Ascetic Ressentiment: Historical Consciousness and Mountain Politics in Northeastern Japan
[Recorded 18th November 2020] In this talk, I will discuss competing streams of historical consciousness in Mount Haguro, a sacred mountain in northeastern Japan known for its mountain ascetic traditions. Applying the notion of ressentiment (historical alienation) to the longue dureé of religious history in Mount Haguro, I demonstrate how contemporary conflicts in the mountain ascetic community are rooted not only in a historic rift between Shintō and Buddhism in the early Meiji period, but in a greater dynamic at play in Japanese religious history between nativism and cosmopolitanism. Shayne A. P. Dahl received his PhD in Sociolinguistic Anthropology at the University of Toronto in 2019. His doctoral research considered recent innovations of Shugendo (mountain asceticism) in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. In 2017, he produced an ethnographic film, The Buddha Mummies of North Japan, which explored the modern worship and significance of mummified monks in a sacred mountain range called Dewa Sanzan. He has published about post-disaster pilgrimage Dewa Sanzan and is currently writing book manuscript based on his doctoral fieldwork that will explore themes of religion, historical consciousness, and ecology in a post-disaster context.