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The Imperial Shrines of Ise: An Ancient Star Cult?
Japan's ancient imperial cult has consistently been understood to revolve around the figure of the sun-goddess and imperial ancestor Amaterasu. The symbolism of Amaterasu's shrine in Ise has been interpreted on the basis of this same premise. There is, however, one dissenting voice: the work of Yoshino Hiroko, who argues that behind the solar façade, imperial worship of Ise reflected an ancient star cult of Chinese origin. This paper finds arguments both for and against this daring hypothesis.