The liminal journey of Takamure Itsue:
An account of a young woman's pilgrimage

Susan Tennant*


The Latin word limin designates the threshold of a doorway and liminality refers to a threshold period, a period of transition and transformation, of ambiguity and marginality, a betwixt and between, no-longer but not-yet space and/or time. The participant/passenger has separated from the mundane structures of daily life but will reenter that familiar life of rights and obligations after the transforming period of liminality.  A religious pilgrimage is regarded as a liminal experience.[1]

In the summer and fall of 1918, a young Japanese woman named Takamure Itsue[2] made a long Buddhist pilgrimage of almost five months and, en route, wrote one hundred and five newspaper articles, which were published in the Kumamoto Nichi Nichi Shinbun. For many years, these articles were unavailable, but in 1979 they were reprinted in book form with the title of An account of a young woman's pilgrimage.[3] These personal records offer a fascinating glimpse into the experiences of Japanese pilgrims.

It is illuminating to regard Takamure's pilgrimage through the lens of Victor Turner's concepts of liminality and communitas.. Clearly, she passed through the three phases that define the liminal experience, separation, limen or margin, and reintegration.  Dressed in simple robes and carrying her few possessions with her, she left her home, encountered a guide, and plunged into an unfamiliar realm. The liminal period was a dark one for her, a time of danger, isolation, and suffering. Many of her fellow pilgrims were marginal members of society and her own status became ambiguous: some regarded her with reverence and others, with suspicion. Although a sense of camaraderie, of spontaneous communitas, sprang up among many of the pilgrims, she often felt isolated from them. Despite that, the pilgrimage was an intense spiritual experience for her, which remained significant for the rest of her life.

The Shikoku Pilgrimage[4]

              Each year over one hundred thousand pilgrims of every Buddhist denomination visit the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan, in order to follow in the footsteps of a great Buddhist saint, Kb Daishi (774-835).[5] Born in Shikoku and sent at an early age to Nara to study to be a court official, he was told by a monk he met there that if he chanted the mantra of Kokuz Bosatsu[6] one million times, his memory would so improve that he would be able to memorize all the sutras.  Hoping to achieve this, he returned to Shikoku and engaged in ascetic practice in the mountains and by the sea, places where practitioners of Shugend, Japanese mountain religion, also practiced. When he was nineteen, he attained enlightenment at Muroto Cape in southern Shikoku.

              In 804 he traveled to China to study Esoteric Buddhism and, while there, was appointed the eighth patriarch of Esoteric Buddhism. Upon his return to Japan, he founded Shingon Buddhism, and became an important religious leader. He was also one of the great Japanese calligraphers, an artist, engineer, and educator, a philosopher, poet, writer, and an influential figure in the Japanese court. He was a multi-talented genius and, for that reason, is sometimes called the Japanese Leonardo da Vinci.

              After predicting the date of his own death, he entered into a state of deep meditation on Mount Kya.[7]  His followers even now are sure that he did not die and that he will, in future, return from this state of eternal meditation. Pilgrims to Shikoku believe that he is travelling with them and for that reason, written on the sedge hats, staffs, and bags of the pilgrims are the words, "Two people travelling together."  Pilgrims believe that any pilgrim they meet may be the saint himself.

The Shikoku pilgrimage, unlike other pilgrimages, is a circular one.  Along the route there are eighty-eight temples which pilgrims visit.  Although all of the temples have some connection with Kb Daishi, it is interesting that the place of his birth is near the seventy-fifth temple, not the first, and that the twenty-fourth temple, not the eighty-eighth, commemorates the place of his enlightenment.

Pilgrims may begin the pilgrimage at any point but it has been traditional to begin at either the first or the forty-third temple as these are the temples closest to the ferry ports where pilgrims from Honsh or Kysh arrived in the past. Although pilgrims today travel comfortably by car or chartered bus, or even by helicopter, in the past pilgrims walked the 1400 kilometer pilgrimage route, which roughly traces the circumference of the island.

Although the characters for the word Shi-koku denote "four countries" and refer to the four prefectures on the island, the pronunciation of the first syllable of the word, "shi", is the same as the pronunciation of the word "death".  Because of this, the pilgrimage to Shikoku has always resonated with a deeper meaning. In addition, pilgrims wear white robes, white being the color of death in Japan, which they set aside upon their return to everyday life so that they may be dressed in them after their death.

Separation phase

              Takamure Itsue was born in 1894 in Kumamoto Prefecture, Kysh,[8] on a feast day of Kannon Bosatsu.[9]  She was brought up believing she had been born as the result of her parent's fervent prayers to that deity and that she was a child under the special protection of Kannon.  The three boys born before her had died and when her mother was imploring the deity to grant her a daughter, she had promised Kannon that if the daughter was healthy and grew up, she would send her on a pilgrimage. However, that does not seem to have been the primary reason for Takamure's pilgrimage, even though she originally intended to visit the thirty three temples in western Japan dedicated to Kannon Bosatsu which form the Saigoku pilgrimage.

              At the time of her pilgrimage, Takamure was confused and unsure of her future course. She was in love with a man, Hashimoto Kenz, with whom whe wanted to have an eternal and spiritual union, but Hashimoto had told her that eternal love was impossible; only momentary love existed. To add to her distress, another man had fallen in love with her and was sending her letters written in his own blood three times a day. Furthermore, she had left her position as a teacher's assistant in her father's school but had failed to get the job she sought with the Kumamoto newspaper. Troubled and desperate, she decided on the spur of the moment to make the pilgrimage to the eighty-eight temples of Shikoku.

              First, however, it was necessary for her to walk across the island of Kysh, from Kumamoto City to ita City, where she could catch a ferry to Shikoku.  Although not yet on Shikoku, she dressed in pilgrim's robes and thus received help from people whom she met en route because of her status as a pilgrim.

She left Kumamoto City on June 4th with only the ten yen which the City Editor of the Kumamoto newspaper had given her in exchange for future articles about her pilgrimage experiences.  Knowing that this money would soon be gone, she planned to beg when she reached Shikoku. There is a long history of such ascetic practice on the island and Shikoku residents were known for their generosity in giving food, money, small necessities, and even shelter to pilgrims.  In fact, this custom of osettai still remains although shelter is rarely given now.

              While she was travelling across Kysh, an old man of seventy-three, It Miyaji, invited her to spend a night at his house.  During the night he dreamt of Kannon Bosatsu and in the morning woke her to ask if she had a relationship with the deity.  Takamure had to admit that she did and, as a result, the old man insisted that he would accompany her to protect her on her pilgrimage.  In this way, Takamure gained a guide, a man of deep faith and a person who had made the pilgrimage before.

The Liminal Period

              After spending a month at the old man's house while he prepared for the journey, they finally reached Shikoku on July 14th.  Because the route is more difficult done in a counter-clockwise direction and spiritual merit is increased, the old man insisted upon walking in that direction. However, this meant that they reached the southern part of the island in the typhoon season, when there is great heat and humidity, heavy rain and floods.  As a result, instead of taking two months to complete the journey, they required over three months, not leaving Shikoku until October 24th.  Those three months tested her physically and emotionally.

The trip was a dangerous one, as was attested to by the pilgrim graves she saw beside the path and the news of pilgrims dying. "Since we are human beings, since we are living creatures, we don't know where we will die.  It is possible that even I who am writing this will pass away on the pilgrimage. They say that the other day forty pilgrims died at a Shimanto River ferry crossing…. This Shimanto River happens to be on the road I will travel now." (Episode 45) 

              There was also the danger of arrest and expulsion from a prefecture, because begging was forbidden by the authorities.  Once, the police roughly questioned Takamure and the old man about this, as though they were criminals, and that same day a woman staying at their pilgrim inn was taken to jail because she had been begging. (Episode 95) 

              The trip also involved considerable discomfort. Takamure and It were sometimes forced to sleep outdoors, either because they had been refused accommodation because they were pilgrims or because there was no accommodation nearby when night fell.  One morning she awoke to find bugs crawling over her and another time to find the sea lapping at her. Even when they did find a home or inn in which to stay, the accommodation was not always clean: once there was dirty bath water and another time bedding with lice; once they slept in a room attached to a stable with a strong stench. In addition, because Shikoku is very mountainous, going up and down the mountain trails was exhausting for Takamure, despite the fact that the old man insisted upon carrying all her luggage.

"Every day when we arrived at our lodgings, I always took up my pen but was oppressed by such intense, tempestuous emotions that I was immobilized.  While I was thus suffering, fatigue and exhaustion wrapped around my body like the clouds of evening and I usually collapsed limply like a seriously ill patient. Every day we invariably walked about thirty kilometers…." (Episode 81)

Before the pilgrimage, Takamure had led a sheltered life. She was the beloved daughter of an elementary school principal who valued education so highly that he taught his wife and daughter the Chinese classics at home. She was a gifted student who, by the age, of twelve, was able to substitute for her father in teaching Chinese classics to adults in the community.  She was also a very sensitive child who wrote poems and stories, worried about death, and thought of becoming a Buddhist nun. On the pilgrimage she lost her previous identities, becoming, instead, both an object of suspicion and an object of veneration.

              A Shikoku pilgrim is known as "o-henro-san", a name with both an honorific prefix and an honorific suffix. Thus, the name denotes great respect for a person engaged in the spiritual practice of the pilgrimage.  At the time of Takamure's pilgrimage there were also pilgrims known to Shikoku residents as 'hendo'.  These were people whom society considered undesirable, people fleeing from the law, lovers involved in illicit relations, people with mental afflictions, those with leprosy or venereal diseases, poor people who took advantage of the generosity of the Shikoku residents, or people who had failed in some way or other. Takamure encountered many such pilgrims.

              Some were women.  There was, for example, a nun whose "entire face revealed her ignorance", who was married to a man of fifty with a dirty beard.  When the nun talked with Takamure, she explained "I became a nun, but because I was deceived by that man, I've had a hard time.  If you are handicapped, don't ever get married." (Episode 42) A syphilitic thirteen year old girl with bulging scabs in the roots of her frizzled red hair was walking with her father, who seemed imbecilic and answered only "Yes, yes" when he was asked anything. This young girl had no mother and knew nothing of her past. (Episode 43) A woman with Hansen's disease, half her face rotted away, prayed for forgiveness. "…I beg you to have compassion on my wretched soul.  For certain reasons I thought I ought to disobey my parents, and because of my frivolity I did not show filial respect to my parents. I can never make up for that." (Episode 78)

              At one pilgrim inn, one woman in her early forties suddenly got up at around midnight and rushed outside.  When Takamure followed her out, she found the woman praying fervently in the moonlight and then walking. pale-faced, in a clump of trees.  Takamure, worrying about her own sanity, wrote, "That figure will never ever leave my heart.  When I walk around in the light of the moon like this, I even have the feeling that I myself have become like that woman." (Episode 93)

              There were also men who were "undesirable" pilgrims. When she was staying at the old man's house on Kysh, Takamure encountered an ignorant man who attempted to seduce her into traveling with him by offering her a "gilded" watch with "diamonds". (Episode 19). Takamure commented, "They say that in Shikoku there are many whom local people call dissolute pilgrims.  When they see a young woman travelling alone, I hear that they skillfully cajole her with sweet talk so that she falls into their trap." (Episode 20)

              On Shikoku she was frightened when a man with a disreputable face, dirty teeth, and vile laugh came into her room, and "(t)alking of various things and chuckling loudly, he came close to me.  I thought perhaps he was out his senses.  As he approached, his face immediately began to sweat, and his eyes became red with tears or pus running down (I don't know which), and he showed his quivering lips, hands and feet while he approached me…. He was a beast that was both rude and discourteous beyond words. He was a vile man." (Episode 64)

              She met an emaciated pilgrim who came from a good family and had originally been a successful merchant, but had failed in business and spoke of committing suicide. He had severed all connections with his family, friends, and hometown and refused to reveal his name. (Episode 60) There was a man with Hansen's disease who came begging at a place where she was staying.  "His face, feet and hands were all swollen and purple. People snickered. What a tragic sight he was!  I could not help turning my face away.  A disease like his must be what is called an incurable affliction and a disease of damnation. (Episode 75)

              Kb Daishi and the temple gods were not the only possible sources of cures for pilgrims. One charlatan, who claimed to be descended from a famous feudal lord, examined pilgrims and dispensed medicine.  "It was apparent that it bore little or no resemblance to a normal examination.  With his fingertips, he pressed several places on the head and made detailed notes about them in his notebook.  And then, finally, came the medicine but, it seemed to have been concocted in advance and, without any ado, he wrapped one packet of powdered medicine in two layers of paper and said, 'Be very careful with this. I am giving you this medicine which I brought back from America in an extremely small amount and you can't expect to find it anywhere in Japan. So you must take very good care of it.  Moreover, this is the early stage of the disease called brain congestion and as for brain congestion, there are three kinds, this case and pseudo brain congestion and real brain congestion.  But because most doctors cannot distinguish between them, their medicines are ineffectual.  Now I want you to remember well that you must be certain to take this medicine at twelve fifteen.'"  (Episode 53).  All patients were given exactly the same medicine with the same instruction that it must be taken at twelve fifteen.

  According to Takamure, the Shikoku pilgrims were known only by their place of origin, as "the pilgrim from Awa" or "the pilgrim from Tosa". Dressed alike in simple white robes, behaving alike as they traveled along the pilgrimage route day after day, they appeared a homogenous group and quickly established a sense of spontaneous communitas amongst themselves. "It is strange that when we gather together like this, polite greetings, jokes and loud laughter spring up for no reason" (Episode 40). Takamure, however, often felt uncomfortable and isolated amongst the pilgrims.  When she was still staying with the old man at his home she wrote, "Having belief—certainly, that must be a blessing.  Actually, after setting foot in this province of Bungo[10], what I felt especially was this extremely devoted, extremely whole-hearted, extremely earnest and extremely steadfast air of faith that the believers in Kb Daishi have. Certainly, I both respected and envied them.  However, the disappointment I felt when I realized that they are after all people belonging to a different world from mine, has made my stark isolation all the clearer." (Episode 17)

In Shikoku, at one inn where she stayed. there was a blind, hard of hearing woman pilgrim, a street performer shamisen player, a fortune teller and his family, and a sick older woman. Takamure commented, "Actually, even in the first moments, as soon as I encounter the speech and deportment of these kinds of people, their lack of reserve, lack of humility, lack of calmness, I become frightened." (Episode 92)

However, people were also suspicious about Takamure herself. Before meeting the old man, when she was travelling alone on Kysh, she was refused accommodation at a temple because the priest thought that she must be running away after having committed an evil deed. Others whom she met speculated that she was seeking a cure for an illness because of evil deeds done in a past life. Later, when she was travelling with the old man, many people wondered about their relationship: Was she his granddaughter, daughter, lover, employer, or the daughter of his employer?  Once, a group of men offended her by speculating that she must be a geisha.

On the other hand, she was often treated with awe and respect. At one home where they stayed, the householder said "Within ten years, there will certainly come a time when her name will be widely known to the world. In that case, it will be a very great privilege for us to have given her lodging. Up until now, we have provided lodging for a lot of pilgrims, but there's never been anyone like her." (Episode 76)

At the same house, an old lady from the neighborhood said, "You can see right into the hearts of people and also you can see the fate of people for them." (Episode 76)  Takamure commented, "The reverence of people towards me can even be considered a heavily painful burden." (Episode 76)

She was considered by others to have supernatural powers.  When she stayed in the old man's house on Kysh, two women with growths visited to ask her for a cure and she joked about becoming "The God of Growths". Later, on her return to Kysh, an old woman asked her to travel to her village to cure colds.  When Takamure explained that she did not do such things, "The old lady didn't give up easily.  For an eternity she kept on bowing over and over again without stopping.  What should I do?  I was completely dumbfounded." (Episode 100)

Takamure often felt isolated and lonely on the pilgrimage. The ignorance of the old man annoyed her and there were days at the beginning of the pilgrimage when she hardly spoke to him at all. "Really, I don't pay the slightest attention to the old man. Sometimes when I think that he must surely be bored, I turn back to look at him.  At those times, I suddenly feel sorry for him and make an attempt to engage in a few words of conversation, but I soon lose interest and stop." (Episode 50)

She took refuge in reading as she walked, reading works by authors such as Tagore and Bjrnson.[11] She missed her family in Kumamoto intensely and was happiest when she met innocent young girls along the way with whom she could exchange girlish chatter. She waxed lyrical about such encounters.  "She was a sweet young girl with beautiful hair, a young girl who was the embodiment of pure beauty.  Among females, I like young girls best.  Childish and pure, innocent--I wish they stayed like this forever." (Episode 51)

Inevitably, however, she had to part from such a person.  She explained to the girl, "It's about time for us to part.  I am a vagabond, an exile…." (Episode 51) Parting caused her grief, "…when we went around the mountain, I couldn't see any trace of my beloved little girl no matter how much I wanted to. I collapsed to the ground and cried my heart out.  Endless tears streamed down my cheeks." (Episode 51)

At one time Takamure suggested that she and the old man should separate, a suggestion which so angered the old man that he left her and went on ahead. "Surprised, I gazed at his departing figure for a long time, tears streaming down my face.  Rather than tears of helplessness at being left, they were tears because of the feelings that followed thronging into my heart: the pain of the old man whom I had made angry, whom I had given the wrong idea to, and also the feeling of being sorry.  Tenderly we parted, sadly and beautifully, and after that I intended to finish this sorrow-filled, wandering pilgrimage alone." (Episode 72)

It is interesting to note that she made no effort to continue her journey alone while he was gone but continued to stay at the same house. When the old man returned after three days because he was afraid of "divine retribution", she commented, "It is good if I flow along at the mercy of the wind," and they continued their journey together. (Episode 74)

Later, when they inadvertently became separated, her attitude had changed, and she sought for him desperately. When they found each other again she said, "My eyes also filled with tears and I couldn't say a thing." (Episode 86)

The pilgrimage world was both profane and sacred. Takamure engaged wholeheartedly in the spiritual practices of the pilgrimage, praying at each of the eighty-eight temples of the pilgrimage and undertaking extra practices such as the reciting of the Kmy Shingon[12] one thousand times (Episode 38). In her newspaper articles she wrote about some of the tales of Kb Daishi that she heard, tales of events of a thousand years earlier and accounts of recent miracles attributed to him.

The old man, who was a fervent believer in the power of Kb Daishi, was convinced that they themselves had been helped by the saint.  This was because three times when their money ran out, they found or were given money to allow them to continue their journey. (Episode 97) Another time when she had not put her bag containing her pilgrim cards in her pack, it turned up again because it had adhered to the old man's pack.  She commented, "There was a huge commotion and [the old man] was utterly choked up with tears of gratitude [to Kb Daishi] for what had happened." (Episode 82)

She often thought about how she ought to live in the face of inevitable death.  "How in the world will my future develop?  I don't know. I really don't know. However, at best human life is ephemeral.  What is there to weep about? What is there to suffer about? What is there to agonize over?  With a thoroughly pure and earnest heart I will encounter any situation whatever, any circumstances whatever and go on smiling quietly." (Episode 63) In particular, she wanted to strive to live in the present moment. "I'll be satisfied if I can live in the unlimited peace and sorrow of the present.  That is all I want." (Episode 56)

Thus, she sang a song she composed as she walked along, "‘I am a nomad like water weeds, just blown by the wind /I am flowing along to nowhere /In the daytime I travel /In the night I dance /In the end I perish /God knows where ….." She said that as she sang that song she was on the verge of tears, but that they were not tears of sadness. (Episode 83)

              However, she was not always able to be so matter of fact about death. Shortly after, when staying at an inn, she had a sleepless night.  "…when, as usual, I began to think about our inevitable 'death', I felt a sickly shuddering and, no matter what, I couldn’t sleep. Everyone has died. Boys, young men, and beautiful women who left various writings behind…. …time has passed and they are all gone; in the places where songs and dances used often to be performed we see only small birds and sparrows singing sorrowfully in the twilight. " (Episode 84)


Takamure returned to Kysh on October 25th and shortly after reached her family's home in a village in Kumamoto Prefecture. There, readily acceding to her parents' request that she remain near them, she appeared to accept cheerfully the common expectations of Japanese society.  "Changing the subject abruptly, I shall think about the problem of 'my future after this'.  To tell the truth, I intended to stay in Kumamoto City for a long time. I intended to discover sweat-covered pearls, pearls discovered through my toil and trouble. However, and not without good reason, my parents did not agree. They were upset. Therefore, my intentions readily changed. I don't think it was contradictory or inconsistent.  If I can live an honest life it will be enough. It will be sufficient if I can live a solemn life. Fighting against all temptations, if I can become a warmly graceful, gently noble, highly valued, holy, respected housewife that will be excellent. Making my parents happy, that is the one and only greatest pleasure. I will do the laundry, I will cook, I will read, and I will write poems." (Episode 104)

However, this domestic life in the village did not, in fact, occur. During the period of her pilgrimage she had become something of a celebrity because of her articles and shortly afterwards she published two well-received books of poetry.  She then began to live with Hashimoto Kenz, the man she had been in love with before the pilgrimage. At first, theirs was a stormy relationship and she even ran away from him once intending to make the Saigoku Pilgrimage to the thirty-three Kannon temples.  However, he pursued her and she returned home.

They lived in Tokyo where she was active in intellectual circles, wrote extensively, and edited a feminist magazine. Later, however, she began her life's work of researching and writing about the early history of Japanese women. Hashimoto became her research assistant in this work, enabling her to remain in her "house in the woods" in Setagaya, Tokyo, for thirty years, writing from morning to night each day. Because of her pioneering research in this field, in recent years, she has attracted the interest of scholars in the west.[13]

              Her youthful pilgrimage remained important to her throughout her life. She wrote a number of short articles about it as well as two books[14].  She also tried to make the Shikoku pilgrimage again but was unable to do so because of poor health.

              The pilgrimage was a period of personal transformation for her as can perhaps be seen if one compares her descriptions of the ferry passengers en route to Shikoku with her description of the passengers on her return voyage.  Going to Shikoku she wrote, "The gloom and dreariness in the cabin below is truly unbearable…. If even this cabin is like this, it must be still worse in third class.  It is almost no different from a group of wild animals living together.  Sitting up straight in a corner feeling despondent, I shuddered as I imagined the scene when all the people sleeping uncouthly like this woke up at once." (Episode 33). 

Returning to Kysh she wrote, "The old man and I sat as though glued to the left hull of the ship, but against the right wall across from us, four awkward fat women were reclining ungracefully, eating with no self restraint, and laughing loudly.  The sight of them talking to each other, looking happy and affectionate and cozily holding hands was so beautiful that I envied them. How happy are people who have friends to talk and laugh with, simply and sincerely!" (Episode 96)

Perhaps the last words of her pilgrimage articles sum up what she learned on the pilgrimage.  She wrote, "Let everything be as it is." (Episode 105)



AWA 88. 1993. Awa Henro: A Bilingual Guide for Pilgrims in Tokushima. Tokushima: Tokushima-ken Kyoiku Insatsu, Inc.

Kitagawa, Joseph M. 1987. On Understanding Japanese Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Miyata, Reverend Taisan. 1984. A henro pilgrimage guide to the eighty-eight temples of Shikoku, Japan.  Sacramento, CA: Northern California Koyasan Temple.

Reader, Ian. 1993. Sendatsu and the Development of Contemporary Japanese Pilgrimage.  Nissan Occasional Paper, 17, Oxford: Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies.

Statler, Oliver. 1983. Japanese Pilgrimage. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc.

Takamure, Itsue. 1979. Musume Junrei Ki (The pilgrimage journal of a young woman). Tokyo: Asahi Press

Turner, Victor and E. Turner. 1978. Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture: Anthropological Perspectives. New York: Columbia University Press.

[1] Victor and Edith Turner. 1978. Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture: Anthropological Perspectives. Columbia University Press.

[2] Names are given Japanese style with the family name first. Takamure was 24 at the time of her pilgrimage.

[3] Musume junrei ki

[4] This is known as the Shikoku hachi j hakka sho, the eighty eight sacred places of Shikoku.

[5] This is his posthumous name.  While alive he was known as Kkai.

[6] The wisdom of Kokuz Bosatsu is as vast as space. The words of the mantra are nobo akasha kyarabaya on arikya mari bori sowaka.

[7] This is the center of Shingon Buddhism.

[8] Kysh is the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan.

[9] He is the bosatsu of great mercy and love who has vowed to save all beings.  Many Kannon images look feminine so that the deity has often been worshipped as a female deity.  During the Japanese feudal period Kannon was worshipped by Japanese Catholics as Mary, the mother of Jesus.

[10] Bungo was the former name of ita Prefecture.

[11] These were Gitanjali and Woman of the Fjord.

[12] This is the Mantra of Light which, according to the teachings of Shingon Buddhism, contains in its syllables the entire power of the Buddha.  When the mantra is recited earnestly, the Light of the Buddha embraces the person reciting and illusions disappear spontaneously just as the moon becomes free of mist.

[13] Ryang, Sonia, (1998) "Love and Colonialism in Takamure Itsue's Feminism: A Postcolonial Critique", Feminist Review No. 60, Autumn, pp. 1-32; Reynolds, Katsue and Christine Andrews, (1994) "Conflict and Resolution: Takamure Itsue as a Woman Scholar", Women in Hawai'i, Asia and the Pacific, The Office for Women's Research Working Papers Series, Volume 3, (K.Heyer ed.), pp. 37-44; Ronald P. Loftus, (1996), "Female Self-Writing: Takamure Itsue's Hi no Kuni no Onna no Nikki", Monumentica Nipponica: Studies in Japanese culture, Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 153-170; Monnet, Livia, (1989)," 'In the beginning woman was the sun': Autobiographies of modern Japanese women writers--1", Japan Forum, Vol. 1, No. 1, April, pp. 197-233; Chabot, Jeanette Taudin, (1985), "Takamure Itsue: The first historian of Japanese women", Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 8, No.4, pp. 287-290; Tsurumi, E. Patricia, (1985) "Feminism and Anarchism in Japan: Takamure Itsue, 1894-1964", Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 17 (2) pp. 2-19.

[14] These were long books of 282 and 265 pages respectively.  At the time she wrote them and the articles, she did not have access to the original articles and had to rely upon her memory.

* Susan Tennant, Nagoya University, Japan (e-mail:

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