New research project

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Klaus Antoni

Apr 8, 2022, 7:12:42 AMApr 8
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Dear PMJS members,

I am pleased to introduce today the new DFG (German Research Foundation) research group "De/Sacralization of Texts" (FOR2828) at Tuebingen University, whose total of nine sub-projects also includes our Japanological research project "Sacred Narrative - the Political Dimension of Japanese Mythology" (TP1).

The research group basically assumes that there are certain texts that circulate within societies possessing a normative and identity-shaping character, whether for the society as a whole or for certain groups within it. Compared to other texts, we posit that there is a significant difference in authority and relevance attributed to them. We refer to these processes as sacralization. In addition to the more readily apparent examples of sacred writings, the canonical books of religious communities, we are also interested in sacralized writings in the context of literature, law, and politics.

In this context, the overall research goal of our japanological subproject TP1 is to undertake a historical-critical analysis of the reciprocal processes of sacralization and desacralization of the Japanese source works Kojiki (712) and Nihonshoki (720), with special emphasis on early modern and modern Japan.

These general research questions are addressed in individual investigations based on three exemplary focus areas:

Focus area 1 analyzes the critical reinterpretation of the sacredness of sources already by the Japanese national philology of Edo period (1603-1868). Here, Louise Neubronner addresses contemporary debates on the sacrality of KiKi mythology.

Focus area 2 examines the sacralization and ideologization of myths in the context of modern nation-state formation (Meiji to early Shōwa period, 1868-1945). Here, Klaus Antoni examines the political mythology of founding the empire with special emphasis on the sacralization of Jinmu-tennô as a case study.

Focus area 3 is devoted to the depoliticization and desacralization processes of mythology since 1945. In this context, Julia Dolkovski analyzes the change in function of KiKi myths in Japanese popular media, especially by looking at various strategies of usage and adaptation from the perspective of intertextuality.

Those interested can find more information on the research group as a whole at:

or directly regarding the japanological subproject at:

Suggestions and contributions to the discussion are most welcome!

With kind regards
Klaus Antoni

Klaus Antoni
Senior Professor
Japanese Studies - AOI, Tuebingen University
Wilhelmstrasse 90, D-72074 Tuebingen
Tel. (++49) (0)7071-29-76985
Tel. (++49) (0)170 5554104

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