Title

Child-Protecting/Nurturing-Oriented Cultural/Religious Practices in East Asia: Reports and Observations from China and Japan

Titles of the Individual Presentations in a Panel

1) A comparative observation of baby naming practices in Japan and China in the past century by Zuotang Zhang; Noriko Mori-Kolbe 2) Merit and nurture: An Anthropological Investigation of the Guidepost Belief in the "Forty-eight Villages" in the Border Area of Guizhou and Hunan Province by Shengzhu Li 3) Naming practice in Japan by Noriko Mori-Kolbe 4) The goddess belief in Confucius's hometown—Taking the custom of childcare in Qufu as an example - by Shuai Jiang

Subject Area

East Asian/Chinese Studies

Abstract

Child-Protecting/Nurturing-Oriented Cultural/Religious Practices in East Asia: Reports and Observations from China and Japan

(Panel abstract if needed)

Abstract: Protecting and nurturing children requires all human efforts; in addition to physical means, such as food, drink and medical care, more often than not, cultural and religious measures are taken in various forms and occasions in East Asian countries like China and Japan. These measures feature the efforts of human beings to negotiate with Mother Nature for harmonious co-existence, for peaceful solutions of a conflict perceived by the people in question, and for blessings and protections. This panel will explore the various ways discovered in four individual presentations. Mori-Kolbe and Zhang present a comparative study of baby-naming traditions in China and Japan, both of which bear strong cultural messages of parents’ or grandparents’ wishes and hopes for their young, Li investigates a prevalent guidepost belief in southwest China that is featured with trading for good fortune for a child with a merit-doing ritual, Jiang reports a goddess belief in Confucius’ hometown that is meant to raise children and prevent diseases, and Zhang analyzes a re-naming practice for disease-driven children in northwest China that involves a combined religious practices of Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism as well as shamanism. While Mori-Kolbe and Zhang’s study is based on literature data, all the other three studies are based on field research data obtained in three different locations in China – East, northwest and southwest, respectively.

Key words: Child-protecting/nurturing; cultural/religious practices; East Asia; China; Japan

A comparative observation of baby naming practices in Japan and China in the past century

Zuotang Zhang; Noriko Mori-Kolbe

Abstract: By using a literature-based – names found in non-academic publications as well as in scholastic journals and book – research on newborn baby naming practices in Japan and China from 1912 to 2018, the authors present a comparative study between the two baby naming practices. The research finds that in over 75% cases a newborn baby’s name is carefully chosen by the parents or grandparents or other people like guardians with very obvious good hopes and wishes to the baby. Names for baby boys usually bear the parents’ blessings for health, fortune, braveness, cleverness, good personality, and good virtue. Names for baby girls usually reflect the parents’ hope for good looking, gracefulness, tenderness and cleverness. Therefore a baby’s name is the parents’ good-wish message, which is an articulated hope for the good that starts from a baby, a single family and then, as the baby grows up and extends his or her social activity radius, to a community and beyond. The presentation has four parts. The first part will present concrete examples of most frequently seen/used baby names in the two countries; the second part presents a comparative observation of similarities and differences of the naming patterns in the two countries. The third part presents a brief analysis on the socio-linguistic and socio-cultural backdrops of the practices. The conclusion part gives an overview of the developmental trends found in the two adjacent nations.

Key words: Japanese naming practice; Chinese naming practice; comparison; past century

Merit and nurture: An Anthropological Investigation of the Guidepost Belief in the "Forty-eight Villages" in the Border Area of Guizhou and Hunan Province

Shengzhu Li

Abstract: This paper finds that the custom of making guidepost is prevalent in the minority areas of Southwestern China through the field investigation of the “Forty Eight Villages” of Miao and Dong People in the border areas of Hunan and Guizhou Provinces. The guidepost is a kind of stone monument that set up at the fork to point the direction for passers-by. Making guidepost is a kind of belief behavior carried out by local people to treat children's actual illnesses and resolve imaginary disasters. Specifically, if a child has a strange illness, crying, or not good at learning, it is necessary to ask the fortune teller to give a look at the date of birth and the eight characters of a horoscope. If the diagnosis of the "general arrow" is diagnosed, you need to set up a guidepost to resolve the disaster. Therefore, the guidepost is called "Life Preserving Monument" by the locals.

In essence, Making guidepost is a kind of belief ritual of “doing merit”, that is,accumulating “goodness” by the good deeds of facilitating others, thereby obtaining the blessing of the gods and resolving the disease. The making guidepost, together with setting up bridges and stools, road repairs, e.g. have formed the local belief landscape of Merit. Therefore, the local guidepost worship can be regarded as the concrete practice of Chinese traditional concept of merit in minority rural society.

Key words: Guidepost; Miao and Dong minority nationalities; children’s illnesses; folk belief

Naming practice in Japan

Noriko Mori-Kolbe

Abstract: The present study is a literature based research on newborn baby naming practice in Japan. Based on existing literature on naming, survey on given names, and concrete examples, an overview of a naming pattern of Japan will be presented. Historical observations of popular baby names include trends of popular female and male names and recent trends of popular baby names. Comparisons with naming practices of other countries/cultures will follow.

Key words: newborn baby naming; Japan; gender difference in naming; new trends

The goddess belief in Confucius's hometown—Taking the custom of childcare in Qufu as an example

Shuai Jiang

Abstract: In Qufu, there has been a folk custom of raising children and preventing diseases, which the locals call it “Sa Momo” (撒馍馍,namely throwing Steamed buns). Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius and the birthplace of Confucian culture. More than 30 years ago, children were required to "Zhong Huahua"(种花花,having smallpox vaccination), which usually took place in February in the lunar calendar. After the cowpox break out, it would leave a pimple scar on the arm of the child. In the fourth month of the lunar year, his relatives would bring gifts to visit the vaccinated child, this ritual is named "dropping the pimple scar"(掉疙疤). On the 6th day of the sixth month of the lunar year, people should send the "Pox Goddess" away(送痘疹娘娘). “Sending the Pox Goddess” means to thank the goddess for her protecting children's health.

This custom reflects the different attitudes of the concept of parenting in the Qufu area and the concept of child-rearing in Confucian culture. Therefore, we can try to explore the characteristics of the people's belief landscape in the core area of Confucian culture. Through the study of folk beliefs in Qufu area from the Anthropological perspective, we can deepen the understanding of the Chinese people’s spiritual world under the profound implications of Confucian culture.

Key words: folk custom; child-care measures; dropping-the-pimple-scar ritual; Pox Goddess

Brief Bio Note

Zuotang Zhang’s undergraduate major was English at Ningxia University, China, and he has a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Missouri State University. He received his PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Zhang teaches Chinese language and culture at Georgia Southern University.

Noriko Mori-Kolbe grew up in Japan. She received a B.A. from Kyoto Women’s University in Japan. She completed both her Master’s in Music Education and Music Therapy and her Ph.D. in Foreign Language Education at the University of Kansas. Mori-Kolbe teaches Japanese language and culture at Georgia Southern University.

Shengzhu Li is an associate professor in Guizhou Institute of Anthropology & Ethnology, Guizhou Education University, China. He received a Ph.D. in Folklore from Shandong University. Currently he is doing postdoctoral research in Anthropology at Boston University. His research fields are Folk Religion, Rural Taoist Rituals and Chinese traditional festival.

Shuai Jiang’s undergraduate major was Cultural Industry Management at Zhejiang Normal University, China, and he has a master’s degree in folklore from Shandong University, China. He is now a PhD candidate at Shandong University, China and his research interests are folklore and folk ritual.

Keywords

Child-protecting/nurturing, cultural/religious practices, child-naming traditions, East Asia, China, Japan

Location

Afternoon Session 2 (PARB 114/115)

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

4-12-2019 3:45 PM

End Date

4-12-2019 5:00 PM

Embargo

11-25-2018

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Apr 12th, 3:45 PM Apr 12th, 5:00 PM

Child-Protecting/Nurturing-Oriented Cultural/Religious Practices in East Asia: Reports and Observations from China and Japan

Afternoon Session 2 (PARB 114/115)

Child-Protecting/Nurturing-Oriented Cultural/Religious Practices in East Asia: Reports and Observations from China and Japan

(Panel abstract if needed)

Abstract: Protecting and nurturing children requires all human efforts; in addition to physical means, such as food, drink and medical care, more often than not, cultural and religious measures are taken in various forms and occasions in East Asian countries like China and Japan. These measures feature the efforts of human beings to negotiate with Mother Nature for harmonious co-existence, for peaceful solutions of a conflict perceived by the people in question, and for blessings and protections. This panel will explore the various ways discovered in four individual presentations. Mori-Kolbe and Zhang present a comparative study of baby-naming traditions in China and Japan, both of which bear strong cultural messages of parents’ or grandparents’ wishes and hopes for their young, Li investigates a prevalent guidepost belief in southwest China that is featured with trading for good fortune for a child with a merit-doing ritual, Jiang reports a goddess belief in Confucius’ hometown that is meant to raise children and prevent diseases, and Zhang analyzes a re-naming practice for disease-driven children in northwest China that involves a combined religious practices of Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism as well as shamanism. While Mori-Kolbe and Zhang’s study is based on literature data, all the other three studies are based on field research data obtained in three different locations in China – East, northwest and southwest, respectively.

Key words: Child-protecting/nurturing; cultural/religious practices; East Asia; China; Japan

A comparative observation of baby naming practices in Japan and China in the past century

Zuotang Zhang; Noriko Mori-Kolbe

Abstract: By using a literature-based – names found in non-academic publications as well as in scholastic journals and book – research on newborn baby naming practices in Japan and China from 1912 to 2018, the authors present a comparative study between the two baby naming practices. The research finds that in over 75% cases a newborn baby’s name is carefully chosen by the parents or grandparents or other people like guardians with very obvious good hopes and wishes to the baby. Names for baby boys usually bear the parents’ blessings for health, fortune, braveness, cleverness, good personality, and good virtue. Names for baby girls usually reflect the parents’ hope for good looking, gracefulness, tenderness and cleverness. Therefore a baby’s name is the parents’ good-wish message, which is an articulated hope for the good that starts from a baby, a single family and then, as the baby grows up and extends his or her social activity radius, to a community and beyond. The presentation has four parts. The first part will present concrete examples of most frequently seen/used baby names in the two countries; the second part presents a comparative observation of similarities and differences of the naming patterns in the two countries. The third part presents a brief analysis on the socio-linguistic and socio-cultural backdrops of the practices. The conclusion part gives an overview of the developmental trends found in the two adjacent nations.

Key words: Japanese naming practice; Chinese naming practice; comparison; past century

Merit and nurture: An Anthropological Investigation of the Guidepost Belief in the "Forty-eight Villages" in the Border Area of Guizhou and Hunan Province

Shengzhu Li

Abstract: This paper finds that the custom of making guidepost is prevalent in the minority areas of Southwestern China through the field investigation of the “Forty Eight Villages” of Miao and Dong People in the border areas of Hunan and Guizhou Provinces. The guidepost is a kind of stone monument that set up at the fork to point the direction for passers-by. Making guidepost is a kind of belief behavior carried out by local people to treat children's actual illnesses and resolve imaginary disasters. Specifically, if a child has a strange illness, crying, or not good at learning, it is necessary to ask the fortune teller to give a look at the date of birth and the eight characters of a horoscope. If the diagnosis of the "general arrow" is diagnosed, you need to set up a guidepost to resolve the disaster. Therefore, the guidepost is called "Life Preserving Monument" by the locals.

In essence, Making guidepost is a kind of belief ritual of “doing merit”, that is,accumulating “goodness” by the good deeds of facilitating others, thereby obtaining the blessing of the gods and resolving the disease. The making guidepost, together with setting up bridges and stools, road repairs, e.g. have formed the local belief landscape of Merit. Therefore, the local guidepost worship can be regarded as the concrete practice of Chinese traditional concept of merit in minority rural society.

Key words: Guidepost; Miao and Dong minority nationalities; children’s illnesses; folk belief

Naming practice in Japan

Noriko Mori-Kolbe

Abstract: The present study is a literature based research on newborn baby naming practice in Japan. Based on existing literature on naming, survey on given names, and concrete examples, an overview of a naming pattern of Japan will be presented. Historical observations of popular baby names include trends of popular female and male names and recent trends of popular baby names. Comparisons with naming practices of other countries/cultures will follow.

Key words: newborn baby naming; Japan; gender difference in naming; new trends

The goddess belief in Confucius's hometown—Taking the custom of childcare in Qufu as an example

Shuai Jiang

Abstract: In Qufu, there has been a folk custom of raising children and preventing diseases, which the locals call it “Sa Momo” (撒馍馍,namely throwing Steamed buns). Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius and the birthplace of Confucian culture. More than 30 years ago, children were required to "Zhong Huahua"(种花花,having smallpox vaccination), which usually took place in February in the lunar calendar. After the cowpox break out, it would leave a pimple scar on the arm of the child. In the fourth month of the lunar year, his relatives would bring gifts to visit the vaccinated child, this ritual is named "dropping the pimple scar"(掉疙疤). On the 6th day of the sixth month of the lunar year, people should send the "Pox Goddess" away(送痘疹娘娘). “Sending the Pox Goddess” means to thank the goddess for her protecting children's health.

This custom reflects the different attitudes of the concept of parenting in the Qufu area and the concept of child-rearing in Confucian culture. Therefore, we can try to explore the characteristics of the people's belief landscape in the core area of Confucian culture. Through the study of folk beliefs in Qufu area from the Anthropological perspective, we can deepen the understanding of the Chinese people’s spiritual world under the profound implications of Confucian culture.

Key words: folk custom; child-care measures; dropping-the-pimple-scar ritual; Pox Goddess