Rethinking Nikkô and the Tokugawa Culture of Light

Colloquium | November 6 | 4-6 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Timon Screech, University of London SOAS

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)

It is well known that Tokugawa Ieyasu died in 1616 and was deified. It was determined that he should be a kami (Shinto god) that existed as an avatar of a Buddha, the Medicine Buddha being selected. There were geomantic reasons for these steps.
Ieyasu’s body was then disinterred and relocated to Nikkô, a geomantically important site.
The modest Shinto-Buddhist precincts demolished and rebuilt on colossal scale some 20 years later.
‘Nikkô means ‘the sun’s rays’, and this talk will argued that the cult of Ieyasu constructed him, above all, as a solar ruler, and that Nikkô, became the focus of a Tokugawa culture of light.

 cjs@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3415