Kaleidoscope of the different worlds

Presented by the National Museum of Japanese History
Date July 17 (Tuesday) - September 2 (Sunday), 2001
Admission Including in General Admission Fee

It is believed that the different worlds exist on beyond people's scope. By imagining various things about these invisible worlds, one can relieve the anxieties of daily life and have come to find the spiritual anchor. The culture, the strong imagination for the different worlds created and developed, shows the various aspects, as it is, the mountain with broad base.

One example of the different worlds is the world to come. As Buddhism had become popular, the fear and anxiety of the world after death have formed the unique views of the next world on each locale. People thought one could have exchanges with the shades through various ceremonies, and sometimes such exchanges were told as the appearance of ghosts.

Another example is the world of spectres. When people encounter irrational phenomena and fear, they thought it have done by spectres. Tales of spectres have not been orally transmitted, but become the theme of picture scrolls, of woodblock paints and the topic of newspapers. It has also become to be a kind of entertainment people enjoyed.

The world before birth (or former incarnation) and future are also different worlds, since they are unknown. Fortune telling, the artificial way used to predict the future and the fortune of events, developed as a way to know the god's will and continue to present showing various forms of expansion.

In this exhibition, we have focused on The World to Come, Spectres and Fortune Telling. To present the various aspects of different worlds that people imagined and to trace the line of interaction between people and the different worlds, we discuss the mentality behind the need for the different worlds and the meaning of it in modern society.