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A Study of Buddhism in Kawabata's Jōjoka

  • 日本硏究
  • 2010, (29), pp.195-213
  • Publisher : The Center for Japanese Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Japanese Language and Literature
  • Published : August 20, 2010

KI RYOUN HAN 1 Sang-Hyok Lee 2 Eunsook Sim 2 John Jorgensen 3

1강릉원주대학교
2상지대학교
3Griffith University

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The main character of the Jōjoka, ‘I,’ like oriental incense appears to be better than the western one because incense has a very symbolic meaning. By burning it, the Buddha can be made an offering to. People often burn incense before holding all ancestral rites in Korea, because its scent has been considered to “open a way to the holy spirit by doing away with the wickedness and purifying soul and body,” which is called ‘Bunhwang’(burning incense) in Korean and is being practiced now. ‘I’ comes to realize that incense in Buddhism functions as a spiritual means to the truth and is more interested in the world after death of Buddhism, whereas the western one seems to be limited to realistic uses and meanings and is more interested in Christian heaven and think highly of the one. Although ‘I,’ the main character, is a woman, it cannot be said to have nothing to do with the writer, Kawabata Yasunari, if we keep the characteristics of the first-speaker literature in mind. That is, the fact that the writer thinks highly of the oriental rather than the western and what is related with Buddhism rather than Christianism comes to be known indirectly through the main speaker. The Jōjoka implies buddhistic thoughts such as mercy, rebirth and “all things come from mind” and legends concerning Sakyamuni and a Buddhist priest of magnolia as main materials. It is said that the story of a Buddhist priest of magnolia is known only to those who have a wide knowledge of Buddhism, which means Kawabata Yasunari’s thoughtful understanding of it. It is expected that we will be able to understand more deeply the peculiarity of Kawabata’s literature including the Jōjoka, the meaning of which is said to be open only to the Japanese, by integrating his knowledge and understanding of Buddhism in order.

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