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Bones of ContentionAnimals and Religion in Contemporary Japan$
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Barbara R. Ambros

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836269

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836269.001.0001

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Masking Commodification and Sacralizing Consumption

Masking Commodification and Sacralizing Consumption

The Emergence of Animal Memorial Rites

(p.51) Two Masking Commodification and Sacralizing Consumption
Bones of Contention

Barbara R. Ambros

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the modern history of animal mortuary and propitiatory rites in Japan. Modern animal memorial rituals have been nostalgically constructed as continual embodiments of Japanese tradition and respect for the natural world, but this chapter argues that they are in fact a response to modernity with its inherent commodification and consumption of animals. The chapter first provides an overview of premodern precursors for animal memorial rites before considering animal memorial rites in the early modern period. It then explores the memorialization of military and zoo animals as well as postwar animal mortuary rites in the food industry and memorial rites for laboratory animals. It shows that the proliferation of memorial rites for animals is linked to the development of a modern military, industrialized whaling and fishing, food industries, and modern educational and research facilities that rely on killing or commodifying large numbers of animals.

Keywords:   animal mortuary rites, modernity, commodification, consumption, animals, animal memorial rites, memorialization, whaling, fishing, food industry

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