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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 Critique of the West and Defense of Native Knowledge and Ability

The Critique of the West and Defense of Native Knowledge and Ability

(p.169) Chapter 6 The Critique of the West and Defense of Native Knowledge and Ability
When Tengu Talk

Wilburn Hansen

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter shows how Atsutane used Torakichi to make the claim that the West had nothing good to offer whose origin could not ultimately be traced back to Japan’s Other World. Atsutane recognized the importance of Western knowledge in fields such as geography, astronomy, and military technology, but he denied its Western provenance. He attempted to de-emphasize the impact of Western technology by claiming it had come from Japan’s Other World. To further this end, he encouraged Torakichi to testify to the everyday use of Western technology in the Other World. As such, the sanjin were described as holders of secret and powerful technologies previously thought to have come from or to have been perfected in the West.

Keywords:   Western knowledge, Other World, Western technology, sanjin

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