Theses Doctoral

Memorializing the Gods: A Study of the Ritual Practices of the Izanagi-ryū

Pang, Carolyn

This dissertation focuses on the Izanagi-ryū, a Japanese folk religion closely associated with the Monobe region in Kōchi Prefecture, to study the challenges faced by local communities in preserving and transmitting their intangible cultural heritages. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines historical and textual analysis with observational ethnographic studies of actual ritual practices and performances, the study of Izanagi-ryū is intended to draw out the ways in which competing narratives amongst local communities and institutional rhetoric over the preservation of intangible cultural heritages affect the transmission of local cultural practices. The strategies undertaken by the practitioners of Izanagi-ryū to construct their local identities and legitimize their status within the framework of governmental policies and scholarly rhetoric will be examined, along with studying the effects of modifying ritual spaces and procedures to fit contemporary demands and limitations.This research encourages us to look deeper into the repercussions of cultural preservation whereby the enthusiastic drive to secure the continuity of cultural practices might conversely distort their significance and transmission instead. This dissertation argues that the implementation of cultural preservation, while critical for defining and protecting the identity of a culture, would require a more careful consideration whereby allowances for cultural practices to discontinue, when necessary, should be factored in to ensure the integrity of these practices. Cultural practices should always be allowed to continue, or cease, on their own terms

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Como, Michael I.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 15, 2021