Throughout the course of history, women have played a crucial role in Japanese religious traditions, but not much attention has been given to their stories. One way to arrive at a new reading regarding the significance of women in Japanese cultural traditions is through interdisciplinary scholarship, which focuses on the relationship between women, religion, literature and art.
My presentation examines various visual and textual representations of the legendary female figure, Chūjōhime, ranging from the Kamakura period (1185-1333) to the Muromachi period (1392-1573). How is Chūjōhime traditionally presented in religious narratives? To what extent can these representations be re-read on different levels? This paper will trace how the representation of Chūjōhime changes in different versions of her story, from a focus on her salvation to a portrayal of women’s defilements and difficulties in attaining salvation｡
Monika Dix is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She is currently a visiting research fellow at Kokugakuin University.