This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Saadaka: An Aspect of Shamanism, Spiritual Power, and Pollution in Okinawa




McCormick, Crystal

Type of Degree





The island of Okinawa has a history rich with tradition and cultural practices that are unique even to the Japanese culture. Especially unique, are the religious practices incorporating shamanism. These practices incorporate an array of concepts that revolve around family, ancestors, and community. Beliefs about the supernatural the connection to the living are interesting and ever-present. My research investigates previously collected ethnographies on the Ryukyuan Religion and the interaction between humans and the spirit world. I incorporate a theoretical framework that explores the practices in a social context and discuss the linear relationship between ritual, pollution, and liminality of death and deification. It is important to analyze the culture holistically, especially the roots from whence it came. And, as Susan Sered suggested, “…it is often via religious rituals and ideologies that women and men express their deepest concerns, their truest selves, their fears, hopes and passions” (Sered, 1994).