Japan, tarot, visual imagery, feminized divination, cultural hybridity
This essay looks at selected images from tarot decks designed in Japan. Tarot decks reflect a deliberate adaptation process across both cultural and temporal borders, with visual components created and customized for a Japanese viewer. My aim is to consider the nature of these changes in imagery and to focus attention on an under-analyzed and mostly female-gendered domain. In particular, I look at the way the medieval European people and elements originally found on the cards are replaced with images from the world of Japanese art, history, and popular culture. These substitutions either gloss over the gaps between Western and Japanese world views or meld them into a new form, allowing the tarot entry into a different or hybrid metaphysical culture. Attention to tarot cards is important because of their great economic and cultural impact in contemporary Japan. A widespread love of tarot in Japan provides insight into domains of pleasure, spiritual exploration, and fandom.
The ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts
Miller, Laura, "Japanese Tarot Cards" (2017). History Faculty Works. 31.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/history-faculty/31