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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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Searching for Charisma Queen Himiko

Searching for Charisma Queen Himiko

(p.51) Chapter 3 Searching for Charisma Queen Himiko
Diva Nation

Laura Miller

University of California Press

Himiko was a third-century ruler described only briefly by Chinese historians. In contemporary culture, she is cast as an elderly priestess, an adorable shrine attendant, or a vain sorceress. She morphs from ancient shaman in manga to ditzy gal in video games and anime. She is commodified and objectified in communities as a touchstone for local commerce and community character. Himiko is a rich resource for regional groups in need of a city mascot, beauty-contest theme, or touristic motif. She also appears in divination products and advertising to denote female power and ethnic spirituality. Himiko replaces the high priestess in tarot cards and is channeled by divination providers. This chapter explores these many reinventions of Himiko in order to track how her varied iconography encodes assumptions about gender and power.

Keywords:   Himiko, iconography, local branding, mascotizing, mascots, food tourism, beauty contests, occult, reinvention of tradition

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