Serious Texts in Funny Places

Rethinking the Value of Prince Sh?toku’s Buddhist Texts by Comparing Traditional Buddhist Exegesis and Japanese Manga

Authors

  • Mark Dennis Texas Christian University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/post.v7i1.59

Keywords:

Prince Shotoku, manga, Sangyo-gisho

Abstract

This article examines three canonical Buddhist texts attributed to Japan’s Prince Sh?toku (574–622 CE) through the lens of a non-traditional medium: the Japanese manga, or comic book. It does so as a way to expand the range of serious academic inquiry beyond the many highly technical studies that have understood these texts mainly as vehicles for transmitting the original meaning of the prince. While the manga, as a quintessentially consumerist genre, may seem an unusual subject for the study of serious religious texts, Tessa Morris-Suzuki argues that this medium has, in fact, “reached a huge audience and had a profound effect on the historical imagination of Japan’s postwar generations,” shaping, she believes, the Japanese public’s understanding of its history to the same degree as historical textbooks. This article takes the manga seriously as a medium for transmitting important “non-exegetical” meaning about these texts that are part of a living textual tradition.

References

Akimoto, Osamu. 1997. Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari K?en mae Hashutsujo: Ryosan no Sh?toku Taishi. Tokyo: Sh?eisha.

Carr, Kevin. 2005. “The Lives of Sh?toku: Narrative Art and Ritual in Medieval Japan.” Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University.

———. 2012. Plotting the Prince: Shotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Collins, Steven. 1997. Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities: Utopias of the Pali Imaginaire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Como, Michael. 2008. Shotoku: Ethnicity, Ritual, and Violence in the Japanese Buddhist Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acp rof:oso/9780195188615.001.0001

Foulk, T. Griffith. 1993. “Issues in the Field of East Asian Buddhist Studies: An Extended Review of Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought, edited by Peter N. Gregory.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 16: 93–114.

Fujieda, Akira. 1975. “Sh?mangy?-gisho.” In Nihon shis? taikei 2: Sh?toku Taishish?, edited by Ienaga Sabur?, 484–544. Tokyo: Iwanami shoten.

Genette, Gérard. 1997. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Translated by Jane E. Lewin with foreword by Richard Macksey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Griffiths, Paul. 1999. Religious Reading: The Place of Reading in the Practice of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195125771.001.0001

Hallisey, Charles. 1995. “Roads Taken and Not Taken in the Study of Therav?da Buddhism.” In Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism, edited by Donald S. Lopez, Jr., 31–62. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Hanayama, Shinsh?. 1944. Sh?mangy?-gisho no J?g?-?sen ni kansuru Kenky?. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

Hayakawa, Daisuke and Toshiki Mizutani. 2010. Sh?toku Taishi: Asuka Jinbutsuden. Tokyo: Popurasha.

Herrnstein Smith, Barbara. 1988. Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hesse, Hermann. 1951. Siddhartha, trans. Hilda Rosner. New York: New Directions.

Ikeda, Riyoko. 1999. Sh?toku Taishi 5: Gy?an no Kagaribi Moyu. Tokyo: Ch?? K?ron Shinsha.

Kanaji, Isamu. 1971. “Sh?mangy?-gisho” no Shis?teki Kenky?. Tokyo: Sankib? Busshorin.

———. 1985. J?g??sen “Sangy?-gisho” no Shomondai. Kyoto: H?z?kan.

Koizumi, Enjun. 1969. “Tonk?hon Sh?mangisho hongi.” Sh?toku Taishi Kenky? 5: 59–141.

Kume, Kunitake. 1905. J?g? Taishi Jitsuroku. Osaka: Sekibunsha.

———. 1919. Sh?toku Taishi Jitsuroku. Tokyo: Heigo Shuppansha.

Kurokami, Sh?ichir?. 1935. Sh?toku Taishi no Shink? Shis? to Nihon Bunka S?gy?. Tokyo: Daiichi K?t? Gakk? Sh?shinkai.

Lopez, Jr. Donald S. 2001. The Story of Buddhism: A Concise Guide to its History and Teachings. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco.

Lurie, David. 2001. The Origins of Writing in Early Japan: From the 1st to the 8th Century C.E. Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University.

MacWilliams, Mark. 2000. “Japanese Comics and Religion: Osamu Tezuka’s Story of the Buddha.” In Japan Pop! Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture, edited by Timothy Craig, 109–136. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

McCloud, Scott. 1994. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: HarperPerennial.

Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. 2005. The Past Within Us: Media, Memory, History. New York: Verso.

Nagahara, Keiji and Shigehiro Kuramochi. 1988. Sh?toku Taishi: H?ry?ji o Tateta Seijika. Tokyo: Sh?eisha.

Reynolds, Frank. 1999. “Coming of Age: Buddhist Studies in the United States from 1972 to 1997.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 22: 457–483.

Said, Edward. 1983. The World, the Text, and the Critic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Sakamoto, Tar?. 1971. “Zadankai: Sachiya, Hiro and Shiba J?tar?. 1991. Sh?toku Taishi: Nihon Bukky? no So. Tokyo: Suzuki Shuppan.

Sh?toku Taishi Kenky? no Kaiko to Tenb?.” In Sh?toku Taishi Ronsh?, edited by Ishida Mosaku, 645–675. Kyoto: Heirakuji Shoten.

Sachiya, Hiro and Shiba J?tar?. 1991. Sh?toku Taishi: Nihon Bukky? no So. Tokyo: Suzuki Shuppan.

Schopen, Gregory. 1997. Bones, Stones, and Buddhist Monks: Collected Papers on the Archaeology, Epigraphy, and Texts of Monastic Buddhism in India. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Schwartz, Adam and Eliane Rubinstein-Ávila. 2006. “Understanding the Manga Hype: Uncovering the Multimodality of Comic-Book Literacies.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 50: 40–49. http://dx.doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.50.1.5

Sharf, Robert. 2002. Living Images: Japanese Buddhist Icons in Context. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Sh?toku Taishi Kenky?kai. 1988. Sh?toku Taishi Butten K?setsu: “Sh?mangy?-gisho” no Gendaigoyaku to Kenky?. Tokyo: Taimeid?.

Tsuda, S?kichi. 1950. Nihon Koten no Kenky?. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

Umehara Sh?ki. 1991. Nihon no Bukky?. Tokyo: Gendai Shokan.

Published

2014-01-13

How to Cite

Dennis, M. (2014). Serious Texts in Funny Places: Rethinking the Value of Prince Sh?toku’s Buddhist Texts by Comparing Traditional Buddhist Exegesis and Japanese Manga. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 7(1), 59–85. https://doi.org/10.1558/post.v7i1.59

Issue

Section

Articles