Semiotics of Otherness in Japanese Mythology
Keywords:Japan, Semiotics, folklore
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.
Copyright (c) 2017 Yoshiko Okuyama
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