The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.


Sugimoto, Yoshio
A Genealogical Study of the Concept of Ritual in Sri
Shoji, Hiroshi
A New Phase in the Chinese Minority Language Policy
Kishigami, Nobuhiro
Notes on Studies of Food Sharing in Hunter-Gatherer
Nagasaki, Hiroko
Research Materials on the Religious Play“ Ramlala” in

A Genealogical Study of the Concept of Ritual in Sri Lanka
Yoshio Sugimoto

This is a genealogical study of the concept of “ritual” in Sri Lanka from the colonial period under European rulers, Portuguese, Dutch and British, and in the post-colonial situation. Ritual, rites and ceremony had become dirty words by the eighteenth century. Ritual came to imply insincerity and empty formality.
The religions of the European powers which ruled Sri Lanka were Catholic (Portuguese), Protestant (Dutch), and Anglican (British) in that order. There was great rivalry and attack from the Dutch Reformed Church against Portuguese Catholicism in the seventeenth century. The main targets were “Idolatry” and “Ritualism.” The situation was relieved at the beginning of British rule. However, social and religious policy changed in the 1830’s under the infl uence of Evangelicals in Great Britain.
From the second half of the nineteenth century, Sri Lankan Buddhism underwent a gradual process of modernization, or civilization, under the infl uence of Evangelical Protestantism. The reformed Buddhism linked itself with Buddhist nationalism as part of its attempt to counter Western rules. This “Protestant Buddhism” departed from traditional Therevada Buddhism in promoting a Protestant-like this-worldly asceticism centering on the laity instead of other-worldly Buddhist monks and sangha.
The agenda of unifi ed “Protestant Buddhism” has played an important role in Sinhala Buddhist nationalism since 1956, the 2500th anniversary of Buddha’s nirvana. More than that, phenomena of magic and ritual have recurred in urban areas. These are the paradoxical consequences of the civilization of Sri Lankan “ritual.”
Key Words: Sri Lanka, ritual, Protestant Buddhism, nationalism, genealogy

A New Phase in the Chinese Minority Language Policy
Hiroshi Shoji

Since the foundation of the present socialist state China has upheld a ground principle for national minority language policies which is to guarantee the use and development of such languages. In practice this principle has mainly involved an attempt to establish a writing system for each language and to incorporate the languages into the basic school system for the minorities. At the same time, the realization of a common national language on the basis of Han has also been a mandatory task in the state’s agenda. In the 1980’s and onwards the schema that had controlled the Chinese minority language policies has apparently shifted to a new phase, with the emergence of critical phenomena where the interests of both sides prominently go against each other. One is the growing confl icts brought by the state’s urposive policy to emphasize the role of Han, and to rationalize attempts to develop minority languages. The other is the generalization of the theoretical notion of “bilingual education” among the language planners of Chinese minority languages, in the framework of which a foothold for mother tongue education is sought, against the pressure of Han. The author further examines several new factors affecting the present Chinese minority language policies.
Key Words: bilingual education, mother tongue education, China’s national minority, language policy, minority language

Notes on Studies of Food Sharing in Hunter-Gatherer Societies
Nobuhiro Kishigami

There are several studies on food sharing in hunter-gatherer societies. This short paper reviews hypotheses about sharing in socio-cultural anthropology, ecological anthropology, evolutionary ecology, and primate studies. Then, in relation to anthropological studies of Inuit food sharing, I make three basic proposals whose exploration may contribute to a better understanding of food sharing in hunter-gatherer societies in general. The first is to explore differences between food sharing practices in a small-scale camp group and those in a large sedentary community. The second is to explore temporal changes and continuity in the contemporary food sharing practices of a specific community. The third is to explore regional similarities and differences in Inuit food sharing practices from a historical perspective.
Key Words: food sharing, hunter-gatherer societies

Research Materials on the Religious Play “Ramlila” in Ramnagar
Hiroko Nagasaki

The annual Ramlila - ‘Rama’s play’ - of Ramnagar is known as the grandest of the open-air religious plays in North India. Ramnagar is on the eastern bank of the Ganges opposite to Banaras, and this play is performed under the patronage of the Maharaja of Banaras. The performance extends over one month immersed in religious zeal, and during this period the deities of the Ramayana are considered to stay in Ramnagar, reproducing their holy play. The whole city is transformed into a theater which represents the divine universe, and the fi ve boys who play the roles of the deities are regarded as actual incarnations of the god Vishnu.
This paper fi rst describes the details of the play, in particular how it is produced and performed, and how the actors, staff, audience and patron take part in it. I then present research materials on the theatrical setting of the play and its religious symbolism, and the signifi cance of the play for the ruler and his subjects.
Key Words: Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas, Ramnagar, Ramlila