Hitomi Omata Rappo

Associate Professor, Hakubi Center, Kyoto University*Profile is at the time of the award.

2024Inamori Research GrantsHumanities & Sociology

Research topics
Miracles in Question: A History of the Process of Constructing "Facts" about Relics
Relics, the vestiges of sanctified individuals, are venerated within Catholic Christianity as conduits of faith. Nonetheless, their authenticity often hinges on the corroboration by documentary evidence. Historically, the occurrence of "miracles" associated with these relics has served to underscore their genuineness. As such, the verification of "miracles" once formed a pivotal subject of ecclesiastical adjudications and was the focus of rigorous theological discourse. Presently, it has transitioned into the realm of scientific inquiry. The processes involved in the documentation of specific events that lend credibility to "miracles", alongside the interpretative mechanisms that influence the perception of these "facts", can be conceptualized as a methodology for the construction of historical veracity. In this context, the present study undertakes a historiographical analysis on the methodologies of history construction.


Within the corpus of "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure", Part 7, entitled "Steel Ball Run", stands out for its unique fascination. This narrative unfolds in a century dominated by the burgeoning force of Science, where an ensemble of distinctive characters embarks on a quest for the relics of Jesus Christ. Amidst encounters with the miraculous, they engage in a race across the North American continent, juxtaposed against the technological marvel of a steam locomotive. The themes of the occult, supernatural, and miraculous not only challenge the conventions of serious scientific inquiry but also captivate the reader's imagination. This dichotomy is particularly intriguing given today's academic pursuit of empirically verifiable "facts" within a scientific framework. Interestingly, the methodology of scientific experimentation has its roots in the pre-modern ecclesiastical trial method used to authenticate miracles, suggesting that the quest for scientific validation of miracles continues unabated. There exists a prevailing notion that tangible, observable "facts" are incontrovertible. However, the journey to establishing these "facts" as incontrovertible truths may unveil narratives of thrilling escapades that question the very foundation of what we consider to be self-evident. It is my intention to use the proposed grant to delve into such narratives, advocating for a historical investigation that uncovers these adventurous tales.

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Humanities & Sociology