Semiotics of Otherness in Japanese Mythology

Yoshiko Okuyama

Abstract


This article examines the tropes of "otherness" embedded in Japanese myths and legends in which the protagonist has a physical or intellectual disability to uncover the sociohistorical attitudes toward such people in Japan. Using the theory of semiotics, I will explicate the narrative signifiers of "the Other" represented in Japanese mythology; examine the binary perceptions of disability in ancient myths, medieval literature, and latter-day folklore in Japan; and demonstrate how perceptions have changed historically. I argue that some of these antique perceptions of the Other that have survived in contemporary Japanese consciousness may be hampering our effort to understand human variation.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v37i1.5380

Copyright (c) 2017 Yoshiko Okuyama

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ISSN: 2159-8371