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2020/10/16

"HAJICHI" Metamorphosis into butterfly-person

1. What does the tattoo pattern mean?

 Whether you have tattoos or not, you've probably been fascinated by the beautiful designs of "tribal tattoos". And even if you didn't care about the meaning of the pattern, you've probably wondered what it means.

2. Revealing the pattern of the Ryukyu islands' tribal tattoo,  “Hajichi”

 This book unravels the meaning of the Hajichi pattern, one of the tribal tattoos. At least until the end of the 20th century, there were women with tattoos on the islands of the Ryukyu. The patterns vary so much that it is said that you can identify an island by looking at the Hajichi.This book reveals the significance of almost all of the recorded patterns.

3. Why it can be revealed.

 I am from Yoron Island in the Ryukyu Archipelago and have been exploring the prehistoric spiritual history of these islands. The results of this research are included in “Coral reef wild thinking” (『珊瑚礁の思考』2015, Fujiwara Shoten). The Ryukyu Islands are rich in myths, rituals, and customs, and have remained a fascinating fieldwork site for folklore and anthropology.( Levi Strauss also makes a small reference at the beginning of "Wild Thinking") Just as it was the Ainu in the north and the Ryukyu Islands in the south that left behind tribal tattoos in the Japanese archipelago, the Ryukyu Islands leave clues to explore the minds and thoughts of prehistoric times.

 In this exploration, I noticed that totems, spoken of in myth and folklore or preserved as the names of patterns, were represented in shell mounds and ruins. I have confirmed this in the Ryukyu Islands.

 I must emphasize that this is very different from what we have been taught, but a shell mound is not a dump site(or kitchen midden). Rather, shell mounds and ruins were sanctuaries to connect with totems.

4. Metamorphosis into butterfly-person

 If we can decipher the shell mounds, we can find the totems. Totems have changed over time, as they have been updated by prehistoric human's changing views of life. Thus, from the deciphering of the shell mounds, we can create a totemic timeline. Surprisingly, it corresponds exactly to the pottery timeline.

 In this totem timeline, the Hajichi was born when the "Spirit soul" concept arose late in the plant totem stage.At the plant totem stage, the human body is thought to have metamorphosed from a particular plant . Therefore, the human body is a plant body. And just as butterflies are born from plants, butterflies were carved into the bodies of plants. That is the "Hajjichi". The spirit was thought through the medium of a butterfly!(you may recall " psyche").

 If you read this book, you will understand the meaning of the patterns of the Hajichi.

 You will see not only the meaning of the pattern, but also the world that was with Hajichi. That is to say, we get a glimpse into the minds and thoughts of the prehistoric people at that stage in their lives.

5. Some examples

 Let me give you an example. The pattern marked on the ulnar stapes on the right hand is a peculiar design that is often similar in the islands, but this represents a butterfly (called a "five-star" on the Okinawa island).

 The pattern on the wrist at Tokunoshima island is also easy to recognize. This represents their spirit butterfly, “Ishigake-cho(Cyrestis thyodamas)”.

 If we shift our view outside of Hajichi, the artifacts unearthed from shell mounds and ruins at this stage are eloquent. The artifacts that have been called "butterfly-shaped bone object" represent butterflies. This is from the Murokawa shell mound, and the spirit butterfly is thought to be a “Namiageha”(Papilio xuthus).

6. Entrance to the world of the prehistoric mind

 This book is focused on the Hajichi, so you can certainly get to the meaning of the pattern. However, the number of pages is limited, so the details of the decipherment have to be given away separately. I will eventually develop this as a "totem-metamorphosis hypothesis".But you can stand on the threshold of the world of the prehistoric minds that were thinking in totems and metamorphoses.

7.It's in Japanese but full of illustrations

 It will disappoint you, but this book is written in Japanese. As you can see from the poor English in this "introduction", I am much better at writing in Japanese.

 But in this book of about 100 pages, the right page is the text, but the left page consists of illustrations of “Hajichi” hands, plants, butterflies, larvae, pupae, shells and archeological relics. So, at least the plants and butterflies that the pattern represents can be understood without having to read the text.

 I would be very happy if you could find out the origin of the Hajichi design along with these illustrations! And I would be even happier if you got to know the Ryukyu Islands as more than just a beautiful coral reef resort.

 

 

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