Ramayan in Japan

Discussion in 'Ramayana' started by garry420, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    The most popular award winning animated cartoon on Ramayan was made by Japanese producer and director Yugo Sako. Many Japanese are now reading Ramayan.

    Japan has stories that are closer in plot to the epic Ramayan itself although the battles are greatly reduced in number or even eliminated in some cases. These shortened summaries from the 3rd century CE of Ramayana are known as Jataka tales, stories of the former lives of Buddha that usually are embedded in such religious texts as Six Parimitra Sutra. Abridged Japanese variations were written during the 10th century as Sambo Ekotoba and 12th century as Hobutsushu (Jewel Collection). Bugaku and Gagaku are two dance styles (8 to 12 century AD) based on Indian classical dances used for displaying Japanese Ramayan.

    A scholar Bharadwaj from Kanchipuram reached Japan in 736 AD. He enriched Japan by bringing Sanskrit, Dharma, Philosophy and Bharatiya dance into their culture. He gave the Devanagari script to Japanese language and installed Hindu idols in the temples. Images of Ganesha and Vishnu have been found throughout Japan. Some Hindu gods have been incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon. For example, Indra, the god of thunder and also the king of gods, is popular in Japan as Taishaku (literally the great King Sakra); Ganesha is worshipped as Sho-ten or Shoden (holy god) in many Buddhist temples and is believed to confer happiness upon his devotees. A sea-serpent worshipped by sailors is called Ryujin, a Chinese equivalent of the Indian naga. Bishamon is a Japanese equivalent of the Indian Vaisravana (Kubera), the god of wealth.

    Even Shinto adopted Indian gods, despite its desperate efforts after the Meiji Revolution to disengage itself from Buddhism. The Indian sea god Varuna, is worshipped in Tokyo as Sui-ten (water-god); the Indian goddess of learning, Saraswati, has become Benten (literally, goddess of speech) with many shrines dedicated to her along sea coasts and beside lakes and ponds. Shiva is well known to the Japanese as Daikoku (literally, god of darkness), which is a Chinese and Japanese equivalent of the Indian Mahakala, another name of Shiva. Daikoku is a popular god in Japan. The divine architect mentioned in the Rig Veda, Vishvakarma, who designed and constructed the world, was regarded in ancient Japan as the god of carpenters, Bishukatsuma. The Indian Yama, the god of death, is the most dreaded god of Japan, under the name of Emma-o, the king of hell.

    The Indian form of myth of the Churning of the Milky Ocean reached Japan. In a Japanese illustration of it the mountain rests on a tortoise, and the supreme god sits on the summit grasping in one of his hands a water vase. The Japanese Shinto myth of creation, as related in the Ko-ji-ki and Nihon-gi, is likewise a churning myth. Twin deities, Izanagi, the god, and Izanami, the goddess, stand on "the floating bridge of heaven" and thrust into the ocean beneath the "Jewel Spear of Heaven". With this pestle they churn the primeval waters until they curdle and form land."

    (source: Myths of Pre-Columbian America - By Donald A. Mackenzie ASIN 185958490X p.190-191).
    In Japan, India is addressed as Tenziku which means Heaven.

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