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Bathing in Japan by Scott Clark (1994) - Second response Paper (example purposes only)

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Mark Rowe

Sidra Farooq 1228086 Religious Studies 2TT3 TA: Meagan Walsh Bathing in Japan Bathing in Japan by Scott Clark gives a new perspective about what bathing signifies and means in the Japanese culture over generations and in different periods and areas of Japan. Japanese people use bathing as a social event with workmates and friends or they could also be bathing alone (Clark 4). Places such as public bathing, Bathhouses and Sento, were used due to having no bath or washing area in the homes of the citizens. When bathrooms were finally made into people homes’; the toilet, dressing room and bathing area were in separate rooms with the bathing area sometimes accompanied by a drain embedded on the floor by the bathtub (Clark 1). The drain embedded on the floor outside the tub was due to the Japanese way of washing lightly outside the tub before entering inside (1) so the water remains both clean and fresh (Tullo 1). It was indicated in The History of the Kingdom of Wei, that in the Kofun or Tumulus Period, 297 A.D., ritual bathing were at least being done by that time (Clark 19). During the Kofun period, the ritual bathing that were being done were after attending funerals and a means of purification from death and encountering the pollution associated with it (19). Purification after coming into contact with the dead stem from Shinto beliefs and connects back with the story of Izanagi purifying himself (particularly his eyes and nose) after coming into contact with his dead wife, Izanami. In Shintoism it is also seen as a contamination which needs to be evaded in order to obtain positive purity (Bukisa 2). Another impurity was that during menstruation, women were not allowed to take baths during it (Clark 20). Just as death is seen, it was another foremost cause of Sidra Farooq 1228086 Religious Studies 2TT3 TA: Meagan Walsh contamination (Bukisa 4). This stems from Shinto beliefs as a women menstruating was considered as a form of impurity and was also not allowed to visit Shinto deities (4). Avoiding a scared place during menstruation came from fear of contaminating or insulting the Shinto deities by impure company and bathing even at home was not allowed for also contaminating other family members (4). The fac
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