異界への道--中国小説の場合 The passage to different worlds: the case of Chinese novels
It is well-known that the idea of different worlds in China (especially the world of the dead) is very secular. The underworld is a world of government offices operated through officials and documents, but it is located underground. Can we go there by the use of some tunnel? In novels written by the old intellectuals, we find that a man who was to travel to the underworld was visited by messengers from that world. They guided him to the world of the dead, but at that time, they did not use a tunnel, even though that world is located underground. The underworld is contiguous to the world above ground. Since it is an alien world, however, it should be separated from the human world. How can the messengers guide a human being to the underground world? According to the novels, when the messengers appear to take someone to their home, it is a time when the man is dying, or during illness, or in a dream. What do these have in common? It is a time when his eyes are closed. By closing the eyes, the man enters into a different world. Closing the eyes is the tunnel to the alien world. The Chinese word for the underground world is 'meikai' which means a dark world. In Chinese novels, the alien world is a place that a man can reach by going through a dark tunnel, or by closing the eyes.
経済志林 78(3), 89-109, 2011-02