Japan 50 - Responses

Japan 50 - Responses - Response Week 2 Japanese...

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Response Week 2 Japanese Civilization I found the creation myth more entertaining than all the other readings due to the fact that I have always loved reading about the supernatural and how things came to be in this world. The story of Izanagi and Izanami stood out because it clearly distinguished the status of males and females. When Izanagi said to Izanami before their conjugal intercourse, “It is not proper that the woman speak first,” the male already classified himself as the dominant gender. When they produced a leech-child afterwards, this shows that if a woman spoke before a man, the outcome would be unfavorable. Yet, the next time Izanagi and Izanami walked around the heavenly pillar, Izanagi spoke first, and they bore Awaji Island. Although in this case Izanagi is the one who will bring forth a promising child, at a certain period in history, a male ruler could not bring prosperity to the people of Wa. For many decades, there was turmoil. In the end, why did the people choose a female ruler, Pimiko? Yes, she brought the people peace, but the author wrote about her use of sorcery and magic, which are witch-like abilities. Although she was a venerated ruler, her use of magic might have given her an evil aura. Similar to yin and yang, Pimiko would be yin, dark and feminine. This suggests that females are incapable of ruling without some kind of supernatural force. Maybe Pimiko cast a spell over the people of Wa to make them respect her. It was said that she had a younger brother who assisted her, so this also suggests that it might have been the brother who actually made the decisions in ruling Japan. After the death of Pimiko, a male ruler ascended the throne, and the people became unfaithful and disobedient. Japan stabilized after another female ruler, Iyo, was made queen. This suggests that the Japanese gained respect for women in such early periods, or maybe they were still under Pimiko’s spell, but this is all just speculation. Response Week 3 Japanese Civilization Out of all the readings for this week, I enjoyed reading the Kokinshu poems the most. They were short, sweet, and very cute. The Japanese distinguished these poems, waka , from Chinese poetry, shi . This suggests that the Japanese are gradually adding to their own culture and trying to separate themselves from their Chinese neighbors. I think Japan has started to realize how great China influenced their culture and society, and now they have decided to break away from that link connecting the two nations. Reflecting on the short poems of Kokinshu, the poets emphasized the themes of spring, blossoms, solemn autumn, and love. The repetition of blossoms created a peaceful and tranquil image in my mind. It sort of gave me a longing for spring to come and also a nostalgic feeling. It reminded me of Ashburn, Virginia, where cherry blossoms flew everywhere whenever I stepped out of my house. I thought it was interesting how the season of autumn was expressed through sadness. I have never associated the seasons
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course HIST 50 taught by Professor Duthie during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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Japan 50 - Responses - Response Week 2 Japanese...

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