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Hard Times in the HometownA History of Community Survival in Modern Japan$
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Martin Dusinberre

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835248

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835248.001.0001

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Ritual Culture and Political Power

Ritual Culture and Political Power

(p.67) 5 Ritual Culture and Political Power
Hard Times in the Hometown

Martin Dusinberre

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on the connection between livelihood and ritual, and between ritual and politics. “Politics” in modern Kaminoseki was never simply a matter of bureaucratic administration, council elections, or aggrieved petitions. Politics seeped into the spaces in which people gathered, the shrines at which they worshipped, the land that they tended, and even the person that they married. Of particular note is the kanmai, a set of rites held roughly once every four years, when priests from northern Kyushu sail to Iwaishima and perform a weeklong program of sacred dances. The cyclical rituals of the kanmai defined and simultaneously reinforced a basic division on Iwaishima between households that owned land and those that did not. As a result, there was a long tradition in Iwaishima of landowning households exerting political power over nonlandowning households.

Keywords:   livelihood, ritual, politics, kanmai, modern Kaminoseki, Iwaishima, households

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