rituals so often attributed to ancient, indigenous Japan. Thal shows how worshippers and priests, rulers and entrepreneurs, repeatedly rebuilt and reinterpreted Konpira to reflect their needs and aspirations in a changing world—and how, in doing so, they helped shape the structures of the modern state, economy, and society in turn.

Rearranging the Landscape of the Gods will be welcomed by all scholars of Japanese history and by students of religion interested in the construction of modernity.

344 pages | 33 halftones, 4 line drawings, 5 maps | 6 x 9 | © 2005

Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Asian Studies: East Asia

History: Asian History

Religion: South and East Asian Religions

Table of Contents

List of Figures
A Note on Pronunciations, Names, and Dates
Introduction / 1
1 Konpira: Site of the Gods
2 Of Gods and Rulers (to 1587)
3 Konpira, Kongobo, and the Establishment of the Tokugawa Order (1600-1675)
4 God of the Market (1688-1760)
5 Culture of the Gods (1744-1867)
6 From Konpira to Kotohira (1868-1869)
7 For the State and Its Teaching (1871-1874)
8 The Reverence Association (1874-1882)
9 A Shrine without Religion (1882-1892)
10 The Crucible of War (1894-1895)
11 Public Good, Private Gain (1895-1898)
12 Remobilizing the God (1898-1905)
13 The Many Faces of Kotohira (1908-1912)
Appendix: Head Priests of Konkoin and Kotohira Shrine
Glossary and Selected Biographical Dictionary

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