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Buddhism and the Transformation of Old Age in Medieval Japan - Hawaii Scholarship Online
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Buddhism and the Transformation of Old Age in Medieval Japan

Edward R. Drott


This book examines the shifting sets of meanings ascribed to the aged body in early and medieval Japan and the symbolic uses to which the aged body was put in the service of religious and religio-political ideologies. In the Nara through mid-Heian periods, old age was used as a symbol of weakness, ugliness or pollution to contrast with the glories of the sovereign and his or her efflorescent court. Concurrently, governmental and Buddhist retirement practices called for elders to remove themselves from social, political and cultural centers. From the late-Heian period forward, however, various ... More

Keywords: okina, ōna, symbolic uses of the aged body, marginality, liminality, Buddhist divinities, kami, immortals (sennin), Noh

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780824851507
Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016 DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824851507.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Edward R. Drott, author
Sophia University