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Ambiguous BodiesReading the Grotesque in Japanese Setsuwa Tales$
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Michelle Osterfeld Li

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759755

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759755.001.0001

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Who Eats Whom? Flesh-Eating Demons and Political Power Struggles

Who Eats Whom? Flesh-Eating Demons and Political Power Struggles

(p.116) Chapter 4 Who Eats Whom? Flesh-Eating Demons and Political Power Struggles
Ambiguous Bodies
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the meaning of flesh-eating demons in setsuwa tales. It suggests that tales depicting gender-less demons or those incarnated as men both affirm and undermine powerful men and represent struggles for political power. The chapter highlights the importance of the role of oni in setsuwa, and explains that relationships of oni and aristocrats show that the monsters embraced by a society can help illuminate the perceptions, internal struggles, fears, and aspirations of its members.

Keywords:   flesh-eating demons, setsuwa, powerful men, political power, oni, aristocrats

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