Tama in Japanese Myth attempts to elucidate Japanese religious experiences by presenting a new interpretation of the oldest existing text of Japanese myth, the Kojiki. Informed by phenomenological hermeneutics, Iwasawa shows that the concept of tama lies at the core of Japanese religious experiences. Tama is often compared to spirit and soul in Western philosophy and religion and especially to the German concept of Geist. Tama develops in ways that do not assume a dichotomy between the ideational and the sensible, which is precisely the dichotomy informing Western theism and the Platonic tradition of metaphysics. Iwasawa argues that the Western concept of God, far from explaining all possible connections between the human and the divine, is less than satisfactory for analyzing Japanese religious experiences. Iwasawa proceeds by examining the Japanese notion of tama as an inquiry into the origin of values wholly unaffected by the Western idea of a moral God.
Tomoko Iwasawa is associate professor of comparative religions at Reitaku University, Japan. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy of religion from Boston University. Her publications include Jaspers' "Schuldfrage" and Hiroshima: Does the Concept of Guilt Exist for Japanese Religious Consciousness? (2008) and On the Concept of Defilement: A Comparative Study of Paul Ricoeur's "Symbolism of Evil" and Japanese Myth (2009). She is an executive board member of International Shinto Foundation.
Acknowledgments Introduction PART I TAMA IN JAPANESE MYTH - HISTORICAL INVESTIGATIONS Chapter 1 In Pursuit of Tama in the Japanese Language: Motoori Norinaga's Interpretation of Tama Chapter 2 In Search of the Salvation of Embodied Tama: Hirata Atsutane's Interpretation of Tama Chapter 3 The Dialectic of Mythologizing, Demythologizing, and Remythologizing PART II TAMA IN JAPANESE MYTH - CONCRETE MANIFESTATIONS Part II Introduction Chapter 4 The Problem of Defilement: The Myth of Izanagi and Izanami Chapter 5 The Problem of Sin: The Myth of Amaterasu and Susanowo Conclusion Bibliography Index