Organizer: Brian D. Ruppert, University of Illinois
Chair: Martin Collcutt, Priceton University
Discussant: George J. Tanabe, Jr., University of Hawaii
Scholars have long known that activities such as fundraising (kanjin), gifts (okurimono) and offerings (fuse, h˘bei) were prominent features of premodern and early modern Japan. However, insofar as most historical studies of the era have focused attention almost exclusively on problems such as the financial burdens placed on the peasants, the dynamic role of fundraising, gifts and offerings in consolidating social relations has yet to be studied in depth.
This panel addresses this ritual economy through examining concrete historical examples in courtier and warrior society. William Londo analyzes fundraising for the monastery at Mount K˘ya in the mid-Heian era to clarify its role in the transformation of the temple there into a vital religious institution. Brian Ruppert examines annual ceremonies and occasional rites of the imperial court in the Heian and Kamakura eras to evaluate the roles of offerings, ritual stipends, and rewards in producing a system of exchange between the court, individual monks, and temples. Roy Ron explores the social and economic significance of offerings made by the Ashikaga warrior family in the Kamakura era to the temples Bannaji and Tsurugaoka Hachimangűji. Reiko Sono, in turn, analyzes the role of gift-giving in gender relations in early Tokugawa warrior society through clarifying the connection between gift-giving by males, which appeared more ritualized and hierarchical, and those by females, which was usually more personal and flexible in character. Through examining these cases, we attempt to clarify the connections between such activities, the dynamics of social relations and related historical developments.
From the Outside In and From the Inside Out: The 11th-Century Genesis of Mt. K˘ya
William Londo, University of Michigan
The Heian era histories of the religious institutions on Mt. Hiei and Mt. K˘ya could scarcely be more different. Whereas Mt. Hieis Tendai institution grew in both political and religious influence throughout the course of the 900s, the edifice on Mt. K˘ya established by Kűkai in the 9th century teetered on the brink of extinction throughout most of the 10th, culminating in a particularly devastating fire in 994. A century later, however, Mt. K˘ya was a stable and self-sustaining religious institution despite these earlier hardships and its relative isolation from the capital. This paper will analyze the beginnings of the development of Mt. K˘ya in the 11th century, giving particular attention to the work in support of Mt. K˘ya carried out both by T˘ji monks such as Ningai in the capital (from outside in), and by Mt. K˘ya abbots such as the kanjin (fundraising) monk Kishin sh˘nin and Meizan (from the inside out). I will demonstrate that Mt. K˘ya began to thrive as a religious center at this time in no small part as a result of new religious or ritual economies centering on Mt. K˘ya that were developed by the leaders of T˘ji and Mt. K˘ya.
Fuse, Roku, Sh˘, J˘g˘: Gifts, Rewards, and Indebtedness in Early Medieval Japan
Brian D. Ruppert, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
A wealth of documents of the late Heian and early Kamakura eras (11th13th c.) depict ritual occasions in which offerings (fuse) were made by the court or related aristocrats to objects of veneration and later given to one or more monks who officiated on the occasion, in addition to so-called ritual stipends (roku). Some records describe increases in rank in reward for ritual performance (sh˘); others depict similar increases or appointments to positions in thanks for economic support of its ritual patronage (j˘g˘).
This paper asks the question: how can we gain an understanding of the meaning of these prominent activities in the context of early medieval society? I propose examining a set of specific annual ceremonies (nenjű gy˘ji) and occasional rites (rinji gy˘ji/shuh˘) of the imperial courtthe so-called "Seasonal Scriptural Recitation" (Ki-no-midoky˘) and "Buddhas Birthday Assembly" (Kanbutsue) together with occasional rites such as the Shingon rain-making rite Sh˘ugy˘h˘ and rituals for safe birth (Osan mishuh˘). Representations of the first two rites abound in a series of court diaries and ritual texts, while those of the latter rites are primarily in court diaries and Shingon ritual records. I will argue that these depictions indicate that the court and clerics constructed a system of ritual exchange marked by: payment to the monks euphemized as fuse to the Buddha; grants of increased rank to monks particularly after occasional rites; and increased promise of improved rank to aristocrats or warriors who gave their financial support for court rituals.
Lands to Dainichi, Horses to Hachiman
Roy Ron, University of Hawaii
The system of gift-giving has never attracted much attention from historians of the Kamakura period, perhaps because the idea of gifts itself seems marginal in a new warrior society characterized by its pragmatic government. This warrior government, the Kamakura bakufu, relied on the gokeninsei for implementing its duties in the provinces. The gokinensei itself is commonly acknowledged by historians as a structure defined by reciprocal relationshipsfor rendering military and police services to the Kamakura bakufu, a gokenin received the Kamakura lords goon. However, the gokenin further reciprocated by an occasional presentation of gifts to Tsurugaoka Hachimangűji, the bakufus shrine-temple. The bilateral bakufu-gokinensei structure was advantageous to both sides, but in the latter half of the Kamakura period some of the more prominent gokenin sought to further strengthen their presence in the provinces by adding a clan temple (ujidera) to their provincial headquarters.
This study focuses on the Ashikaga clan and its temple Bannaji, and provides a comparative analysis of the Ashikagas gift-giving practices. My contention is that a prominent warrior clan such as the Ashikaga presented symbolic gifts to Tsurugaoka Hachimangűji as an expression of their allegiance to the Kamakura lord. Such gift-giving practices were a ritual cement that solidified the bond between the gokenin and Kamakura, beyond their fundamental reciprocal relationships. Similarly, the successive heads of the Ashikaga family endowed Bannaji with gifts of economic substance, but rarely of symbolic value. Consequently, both types of gift-giving were ultimately designed to boost the status and power of the clan.
Gender and Gift-Giving in Early Modern Japan
Reiko Sono, Princeton University
In early modern Japan, gift-giving both reflected and reproduced the hierarchical structure of Tokugawa warrior society. Through exchanging gifts with the shogun, each warrior not only reinforced his connection to the Tokugawa ancestral deity situated at the top of the hierarchy, but reconfirmed his position and status vis-Ó-vis his fellow warriors. Although "official" gift-giving took place in a solemn ritualistic manner between the shogun and male members of society, gift-giving, in general, often involved their female relatives. Whereas gifts presented to and received from the shogun by warriors were strictly prescribed and recorded in the official government journal Edo bakufu nikki, gift-giving by women such as the shoguns wives, warlords mothers, wives, or daughters, or the empress dowager, tended to be of a more personal and flexible nature, and rarely appeared in the journal. It could be said that male gift-giving constructed the basic relational structure of Tokugawa society, while female gift-giving served as a buffer and thus reinforced this structure. This paper explores the role of female gift-giving by focusing on the practices of Kasuga-no-Tsubone (the third shogun Iemitsus wet nurse) and Kazuko (Iemitsus sister and wife of Emperor Gomizunoo).