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The Material Culture of Death in Medieval Japan$
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Karen M. Gerhart

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832612

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832612.001.0001

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Funerals in the Fifteenth Century

Funerals in the Fifteenth Century

(p.50) 2 Funerals in the Fifteenth Century
The Material Culture of Death in Medieval Japan

Karen M. Gerhart

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on rituals performed at funerals in fifteenth-century Japan, including the closing of the coffin lid, moving the coffin out of the residence and to the cremation site, and the final offerings of tea and hot water to the deceased. It describes and compares four funerals containing new components borrowed from Chinese Chan Buddhist funeral traditions: Prince Yoshihito (1361–1416), Ashikaga Yoshimochi (1386–1428; Shogun 1394–1423), Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358–1408; Shogun 1368–1394), and Hino Shigeko (1411–1463). These four case studies offer insights into the general organization of funerals in medieval Japan, the essential rituals that accompanied the deaths of important individuals, and the most important ritual implements used in the new style of funerals.

Keywords:   rituals, funerals, cremation, Prince Yoshihito, Ashikaga Yoshimochi, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Hino Shigeko, death, ritual implements, medieval Japan

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