Day 5: Death Axes the Fox and Prepares for a Festival

Natsuhiko, Kyogoku. “北斎妖怪百景.” Hokusai Yōkai Hyakkei (Book, 2004) []. May 09, 2016. Accessed January 09, 2017.
Death welcomes you to a new week! Our group hopes you had an enjoyable weekend. In our last post, we covered topic proposals for the podcast episode. After conducting more research over the past few days, death has finally claimed its second victim (see day 2 post for our first).

After much deliberation, we have decided to drop fox spirits and focus on the Qixi/Tanabata festival. Although there could have been unique discussions about the symbolism of fox spirits, we found some possible hardships. Mainly, there is an abundance of stories meaning a variety of fox spirits with different meanings. There are some that serve the gods, mostly focus on causing mischief for people, and etc. As a result, this could jeopardize the organization of our podcast. Causing us to go in many different directions instead of having a full and deep analysis.

However, we are excited to begin more research on Qixi and Tanabata! First, we are interested to see the development of the story in both China and Japan. The tale is also popular in Korea, but the holiday is not largely celebrated and our group would like to keep this discussion as concise as possible. Have we claimed a third victim? At any rate, we are largely interested in looking at the time periods surrounding these stories. For China, we will mainly be researching society during the Han dynasty. There will be two periods for Japan: Heian and Edo. The former is when the holiday was introduced to Japanese society and the latter when the whole population was able to celebrate. Beforehand, Tanabata was only celebrated by the elite. An interesting society development we could analyze. In addition, Group Death is considering looking into marriage structures during these time periods because the focus of the story is marriage and how the lovers were separated. This will especially be an interesting topic for our China research because Lawrence informed us that three versions of the Qixi story were created over time. This development could mean changing societal norms.

More details will be coming tomorrow! Good luck to group member Eve as she will be presenting tomorrow. Thank you for your continued support!