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Japanese Rainmaking and Other Folk Practices
Japanese Rainmaking and Other Folk Practices Author:Geoffrey Bownas, Pauline Brown (line drawings) The ritual of rainmaking is one of half a dozen Japanese folk practices or festivals described in this book. As with most of the practices examined, the story of rainmaking ceremonies begins with personal experiences and then uses the writings of Japanese folklorists to record significant local variations and to construct a general account of th... more »e history and the purpose of the ceremony.
The chapter order follows the year cycle, starting with the New Year and proceeding by way of early summer purificatory festivals and rainmaking ceremonial to the feast of Bon, which, with the New Year ceremonies, divides the year. Alongside these community or public rites are described private or family rituals, such as as those concerned with birth, marriage and death. The last chapter, 'The Village Year', examines the history and the year-round ceremonies of an isolated and inward-looking island fishing community.
A long introductory chapter relates aspects of Japanese culture, language and myth to the constant features of extant or recorded folk practice.
Geoffrey Bownas is well qualified to undertake this study. He speaks and reads Japanese and has considerable experience of Japan beyond the beaten track; this experience he draws on frequently and supplements by a wide acquaintance with the writings the writings of Japanese folklorists.« less