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The God Susanoo and Korea in Japan’s Cultural Memory: Ancient Myths and Modern Empire

Publisher: , 2022
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

This book discusses how ancient Japanese mythology was utilized during the colonial period to justify the annexation of Korea to Japan, with special focus on the god Susanoo. Described as an ambivalent figure and wanderer between the worlds, Susanoo served as a foil to set off the sun goddess, who played an important role in the modern construction of a Japanese national identity.

Susanoo inhabited a sinister otherworld, which came to be associated with colonial Korea. Imperialist ideologues were able to build on these interpretations of the Susanoo myth to depict Korea as a dreary realm at the margin of the Japanese empire that made the imperial metropole shine all the more brightly. At the same time, Susanoo was identified as the ancestor of the Korean people. Thus, the colonial subjects were ideologically incorporated into the homogeneous Japanese “family state”.

The book situates Susanoo in Japan’s cultural memory and shows how the deity, while being repeatedly transformed in order to meet the religious and ideological needs of the day, continued to symbolize the margin of Japan.



Part I. Blurred Boundaries and Liminal Identities

1. A Foil to Set Off the Sun Goddess: Susanoo in the Ancient Sources
2. Passion for Transgression: Susanoo’s Liminal Character
3. At the Margin of the Divine Country: Korea in Japanese Cultural Imagination

Part II. Political Mythology: A genealogy of Susanoo’s connection to Korea

4. “I do not want to Stay in this Land”: Susanoo’s Sojourn to Korea in the Ancient Court Chronicles
5. The God with a Thousand Faces: Susanoo and His Alter Egos in Medieval Mythology
6. Korea as a Realm of Death: Susanoo and Korea in Modern Discourses
EPILOGUE: After the War: Susanoo in Scholarship, Tourism, and Popular Culture

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.