The Psychological Meaning of Fire Symbols in Japanese Festivals

[Speaker] Hashimoto, Tomohiro:1
1:Osaka Prefecture University (Japan)

The purpose of this study is to present two traditional Japanese fire festivals (Otoumatsuri and Omihachiman-Sagichou-Matsuri), psychologically interpret the meaning of their fire symbols and through that discuss the characteristics of the traditional Japanse way of life. The amplification method of analytical psychology was used in order to interpret the meaning of the fire symbols. The results show that fire symbolizes abandoning the egoistic, self-protective way of life as well as symbolizing the transcendent power beyond the ego. Experiencing that power corresponds to the experience of the Self, which Jung explained in detail. These festivals suggest that Japanese people have traditionally attempted to experience the Self by abandoning egoism. These two festivals share this trait, but there are also some differences. They differ in terms of their ideas about the relationship between human beings and the gods. This study also discusses the psychological meaning of those differences.
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