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郵便報知 錦絵

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by lunapod, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. lunapod New Member

    English - England
    Hello - if possible I need some with translating Japanese text in the background of a piece of art work I'm writing about for an Art History thesis.
    I appreciate the image is small, and the text in the background is not very clear, but maybe someone can help with the words on the left side of the image?
    I already know the the of the artist etc so I don't need any more information on that.


    Attached Files:

  2. Tonky Senior Member

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  3. patates_frites Senior Member

    Japanese, English - US
    A footnote about a detail:

    Amaterasu oomikami is not necessarily a goddess. It is likely a god either masculine in the solar sense, or could perhaps be considered neutral, that came to be interpreted in some phrasing as a goddess, possibly due to the influence of having an empress and the image of the miko (female).

    More importantly than the gender attribution to what amounts to the personification of the all enlightening sun is that it is the Japanese/shintoist Zeus-type overseer, with the character of protecting the nation centered around the Japanese monarchy, but with quite a bit more freedom of action within the country.

    For a brief glimpse at the view that Amaterasu is a "male" or "masculine", here's one quick reference.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  4. patates_frites Senior Member

    Japanese, English - US
  5. Tonky Senior Member

    The point of the kakejiku/掛け軸 saying 天照大神, who is believed to be the direct ancestor of the emperor family, is that it represents State Shintoism and Japanese nationalism/patriotism back in those days.
  6. patates_frites Senior Member

    Japanese, English - US
    True ; )

    It's also an important nuance to add that the belief in Amaterasu, as seen in Ise-Shinko, was also a popular belief (in the sense of it being not state imposed, or not necessarily linked with the state), not necessarily limited to nationalism, or state shintoism, in the modern sense.

    Amaterasu is one major symbol to which people wished "god speed", "good luck" in their life, and in grand undertaking, such as the protection of the country. It also represents a sense of serving the ancestor and the land the ancestor transmitted to the Japanese.

    I add this, so that Amaterasu is not mistaken for a modern imposition merely representing nationalism, or state shintoism. It also englobes the sense of ancestry worship, not only for the imperial family, and a very general symbol of what people prayed to so that fortune would side with them in life and in war.

    Ise-shinko and the reverence for Amaterasu as "fortune", "ancestry", and "orthodoxy", or mysticism of sort, is still very alive to this day. It's not a direct reference, but the total sanpaisha (visitor/people who came to give reverence) for the year 2013 was the highest ever with 14,204,816 people. I imagine there's quite a bit of tourists, but Ise jingu is not a super accesible place close to a major city. You really need to make the effort, at least I did, lol.

    It's not linked much with the protection of the country for now, as most of us don't go to war or defend a major invasion. But if we did, Amaterasu would still be an appropriate symbol of Japanese country (w/ its people), land, and legacy. For now, it's mostly related with ancestry, respect for the supernatural, and good fortune. I guess this would relate to the Art History interpretation aspect.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  7. Tonky Senior Member

    Yes, I think I understand your concern, patates_frites, however, op is doing Art History and not Religion History. (If we wanted to go deeper, we could also dig down to 天照 being the most important female deity due to the ancient propaganda for 持統天皇 back in the days and so on.)

    The most important context here is that these 錦絵新聞/新聞錦絵 played the role of yellow journalism and gossips to sell to the uneducated mass who could hardly read kanji, and some were used as political propaganda like this particular one. Sellers sold those "newspapers" reading them aloud on the street to attract those uneducated who wanted illustrations to get reminded of the stories with certain stereotypes, and that - appealing to the masses- was the primary reason of them taking the art style, if you know what I mean. 天照大神 does not necessarily represent Japanese patriotism now, but it was used in that exact sense in that picture.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014

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