Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History


Gods, ancestors, environmental spirits--for both Taiwanese and Japanese, the deities manifested in the physical world in active ways, able to influence and guide the course of individual lives or collective processes. Some had begun their existence as humans, others were born divine. Their significance appeared most clearly in the bureaucratic model of the pantheon of deities inherited from Chinese societies and embraced by the Taiwanese. Parishioners in this system envisioned the realm of the gods as a hierarchy, with low-ranking deities mapped to magistrates and lower-ranked bureaucrats, reporting up a chain of command, ultimately to the Yellow Emperor, who was a heavenly counterpart to the imperial rulers of China’s dynasties. Although Japanese traditions did not have such a highly schematic vision, in popular Shinto, the spirits (kami 神) were everywhere, and the formally ranked shrines honored imperial deities such as Amaterasu. These figures both crossed over from sacred to physical geography and shaped events in the latter.

This page has paths:

This page is referenced by: