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Kojiki (古事記, "Records of Ancient Matters" or "An Account of Ancient Matters"), also sometimes read as Furukotofumi,[1] is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century (711–712) and composed by Ō no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Genmei with the purpose of furthering the imperial agenda.[2][3][4] The Kojiki is a collection of myths concerning the origin of the Japanese archipelago, and the Kami (神). The myths contained in the Kojiki as well as the Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) are part of the inspiration behind many practices. Later, the myths were re-appropriated for Shinto practices such as the misogi purification ritual.[5][6][7][8]

Shinpukuji-bon Kojiki (真福寺本古事記)

Contents

Creation of the KojikiEdit

Emperor Tenmu ordered Hieda no Are to memorize stories and texts from history, many of which appear to have been, until the creation of the Kojiki, commonly known oral traditions. Beyond this memorization nothing occurred until after Empress Jitō and Emperor Monmu had both passed and Empress Genmei came to reign. According to the Kojiki, Empress Genmei on the 18th of the 9th month of 711 ordered the courtier Ō no Yasumaro to record what had been learned by Hieda no Are. He finished and presented his work to Empress Genmei on the 28th of the 1st month of 712.[2]

Political Purpose of the KojikiEdit

As evidenced in the preface of the Kojiki, which states the purpose of its creation as "to erase falsehoods and establish truth", the Kojiki, as well as the Nihon Shoki, were works created with the primary purpose of furthering the imperial agenda. Created not long after the conclusion of the tumultuous Jinshin Rebellion, the Kojiki establishes a pro-Yamato narrative of history which combined with what would become the officially accepted imperial narrative, the Nihon Shoki, would help secure both a historical as well as a divine legitimacy and superiority to a dynasty which would survive up to the atomic era. This historical narrative is clearly broken into the Age of Gods and the Age of Human Emperors, wherein the mythology of the gods which gave birth to the land is told and is transitioned in a chronological fashion to the reign of the emperors, who descend from these same gods. This narrative clearly sets forth the divine mandate by which the Yamato line has right to rule, and through the rhetoric used in the Age of Human Emperors, much of it borrowed from Chinese sources, the historical and military qualifications were likewise established. Several of the narratives which give support to the imperial line, such as the subjugation of certain Korean Empires, have been confirmed as historically false and were included merely to erase failures and bolster reputations of emperors past. Vast amounts of the Age of Human Emperors is spent recounting genealogies, which served not only to give age to the imperial family, which was likely much newer than the Kojiki claims as little evidence has been found to support the existence of early emperors, but also served to tie, whether true or not, many existing clan's genealogies to their own. Regardless of the original intent of the Kojiki, it finalized and possibly even formulated the framework by which Japanese history was examined in terms of the reign of emperors.[2][3]

Study of the KojikiEdit

 
Kojiki-den by Motoori Norinaga

In the Edo period, Motoori Norinaga studied the Kojiki intensively. He produced a 44-volume study of the Kojiki called Kojiki-den (古事記伝, "Kojiki commentary").

English language translationsEdit

ManuscriptsEdit

There are two major branches of Kojiki manuscripts: Ise and Urabe. The extant Urabe branch consists of 36 existing manuscripts all based on the 1522 copies by Urabe Kanenaga. The Ise branch may be subdivided into the Shinpukuji-bon (真福寺本) manuscript of 1371–1372 and the Dōka-bon (道果本) manuscripts. The Dōka sub-branch consists of:

  • the Dōka-bon (道果本) manuscript of 1381; only the first half of the first volume remains
  • the Dōshō-bon (道祥本) manuscript of 1424; only the first volume remains, and there are many defects
  • the Shun'yu-bon (春瑜本) manuscript of 1426; one volume

The Shinpukuji-bon manuscript (1371–1372) is the oldest existing manuscript. While divided into the Ise branch, it is actually a mixture of the two branches. The monk Ken'yu based his copy on Ōnakatomi Sadayo's copy. In 1266, Sadayo copied volumes one and three, but did not have access to the second volume. Finally, in 1282, he obtained access to the second volume through a Urabe-branch manuscript that he used to transcribe.

StructureEdit

The Kojiki contains various songs and poems. While the historical records and myths are written in a form of Chinese with a heavy mixture of Japanese elements, the songs are written with Chinese characters, though only used phonetically. This special use of Chinese characters is called Man'yōgana, a knowledge of which is critical to understanding these songs, which are written in Old Japanese.[9]

SectionsEdit

The Kojiki is divided into three parts: the Kamitsumaki (上巻, "first volume"), the Nakatsumaki (中巻, "middle volume") and the Shimotsumaki (下巻, "lower volume").

  • The Kamitsumaki, also known as the Kamiyo no Maki (神代巻, "Volume of the Age of the Gods"), includes the preface of the Kojiki, and is focused on the deities of creation and the births of various deities of the kamiyo (神代) period, or Age of the Gods. The Kamitsumaki also outlines the myths concerning the foundation of Japan. It describes how Ninigi-no-Mikoto, grandson of Amaterasu and great-grandfather of Emperor Jimmu, descended from heaven to Takachihonomine in Kyūshū and became the progenitor of the Japanese imperial line.[6][8][10]
  • The Nakatsumaki begins with the story of Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor, and his conquest of Japan, and ends with the 15th Emperor, Emperor Ōjin. The second through ninth emperors' reigns are recorded in a minimum of detail, with only their names, the names of their various descendants, and the place-names of their palaces and tombs listed, and no mention of their achievements. Many of the stories in this volume are mythological, and the allegedly historical information in them is highly suspect. Recent studies support the view that these emperors were invented to push Jimmu's reign further back to the year 660 BC.[citation needed]
  • The Shimotsumaki covers the 16th to 33rd emperors and, unlike previous volumes, has very limited references to the interactions with deities. These interactions are very prominent in the first and second volumes. Information about the 24th to the 33rd emperors is largely missing, as well.

Contents of the TextEdit

What follows is a condensed summary of the contents of the text, including many of the names of gods, emperors, and locations as well as events which took place in association to them. The original Japanese is included in parentheses where appropriate.

Preface (序)Edit


The Kamitsumaki (上巻), or first volumeEdit


The Nakatsumaki (中巻), or second volumeEdit

  • Kanyamatoiwarebiko no Mikoto (神倭伊波礼毘古命) or Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇)
  • Emperor Kanmu conquers Yamato
  • **The sword from heaven, or Futsu no mitama (布都御魂) and the three legged crow, or Yatagarasu (八咫烏)
    • The emperor Hikoitsuse no Mikoto (彦五瀬命)
    • From Kumano (熊野) to Yamato (大和)
    • **An ancient ballad, kumeuta (久米歌)
    • The Empress Isukeyorihime or Empress Hime Tatara Isuzu (伊須気余理比売)
    • **The rebellion of Tagishimimi no Mikoto (当芸志美美命)
  • Kannunakawamimi no Mikoto (神沼河耳命), or Emperor Suizei (綏靖天皇)
  • Shikitsuhikotamatemi no Mikoto (師木津日子玉手見命), or Emperor Annei (安寧天皇)
  • Ōyamatohikosukitomo no Mikoto (大倭日子鍬友命), or Emperor Itoku (懿徳天皇)
  • Mimatsuhikokaeshine no Mikoto (御真津日子可恵志泥命), or Emperor Kōshō (孝昭天皇)
  • Ōyamatotarashihikokunioshihito no Mikoto (大倭帯日子国押人命), or Emperor Kōan (孝安天皇)
  • Ōyamatonekohikofutoni no Mikoto (大倭根子日子賦斗迩命), or Emperor Kōrei (孝霊天皇)
  • Ōyamatonekohikokunikuru no Mikoto (大倭根子日子国玖琉命), or Emperor Kōgen (孝元天皇)
  • Wakayamatonekohikoōbibi no Mikoto (若倭根子日子毘々命), or Emperor Kaika (開化天皇)
  • Mimakiirihikoinie no Mikoto (御真木入日子印恵命), or Emperor Sujin (崇神天皇)
  • The emperor's son and queen
  • The god of Mount Miwa (三輪山) or Mimoro (三諸山), Ōmononushi (大物主神)
  • **The rebellion of Takehaniyasu no Miko (建波邇安王)
    • Emperor Hatsukunishirashishi (初国知らしし天皇)
  • Emperor Ikumeiribikoisachi no Mikoto (伊久米伊理毘古伊佐知命), or Emperor Suinin (垂仁天皇)
    • The emperor's son and queen
    • The Sahobiko (沙本毘古) and Sahobime (沙本毘売)
    • Homuchiwakenomiko (本牟田智和気王)
    • (円野比売)
    • The fruit of time
  • Ōtarashihikoōshirowake no sumeramiko (大帯日子於斯呂和気天皇), or Emperor Keikou (景行天皇)
    • The emperor's son and queen
    • Yamatotakerunomikoto's (倭建命) conquest of the Kumaso people (熊襲)
    • Izumotakeru's (出雲建) Subjugation
    • Yamatotakerunomikoto's conquest of Tougoku (東国), the eastern country
    • Miyazuhime (美夜受比売)
    • The Kunishinobiuta (思国歌), or country song
    • Yahiroshiro Chidori (八尋白智鳥)
    • Yamatotakerunomikoto's Posterity
  • Wakatarashihiko no sumeramikoto (若帯日子天皇), or Emperor Seimu (成務天皇)
  • Wakatarashihiko no sumeramikoto (帯中日子天皇), or Emperor Chūai (仲哀天皇)
    • The emperor's son and queen
    • The divine possession of Price Jingū (神功皇后)
    • The prince's expedition to Silla (新羅)
    • Kagosaka no Miko (香坂王) and Oshikuma no Miko's (忍熊王) rebellion
    • The great god Kehi (気比大神)
    • The Sakekura song (酒楽)
  • Handawake no Mikoto (品陀和気命), or Emperor Ōjin (応神天皇)
    • The emperor's son and queen
    • Price Ōyamamori no Mikoto (大山守命) and Emperor Ōsazaki no Mikoto (大雀命)
    • Yakahaehime (矢河枝比売)
    • Kaminagahime (長髪比売)
    • The Kuzu song (国栖)
    • The tribute of Baekje (百済)
    • **The rebellion of Price Ōyamamori no Mikoto (大山守命)
    • Visit of Amenohiboko (天之日矛)
    • **Akiyama Shitahiotoko (秋山の下氷壮夫) and Haruyama Kasumiotoko (春山の霞壮夫)
    • The emperor's posterity

The Shimotsumaki (下巻), or final volumeEdit

  • Ōsazaki no mikoto (大雀命), or Emperor Nintoku (仁徳天皇)
    • The emperor's son and queen
    • Kibi Kurohime (吉備の黒日売)
    • Yatanowakiiratsume (八田若郎女) and Iha no hime (石之日売)
    • Hayabusawake no kimi (速総別王) and Medori no kimi (女鳥王)
    • Wild goose eggs
    • A boat called Kareno (枯野), or desolate field
  • Izahowake no miko (伊邪本若気王), or Emperor Richū (履中天皇)
  • The rebellion of Suminoenonakatsu no kimi (墨江中王)
  • Mizuhawake no kimi (水歯別王) and Sobakari (曾婆可理)
  • Mizuhawake no mikoto (水歯別命), or Emperor Hanzei (反正天皇)
  • Osatsumawakugonosukune no miko (男浅津間若子宿迩王), or Emperor Ingyō (允恭天皇)
    • The emperor's son and queen
    • Uji kabane system (氏姓制度)
    • Karunohitsugi no miko (軽太子) and Karunōhoiratsume (軽大郎女)
  • Ōkusaka no kimi (大日下王) and Nenōmi (根臣)
  • The incident of Mayowa no kimi (目弱王) and Mayowa no ōkimi (眉輪王)
  • Ichinobenōshiwa no kimi (市辺之忍歯王)
  • Ōhatsusewakatake no mikoto (大長谷若建命), or Emperor Yūryaku (雄略天皇)
  • The emperor's son and queen
  • Wakakusakabe no kimi (若日下部王)
  • Akaiko (赤猪子)
  • Yoshinomiya (吉野宮)
  • Kazuraki (葛城) Hitokotonushi no ōkami (一言主大神)
  • Odohime (袁努比売), Mie Uneme (三重の采女)
  • Shiraka no ōyamato (白髪大倭根子命), or Emperor Seinei (清寧天皇)
    • Shijimu Nihimurōtage (志自牟の新室楽)
    • Utagaki (歌垣)
  • Iwasuwake no mikoto (石巣別命), or Emperor Kenzō (顕宗天皇)
      • Okeme Roujo (置目老女)
      • Misasagi no Tsuchi (御陵の土)
  • Ōke no miko (意富迩王), or Emperor Ninken (仁賢天皇)
  • Ohatsuse no wakasazaki no mikoto (小長谷若雀命), or Emperor Buretsu (武烈天皇)
  • Ohodo no mikoto (袁本矛命), or Emperor Keitai (継体天皇)
  • Hirokunioshitakekanahi no miko (広国押建金日王), or Emperor Ankan (安閑天皇)
  • Takeohirokunioshitate no mikoto (建小広国押楯命), or Emperor Senka (宣化天皇)
  • Amekunioshiharukihironiwa no sumeramiko (天国押波琉岐広庭天皇), or Emperor Kinmei (欽明天皇)
  • Nunakurafutotamashiki no mikoto (沼名倉太玉敷命), or Emperor Bidatsu (敏達天皇)
  • Tachibananotoyohi no miko (橘豊日王), or Emperor Yōmei (用明天皇)
  • Hatsusebenowakasazaki no sumeramikoto (長谷部若雀天皇), or Emperor Sushun (崇峻天皇)
  • Toyomikekashikiyahimeno mikoto (豊御食炊屋比売命), or Empress Suiko (推古天皇)

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ McDowell, Michael; Brown, Nathan Robert (2009). World Religions At Your Fingertips. Penguin. ISBN 1101014695. 
  2. ^ a b c S., Brownlee, John (1991). Political thought in Japanese historical writing : from Kojiki (712) to Tokushi Yoron (1712). Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 9780889209978. OCLC 243566096. 
  3. ^ a b Torquil., Duthie,. Man'yoshu and the imperial imagination in early Japan. Leiden. ISBN 9789004251717. OCLC 864366334. 
  4. ^ Habersetzer, Gabrielle & Roland (2004). Encyclopédie technique, historique, biographique et culturelle des arts martiaux de l'Extrême-Orient. Amphora. p. 380. ISBN 2-85180-660-2. 
  5. ^ Reader, Ian (2008). Simple Guides: Shinto. Kuperard. p. 33,60. ISBN 1-85733-433-7. 
  6. ^ a b "Kojiki". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  7. ^ "古事記" [Kojiki]. Dijitaru Daijisen (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  8. ^ a b "古事記" [Kojiki]. Nihon Kokugo Daijiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  9. ^ The idea of writing : writing across borders. Voogt, Alexander J. de., Quack, Joachim Friedrich, 1966-. Leiden: Brill. 2012. ISBN 9789004215450. OCLC 773348868. 
  10. ^ "Ninigi no Mikoto". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit