Re: [SCA-JML] Fwd: [PMJS] Meeks on Miko
- I've always translated it as Preistess. As that seems to fit better.
They are more then "mediums" and "shamans" are usually part of a less
structured religious structure then the mikos are part of. The term
Priestess long predates the terms shaman or medium.
Also Mikos are exclusively female. A Miko is a "Shrine Maiden" a
maiden is a woman. The Kanji for Miko are;
Mi=Shaman,Oracle, Medium, Priest/Priestess, diviner, sorcerer/socereress
Ko=child, little, young, young woman
Depending on which source you use for translation. Translating
languages is more of an art then a science as anyone will tell you.
Call a christian religious leader a shaman or medium and see the
reaction for a good time. They prefer priest, if you want the truth
from the horse's mouth ask a real Miko what translated Title they
want. Though looking at the few official websites I could find from
Japan it is most often translated as Shrine Maiden.
On 01/10/2012, JL Badgley <tatsushu@...> wrote:
> I thought this may be of interest, given questions I've often seen about
> Miko. I'm interested in the article quoted, and I'll have to see if I can
> find it.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: "Ross Bender" <rosslynnbender@...>
> Date: Oct 1, 2012 5:58 AM
> Subject: [PMJS] Meeks on Miko
> To: <pmjs@...>
> Lori Meeks, in her recent article "The Disappearing Medium" makes a strong
> argument that in medieval Japan the miko were not marginal figures, but
> rather were well-integrated into the religious and institutional life of
> the great temple and shrine complexes, and that some had quite high status.
> She demonstrates that they played a large variety of roles, as healers,
> exorcists, transmitters of oracles, spirit mediums and more. Particularly
> interesting is her description of their importance in the development of
> art forms such as kagura and imayo. IMHO this is a very important article
> which should break ground in opening a discussion of the role of these
> women (and some men) in premodern Japan. (I need to point out that she does
> not discuss my favorite miko, the nameless woman who gave an oracle from
> Hachiman pronouncing Taira no Masakado as the "New Emperor.")
> "The Disappearing Medium: Reassessing the Place of Miko in the Religious
> Landscape of Premodern Japan" (2011) History of Religions, 50:3.
> Meeks opens her essay by remarking on the great splash made by Carmen
> Blacker's "The Catalpa Bow" in 1975. Shamanism was much in vogue in the
> seventies. Mircea Eliade's classic "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of
> Ecstasy" had appeared in 1964, and Hori Ichiro's "Nihon no shamanizumu" in
> 1971. Hori and Kitagawa discussed "shamanistic Buddhism" in their works of
> the late sixties. In popular culture, "The Teachings of Don Juan" was
> published by UC Berkeley in 1968 and became a best seller. I remember
> watching Jim Morrison, of The Doors, explaining that he was a shaman in a
> TV interview during Woodstock.
> My question here is the appropriateness of "shaman" as a translation for
> "miko" or "kamunagi". Meeks touches on the question, titling one of her
> sections "The Shamanic Consultant", and using the term rather freely. In
> the past there has not been much hesitation about this translation.
> However, Eliade, using the male Tungusic or Siberian shaman as his classic
> model, dismissed the miko in Japan as a weak female form of shamanism, as
> mediums rather than shamans.
> The term "shaman" is thrown around very freely these days. As Meeks points
> out, it is anthropologists who tend to discuss the phenomenon, rather than
> historians of religion. To give just one example, Laurel Kendall uses the
> term "shaman" in her studies of the Korean mudang, and it seems to fit.
> Meeks raises many interesting questions, but for now my question to the
> list is whether "miko" = "shaman", or should it be translated simply as
> Ross Bender
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