"A lone rider, Yoshinaka headed toward the Pine Woods of Awazu. It was dusk on the twenty-first day of the first month, and the ground was covered with thin ice. When Yoshinaka, not realizing that he was riding into a mud-filled rice field, drove his horse quickly forward, the animal sank into the mud until even its head could not be seen." ("The Ancient War Tales")
Speaker: Japanese poet
Subject: a type of choka poem, a long poem that deals with the poet's longing for someone, a loved one who is dead/or on a journey.
Occasion: Sublime expressions of makoto-sincerity of feelings and actions. Birds symbolize the spirits who fly away after physical death. It is Japanese belief that birds fly off to find their resting place, usually a mountain. Relates to Korean tradition of burying bird wings inside the grave b/c thought wings needed by the dead to fly over the moat. Sleeves-waving is the way of beckoning the dead spirit (tama beckoning), which also symbolizes his feelings of longing and desire for the spirit to return to the body.
Purpose: To express his emotions and feelings of loss through makoto and tama beckoning. The simple life-affirming code of conduct. To have the sincerity of feeling and actions, as well as appreciation for openness and candor, thus the foundation of Shinto ethics.
General Time period: 8th C.E.
The following question will appear on the final. Be sure to prepare in a way that allows you to provide a focused thesis, concrete examples from readings and lectures, and independent insight. Go for depth not scope, quality not quantity. You will not be rewarded for merely "dumping information," but for developing a coherent and relevant interpretation of the topic. Suggested length: Five blue-book pages, single-spaced.
1. The need for political legitimacy, cultural coherence, and socio-economic consolidation was a common challenge for the emerging centralized states or empires in the period we covered in MMW 3. In each case, some form of institutionalized religion was used to address this need. Choosing three of the empires or states we have studied (choose from Rome, Islamic empires,China, Korea, and Japan), discuss how religion contributed to their formation and governing, while at the same time creating forces that may have also undermined the authority of governments. Keep in mind that the relationships between religion and state were NOT static; that they always evolved in various ways. Your thesis might address a common pattern or trend you identify in the cases you choose to examine.