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Japan Research Centre

Japan Research Centre

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  • 'Give me Some Skin': The Cult of Datsueba in Medieval Japan
  • Bernard R Faure (Kao Professor of Japanese Religion, Columbia University)
  • Abstract

    The medieval period in Japan saw the emergence of a number of new deities that blurred the traditional distinction between buddhas and kami. One of them was Datsueba, the old hag who takes the clothes of the dead as they cross into the other world. Through a discussion of that figure, I try to define a new category of deities, the so-called 'placenta deities,' and to provide a more complex vision of premodern Japanese religion.