J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Stamp Rally and Geographical Totemism

Stamp Rally and Geographical Totemism
Originally uploaded by timtak
Shinto is a form of geographical totemism somewhat similar to that of the Arunda (Arunta) aboriginies of Australia except that it has evolved.

Like the aboriginies the Japanese feel themselves to have descended from a sacred land, created by the spirits in the dream time (mythic time of the Kojiki) and recieve their soul, their breath of life less from their father than from the local shrine spirit. In times past the totemic badge, or symbol which allowed Japanese to transform into living humans, whas a branch from a sacred tree, or a stone from a sacred river bed or mountain. Later, like the Churinga of the Australian aboriginal, and even far far more so, the totemic badges, or names of the Japanese evolved to encompas the use of ideographic language. The "primitive" totemists gradually moved with the times, and imported seals (such as shown in this photograph) from China. No longer did they get a sacred stone or branch from their local shrine, instead they got a piece of paper stamped with the seal of the shrine. These totemic badges live on in the form of Ihai for the dead, the tablets or fuda in household shrines, and the omamori that act as "migawari" or self-replacements, that most Japanese purchase at Shrines every new year.

But why do they need their sacred seals at all? Work in progress.

In the television series "Mirror Man," the hero goes into a mirror and comes back with an amulet. The symbols also seen in all the sumper sentai kamen rider (masked rider) and ultaraman tv programs from the land of the mirror are the meaningful images that allow japanese to identify with their mirror image. They are the images that are always the right way around. The images that have a third person perspective built into them as it were.

Transforming Symbols and Mirrors
Kamen Rider Decade's "Imagin" (Image people jin)
Kamen Rider Decade Mirror world where people are judged!
HImitsu no Akko's compact Mirror
Sailor Moon's compact mirror Chrisis Moon
Super Sentai Shinkenja-'s mirror writing
Super Sentain Shinkenja- inrou maru which shows your face until you insert the symbol, when it shows the super form.
Super Sentai Gaorenja- and the mother-like goddess like person that communicates by mobile phone while looking down through a relfecting surface of a pool of water.
Mirror Man's amulet and reflecting surface

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.