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Plotting the PrinceShotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism$
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Kevin Gray Carr

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834630

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834630.001.0001

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Ways to Tell a Sacred Life

Ways to Tell a Sacred Life

Hagiographic Imagination in Medieval Japan

(p.23) Chapter One Ways to Tell a Sacred Life
Plotting the Prince

Kevin Gray Carr

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter asserts that many extant hagiographies reveal continual negotiations of Prince Shōtoku's divine status over a period of more than one thousand years. In medieval times, new media were creatively deployed by armies of planners and proselytizers who all sought to be associated with Shōtoku. Each of them vied to speak for the prince, forming sometimes a chorus, sometimes a cacophony. The vast variety of texts and images depicting Shōtoku affirms that the process of deifying him has never been linear or unidimensional but has certainly been continuous and pervasive. Even in this century, Shōtoku's divine status seems only to have grown as new media have been employed to shape and spread his image.

Keywords:   hagiographies, divine status, proselytizers, planners, deifying, new media

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