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呪 - charm/incantation/spell/curse
術 - art/technique/means/magic
With respect to cultural anthropology, "incantation magic" refers to types, styles, and rites of shamanism and animism found in ancient religions, all having to do with magic spells and incantations that are accompanied by ideas and deeds. Actual examples may refer to,

① A law system developed by early society and civilization, a guiding principle for the people, determined fate and destiny as an oracle, using prayer and divination;

② Utilizing knowledge of medicinal and poisonous herbs found during hunting and foraging for food, making a living as a witch doctor that makes folk remedies; or

③ Points to a faith healer using the power of divine spirits for spells, curses, and exorcisms.

It is known as "incantation" in Japan. A term which arrived at [nafu] of the definition of carrying out [maji], it is recorded as "majikunafu" in the Kojien Japanese Dictionary.

The English word "magic" refers to all three: "magic" "magecraft" and "conjuring trick". In order to make a distinction between those and incantations, "incantation magic" takes precedence to the translated equivalent, and is the technical term in the fields of cultural anthropology and religious studies.

In various types of incantation magics, there are those that can be used by anyone, provided they make themselves think that rituals, magic spells, and vessels possess phantasmal power. There still exist customs and superstitions in modern times such as the act of taking the lucky road [i.e. setting off the night before one normally would have departed], as well as superstitious behavior [i.e. throwing salt over one's shoulder].

Firstly relating to "incantations" and "magic spells", incantation magic is not merely confined to understanding what Buddhism sutras and chants are. If one can see more beneath the simple act of rotating chants like a prayer wheel in order to obtain virtue, these will also be considered magic spells and incantations.

Frazer's theory

  • Sympathetic Magic (Imitative Magic)
    • Incantation magic founded on the principle of similarity. It involves achieving a purpose through deeds that imitate the desired result. It uses a pattern that imitates natural phenomenon, such as pouring water for a rainmaking ritual or banging on drums.
      • An ideal example for the Japanese is the "cursing ritual where one visits a shrine at 2 in the morning and nails a doll representing a person to a tree, praying for said person's death". At this time, the doll takes the place of the curse's target. However, inflicting actual pain on the target by increasing the damage on the doll is doable, which is where the use of the target's hair also takes on the aspect of contagious magic.
      • A much closer example would be the superstitious belief that "eating seagrass causes one's hair to become darker in color". Although there are no actual chemical substances in seagrass which increase melanin levels and change hair color into that of seagrass, seeing it raised from the ocean floor and resembling hair from a person's head gave birth to such a misguided thought.

    • As a brand of incantation magic that totes its own idea of imitation, its result originates from the source. Likewise, the source has an impact on the result. To simply put it, sympathy is established.

  • Contagious Magic
    • Incantation magic founded on the principle of contact. By thrusting a spear into the footprint of one's prey, the deed's effect reaches the prey and causes their escape on foot to be slowed down. Incantation magic involves things such as devoting oneself to a straw effigy in Japan. Frazer states that contagious magic can also exist in things that are comprised with sympathetic magic. There are times when it applies to the principle of the latter when one wants to use incantation magic and uses hair, nails, and other things that came into contact with the target.
    • Based on the idea that two things will mutually operate no matter how great the distance. Refers to objects that have been touched at least once, or even what was part of someone (such as hair and clothes).
    • An example from Japan - there is a practice where a man proceeds to a dangerous location, carrying the hair of a woman with whom he has close relations (either as a blood relative or as a lover) with him as a talisman. This is founded on faith that concerns the power of young women in ancient Japan. However, creating part of one's own body into a talisman and making it into an object possessed by a divine spirit of such power, is regarded to have its roots in the theory behind contagious magic.
    • Homeopathy is an obvious form of contagious magic in the modern age. Making use of and weakly diluting medical ingredients that have been dissolved in water is unheard of in medical science. However, those who practice homeopathy claim that there is no change in the medicine's potency, however diluted it is afterwards. This is a typical idea of how contagious magic works.

J. Beattie defines incantation magic as a symbolic wish [i.e. wish fulfillment].

Claude Lvi-Strauss considers incantation magic as one type of mindset, coming from a viewpoint that makes a comparison of mindsets. Regarding methods of thinking that try to analyze an object by using an academic or general concept close to scientific knowledge -- in an environment whose requirements for doing so are not all at one's disposal, a person who is in thought, in the meantime makes up a mark, word, or symbol that he is familiar with. Being a creature that struggles to understand everything, is obligated to struggle to understand in that fashion. What's more, if we consider scientific thinking as "agricultural thinking", then the latter can be called "feral thinking".