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Japanese Afterlife


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The pre-Buddhist or Shinto (see Shinto entries) version of afterlife (see Afterlife) is both complex and somewhat inconsistent. In the Kojiki (see Kojiki) we are told that Izanagi (see Izanagi and Izanami) visits his wife Izanami in Yomi no kuni (see Yomi), a place of darkness and impurity inhabited by furies. The passage to it is blocked by a boulder, and the putrefied Izanami reigns there as queen in a palace. There is no indication of judgment in this afterlife setting, but gloom decidedly prevails. In other stories Yomi is less gloomy, and there is a tradition that the dead live in the sky or on top of mountains (where they are often buried). During the annual rites of the Buddhist-originated (see Japanese Buddhism) Bon festival, the dead ancestors are said to return to visit their families (see Pure Land and see Jigoku).

Subjects: Religion.


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