25 Feb Invisible Empire: Spirits and Animism in Contemporary Japan
Saturday, February 25, 2017 / 9:30 AM
Social Sciences and Media Studies Building 2F, Conference Room 2135
A striking aspect of contemporary Japanese culture is the pervasive nature of discussions and representations of “spirits” (tama or tamashii), generally rooted in vaguely articulated discourses on “animism” (animizumu) that often exist separately from explicit religious forms. Indeed, to many Japanese, their country has a split ontological outlook: on the one hand, there is Japan as the concrete place of their everyday lives; on the other, an invisible realm populated by all kinds of presences: ghosts, spirits, ancestors, gods. Moreover, ghosts, spirits, and the invisible dimension of reality occupy an important place in literature, the arts, and popular culture (cinema, games, manga comics, etc.). This conference takes seriously the metaphysical implications of the contemporary Japanese culture of spirits by analyses of various modes of representation of spirits in contemporary art, architecture, visual culture, literature, cinema, and diffuse spirituality, while at the same time addressing their underlying intellectual and religious assumptions
Sponsored by the ISF Chair of Shinto Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, Religious Studies, History of Art and Architecture, English, Film and Media Studies, Comparative Literature, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and East Asia Center.