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Master of Arts (M.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Taira no Masakado, buntori, ehon, premodern Literature
The tenth-century rebel Taira no Masakado occupies a unique place in the literature of Japan. His reception through history is most prominent in the works of Ōkagami, Shōmonki, Konjaku Monogatari, Jinnō Shōtōki, and Ehon Maskado Ichidaiki. The author’s geographic location often determined whether they sympathized with or demonized Masakado. Their occupations also influenced how they wrote about warrior culture, particularly the custom of buntori, or the taking of heads. Ehon Masakado Ichidaiki provides not only textual accounts of the rebellion, but numerous images depicting an Edo-interpretation of Heian-period warrior culture and but also images of the buntori of Masakado and his allies’ heads. Depending on whether authors were Kyōto nobles or officials in the provinces also affected whether or not they address Masakado’s rebellion and Sumitomo’s rebellion as allied-conspiracies or as two separate occurrences. Finally, the aristocratic literature of the capital and the literature in the provinces give different reasons for Masakado’s rebellion which conform to Ted Robert Gurr’s “relative deprivation” theory, but also demonstrate the influence from Buddhist and Shintō episteme.
Doris G. Bargen
Stephen M. Forrest