Domesticating Prince Shōtoku : Tokugawa sacred geography and the construction of a national landscape
- The cult of Prince Shōtoku in the ancient and medieval periods was developed through the geographical logic of a satellite (Japan) struggling to break free from a superpower (China). Over time, the prince's images accreted numerous sacred and powerful layers as a national symbol in response to the political, religious, and cultural opportunities of each new age. After the encounter with Europe and the shift in the socio-political structure of the country, the burden of Shōtoku's image as a national symbol also changed accordingly. Shitennōji Temple in Osaka, as a hub of the Shōtoku cult, had always been at the middle of the cult's transformations. After surviving tough times including the turbulence of the Oda-Toyotomi decades in the late sixteenth century, Shitennōji was integrated directly into the new Tokugawa regime by Tenkai, a Tendai monk and the key architect of Ieyasu's new religious policy. Tenkai's vision was more than a mere revival of Shitennōji's physical plant or a stabilization of its role as a center of the Shōtoku cult. Rather, Shitennōji was designated as one of the most politically important temples to ensure success in institutionalizing Buddhism under the Tokugawa regime. To further that project, Tenkai appropriated Shōtoku narratives in order to construct a new national ideology for deifying Ieyasu by combining Buddhism and Shintō. Tenkai's thoroughly designed scheme caused an unintentional discourse-battle between Tenkai and Hayashi Razan. As a representative Tokugawa scholar, Razan attempted to reorganize Japan's national landscape based on Neo-Confucianism and Shintō, and he severely attacked Buddhism, criticizing Shōtoku narratives. The legacies of this battle for the next generations included new functions for Shōtoku narratives. One was as agencies to support Shintō Japan--rather than Buddhist or Confucian Japan. Another was as gazetteers, or travel guidebooks. Under the Tokugawa publishing boom, Shōtoku-related gazetteers contributed to the popularity not only of Shōtoku-related sites but also of other pilgrimages all over Japan. Thus, the broader public could start recognizing concrete geographies of Japan, while at the same time imagining Japan as a unified sacred field. Meanwhile, Tokugawa intellectuals began to struggle with conceptualizing sacred Japan in the world. Needless to say, Shōtoku narratives also responded to this movement, serving to legitimate Shintō Japan and confirming the construction of a national landscape.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Stanford University, Department of History.
|Wigen, Kären, 1958-
|Wigen, Kären, 1958-
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of History.
|Ph.D. Stanford University 2012
- © 2012 by Sayoko Sakakibara
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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