2001 年 11 巻 p. 81-93
Levi Strauss' theory of marriage is generally understood as a continuation of the work of Marcel Mauss, who developed a theory of gift exchange. Mauss emphasized the imagination of the dead in his theory, but Levi-Strauss did not. Here I will explain the relation between this aspect missing from Levi-Strauss' theory of marriage and the construction of the Other in the modem nation-state. In this paper I want to think about the construction of the Other in late Edo Japan (1603-1867). I propose to approach this problem through a study of what I call the 'representation of the Other'. Representation of the Other refers to the pastime of collecting and recording information about the world of the dead as well as to the efforts to prove its existence. These ethnographic activities had at their basis a category of 'humankind'. 'Humankind' has become an important category under the modem nation-state. In modem attempts to represent the Other - a foreigner or a 'primitive' - we end up imagining a Self. Modem nation-state has emphasized the complete difference between Self and Other, yet what has made the representation of the otherness of the Other possible is a sense that at some level Self and Other have a common basis. That shared foundation is none other than membership in the category of 'humankind'. 'Humankind' however was not intentionally produced to fulfill this function. Rather, it was articulated in the process of proving the existence of spirits of the dead and the world they inhabit. Such a category was necessary for talking about differences among people and spirits. Thus, 'humankind' emerged from an engagement with the other world in late Edo Japan, the period immediately preceding the emergence of the modern Japanese nation-state.