Eugene S. BAKSHEEV
THE MOGARI RITE THROUGH THE HISTORY OF JAPANESE CULTURE
The ATHOR is a Researcher in the Center of Japanese Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (103753 Russia, Moscow, Rozhdestvenka, 12, Institute of Oriental Studies; Tel. (095) 497-1900, 924-6692; Fax (095) 928-9780).
The following terms are known from Kojiki, Nihon shoki, Man'yoshu, Taihoryo, Nihon ryoiki: mogari, araki; hinren, agari; on-reading - hin (ancient - pin, same as Korean; Chinese - bin); also karimogari
The supposed etymology is as following. Mogari - from mo (mourning) + agari (ascend to heaven, \soul\ is flying away). Araki - \temporary\ mausoleum (tomb) of newly dead \whose spirit is not appeased yet\, comp.; aramitatama - "spirit unappeased", arabotoke - newly dead \before first obon\, arakuchi - first after someone's death shaman's interrogation with his spirit; ki\\jo:\shiro - castle, palace, iwaki - "rock\cave tomb", ishiki - stone tomb, okutsuki - deep tomb, imaki - new tomb.
Mogari is a Japanese variant of temporary burial (interment) or terminal exposure (laying out) of the dead which was widely spread all over the world since Neolithic age. This rite has universal character and can be found in many traditional cultures especially with highly developed funeral cult: Zoroastrians, ancient Egyptians and Jews (resurrection of Jesus), Tibetans (for example, bardo - equivalent to chu:in\chu:u ["intermediate shadow\state" of 7 weeks between death and the next life] in Japanese Buddhism). Mogari rite, especially in its archaic and popular forms, has much in common with the rites of temporary burial or exposure of the dead which were spread among the peoples of Asian-Pacific region from Far East Tungus to Australian aboriginal population. Mogari is very close to the similar rites of China, Korea, South East Asia and Oceania. The Mogari rite is of extreme importance to Japanese culture; it generated several basic myths and legends which molded artistic, ideological and political culture of Japan. Among them: of Heavenly Grotto, death of Izanami, mischiefs of Susano:, Ame-no wakahiko's funeral, death of Chuai.
I propose the following periodization of the history of Mogari rite: 1).Archaic (at least, since Middle Jomon): its characteristics - indigenous forms dominated and they were much the same at the whole region (Far East, Pacific, China, Korea). 2). Protoclassic (Yayoi - 1st half of Kofun period): importation of some continental forms of M. 3).Classic (VI-VII C.): adoption by Yamato court the Chinese model of M. 4).Postclasssic (VIII C. - Late Medieval): transformation of M. rite within the framework of Buddhist funeral ceremonies. 5).Modern: survivals of M. rite in local and marginal spheres.
The most archaic sources of Mogari can be traced to Middle Jomon. Since then till Late Jomon there was a rite of secondary burials in eathernware jars (jap. senkotsuso:, lit. "burial of the washed bones"). Its preliminary phase corresponding to ancient and early medieval Mogari supposed to be the laying out of a corpse outdoors (in the mountains, in the wood or in the cave) or burial in the ground for some time. Then the bones free from flesh were washed with water (in a river) and inhumated in funerary jars. From the point of ethnologic evidences the washing of bones can be interpreted as a washing of a spirit the dead which after cleaning from the pestilence of death may go to the abode of ancestors. This type of burial was widely spread in Pacific from South Korea to Ryukyu and Amami Islands, Taiwan, South China and SEA until recently. Survivals of the custom of reburial can still be seen scattered throughout Japan. The Mogari rite from the very beginning was connected with magic of revival. At the end of Jomon period dogu - pottery figurines - became hollow and transformed in a sort of figure-shaped ossuaries for secondary child burials. Their small size (up to 25 cm) proves that the bones which were put inside had been cleaned from flesh beforehand. In general, jar burials progressively extended to the burial of adults, the flesh being also removed from the bones before these were deposited in the jars.
Jomon period already showed a diversity of forms of prehistory protoMogari. Japanese archeologists discovered that the prototype of early medieval buildings for Mogari rite appeared already in Middle & Late Jomon in North-East Honshu as wooden pile buildings. They probably looked like historical razed pillared logged mortuary huts of Far East & Siberia. There was another type of protoMogari: in North Tohoku (Isedo site) open pits with sheds on pillars - inside & outside stone circles - were used repeatedly for preliminary burials. "Mogari" is often translated as "temporary burial (interment)". But specialists on necrology separate "burial (interment)" and "ritual exposure" of the dead body in a special building. In this case classical Mogari of VI-VII C. was not a burial, but ritual exposure and prototypes of Mogari as "ritual exposure" in various forms appeared already in Jomon culture.
In Late Jomon stone circles of Eastern Japan are considered to become a sort of megalithic burial grounds. Megaliths of India, Indochina, SEA and Oceania are directly related to secondary burials: dolmens and menhirs were erected when bones cleaned from flesh after temporary burial were finely buried inside cromlechs (stone fences). Japanese menhir-like stone pillars of Jomon are identified with iwakura ("stone seat" according to Kojiki, Nihonshoki, Engishiki) and seem to have functions similar to megalithic seats for souls of the dead in SEA & Oceania. Dolmens of Kyushyu (the end of Jomon - beginning of Late Yayoi) are derived from South Korea and both are supposed to have their prototypes in Indochina and SEA. All of them contained secondary burials. So we resume that at the end of Jomon - beginning of Yayoi period both in East and West Japan megalithic burial constructions with secondary burials were erected. This tradition lately developed in a "mogari-kofun" burial system of IV-VII C.
Traditions of protoMogari and secondary burials of Jomon continued in Yayoi period. Particularly in III-I C. B.C. secondary burials (saiso:bo) in tsubo-type urns were widely spread at East Honshu. Up to 14 urns of male members of so-called "age group" which was the basic unit of the society of East Japan were inhumed in one round pit. Tradition of dogu-ossuaries of Late Jomon was adopted in usage of funerary urns with representation of human faces for secondary burials through Yayoi period and even up to Kofun and Nara periods. These urns were used probably to recreate the image of the deceased in order to give him another life.
Grave goods of Yayoi period and the 1st half of Kofun period (like ceremonial swords, spears, bronze mirrors, magatama) bore magico-religious character and used as shaman's utensils for appeasement of the souls of the dead both in Mogari ceremonies and court chinkonsai-type rituals. Kujihonki (early Heian) informs about ten "treasures" - magical utensils for tamafuri ritual including a sword, mirrors, jewels giving life, perfect health and of resurrection of the dead. In a chinkon song the divine sword of tamafuri is referred to. There is a parallel between the tendency of development of Mogari forms from inhumation to exposure of the deceased in the shrine-like ceremonial building and the transition from burying ceremonial objects (dotaku, swords, spears) during Yayoi to the concealment of shintai (symbols of kami) in the isolated space of Shinto shrine.
Archaic and popular forms of Mogari rite
From ethnologic, folklore and written sources I classify a number of archaic and popular forms of Mogari or Mogari-related burials which appeared several thousands years ago and continued to exist till recently.
1). It was already mentioned senkotsuso:. Its preliminary phase is abandoning of a corpse outdoors in the open air (nosute\nozarasu); academically, ku:so: or fu:so:. Traditional Japanese attitude to death as to evil and pollution initially related to the dead body. This feeling is reflected in certain terms for "burial" (nageru - to throw away; suteru - to abandon) and "burial grave" (nagesho\suteba - a place where things are thrown away). From Nihon shoki sutebako are known (these open shallow wooden coffins one can see in Gaki Zoshi scrolls of 2nd half of XII C.) This rite is fixed in documents and as a motive is very popular in folklore and early literature. In Man'yoshu the dead are found in wasteland (arano), at a "rugged seashore" (ariso), on a "jugged bed of stones" (aradoko) (ara- has something in common with araki). A paradigmatical hero of Japanese history Yamato-takeru also dies in the moors. There are several variants of uta-monogatari about Prince Shotoku who met a dying beggar on the road and ordered his men to exercise Mogari rite for him. According to Nihon shoki, in 587 several hundred decomposed corpses in funeral clothing were lying on the plain of river of Yega (Osaka). Abandoning of a dead body as the most archaic type of burial in a history of mankind survived in Japan at least till Middle Ages mainly in various marginal forms: for outcasts, criminals, during wars and epidemics.
2). Early Japanese used to abandon outdoors not only the dead but the living (old and sick) also. As decree on funerals by Kotoku (Hakusorei, 646 A.D.) states dying peasants were lying along the roads; in XI C. gravely sick people were brought to the bed of Kamo-river. In XVII-VIII CC. dead and dying travelers were still frequently found on the roads, in the mountains, at shrines and temples (compare Basho's famous Nozarashi kiko - "Abandoned in the moors"). Abandoning both the dead and the living has a common psychological explanation: it was believed that a soul (tama) which supported human life and energy was leaving the body of a person, particularly at the end of a life circle (The same concept was underlying the seasonal rites of imperial court - chinkonsai etc - which aimed the strengthening imperial tama at the end of the year). So there's no sharp break between life and death, but a rather long transitional liminal period : the sick and the old are already belongs to the realm of death, but biologically dead person is regarded alive for some time. Hence, a widely spread motif of Obasuteyama ("Mountain where an old woman was abandoned") in Japanese culture.
3). When abandoned corpse was covered with rice straw in a form of a hut there appeared the so-called "so:fun" or "grass grave\mound" (Probably, "kusamakura" from Man'yoshu is also related to such burials). This type of burial encircles the zone of East Chinese Sea: South Korea, Japan, Ryukyu, China. In modern South Korea these temporary burials usually last for 3 years and are followed by washing of the bones and their final inhumation. So:fun corresponds to Russian zalozhnye (the dead who are not buried - because of their unusual death - but covered with tree branches).
4). Burials on the trees were usual for North East Asia (especially Korea, Far East, Siberia, Ainu) until recently. As for Japan, Kojiki contains a story about the infanticide of god Ko-no mata-no kami wedged in the fork of a tree (the same story happened to monk Gyogi, as O:jo gokurakki puts it). I'm convinced that tree burials generated in Japanese culture a mythologeme of entering the world of the dead through forked crown. Only in this way we can understand a cryptic passage from Kojiki that god O:namuji slipped through the fork of a tree and entered the netherland of Ne-no katasu kuni.
5). According to archeological data since prehistory till middle ages in different regions of Japan natural caves were used as tombs for temporary & permanent burials. According to ethnologists even at XIX C. at Ryukyu and Amami islands the body was left in the cave for several years; the relatives of the deceased visited it from time to time; on their way home the male kin were prohibited to look back. One can clearly see a model of Izanami-Izanaki episode and of concealment of Amaterasu. Thus the foundation of the mythologeme as a voluntary concealment was laid in Japanese culture; it is well known from texts of VIII C.: iwagakuri, kakure-miya. Lately (in Kofun period) it was probably contaminated with the practice of multiple burials in yokoana-shiki genshitsu-type tombs.
At the beginning o VI C. on the basis of autochtonoic archaic forms of Mogari but in accordance with Chinese model of temporary enshrinement imported through Korean kingdom of Paekche a classical form of Mogari (imperial and aristocratic funeral ceremony of Yamato court of VI-VII C.) was created. The classical Mogari of this period included such elements as: 1).magical healing rites on death-bed; 2).temporary (up to several years: maximum - Bidatsu 5 years 8 months) laying out of the corpse in a special ceremonial building; 3). Concealment of the next of kin (widow in the first place) inside the building with the body; 4). A number of various rituals in-\outside the building. Mogari was completed when a corpse was permanently buried in a stone chamber under a mound.
As the imperial court rituals (particularly, Daijosai, a ceremony of accession of a new sovereign) were being molded, the significance of Mogari was increasing and in VI-VII C. it became the main element of imperial funeral ceremony. In VII C. Yamato court actively used funeral rituals, including Mogari rite for the social and political purposes and regulated it strictly. Decree on funerals of 646 prohibited M. for all categories of population with the exception of imperial family. In spite of it the nobility exercised classical Mogari rite and among the common people numerous archaic and popular forms of this rite continued to flourish. Mogari rite of Kofun-Yamato developed the social stratification of Yayoi Mogari contrary to Jomon period when it was conducted for all male members of the tribe.
I'd like to draw attention to the problem of mourning ceremonies in relation to Mogari rite I intend to think that initially mourning ceremonies were non than the rites of temporary burial\exposure (for the cinified Far East countries at least since III C. A.D. the standard duration of both for the nobility was 3 years). Gradually the period of Mogari was shrinking and the mourning ceremonies moved to post-burial period.
Mogari after VII A.D.
Positions of Mogari was seriously undermined by adoption of Buddhist funeral ceremonies, but its traditions were so strong that it continued to exist for many centuries in transformed and degenerated forms. The fusion of the local and imported funeral ceremonies can be clearly seen at the funeral of Jito who after her death was enshrined for 1 year and then cremated in 703. According to setsuwa literature (Nihon ryoiki) in Nara-Heian period the rite of Mogari was interpreted with various explanations all far from reality. Ritual seclusion of relatives with the corpse in ceremonial building characteristic for Japan up to VIII C. in Heian society transformed in their mourning seclusion after cremation in a special hut or in the house of the deceased. Even in Man'yoshu age transformed moya (funeral huts) - called suya or haiya when the body was burned - were already built at the place of final burial. And nowadays a small shrine-like wooden construction called anrakudo is built on the grave; like with haniwa - models of moya - a figurine of bird is fixed on the roof of anrakudo. The so-called double-grave system (ryo:bosei) with ume-baka (burial grave; also sute-baka) and mairi-baka - memorial tomb (matsuri-baka - ritual grave) which survived until recently in many mountain regions developed from Mogari-type burials. The modern imperial funeral ceremony restored at the end of XIX C. according to ancient model contains rites of Mogari: it consists of hinkyu-no gi (ceremonies in the building for Mogari) and renso-no gi (mourning and burial; REN from hinren). Some elements common to Mogari rite (kuchiyose - dialog with the dead) still preserved in Japanese Shamanism.
Some characteristic features of Mogari
Mogari was the source of formation of both Shinto and Japanese Shamanism. Rites of Mogari - Shinto and shamanistic rites of magic healing - in case of a grave illness actually were beginning long before biological death and aimed at returning back to the body the escaped soul. These rituals were almost identical with similar post-mortem rituals like tama-shizume (pacifying the soul), tama-furi (shaking\waving), tama-musubi (binding). They had much in common with Chinese (chao hun) and Korean (kut) shamanistic rituals.
Ceremonial buildings for Mogari reflected the common idea that a grave is a home of a deceased (comp., Russian, Ukranian: dom\domovina for coffin). These were called moya (mortuary hut, mourning house) or mogari-\araki-no miya, or hinkyu (temporary mausoleum, palace for temporary interment\enshrinement). They looked much alike Shinto shrines and palaces of nobility with some specific features (a high fence round it, a dais or a coach inside). Several haniwa-houses found by Japanese archeologists are interpreted as hinkyu. At Yoshinogari site (Kyushu) remains of Yayoi moya (I C. A.D.) were excavated.
While scrutinazing the rites of passage in Japanese culture one can see that when a person is changing his social status during the liminal period between two stages of life cycle he is separated from the others in a special ceremonial building: at childbirth in ubuya, at death in moya\hinkyu.
In incantation formulas of Man'yoshu on a raising of a building where terms "mogari\araki" were tabooed hinkyu is called as TOKOMIYA, TOKOTSU MIKADO and AMATSU MIYA\MIKADO, KAMUMIYA (because the sovereign was supposed to go after death to heaven like a god). In Nihon shoki etc hinkyu is also named KAKURE-MIYA - "a palace of darkness\ shrine of concealment"; this character is read not only "kakure" but also "yu:-su" - "to isolate"; compare modern terms: yu:rei, yu:kon, yu:kai; important category yu:gen. Examples: Izanaki (yu:gu/kakuremiya), O:namuchi (kakuretaru koto), Amaterasu (komoru).
Mogari was also an important locus of encounter of Shinto and Buddhism. In VII C. Buddhist funeral ceremonies has already become an integral part of Mogari rite - rituals. During the Mogari period the Buddhist rituals were treated and assimilated as magical practices what was the characteristic feature of early Japanese Buddhism. Survivals of classic Mogari rite continued to exist in the frame of Buddhist funeral ceremony at least until to the end of XII C. We can reconstruct this ceremony of Heian period: first 2-3 days the body was left untouched on the death-bed as it is; then it was taken to a tamadono - a special room in the estate where rituals of REN phase were executed. Then it was transported to the place of cremation in the mountains and laid out for about a week (Mogari phase) in a Buddhist temple or in a wooden board hut near it. In Gonki by Fujiwara Yukinari (XI C.) and Chuyuki by Fujiwara Munetada (XII C.) etc. hinkyu is called mogari-no tono\hinden and mibone-no tokoro\onkotsusho; for sovereign in XII C. it was iro (lodge) and for his consort tsichidono (mud-hut).
The rite of Mogari in Japanese texts (Nihon shoki, Taihoryo) is also written as "hinren" (read as "mogari\agari"). This term is from binlian - a Chinese compound funeral ceremony consisted of two phases lian and bin ("Li Chi"). Lian (usually 3 days) - preparation and dressing of the body at the special hall at the house of the deceased. Bin (= jap. Mogari) started with putting the body in the coffin at the ancestors shrine. Since then it was not allowed to look at the dead. It gives the clue to the question of restriction to look at the corpse in Japanese tradition (Izanami and Izanaki: until the encoffing the body a person was considered to be "alive yet" and was allowed to look on, but since then he was "dead already" and it was prohibited to do that). Chinese miao (ancestors shrine) partly had the same functions as Japanese hinkyu and the double structure of the ritual (hin//ren; chin. bin//lian) can be detected in Japanese imperial funeral ceremony both ancient (Chuai) and modern.
A very important role in Mogari-rituals was played by women. There is a characteristic episode from Nihon shoki with the pretender to the throne prince Anahobe (586 A.D.) who forced his way to hinkyu of Bidatsu in order to ravish his widow. The widow and the consorts of deceased sovereigns supposedly contained imperial harisma (tama) in their bodies. If a claimant upon the imperial position adopt it his chances would increase.
Asobi-be. In- & outside the hinkyu (esp. of a dead sovereign) mogari-no matsuri (funeral festival) took place; its purpose was to call back the soul and bring the dead back to life, to pacify his potentially dangerous spirit in order to pass it to the successor or to send it off to nether world; thus the deification of the dead began. It included mogari-no asobi (funeral "play\game") with various dancing and singing. Beside relatives and officials there were two groups of funeral ritualists called Haji-be and Asobi-be. Haji-be were constructing hinkyu, tombs, making haniwa. Asobi-be danced chinkon\tamafuri-no mai (dances to appease the souls of the dead) and sang shokonka\chinkonka (songs to call back and pacify the souls). Asobi-be represented the occupational group of traditional Japanese shamans who were involved not only in funeral rituals, but also in the seasonal erotic festivities kagai\utagaki, other festivals and ceremonies (including Daijosai). Ecstatic dances of Asobi-be (from Hijiki-wake clan) lately developed in nembutsu-odori performed in Buddhist sect Ji-shu: (or Yugyo-ha - School of Wanderers, "yu\asobi"); thus sect Ji-shu: derived from exorcist rituals of asobi-be. Particularly, among its followers were Nogaku actors.
Mogari and Haniwa
The problem of emergence and purpose of keisho: (figurative) Haniwa has been a puzzle for many researchers, but till recently it didn't receive an adequate explanation. Only the theory by Dr. Wakayama Taro et al. that distribution of figurative Haniwa on the top of a mound is modeling the Mogari-ceremony seems to be supported by archeological data. Anthropomorphic figurines can be divided on 4 groups: ritual, guarding, musical and dancing. In ritual group the most common are female shamans miko who are presenting to the soul of the deceased bowls with ceremonial food and drink. A past chief or king is not represented; his successor with the crown is sitting on a ceremonial chair. The guards are numerous impressive figurines of warriors clenching their swords. Musical group includes musicians playing koto, flutes, drums and female mourner singers. Haniwa-models of stages which look much the same as modern shrine maidono or Nogaku stages were installed on the mounds in front of hinkyu-haniwa. Pairs of figurines represent dancing and singing male and female actors.
Ritual Texts of Mogari
I classify Mogari- ritual texts on 2 types common to any traditional culture with developed funeral cult (Russian, Finnish): 1). Nonverbal: weeping, wailing, shouts, screams - NAKI\ISACHIRU\, ORABU, MINESU. 2). Verbal: laments, dirges, funeral songs, funeral orations\eulogies - KANASHIMU\-BU, SHINOBU.
A very rich Chinese tradition of funeral texts influenced Japan greatly. According to Nihon Shoki, two classes of texts were performed during the period of Mogari rite: MINE and SHINOBIKOTO. MINE had emotional, very archaic and universal character. Even Princes Imperial delivered it personally. But common people, foreign emissaries and Buddhist monks participated also. MINE is often written with character "ai\aware" (pathos); it hints at the genesis of famous aesthetic category mono-no aware. In China by VI C. A.D. this character came to designate a literature genre AI - "lament for the dead", especially for the young one.
SHINOBIKOTO, or RUI (funeral eulogies\orations), LEI in China (same) where their function were to summarize the deeds of the deceased of a high position. SHINOBIKOTO were performed in absolutely different manner from MINE. Orators one by one were stepping forward and delivering eulogies on the behalf of bureaucratic group or department. SHINOBIKOTO originated from laments but lately began to include genealogies of the speakers and became an oath of fidelity to a new ruler. In the final SHINOBIKOTO ancestors of the deceased sovereign were enumerated; it was called HITSUGI - "succession of a Sun", initially succession of imperial charisma which was passed to the successor in an unbroken line of sovereigns from Amaterasu. Thus delivering of SHINOBIKOTO was playing the crucial role at the accession of a new ruler. These genealogical stories lately were told by officials and then by professional orators. Gradually they were written down and there appeared imperial genealogical lists which probably became the prototype of first official chronicles ("imperial records"). This idea can be supported by similar processes in Chinese culture. The latest hypothesis by Ueda Makoto argues that Kojiki itself was created as official canon for composition of politically correct - from the point of view of Yamato dynasty - SHINOBIKOTO eulogies.
I tried to stress that in the rite of Mogari the principal elements of funeral ceremony common to all cultures were expressed in a very concentrated and even hypertrophied form. That's why this rite can be interpreted as a model funeral rite and a pattern of the rites of passage; Japanese word "Mogari" is the best candidature for the generic term of the worldwide rites of temporary burial or terminal exposure of the dead; the study of it is very promising for the better understanding of the theoretical aspects of ritual proper.