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Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 10:53:22 -0400
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@msu.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: Geomancy in Japan
Date: September 1, 1995
Subj:RE: H-ASIA: ? Geomancy in Japan
From: Robert J Poor <poorx001@maroon.tc.umn.edu> (Dr. Robert Poor)

Geomancy in East Asia

By Robert J. Poor, 1 September 1995

Geomancy (Feng shui, in Chinese; I am not positive about the Japanese romanization of the wind character, ? sui) is indeed still important in contemporary Japan as well as in China and other Asian communities around the world. At the theoretical level, fengshui ideas are employed by modern architects, site planners etc. As an item of popular belief, fengshui governs everything form locating a new business to the orientation of house-hold furniture. I cannot speak in detail about Japanese practices as they apply to modern buildings (other than traditional forms like temples, Noh stages, gardens). However, since the topic is continental by nature and the writer also inquired about mountains, here are a few remarks to open up the discussion of the modern fengshui practices in general.

Feng-shui is a Chinese system developed prior to the Chinese contact with Buddhism. As a result of the historical consequence one may encounter hybrid situations with Buddhist ideas taking precedence in one situation but not another (e.g. Buddhist temples are oriented to the east, but the civic architecture outside the wall of a temple complex, including tombs and burial sites would be oriented to the south in accord with Feng-shui practices). In a similar vein, mountains have their own characteristics and individual differences in ritual rhetoric; Penglai mythology is different than Kunlun mythology and both are distinct from the shifting Five Mountains or individual mountains like Taishan in China or Fuji in Japan. Adjustments must also be made for Shinto and, to a lesser extent, Daoist beliefs.

This is a very large subject. I suggest that you start with an encyclopedia of Asian subjects (e.g. The Columbia work edited by Ambree) for a general introduction then go to the books on architecture for modern practices (the building of Hong Kong office buildings, architects at MIT looking at fengshui as a theoretical approach to site planning, things of that sort). Two inexpensive publications illustrate modern adaptations of fengshui ideas. Derek Walters, Feng Shui; the Chinese Art of Designing a Harmonious Environment (Simon and Schuster, Inc. A Fireside Book, 1988), takes on everything from Five Element theory to laying out your bathroom. Walters gives a good popular view of fengshui and the other Chinese ways of dealing with the total environment. Derham Groves, Feng-Shui and Western Building Ceremonies (Graham Brash (PTE) LTD, Singapore / Tynron Press, Scotland, 1991) does the same but also illustrates some interesting popular instances of the application on fengshui on the street in overseas Asian communities in Australia.

An interesting subject. Please keep me informed f your progress and especially if you come up with much on Korea.

Robert J Poor <poorx001@maroon.tc.umn.edu>

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 19:20:18 -0500
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@msu.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: Feng-shui Issues Date: December 18, 1995
Subj:RE: H-ASIA: Feng shui Bibliography
From: d-kelly@adfa.oz.au (David Kelly)

An interesting sidelight on fengshui is that it influenced the design of Canberra, the Australian capital. The present design was the work of Walter Burley Griffin, a member of the Prairie school of architecture associated with Frank Lloyd Wright. Griffin won an international competition for a capital city design early in the twentieth century, although the work of building was not to begin until the late 1920s. Among the eclectic Griffin's many mystical influences was fengshui, a fact documented in memoirs later written by his wife. The upshot is that Canberra has a mountain and a water axis, the latter being the artificially engineered Lake Burley Griffin.

See Peter R. Proudfoot, _The Secret Plan of Canberra_, Kensington (New South Wales, Australia) University of New South Wales Press, 1994.

David Kelly
home fax +61 6 282 6223

Department of Politics
University College
Australian Defence Force Academy
Northcott Drive
Campbell ACT 2600 Australia

Subj:RE: H-ASIA: Feng-shui Bibliography
From: jospri@server.indo.net.id (josef prijotomo)

To find things on Fengshui, you may try this address:

josef prijotomo
phone: +62 031 593 1085
e-mail: jospri@indo.net.id

Subj:RE: H-ASIA: Feng shui Bibliography
Comments on Dr. Gillogly's Feng Shui notes.

Peter J. Herz writes:

I'm not surprised that feng shui has believers in Thailand, especially Bangkok. When I was living in Krung Thep from 1990-92, I found that Mandarin went pretty far. Given the preponderence of ethnic Han in business circles of all kinds, it should be expected that feng shui plays a role in siting buildings. Does anyone have any info on the use of feng shui in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Saigon, Jakarta, Manila, and other such places?

While Thailand's Chinese are absorbed, I encountered large numbers of people who continued to speak Chinese languages, eat in the Chinese manner, and revert to the use of Chinese names when dealing with other Sinophones--including Farangs who also spoke Thai. I also encountered numerous younger Sino-Thai who were studying Chinese as a foreign language. Of course, there were larger numbers who were completely Thai by cultural orientation, especially if partly native Thai by descent.

Was the feng shui practicing hill tribe up north Yao by any chance? I noticed that quite a few older Yao men in Thailand used classical Chinese as a liturgical language--although I also encountered Hmong who spoke Mandarin, as well.

Any notes on whether feng shui had influenced folk practices of Muslim Haw in Chieng Mai and points north?

Peter Jeffrey Herz

Date: Sat, 16 Dec 1995 16:05:46 -0500
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@msu.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: Feng shui Bibliography
Date: December 16, 1995
Subj:RE: H-ASIA: Feng-shui Bibliography
From: Kagillogly@aol.com

As I recall, there was an article about feng shui in Hong Kong in a book called *Environment and Cultural Values in Southeast Asia* edited by A. Terry Rambo and George Lovelace. Circa 1985. Ann Arbor: The Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, The University of Michigan. It seems to me that there's been a great deal of interest in the possible environmental consequences of feng shui, but not focussing directly on its adaptation.

Feng shui is practiced, to some extent, in Thailand. While people of Chinese descent explicitly practice it, it seems to have permeated Thai culture as well. There was an amusing article in *The Manager*, a Bangkok-based business monthly, on feng shui and the building of new high rises (one company used mirrors to bounce bad influences away from itself; with the result that the bad influences were directed toward a building across the street; so the owners of that building also built put mirrored surfaces on its building). I believe the article was published in about 1993, winter. In fact, I recommend that magazine highly for an examination of business culture in Thailand as it often examines the importance of the Chinese in Thailand's business.

I worked with an upland ethnic minority in Thailand where some people used feng shui to determine burial places. Two-three generations ago, this group had lived in China; and they are also influenced by Yunnanese Chinese who lived inter-mixed with them. But this may be a bit too esoteric for your friend, and I didn't follow up on it anyhow.

Good luck to your friend.

Kate Gillogly
Dept. of Anthropology
Univ. of Michigan