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When Tengu TalkHirata Atsutane’s Ethnography of the Other World$
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Wilburn Hansen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832094

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832094.001.0001

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The Medium Finds a Promoter

The Medium Finds a Promoter

Torakichi and Atsutane

(p.42) Chapter 2 The Medium Finds a Promoter
When Tengu Talk

Wilburn Hansen

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the relationship between Hirata Atsutane and Kozo Torakichi. The close relationship between the author and the narrator—or the ethnographer and the informant—gives rise to the question of whether and to what extent Atsutane has altered Torakichi’s stories. Although manipulation can be shown at several junctures, this does not suggest that Atsutane merely employed a religious charlatan, or that the two of them conspired to deceive educated Edo salon society. All evidence points to Atsutane’s believing—or at least wanting or even needing to believe—in the Other World, but his personality and his own convictions and intelligence would never allow Torakichi’s imagination to exert control over his own vision of that Other World.

Keywords:   Hirata Atsutane, Kozo Torakichi, religious charlatan, Edo salon society, Other World

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