This paper explores the process of building site selection and adaptation in ancient and medieval Japan. This course of action is often referred to as the practice of “feng shui” or “geomancy.” In short, the physical environment of an auspicious construction site had to fulfill certain requirements. In Japan, geomancy is usually interpreted as the requirement of a site’s topographical features to correspond to or to befit the “four gods” (shijin sōō). In this paper, the origin and application of this concept of the “four gods” is discussed. It is often asserted that shijin sōō is a uniquely Japanese geomantic system that was already in practice in the 7th century. However, textual study indicates that both of these claims are questionable.
11 24 2007
17th New Zealand Asian Studies Society International Conference