九州大学 研究者情報
発表一覧
VAN GOETHEM ELLEN(ヴァン フーテム エレン) データ更新日:2021.11.01

准教授 /  人文科学研究院 哲学部門 広人文学コース


学会発表等
1. Ellen Van Goethem, Toshiyuki Kono, and Simon Kaner, Moderator of the Plenary Session “A Global Heritage Site” with Toshiyuki Kono (Honorary President of ICOMOS) and Simon Kaner (Sainsbury Institute/University of East Anglia), Kyushu University Border Studies, 2021.03, I led the plenary discussion between Honorary President of ICOMOS, Toshiyuki Kono, and Professor Simon Kaner of the University of East Anglia on Shuri Castle as a UNESCO World Heritage site..
2. Ellen Van Goethem, Imitation, Deification, and Identity: Heian Jingu's Many Facades, 東北大学国際文化研究科国際日本研究講座企画, 2019.12.
3. Ellen Van Goethem, Reconstructing a Palace and Building a Shrine: Heian Jingu as a Marker of National and Regional Identity, International Symposium "Emperor and Shrine: Commemoration, Ideology, and Identity", 2019.10.
4. Ellen Van Goethem, Reconstructing a Palace and Building a Shrine: Emperor, Nation, and Imperial Cult, International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) 11, 2019.07, This paper investigates how, after its construction in the late nineteenth century, Heian Jingu became central to the imperial cult and to the creation of a national and local identity. It focuses on a number of specific phases (1915, 1940, 1970s, present) to highlight how roles and interpretations of the shrine continue to evolve pithing the historical, social, and ideological context at each of these crucial times..
5. Ellen Van Goethem, The Others Within: Architecture, Activism, and Advertising at Heian Jingu, Workshop “Thank God We’re Not Like Them”: The Global Dimensions of Religious Othering, 2019.02, The topic of “religious othering”—stereotyping people of other faiths in a prejudicial way—has become an aspect of nationalist politics and social conflict throughout the world, including Europe and the United States. At Goettingen University in Germany and the University of California, Santa Barbara in the United States the global dimensions of religious othering will be the focus of two workshops in 2018-19. They will explore the various ways in which religious phenomena are related to the process of othering—identifying and maintaining group boundaries between those who share a particular form of religious phenomena and those who do not. By “religious phenomena” we mean religious identities, ideologies, practices, organizations, leadership, cultural attitudes, and values that are related to the social, cultural, political, and personal aspects of othering in communities and societies across the world. The papers in the workshops will deal with these issues both in case studies and on a general, theoretical level..
6. Ellen Van Goethem, Commemoration and Deification: The Creation of Heian Jingū, UCSB, East Asia Center, 2019.02, The founding of Heian Jingū in 1895 is usually explained in very simple terms; it was established to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the move to the Heian capital and was, therefore, dedicated to the city’s founder, Kanmu Tennō (r.781–806). Nevertheless, a closer look at this founding story reveals a much more complex narrative that touches not only on material aspects such as the government’s creation of a blueprint for new shrines, but also on doctrinal issues such as the unprecedented deification of past emperors. Moreover, it helps explain how a major imperial shrine (kanpei taisha) in the emerging Japanese nation state could be so replete with Chinese symbolism and why in later years at least one of its designers expressed great disappointment at the end result..
7. Ellen Van Goethem, Monument, Shrine, Power Spot: Heian Jingū’s Multi-Layered Signification, Columbia University, Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, 2018.11, In 1895, Heian Jingū was festively inaugurated as a testimony to Kyoto’s bygone days as the nation’s capital. A close look at its founding story reveals a complex narrative that touches not only on doctrinal issues, but also on material aspects. Moreover, it helps explain how a major imperial shrine (kanpei taisha) in the emerging Japanese nation state could be so replete with Chinese symbolism and why in later years at least one of its designers expressed great disappointment at the end result. Finally, it appears that today exactly those China-derived elements play a crucial role in Heian jingū’s popularity..
8. Ellen Van Goethem, Workshop ‘Cosmos, Ethos, Episteme’, Workshop ‘Cosmos, Ethos, Episteme’, 2018.06.
9. Ellen Van Goethem, Heian Jingū: Shinto Shrine and/or Yellow Dragon of the Center, Interdisciplinary Colloquium, Kyushu University, 2017.10, In 1895, a new Shinto shrine was festively inaugurated in Kyoto; merging various architectural styles, Heian jingū was intended as a testimony to Kyoto’s bygone days as the nation’s capital. Yet in spite of its grandeur, the shrine’s founding is usually explained in very simple terms. It was established to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the move to the Heian capital and was, therefore, dedicated to the city’s founder, Emperor Kanmu (r.781–806), and modeled after part of his palace compound.
A closer look at the shrine’s founding story, however, reveals a much more complex narrative that illustrates the fits and starts of State Shinto in the mid-Meiji period (1868–1912). Moreover, unraveling Heian jingū’s founding explains how a major imperial shrine (kanpei taisha) in the emerging Japanese nation state could be so replete with Chinese symbolism. Finally, it appears that today exactly those China-derived elements—and their related beliefs and practices—form the core of Heian jingū’s self-portrayal and play a crucial role in its current popularity..
10. Ellen Van Goethem, Heian Jingū: A "Traditional" Shrine in a "Foreign" Guise, 15th European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS) International Conference, 2017.08, The founding of Heian jingū in 1895 is usually explained in very simple terms; it was established to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the move to the Heian capital and was, therefore, dedicated to the city's founder, Emperor Kanmu (r.781-806). A closer look at the shrine's founding story reveals a much more complex narrative that illustrates the fits and starts of State Shinto in the first decades of the Meiji period.As such, this paper touches not only on doctrinal issues such as the deification of past emperors, but also on material aspects such as the Meiji government's creation of a blueprint for newly erected shrines. Moreover, tracing Heian jingū's founding story might help explain how a major imperial shrine (kanpei taisha) can be so replete with Chinese symbolism and why in later years at least one of its designers expressed great disappointment at the end result.The paper will conclude by arguing that exactly these China-derived elements-and their related beliefs and practices-currently form the core of Heian jingū's self-portrayal and play a crucial role in its continued popularity..
11. Ellen Van Goethem, Guardians of Kyoto: Shinto Shrines as Manifestations of the Directional Deities, Association for Asian Studies, 2017.03, This paper traces the history of five Kyoto shrines to explain how and why they came to be identified with the directional deities. Emphasis is placed on Heian Jingu, the youngest, yet most important shrine in the configuration. Constructed in the late nineteenth century to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto’s founding, the shrine itself is replete with references to the four guardian deities of the cardinal directions and therefore also provides an interesting case study of the establishment of a shrine of national importance in the climate of shinbutsu bunri and the process in which the entire shrine set-up, from the actual buildings and decorations to the rituals and the shrine priests, was created..
12. VAN GOETHEM ELLEN, From Scale Model to Shrine: The Creation of Heian Jingū, Invited lecture at the Asian Languages & Cultures Department Department, UCLA, 2017.03, The founding of Heian jingū in 1895 is usually explained in very simple terms; it was established to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the move to the Heian capital and was, therefore, dedicated to the city’s founder, Kanmu Tennō (r.781–806). A closer look at the shrine’s founding story reveals a much more complex narrative that involves not only doctrinal issues such as the deification of past emperors, but also material aspects such as the Meiji government’s creation of a blueprint for newly erected shrines. Moreover, it explains why a major imperial shrine (kanpei taisha) can be so replete with Chinese symbolism..
13. VAN GOETHEM ELLEN, Animated City: Life Force, Guardians, and Contemporary Architecture in Kyoto, Invisible Empire: Spirits and Animism in Contemporary Japan, 2017.02, In this presentation I explore the conviction that Kyoto is a city animated by a number of invisible agencies and how this notion has influenced the city’s contemporary architecture. Inspired by the belief that the city was designed and built according to the core principles of site divination (popularly known as fengshui or fūsui), it is generally assumed that Kyoto is vitalized by the invisible flow of qi and protected by the guardians of the four directions. Starting in the 1990s, when a fengshui boom gripped Japan, a number of architectural projects in Kyoto were conceived with explicit reference to fengshui either because of the architect’s personal beliefs, a particular client’s request, or to convince the general public of the project’s suitability to the city..
14. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, Heian Jingu: Civic Shrine, Exhibition Pavilion, Imperial Shrine?, Workshop: "The Creation of a National Culture in Japan’s Modern Period: Architecture, Art, and Place", 2016.12, The founding of Heian jingū in 1895 is usually explained in very simple terms; it was established to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the move to the Heian capital and was, therefore, dedicated to the city’s founder, Kanmu Tennō (r.781–806). A closer look at the shrine’s founding story reveals a much more complex narrative that might help explain how a major imperial shrine (kanpeitaisha) can be so replete with Chinese symbolism and why in later years one of its designers expressed great disappointment at the end result..
15. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, Buildings on the Move: Temple Construction and Capital Relocation in Ancient Japan, MOVING OBJECTS: AUTHORSHIP, OWNERSHIP AND EXPERIENCE IN BUDDHIST MATERIAL CULTURE, 2016.04, This paper examines the interrelationships between temple construction and the establishment of Japan’s Chinese-style capitals between the 7th and 9th centuries..
16. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, 海外の視点から探る飛鳥・藤原京 ~海外の研究者の研究~, 世界に伝えたい「飛鳥・藤原」の魅力, 2016.03, 飛鳥時代と飛鳥・藤原エリアに対する海外の関心についての130年の歴史.
17. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, 海外の視点から探る飛鳥・藤原〜海外の研究者の研究〜, 世界に伝えたい「飛鳥・藤原」の魅力ー世界遺産化登録をめざして, 2016.03.
18. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, 「飛鳥・藤原」世界遺産化 パネリスト, 世界に伝えたい「飛鳥・藤原」の魅力ー世界遺産化登録をめざして, 2016.03.
19. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, Of Trees and Beasts: Site Selection in Premodern East Asia, The Third Conference of East Asian Environmental History (EAEH), 2015.10, Since ancient times people in the Chinese cultural sphere have been looking for ideal sites to construct graves, found cities, build houses, etc. These practices are generally grouped under the broad label of telluric divination or geomancy (Chn. 風水 fengshui). This paper focuses on a subcategory within telluric divination; it concentrates on a practice that received its own label—shijin sōō 四神相応 or “correspondence to the four deities”—in Japan but is in no way unique to the country.
In China, Korea, and Japan, a number of written sources dating from the 8th through 19th centuries describe the ideal siting conditions of private residences. What these sources have in common is that a residence needs to be surrounded by specific landscape features, either natural or manmade (a river, an irrigated plain, a road, and a hill), each corresponding to one of the four directional deities (the Azure Dragon, the Vermilion Bird, the White Tiger, and the Black Turtle-Snake).
Inhabitants of a site that corresponds to these topographical requirements are promised good health and a long life, a successful career, and numerous descendants. Interestingly, several of the written sources describing these ideal siting conditions also provide a practical—and in most cases realizable—solution to remedy any shortcomings in the surrounding topography in the form of substituting missing landscape features with specific (numbers of) trees.
This paper will thus compare and contrast a number of these sources to address the underlying philosophy of substituting landscape features for trees as well as issues of knowledge transfer..
20. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, Foreign Beliefs in ‘Native’ Settings: Fengshui Elements in Shinto Shrines, ICAS (International Convention of Asia Scholars), 2015.07, The earliest evidence of the presence of fengshui-related practices on the Japanese archipelago dates back to nearly two millennia ago. At that time, there was no unified, systematized, or institutionalized indigenous religion. The loose set of native rituals and practices performed at the time is classified by scholars as kami worship and over the centuries that followed it was receptive of a wide variety of rites, symbolism, and beliefs belonging to imported religious traditions including Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity.
This process of absorption did not come to a halt when kami-related worship was systematized into what we now call Shinto. Close inspection of Shinto prayers and rites conducted at shrines reveals the pervasive influence of imported elements in this so-called native religion. To illustrate this point, this paper focuses on the famous Daizaifu Tenmangu shrine in Kyushu. Dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane (845-903), who was deified after his death and is still worshipped as a paragon of refinement and scholarship, the shrine draws thousands of visitors and has been designated an Important Cultural Property. The shrine is thus portrayed as a symbol of Japan(eseness) and its native religion. Scratching the surface, however, it quickly becomes clear that the core of the shrine's most important ritual, the rice-planting festival, and the norito (ritual prayers) recited at the Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine are replete with fengshui-related references..
21. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, Fengshui Protection: The Four Mythical Beasts and Shinto Shrines, アジア伝統科学国際ワークショップ2015  古今の宇宙観, 2015.06, This paper presents a discussion of the appearance and context of fengshui-related symbolism in Japan. Attention will be focused on the four directional deities (四神) and their associated symbolism from their initial appearance on the Japanese archipelago until the present day, in an attempt to show how this symbolism became fully assimilated to the point that it appeared in (early) modern times in contexts no longer consciously associated with their “original” practices or was fully absorbed into contexts that are deemed quintessentially Japanese. To illustrate this point, this paper will present a case-study of six well-known Shinto shrines, Dazaifu Tenmangū in Dazaifu, and Heian Jingū, Kamigamo jinja, Matsuo taisha, Yasaka jinja, and Jōnangū in Kyoto.
By doing so, this paper will argue that the four directional animals preserved their ancient Chinese role of “multivalent signs”, susceptible to many applications, interpretations, meanings and values. As symbols, i.e. visual depictions of underlying concepts, the four divine beasts adapted to (or, better still, were appropriated by) changing circumstances and new ideas to appear in new and entirely different contexts..
22. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, Written, Used, Discarded, and Unintentionally Preserved: Writings on Wood in Ancient Japan, Hamburg University, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, 2013.11, This paper provides an overview of the discovery, typology, and practical use of kodai mokkan, inscribed wooden tablets that were produced in large numbers between the seventh and tenth centuries in Japan.
While a small number of these mokkan had been carefully preserved for centuries in imperial repositories, the vast majority of the tablets was not discovered until recent decades. Excavations of sites mostly related to local or central government facilities, elite residences, and temples have yielded hundreds of thousands of inscribed tablets or shavings (kezurikuzu).
As a result, our understanding of various aspects of government, economy, and society in ancient Japan has changed and we have been allowed glimpses of the practical execution of government regulations and of daily life. Mokkan have also contributed to a better understanding of archaeological remains as they occasionally allow for precise dating and identification..
23. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, Adopting and adapting the paradigm: Gridiron cities in Japan, International Institute for Asian Studies, 2013.11, Using the example of capital cities, this paper will address the issue of cultural borrowing and the subsequent modification of imported ideas in ancient Japan. It is common knowledge that during the early centuries CE the ruling elites of the Japanese archipelago were heavily dependent on Chinese archetypes and prototypes for the formation of the early state.
Unquestionably, one of the most visually striking and impressive examples of this process of cultural borrowing was the establishment of large, semi‐permanent urban centers. Laid out on a gridiron pattern with a clearly delineated space reserved for the ruler’s residential quarters as well as for the apparatus of government—itself also mostly newly introduced—these cities symbolized the power of the ruler and the political, social and cultural center of the recently emerged state.
In order to explain how the Chinese archetype was adopted and adapted, this paper will briefly trace the evolution of gridiron cities. Then it will address the process of selecting a suitable site for the establishment of these cities. This process is commonly addressed only briefly by referring to lofty ideals and/or to esoteric practices but has received little scholarly attention so far..
24. Ellen E. M. A. Van Goethem, “Heiankyō: Guardian Deities and Geomantic Theories”, 2013.09, This paper discusses the various geomantic theories that circulate to explain why the site of Heian was chosen by Kanmu tenno for the construction of the new capital. It challenges the commonly-accepted notion that shijin soo as described in "Sakuteiki" (in the east, the direction of the Azure Dragon, there should be flowing water; in the west, the direction of the White Tiger, there should be a broad road; in the south, the direction of the Vermilion Bird, there should be a pond; and in the north, the direction of the Black Turtle-Snake, there should be a mountain) was decisive in this matter..
25. Ellen Van Goethem, Conceptualizing and Manipulating Nature: Mythical Beasts, Trees, and Auspicious Sites, Association for Asian Studies, 2013.03, References to the mythical beasts guarding the primary directions first entered the Japanese archipelago in the early centuries CE as imagery on the backs of bronze mirrors imported from China. Although practical guidelines on how to divine these guardian deities in the landscape may have been transmitted earlier, the Nihon shoki informs us that the first treatises on telluric divination were officially introduced in the sixth century. By the late seventh and early eighth centuries, we find more evidence that the practice of site divination had taken root in Japan as the four mythical beasts appear on tomb walls, on banners used at court ceremonies, and in written references to the site selection process preceding the relocation of the capital. What remains uncertain, however, is how the presence of these mythical beasts was visually translated in actual site divination processes.
By the Heian period, the divinatory techniques started to gain prominence in popular cosmology. Moreover, locally produced texts in which nature is conceptualized and manipulated present an increasingly rigid interpretation of ideal sites that incorporates (esoteric) Buddhist concepts. At this stage, the evaluation of a landscape became codified to the extent that it effected a reimagination of history and selection of earlier sites. This process of reinvention continues to modern times.
This presentation thus examines the assimilation, transformation, and increasing orthodoxy of notions of an ideal landscape, including both its underlying systems of thought and its visible features, from the sixth century to the present..
26. Ellen Van Goethem, 東アジアの四神獣に関する比較研究:宮都・住宅・樹木, 明治大学日本古代学研究所, 2013.02, 本講演では、風水(または堪輿)思想における景観上での四方四神 の表現方法に関する比較研究の結論を紹介する。個別には、四神獣は、東アジア全体において、後方(もしくは北方) の玄武、前方(もしくは南方)の朱雀、左方(もしくは東方)の青龍、右方(もしくは西方)の白虎として知られている。
しかしながら、風水に関する現存する最古の記録では、伝説の四神獣のそれぞれに対応する地形的な特徴は不明瞭なままである。後に、少なくとも二つの共存する風習が、東アジアにおける風水の中で、発達してきたようである。一つの風習では、自然地形の存在が強調され、四神獣は山などの地形として表現された。これに対し、もう一つの風習では、それぞれの四神獣について、異なる自然的・人為的な地形的特徴の存在が必要とされていた。本論文では、日本で「四神相応」と呼ばれる、後者の風習に注目する。
まず、文書資料の調査に基づいて、本講演では、四神相応の思想の起源と発展をさかのぼり、異なる記録に関する基礎分析の結果について報告を行った。そして、その上で、「四神相応が宮都(中国風都城)の位置の決定過程において利用されていた」という一般的な認識に対し、異議を唱えた。.
27. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, 東アジアの四神獣に関する比較研究—宮都・住宅・樹木, 国際的日本古代学の展開ー交響する古代III, 2013.02.
28. Ellen Van Goethem, 四神獣ーヨーロッパから見た飛鳥, 明治大学リバティアカデミー、明治大学日本古代学研究所, 2012.11, 本講演では、風水思想における景観上での四方四神の表現方法に関する比較研究の結論を紹介する。集合的には、四方四神が異なる名前で知られており、中国では四靈や四獣、日本では四禽や四神と呼ばれる。また、個別には、四獣は、後方(もしくは北方)の玄武、前方(もしくは南方)の朱雀、左方(もしくは東方の)青龍、右方(もしくは西方)の白虎として知られている。
しかしながら、風水に関する現存する最古の記録では、伝説の四獣のそれぞれに対する地形的な特徴は不明瞭なままである。後に、少なくとも二つの共存する風習が、東アジアにおける風水の中で、発達してきたようである。
一つの風習では、自然地形の存在が強調され、四獣は山などの地形として表現された。これに対し、もう一つの風習では、それぞれの四獣について、異なる自然的・人為的な地形的特徴の存在が必要とされている。本講演では、日本で「四神相応」と呼ばれる、後者の風習に注目する。.
29. Ellen Van Goethem, Site Divination and the (Re)Creation of Cultural Memory, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Seminar of Sinology, 2012.11, This paper is a preliminary discussion of the shifts in interpretation attached to feng shui and its symbolism. The paper starts with the introduction of feng shui symbolism and written sources to the Japanese archipelago in premodern times, and continues to investigate occurrences of feng shui symbolism in the present day.
The paper focuses on the (re-)use and (re-)interpretation of the four divine beasts and discusses the contexts in which they appear, how and by whom they are used and how they are understood.
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30. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, The Four Divine Beasts—Asuka Through European Eyes, 世界に伝えたい「飛鳥・藤原の魅力」記念講演, 2012.11, 本論文では、風水思想における景観上での四方四神の表現方法に関する比較研究の結論を紹介する。集合的には、四方四神が異なる名前で知られており、中国では四靈や四獣、日本では四禽や四神と呼ばれる。また、個別には、四獣は、後方(もしくは北方)の玄武、前方(もしくは南方)の朱雀、左方(もしくは東方の)青龍、右方(もしくは西方)の白虎として知られている。
しかしながら、風水に関する現存する最古の記録では、伝説の四獣のそれぞれに対する地形的な特徴は不明瞭なままである。後に、少なくとも二つの共存する風習が、東アジアにおける風水の中で、発達してきたようである。
一つの風習では、自然地形の存在が強調され、四獣は山などの地形として表現された。これに対し、もう一つの風習では、それぞれの四獣について、異なる自然的・人為的な地形的特徴の存在が必要とされている。本論文では、日本で「四神相応」と呼ばれる、後者の風習に注目する。.
31. Ellen Van Goethem, 歴史資料・資源としての木簡―長岡京の場合, 日本古代学研究所 (明治大学), 2012.03, 本発表では、多数の木簡の発見が長岡京時代の諸側面に関する我々の理解をいかに深めたか、具体的に示す。木簡発見以前は長岡京の同時代史料が極めて限られていた。長岡京での初めての発見以来40年、大量の木簡は長岡京のその他の考古資料をも補う貴重な資料となった。.
32. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, 歴史資料・資源としての木簡—長岡京の場合, 国際的日本古代学の展開ー交響する古代III, 2012.03.
33. Ellen Van Goethem, Planting Trees and Healing Sites: Sakuteiki, Hoki naiden, and Taishiden gyokurinsho, 13th International Conference of the European Association of Japanese Studies, 2011.08.
34. Ellen Van Goethem, Planting Trees and Healing Sites: Geomantic Thought in China, Korea and Japan, 2011.05.
35. Ellen Van Goethem, In Search of the "Four Gods" Protecting Capital Cities in Cultural East Asia, Association for Asian Studies & International Convention of Asia Scholars, 2011.04, [URL], Throughout East Asia, great care was taken to select suitable locations for constructing tombs, residences, and cities. A site was considered auspicious if protected by four gods: the Black Turtle-Snake, the Vermilion Bird, the Azure Dragon, and the White Tiger.
As in any other polity within the East Asian cultural sphere, geophysical divination thus became an integral part of the site selection process preceding the relocation of capital cities in ancient Japan. Although primary sources provide scant information on the actual landscape features representing these gods, secondary sources generally resort to the term “the four guardian gods are in balance” (shijin sōō) and its interpretation offered in the Sakuteiki, the text on garden aesthetics attributed to Tachibana Toshitsuna (1028–1094).
In a section on the planting of trees, the Sakuteiki explains that an auspicious site requires the presence of a mountain, a plain, a river, and a road to the north, south, east, and west, respectively. It is commonly assumed that this way of divining the gods in the landscape was a development unique to Japan.
However, having shown in previous research that this “Sakuteiki-model” ultimately derives from Chinese traditions, it is now time to move beyond the Japanese archipelago and present a more in-depth study of the continental sources. Although the principles of what is required from an auspicious site are identical, there are some significant differences with regard to remedying topographical deficiencies in the various texts..
36. Ellen Van Goethem, Cultural Borrowing and Adaptation in Ancient Japan: Capital Cities, International Symposium on Japanese Studies“Japanese Cultural and Linguistic Identity” , 2011.03, [URL].
37. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, Cultural Borrowing and Adaptation in Ancient Japan: Capital Cities, International Symposium on Japanese Studies "Japanese Cultural and Linguistic Identity", 2011.03.
38. Ellen Van Goethem, ベルギーからみた古代日本, 明治大学 日本古代学教育・研究センター 南カリフォルニア大学プログラム特別講義, 2011.01.
39. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, Pleasing the Four Gods: Shijin sōō (四神相応), Site Selection and Site Adaptation, 26th International SAHANZ Conference, 2009.07, In this paper, I investigate the antiquity and origin of the interpretation given to the concept of shijin sōō 四神相応, ‘to befit the Four Gods’, in Japan.
When discussing the site selection process that preceded the relocation of the ancient Chinese-style capitals on the Japanese archipelago, scholars often use the term shijin sōō. According to shijin sōō, the most favorable site to construct a capital was protected in the cardinal directions by one of Four Gods: the Vermilion Bird (suzaku 朱雀) of the south, the Black Turtle-Snake (genbu 玄武) of the north, the Azure Dragon (seiryū 青龍) of the east, and the White Tiger (byakko 白虎) of the west. Still according to the same scholars, each of these gods was represented in the landscape by natural or man-made features: an irrigated plain in the south, a mountain in the north, a river in the east, and a road in the west. Although the first textual evidence of this interpretation of the Four Gods in the landscape postdates the construction of Heian—the last of the Chinese-style capitals—by at least two centuries, it is often asserted that capital site selection based on these man-made and natural requirements was already put to practice in the seventh or eighth century. A second assertion frequently
made in connection with this interpretation is the claim that it is a type of geophysical divination unique to Japan.
Based on textual study and geographical analysis, this paper refutes both the presumed antiquity of the above-mentioned interpretation of the shijin sōō concept as well as its uniqueness, thus questioning the notion that the theory applied to capital site selection in ancient Japan..
40. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, Shijin sōō and the Site Selection Process of Chinese-style Capitals in Japan, 4th International Conference on Scientific Feng Shui & Built Environment, 2009.02.
41. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, The Influence of Chinese Philosophical Thought on the Construction of Nagaokakyō, Japan’s Forgotten Capital, 2006 International Conference on East Asian Architectural Culture, 2006.12.
42. Ellen Elza Melina Albert Van Goethem, Tracing Feng Shui in Ancient Japanese Capital Cities – Case-study: Nagaokakyō, 2nd International Symposium on Scientific Feng Shui and Built Environment, 2006.10.

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