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聖なるものの持つ一同性が、そこでは否定され、しかも日常的な俗に転落しきることなく、いつも対岸のそこに存在するがゆえに、聖は悪の影を宿す

I understand the first part is talking about how same sex marriage is denied by 'holiness/religion' but I have no idea what the second part is trying to get at.

This is the whole paragraph: かつて廣末保は「悪場所論おぼえがき」の中で、「悪場所といえば、芝居と廓ということになろう」と書いている。そして、「本来、持続してはならないものが持続しており、そのために、恣意的に関係を結ぶことも可能になるような場が、悪場所であった。聖なるものの持つ一同性が、そこでは否定され、しかも日常的な俗に転落しきることなく、いつも対岸のそこに存在するがゆえに、聖は悪の影を宿す」と続けている。そういう意味では、歌舞伎町は典型的な悪場所であるといえよう。

If you could also help me understand what it means by 芝居と廓ということになろう that would be great too; 'dramas and districts' sounds a bit strange?

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  • 聖 means "holy", "sacred", not "sex". It is 一回性, isn't it? Nov 26, 2020 at 13:16
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    I don't see where you're getting the idea that this is about same sex marriage. It just seems to be talking about why Kabuki-cho is something of a textbook case exemplifying the sort of debauchery associated with theaters and redlight districts from the perspective of 聖. And without much more context, I'm not sure how the author is using 聖 here: is it a particular person? is a particular religious class? 廣末保 seems to be talking about a particular traditional (Confucian?) view of the arts and literature.
    – A.Ellett
    Nov 26, 2020 at 13:33
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    Did you copy 一同性 correctly? I cannot find a definition of such a word anywhere. Maybe a typo for 同一性 ("identity", "integrity")?
    – naruto
    Nov 26, 2020 at 14:03

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悪場所といえば芝居と廓ということになろう means "When we say 悪場所, it would usually refer to theater districts and red-light districts." 芝居 refers to 芝居町, which was a big place of amusement in those days (see 江戸三座). 廓 basically means "district" but it could refer to 遊郭 on its own. So they are talking about such special districts detached from the ordinary life.

聖なるものの持つ一同性が、そこでは否定され、しかも日常的な俗に転落しきることなく、いつも対岸のそこに存在するがゆえに、聖は悪の影を宿す

This sentence is very hard to interpret. This looks like a poem rather than an academic analysis, especially to someone who is not familiar with the theory of the author (廣末). I couldn't even find the definition of 一同性; maybe it's synonymous for 普遍性 "universality"? Anyway, you can read the summary of what the author thinks about 悪場所 in this blog article.

The author regards our ordinary life outside 悪場所 as 聖なるもの ("something sacred"), and he is contrasting it with the life in 悪場所. Ordinary people believe 悪場所 is a special place, but once you're in an 悪場所 and see the life outside, ordinary life will start to shine as something special and sacred (対岸のそこに存在する = "the sacred thing is always there at the other side of the river"). This is a guess, but 聖は悪の影を宿す (literally "sacredness will have a shade of evilness") may be saying 外の世界 (=聖) and 悪場所 (=悪) are just two sides of a coin. Same sex marriage does not seem to be related to this.

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As Yuuichi Tam has pointed out in a comment, you have misread 一回性 as 一同性. This error is compounded by your assumption that 一同性 has something to do with same-sex marriage. It does not. (In fact, as far as I know 一同性 isn't really a word, though of course 一同 is.) The meaning of 一回性 is difficult to convey in a single word or short phrase in English, but it refers to the nature or quality of an event that is unique and occurs only once, never to be repeated in the same way.

I haven't read Hirosue's work, but judging by the context it would appear that when he writes of the 一回性 of the sacred, he has in mind the temporary but often very dramatic suspension of ordinary mores and norms that occurred during religious events like the matsuri in premodern times. A somewhat analogous atmosphere of licensed misbehavior prevailed in theatre districts and pleasure quarters during the Edo period, with the crucial distinction that it was not fleeting, but permanent. In such spaces, behavior that was normally forbidden (or was permitted only for a short time within the carefully defined physical and social space of a religious event), was allowed to continue on an ongoing basis. That's what Hirosue is getting at when he writes 「本来、持続してはならないものが持続しており、そのために、恣意的に関係を結ぶことも可能になるような場が、悪場所であった」. (The arbitrarily formed relationships referenced here are presumably those between prostitutes and their clients, and between some kabuki actors and their admirers.)

In light of the above, we can translate the first sentence you asked about as follows:

In such spaces, the unique, never-to-be-repeated character of the sacred is negated. Moreover, the sacred never completely lapses into the quotidian profane, but instead always remains in existence in the other realm [i.e., the world outside the pleasure quarters]. Thus, the sacred contains the shadow of evil.

The assertion that the sacred contains the shadow of evil seems like something of a non sequitur; maybe the connection is elucidated in the original text. But the gist of the sentence as a whole seems pretty clear, if rather abstract: On the one hand, within these "bad places," the special nature of the sacred that obtains elsewhere -- its 一回性 -- is denied or subverted. But on the other hand, for those within these spaces, that which is sacred (or sacrality itself) never loses its sacredness and becomes ordinary, as it inevitably must elsewhere. Instead, it exists permanently in its ideal state, albeit at a remove.

As for your second question, I'd translate that sentence as "When we speak of 'bad places,' we are generally referring to theatre districts and pleasure quarters." If you aren't familiar with this usage of なる, I suspect you can find an explanation of it elsewhere on this site.

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