The Sensation of Matsuri
"...some people - and I have been among them - have attempted to approach the study of matsuri not
merely as a problem of history, but of function, namely the way in which the matsuri influences or
operates on the people involved. In the sociology or anthropology of religion this method is called
functionalism, and when taking this approach, one analyzes the nature of the social group supporting the
festival in order to find the role of the festival in the lives of the people. Put bluntly, matsuri is viewed for
its role in integrating the hearts and minds of the people, or giving them a spiritual sense of unity...."
"...When viewing the structure of a matsuri in this way, its characteristics appear to involve two radically
divergent elements. One is the element of extreme solemnity and formality, while on the other hand there
is also what might be called a coarse, or even obscene, aspect, the element of informality. As a result, a
matsuri appears to contain both an extremely formally correct, "polite" side together with a side
representing impropriety or disruption of order.."
"... if a matsuri is not merely a foolish uproar but a religious activity as well, then within it there must be
the feeling that the people have somehow been reborn, or that they have touched something extremely
fresh and new. And the conscious experiences that occur here have all occurred as the result of