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The Inspiration of Subaru as a Symbol of Cultural Value and Tradition in Japan
Steven L. Renshaw
Subaru is known by many throughout the world as the Japanese name for the Pleiades. Having some basis as a seasonal marker in antiquity and later appearance in the development of national mythology, imagery related to Subaru developed to reflect cultural values, and its seasonal appearance served as a practical guide for numerous activities of the culture. To gain a basic understanding of how symbolic associations with Subaru have been inspired by its place in the heavens as well as its use for citizens, four areas of interest are viewed: (1) astronomical and seasonal significance of the asterism as reflected in early Asian cosmology, (2) associations in the national mythology of the sun goddess Amaterasu, (3) lore found throughout the islands related to practical uses of Subaru as a marker for time keeping, agriculture, fishing, and other activities, and (4) individual and cultural symbolism associated with archetypal identification.