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Diva NationFemale Icons from Japanese Cultural History$
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Laura Miller and Rebecca Copeland

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297722

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297722.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Ame no Uzume Crosses Boundaries

Ame no Uzume Crosses Boundaries

(p.34) Chapter 2 Ame no Uzume Crosses Boundaries
Diva Nation

Tomoko Aoyama

University of California Press

Ame no Uzume no Mikoto is widely regarded as Japan’s first comic-erotic diva. She is a shamanistic trickster goddess who appears in the eighth-century texts Kojiki and Nihon shoki. Uzume uses her body and performance effectively to establish communication and overcome actual and potential crises. In one of the most celebrated episodes of the mythology, Uzume’s comic-erotic dance successfully invites the sun goddess Amaterasu out of the Heavenly Cave. This chapter first outlines the portrayal of this goddess in the classical texts. Then, using Tsurumi Shunsuke’s theory, the discussion focuses on Uzume’s ability to cross various boundaries and find ways to communicate even in the most dangerous and challenging situations and with potential opponents. Applying the theory to the contemporary “vagina artist” Rokudenashiko, the final section of the chapter demonstrates the significance and validity of the Uzume model of comic subversion and revitalization in our misogynistic society.

Keywords:   Ame no Uzume, comic-erotic, Kojiki, Nihon shoki, performance, body, Tsurumi Shunsuke, boundary crossing, communication, Rokudenashiko

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