Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The Itako ('blind' female medium) : a vanishing tradition : how are these mediums adapting to modern Japan?
Author: Vecchi, Ilaria
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 1827
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2020
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 01 Dec 2025
Access from Institution:
This research analyses the adaptation process of the last members of one of the many traditions popular in the northeast of Japan, the blind female medium called Itako. To better understand the adaptation process of these professional mediums dedicated to counselling and spirit summoning, and how this work is adapting to social changes, I have taken into consideration some aspects and terms used to describe and categorise this figure such as religion, tradition, and the Orient/orientalism. With the utilisation of the critical religion approach, I look at the discourse and the narrative employed by scholars to frame this subject by reflecting on the ideological use of the aforementioned concepts. As this research is practice-based, the critical religion method is transposed to visual ethnography. Therefore, the critical religion approach is combined with visual ethnographic methods (participant observation, filmed interview, photo-elicitation, etc.) to recalibrate the traditional portrait associated with these women. In particular, through the use of visual approaches, that resulted in the production of visual material, it is possible to show the mundane aspects of these professionals of the communication, de-exoticizing the imagery by putting back the mundane in the tradition. In this regard, the visual becomes an integral part of the critical religion approach and it completes the theoretical analysis while achieving what otherwise would have been challenging to put solely in words. This approach to the research visually supports the written research and potentially enhance the critical study of similar phenomena.
Supervisor: Owen, Suzanne ; Roberts, Graham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available