This book presents a case study of shichigosan, an extremely popular childhood family ritual in contemporary Japan. It is an interesting example of a custom with very ancient roots (going back to the tenth century), that has undergone several transformations during the course of its history, adapting to changing socio-economic and cultural circumstances. Within the study, the ritual unfolds as a shared platform where basic social values, views on children and family life, and individual perceptions emerge, are expressed and moulded at the same time. This book offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of a ritual practice in the intensely urbanized context of present-day Japan.
About the Author
Melinda Papp is Assistant Professor in Japanese Culture and Society at the Department of Japanese Studies, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) University, Hungary. She has published on themes concerning Japanese folklore religious beliefs, modern patterns of family rituals, and consumption. She has edited the volume Encounters with Japan: Japanese Studies in the Visegrad Four Countries.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: The study of ritual in contemporary urban society
Chapter Two: Consumption and ritual
Chapter Three: Consumer culture and changes to the ritual calendar in postwar urban Japan
Chapter Four: Shichigosan: The history of a Japanese childhood rite of passage
Chapter Five: Business sector, media and religious institutions
Chapter Six: Constructing the ritual: dress, photographs, actors, and script
Conclusion: Children, women, and families: Creating a ritual for one and all