Rites of Passage in Japanese Traditional Culture


The paper examines the rites of passage in Japanese traditional culture from the perspective of semiotic method, a study of signs, symbols and significations. Sign systems of traditional customs and rituals ensure transmission of cultural values and information between and within generations. Based on the analyses of concrete elements and symbolic content of life-cycle rituals of Japanese people, we determine the role and functions of rites of passage in traditional Japanese culture, as well as the relation between archaic and modern elements of such rituals, including nowadays changes in perception and interpretation of the meaning of the ceremonies concerning the rites of passage. More precisely we distinguished three aspects of sign content of rites of passage: syntactic (formal relation of signs within a sign system); semantics (symbolic content of signs); pragmatics (relations of the sign to the receiver, interpreter). Results showed that symbols and signs enclosed in life-cycle rituals and related ceremonies not only enable identification of individuals with community, but also serve as an archiving tool for maintenance and continuity of cultural values and cultural-specific knowledge accumulated over the historical development of the whole Japanese society.

Author Information
Kuralay Batkalova, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan
Anuar Galiev, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan

Paper Information
Conference: IICJ2016
Stream: Japanese Culture and Media

This paper is part of the IICJ2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon