* Japan is the sort of place where dislike of tattoos is out and proud, so to speak:
The weekly magazine Aera recently discussed tattoos, which became a contentious issue in Osaka after Mayor Toru Hashimoto not only prohibited city employees from gettting them but suggested that any who already had tattoos resign. Hashimoto believes that Osaka citizens are offended by tattoos, which tend to be associated with gangsters and other lowlifes. Many young people get tattoos for reasons having to do with fashion, but the majority of citizens don’t make such a distinction. Public baths and onsen (hot springs) tend to prohibit patrons with tattoos, even if it’s just a tiny reproduction of a butterfly.I'd vote for him...
* Can't say I've heard much before about a couple of oddball religions that arose in postwar Japan, but they are the subject of new book being reviewed:
"Maggot world" has a certain ring to it, I think.Jikoson (nee Nagako Nagaoka) of Jiu ruled her small band of followers through divine oracles, while calling for a renewal of Japan and, by extension, the world, under the leadership of the emperor (who would presumably receive his marching orders from her). Cloistered from the public eye, Jikoson might have remained yet another in the long procession of obscure postwar religious cranks if her teachings had not been taken up by go master Go Seigen and sumo grand champion Futabayama.When the latter physically defended Jikosan from a police raid of her Kanazawa headquarters in January of 1947 (a photo of him grappling with an arresting officer is thoughtfully included in the book), the media uproar was enormous and the resulting fallout, which included Futabayama's hasty departure from the group, was fatally damaging to Jiu.Sayo Kitamura, the feisty farmer's wife who became the leader of Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo, proved to be a savvier manipulator of the authorities and the media, though she repeatedly clashed with both, as well as with representatives of established religions, which she derided as empty vessels.Though tirelessly denouncing what she called the "maggot world" in her sermons, Kitamura had a magnetic personality that attracted the very "maggots" she was attacking, bolstered by her claims to faith healing powers, as well as by the singing and dancing featured in her services.
Googling "Jikoson" produces few leads on her story. Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo seems to be more famous, and I have a feeling I have heard about the "dancing religion" before. Encylopedia Britannica has an entry that explains:
She had a revelation in 1945 that she was possessed by a Shintō deity, Tenshō-Kōtaijin (another name for the Shintō sun goddess Amaterasu Ōmikami). She traveled widely and won followers in Europe and the Americas. Her eccentric behaviour and forthright condemnation of organized institutions of religion and government, whom she characteristically referred to as “maggot beggars,” won her an enthusiastic following, estimated at about 300,000 a few years after her death.They appear to still operate in Seattle, as well as other places, yet Googling for video for the dancing doesn't come up with anything.
* Another review of a book about the effect of defeat on Japan sexual politics and practices contains this curious line:
Mark McClelland's excellent and intriguing appraisal of how Japanese responded to a new climate of sexuality under the American occupation draws on several years of research that began auspiciously enough at the Museum of Perverts in Kagurazaka.Is this the world's only Museum of Perverts, I wonder?