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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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(p.187) Epilogue
Bones of Contention

Barbara R. Ambros

University of Hawai'i Press

This book has shown that the Japanese discourse about pet memorial rites is a complicated one and involves multiple voices and positions, from pet owners and funerary institutions to temple parishioners, cemetery clients who don't own pets, and the state. It has explained how the boundaries between pets and humans in the necral landscape are continually contested and how pet spirits have been reconceptualized as benevolent companions rather than as potentially vengeful spirits. This epilogue discusses the emergence of Japanese dogs as emblems of the superior qualities that the fascist state hoped to inspire in its subjects, focusing on the case of Hachikō who was considered the perfect embodiment of loyalty. The spirit of Hachikō is commemorated each year on April 8, through the Hachikō Spirit Propitiation Festival (Hachikō Ireisai).

Keywords:   pet memorial rites, pets, humans, pet spirits, Japanese dogs, Hachikō, Hachikō Spirit Propitiation Festival

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