Gender and Religion Research Centre Seminar
Friday 19th January 2001
13:00-14:30, Room 336, Main Building,
School of Oriental and African Studies
Nyonin Kinsei: Ritual Exclusion of Women in Japan
Dr Gaynor Sekimori, Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions, SOAS
The phenomenon of the exclusion of women in Japan from certain ritual areas
continues to the present day, and on occasion attracts intense media
attention. A notorious case occurred several years ago when the Cabinet
Secretary, a woman, was unable, as tradition demands, to present the chief
prize at the Sumo tournament because females are excluded from entry into
the sumo ring. This presentation looks at the phenomenon from both an
historical and a phenomenological viewpoint, and attempts to trace within
Japanese religion its sources. Particular attention will be paid to the role
of women within mountain religion (Shugendo), where exclusion is maintained
in several areas, and examples of exclusion and the dynamics whereby it has
(or has not) been resolved will be given.
Dr Sekimori's research interests include Shugendo, Japanese combinatory
religion (shinbutsu shugo), women and religion, Meiji period separation of
kami and Buddha worship (shinbutsu bunri), and English Reformation history
from a comparative viewpoint.
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