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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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A New Medium for an Old Message

A New Medium for an Old Message

(p.1) Introduction A New Medium for an Old Message
When Tengu Talk

Wilburn Hansen

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of Hirata Atsutane’s Senkyō ibun, which he wrote in 1822. Senkyō ibun is a voluminous work centered upon Atsutane’s interviews with the so-called tengu, Kozo Torakichi. Deeply interested in supernatural experiences, Atsutane was captivated by Torakichi’s claim that supernatural experiences were part of his everyday life for several years of his early youth. However, this study argues that the results of Atsutane’s supernatural inquiries should be characterized as a pseudo-ethnographic account of Atsutane’s, rather than Torakichi’s, imagined world of the supernatural. This suggests that Atsutane used Torakichi as a medium to spread his own message.

Keywords:   Hirata Atsutane, Senkyō ibun, tengu, Kozo Torakichi, supernatural experiences, supernatural world

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