AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Don’t get too horny, deer: A reprise

Posted by ampontan on Wednesday, October 10, 2012

IT’S that time of year again in Nara — The annual ceremony to deantlerize the deer in Nara Park was held on Saturday. This traditional event dates back to the Edo period, and is conducted at the start of mating season to keep the male deer from injuring park visitors or other deer with their antlers. Here’s a previous post on the same event from four years ago. But better yet, this year we have some Youtube video:

Another ceremony with deer as the main attraction was held in Nanjing, China, last week:

(D)ozens of tourists rushed to a dear farm in Nanjing on Wednesday, lining up for a drink of blood extracting from deer horns. The drink, which apparently is good for one’s health, caused some onlookers to faint, reports China’s news website the Eastday.com.

The caretaker cut down the deer horn with a saw, then handed over the bloody horn to the tourists, who sucked the blood pooled in the inside…A bloodier scene continued. A worker cut a neck artery of a female deer, extracting blood directly and pouring it into a cup. A woman immediately drank it out, leaving her mouth with bloodstains.

“There is nothing horrible about this. Deer blood is the diamond of bloods: it’s good for the kidneys, sex enhancement and metabolism. Ordinary people do not have the chance to enjoy it,” a tourist was quoted by the news portal as saying.

It’s all for medicinal purposes, don’t you know. Deer blood is a traditional Chinese health food:

According to Chinese medicine, all parts of a deer can be used as medicine, especially deer blood, which is believed to cure diabetes. A professor of a Chinese medicine hospital at Jiangsu province warned that deer blood is not suitable for all patients. Some will become impatient after drinking it.

It might be appropriate to reprise part of another post — an excerpt I recently presented from Tsukuba University Prof. Furuta Hiroshi discussing China:

“…These rules for mealtime manners, wedding ceremonies, and clothing for all occasions, have been considered standards for etiquette since ancient times. They are considered to be a matter of proper behavior.

“The reality of courtesy changes over time, even in China, so these rules have not been uniform. Those who do not observe the prevailing standards of behavior, however, are considered barbarians. Their thesis is that the group upholding this etiquette is China (中華), the center of civilization. That is unchanged now from the past.

“Of course, the idea that one is the center of civilization is to be found here and there throughout the world. In Europe, the French are noted for it. But their attitude has not approached, as it always has with the Chinese, the haughty position of invincibility (in the belief that) their manner of eating, of conducting ceremonies, and the outward appearance of their clothing is correct (正しい) and therefore superior…”

Prof. Furuta thinks a useful image for understanding Northeast Asia is to picture the region as a group of nations living in different eras in terms of their political, economic, and social systems. Japan, he holds, is the only country that has reached what he calls the “post-modern” stage of development in the West. He thinks South Korea and Taiwan are in the “modern era”. Finally, he argues that the coastal regions of China have just entered the modern era, and that the interior of the country and North Korea are still in the Middle Ages.

In China, the great domestic disparity between systems is being compounded by their rapid entry into the modern era, sometimes resulting in sharp jolts of psychological dislocation and disorientation.

How many people in the West have a clear picture of what’s going on here? Not enough, I’m afraid.

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One Response to “Don’t get too horny, deer: A reprise”

  1. level3 said

    “the Chinese, the haughty position of invincibility (in the belief that) their manner of eating.. is correct (正しい) and therefore superior….”

    LOL,
    Well, I guess in some cultures eating with your mouth open is “correct”. I assume they wouldn’t understand the deal with Cookie Monster.

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