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Discussion Week 4: Ghosts Become Visible Reading [J Tales]: Review: “Introducti

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Discussion Week 4: Ghosts Become Visible
Reading [J Tales]:
Review: “Introduction” to Japanese Tales
“Very Kind of Him, No Doubt” (#28)
“A Model Demon” (#97)
“Hell in Broad Day” (#216 pp. 313-314)
[OL] The Taiheiki, “The Suicide of the Protector of Etchû”
Bring Japanese Tales and “The Suicide of the Protector of Etchu” to zoom discussion!
Useful information about the sources of the tales:
What are SETSUWA? Short didactic fictional tales (often claiming to be non-fiction) that were disseminated in edited collections during the medieval period.
Two important collections of setsuwa that appear in Japanese Tales
Konjaku Monogatari shû (Tales of Times Now Past), early 12th c., circa 1120.
Uji Shûi Monogatari (A Collection of Uji Tales), early 13th c.
Useful information about tales you will be analyzing (you do not have to write out answers to these questions):
#28 “Very Kind of Him No Doubt” from Tales of Times Now Past
Ban no Yoshio was exiled in 866 and died in 868. How does this story reflect older beliefs about goryô and ekijin? What is new about it?
#97 “A Model Demon” from A Collection of Uji Tales
In this story, the same monk who had a vision of Michizane (Nichizo/Doken) meets a demon who is really more like a hungry ghost. How did he become demonic? Why do you suppose he isn’t pacified?
#216 “Hell in Broad Day” from Tales of Times Now Past
Again, what elements seem older? What is new?
[OL] “The Suicide of the Protector of Etchû” from the Taiheiki.
Wikipedia on the Taiheiki: “The Taiheiki is a Japanese historical epic (gunki monogatari), written in the late 14th century. It deals primarily with the Nanboku-chô [1336-1392], the period of war between the Northern Court of Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, and the Southern Court of Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino.” This episode, however, concerns a fisherman who runs into the ghosts of three samurai warriors (the governor of Tôtômi, his brother, and nephew) and their wives, who had died many years previously in the Genpei wars (1180-85). During the war, when the men found themselves surrounded and outnumbered, they sent their wives out in a boat to commit suicide by drowning, and then committed ritual suicide and burned their castle. The first part of the story gives the historical tragedy; the second part, a ghost story related to that tragedy.
The Taiheiki dates from the late 14th century, and so the attitude conveyed towards ghosts in this story is relatively late compared to the others. What elements of this story are similar to previous ghosts stories? What elements are completely different from previous ghost stories?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Answer all the question
1. Answer the following questions for “Very Kind of Him, No Doubt” (#28), “A Model Demon” (#97), “Hell in Broad Day” (#216), and McCullough, trans. Taiheiki, “The Suicide of the Protector of Etchû.” (For more information about these stories, see the reading questions.)
a. Who do you think is behind the story — that is, who might be the author/patron? A priest from a Buddhist temple? Shinto/Taoist priest? Aristocrat?
b. Who do you think was the likely audience? Aristocrats? Commoners? Both?
c. What is the goal of the story? Entertainment? To teach a lesson? If the latter, what is the lesson being taught?
d. Who might benefit from this story? For example, will it bring more believers into a temple or shrine?
2. How are the ghosts represented in each story?
a. What do they look like? How do they fit into the models of ghosts so far (angry ghosts, hungry ghosts, demons)?
1). Are they the same as those models?
2) What is new/different?
3. In each story, who can see the ghosts?
4. Given the analysis above, and what you’ve learned in classs, what order would place these stories in chronologically? Why?
General Question to consider:
1. Why do you suppose ghosts become visible to ordinary people during this period? Can you see any hints in the stories themselves?
BASIC ELEMENTS FOR GETTING AN “A” GRADE
Will do everything above for a B Grade plus:
1. Shows independent and creative thinking about the issues or problems raised.
2. Style of writing is not only clear and well-organized, but is vivid and lively, showing elements of personal style.
3. Examples chosen support argument and are analyzed in concrete detail, rather than simply summarized.
BASIC ELEMENTS FOR GETTING A “B” GRADE FOR TAKE-HOME EXAMS:
1. Will not simply summarize the text being analyzed.
2. Will be organized to make a clear argument.
3. Will include appropriate quotations from the texts to be analyzed (with page numbers). Quotations will be explained to show how they support your argument.
4. Will utilize secondary sources (readings, lectures, any outside sources), with page numbers, URLs, or dates (for lectures), to support your argument (see “Citation Form” below). If you use readings or other sources from outside of the course FOR THE TAKE-HOME EXAM, provide a bibliography at the end. Failing to properly cite sources will lower your grade.
5. Will not simply quote from secondary sources without explaining those quotations.
6. Will correctly distinguish between the author, translator, narrator, and characters in the story. For example, do not confuse Royall Tyler (the translator of Tale of Genji) with Murasaki Shikibu (the author of Tale of Genji). And do not confuse Murasaki Shikibu (the author of Tale of Genji), with the character Murasaki in Tale of Genji or with the narrator of Tale of Genji (an unnamed lady-in-waiting).
7. Will use SPELL CHECK and will be copy edited for common mistakes like “their/there/they’re.” Names, including authors of secondary materials, will be spelled correctly. Titles will be appropriately underlined, italicized, or in quotation marks (see “How Titles Should Be Indicated” below).

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