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Japanese mythology and its relationship to the human condition

skrypt

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As mentioned in the subject line, I'm interested in the relationship between the human experience/condition and traditional Japanese art and mythology. Specifically, I'm curious if you could point me to certain myths or tales that deal direct in the human experience. Secondly, I'm curious what symbols (dieties, animals, etc) the Japanese may have used to describe such a relationship in their art/myth/folklore.

When I say human condition, I mean something along the lines of this Joseph Campbell quote, "All the Gods, all the heavens, all the hells are within you". Additionally, anything pertaining to the following would be appealing to me; (a) metaphysics – concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being. Fundamental notions by which people understand the world. b) Metaphysical cosmology – deals with the world as the totality of all phenomena in space and time. (1) Space & time (2) Determinism & free will (3) Necessity & possibility (4) Law & chaos

I suppose I'm most concerned with myths that address the relating dualities between determinism & free will or law (order) & chaos.

Referencing the Joseph Campbell quote, I believe the quote is actually an argument against transcendence -- meaning we are our own gods. Along the lines of Nietzsche's, "God is dead...". I believe the idea behind both these ideas demonstrates the struggle between individuals looking to the cosmos for answers, but also realizing that destiny is our to mold.

Or, perhaps, myths in which the protagonist demonstrates the usage of free will, while at the say time noticing there may be other forces (supernatural, or natural) also at play. Realizing that life gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else.

My hope is to identify myths/folklore that may center around these ideas. Ideally, I would like to identify characters, deities, animals, or natural elements (flowers, wind, water) that may symbolize these ideas. In most simple terms, I would like to find stories that balance and capture beauty and death.

I have been exploring Kami, Yokai, Shinto, and traditional myths; I think all, especially Shinto, deal with the duality that I am seeking, however I haven't found the motif or symbols I am searching for.

I realize this is vastly understated and contradictory at points. But that, to me, is the fun it it. I definitely appreciate any help and guidance.
 

Majestic

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Have you read either the Kojiki or Nihon Shoki? These two works contain Japan's earliest creation myths. I don't know if you will find exactly what you are looking for. Sources after that become heavily influenced by Buddhism, although that is also a rich ground for digging into.
 

skrypt

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Majestic -- Thank you for the reply; I truly appreciate the help.

My research has brought me to Kami and the creation myths, though I haven't explicitly read either the Kojiki or Nihon Shoki. I am drawn to the Kami because of the the duality they exhibit (bringing good luck and happiness to man but at the same time could bring misfortune or an evil as well). I also have been reading Shinto due to the beauty in the transition of nature; I very much appreciate that idea. I think I am going to find the closet answer in these old myths, but I'm still trying to find particular symbols/motifs that showcase these ideas. I would love any additional information or advice. Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
 

Lawrence1

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The only thing I can add is the mythology that a person's blood type determines to some extent, the character of the person.
 
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