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spirit possession of the women,  Is there anyone out there with an opinion as to the...

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kyotovalentine | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 5, 2008 at 8:55 AM via web

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spirit possession of the women,

  Is there anyone out there with an opinion as to the different possessions that take place? Are they real or made up by the women to suit their own purposes?

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sagesource | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted May 5, 2008 at 9:51 AM (Answer #2)

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They're real enough, at least in the sense that they are not made up. There are still shamanesses in Japan, and while their spirit possessions may lack objective reality -- I don't believe in spirits -- the practitioners themselves are sincere. I've talked with a number of them myself, while assisting with a doctoral dissertation on shamanism in northern Japan about a decade ago.

One should also remember that in a traditional society, devices such as spirit possession are often used as a medium to express truths that are inconvenient to bring to light in more mundane ways. In particular, in the society of the Genji monogatari, spirit possession was one way that women used to work around the constraints placed upon them by society as a consequence of their gender. See the book by Doris G. Bargen, A Woman's Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji (a section is available online via Google Books).

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kyotovalentine | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 5, 2008 at 11:36 AM (Answer #3)

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They're real enough, at least in the sense that they are not made up. There are still shamanesses in Japan, and while their spirit possessions may lack objective reality -- I don't believe in spirits -- the practitioners themselves are sincere. I've talked with a number of them myself, while assisting with a doctoral dissertation on shamanism in northern Japan about a decade ago.

One should also remember that in a traditional society, devices such as spirit possession are often used as a medium to express truths that are inconvenient to bring to light in more mundane ways. In particular, in the society of the Genji monogatari, spirit possession was one way that women used to work around the constraints placed upon them by society as a consequence of their gender. See the book by Doris G. Bargen, A Woman's Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji (a section is available online via Google Books).

Thanks a lot for your valuable input! 

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