Chapter 10: The Sacred Literature of<I> </I>the Japanese

The Scriptures of Mankind: An Introduction
by Charles Samuel Braden

Chapter 10: The Sacred Literature of<I> </I>the Japanese

The native religion of the Japanese people is called Shinto. The word Shinto itself tells something about the history of Japanese culture. For, strangely enough, they have borrowed the very name of their religion from China. Shinto means literally the "way of the gods," from the two Chinese words Shen -- gods, and Tao -- way.

Japanese culture is much more recent in its origin than that of the Chinese. If the traditional beginning of the Japanese Kingdom, some twenty-six hundred years ago, be accepted as true, that would mean that it came into being about the time of Confucius, and Chinese culture stretches many many centuries back of Confucius’ time. Indeed, in his time there was a very highly developed civilization in China, a rich art, many books, and a very complex system of government.

Japan’s culture owes much to that of China. First definitely mentioned in the fifth century A.D., it is quite certain that elements of Chinese culture had begun to flow into Japan well before that time. This flow was greatly accelerated by the incoming of Buddhism, which came first from Korea, but mainly from China proper. With it came many things Chinese, beside Buddhism itself.

Japan has from her earliest history been an avid borrower. The modern world is well aware of the rapid borrowing of occidental culture by the Japanese after the opening of Japan to world commerce by Commodore Perry in the middle of the nineteenth century. Japan’s meteoric rise from an isolated, little-known power to the proud position of one of the five great powers in the twentieth century, was accomplished in less than seventy-five years. It was possible chiefly because of her borrowing from the West. But Japan was only exhibiting a characteristic feature of her culture in her rapid appropriation of Western ideas. At an early period, from the fifth to the eighth century A.D. particularly, she had done almost exactly the same thing, only at that time the source of her borrowing was China.

She took over much of Chinese art and religion. Her language was deeply affected by the Chinese language. Indeed, there was scarcely an important feature of Chinese culture that she did not borrow. Anthropologists have discovered two things which Japan did not borrow and are at a loss to explain this omission. Japan did not take over the use of brick in building, as commonly practiced in China, and she did not take over the use of pork as an article of diet. Perhaps the most striking illustration of her borrowing tendency is the fact that one of her two sacred books is written wholly in Chinese, and the other in a queer mixture of Japanese and Chinese. The reason for this seems clear. Japanese culture had not as yet evolved a language adequate to the expression of the religious ideas which, by this time, she had adopted.

Yet, it must be said that with all her borrowing, Japan has never been slavish in the matter. She has had extraordinary ability to adapt, and make her own, that which has come to her from abroad. Probably no nation in the world has excelled her in this ability to borrow and adapt. It seems to be her peculiar genius to do things that way.

In a real sense Japan has no sacred books, that is, books that are the equivalent of the Bible, or, say, of the Buddhist Canon. But she does have three books which serve some of the purposes which sacred books generally serve, and, particularly in recent times, an attitude has been taken toward their critical study, similar to that manifested when the early higher critical work began to be done on the Bible. For upon these books had been erected a set of dogmas which it was to the interest of certain elements in Japan to protect at all costs. Specifically, the dogmas of the superhuman founding of the state and of its indestructible character, as well as that of the divine ancestry of the Emperor depend upon them. All of these, but especially the last named, were doctrines of paramount importance during the half century preceding the fall of Japan, at the end of World War II.1 But of that we shall speak at greater length presently. The two books that are most basic are the Kojiki, or Records of Ancient Matters, and the Nihongi, or Chronicles of Japan. The third book is the Yengishiki. Its importance lies in the ancient Shinto rituals which it contains. These three we shall undertake to discuss briefly in order.

Records Of Ancient Matters

In the preface to the Kojiki, Yasumaro, the reputed author, after a brief résumé of the earlier part of the book, tells us that in the year 673 A.D. the Heavenly Sovereign, Emperor Temmu, laid the basis for its writing. Said the emperor, "I hear that the chronicles of the emperors, and likewise the original words in possession of the various families, deviate from the exact truth, and are mostly amplified by empty falsehoods." He rightly 1. During World War II, according to Dr. Holtom, Shinto nationalists hecjuently declared that the most sacred of all theft texts was the "divine" edict pronounced by Arnaterasu-Omi-Karni when she sent her grandson down from Talamaga-Hara to establish the state. This they called the most sacred absolute of Japanese nationalism.

recognized that unless these were corrected, great evil could befall the monarchy, so he ordered that "the chronicles of the emperors be selected and recorded, errors and falsehoods eliminated, and the truth determined and written down for transmission to later ages."

Now there was a young man at court, Hiyeda no Are, who had a great gift of memory so that "he could repeat with his mouth whatever met his eyes, and record in his heart whatever struck his ears." He was, therefore, commanded "to learn by heart the genealogies of the emperors, and likewise the words of former ages."

But this was not done at once. At least nothing was put in writing. The emperor died and it fell to the lot of the empress, Gemmiyo, to see that the work was brought to completion.

In 711 A.D. she commanded Yasumaro "to select and record the old words, learnt by heart by Hiyeda no Are, according to the Imperial Decree, and to lift them up to Her." This Yasumaro proceeded to do, and on the 10th of March, 712 AD., he presented it in three volumes to her majesty, the empress.2

Thus, the book purports to have been written down by Yasumaro, but from the memory of Hiyeda no Are. Where did the latter get the material, which, for a period of some twenty-five years, he had preserved in his memory? For this question the preface provides no answer. Mr. Ernest Satow, a distinguished early student of Shinto, is quoted by Chamberlain as saying that the Emperor Temmu "took pains to instruct this person in the genuine traditions and old language of former ages, and to make him repeat them until he had the whole by heart." Did the emperor himself draw from other sources? Of this there is no indication. One earlier historical book is mentioned as having been compiled in 620 AD, but destroyed in a fire in 645. The exact nature of its content is not certainly known. The Records of Ancient Matters is then the oldest extant book of the Japanese people -- indeed, according to W. G. Aston, it is the first book written in any Turanian tongue.3 Chamberlain regards it as the most important book in all the mass of Japanese literature. "It is the most important because it has preserved for us more faithfully than any other book the mythology, manners, language, and the traditional history of Ancient Japan."4 Soon after its appearance the influx of Chinese language, ideas, and other culture traits pretty well obscured the chief features of native Japanese culture.

When a modern historian sets about writing the history of the United States he feels it necessary of course to go back to the period of discovery and colonization; and to give some account of the European people, chiefly the English who colonized and came to rule the Continent.

When the Japanese historian undertook to write the history of his people, like the Hebrews, he went back to the very beginning of the world. "In the beginning God," wrote the Hebrews. The Japanese historian takes us back to the birth of the gods themselves. He begins thus: "The names of the deities that were born in the Plain of High Heaven, when the Heaven and the Earth began, were the Deity Master-of-the-August-Center-of-Heaven, next the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity, next the Divine-Producing-Wondrous-Deity. These three Deities were all Deities born alone, and hid their persons."

These long and largely honorific names are the literal translation of what is written in the Japanese. Thus the first was Ame-no-minaka-nushi-no-kami.5 The frequent repetition of the names of the numerous gods gives to the text a stilted character. We are not accustomed to piling up honorific titles referring to deity. But if one desires to read the Kojiki he must get used to it. Section one accounts for the birth of five such Divinities. It continues: "The names of the Deities that were born next from a thing that sprouted up like unto a reed-shoot when the earth, young and like unto floating oil, drifted about medusa-like, were the Pleasant-Reed-Shoot-Prince-Elder-Deity, next the Heavenly-Eternally-Standing-Deity. These two Deities were likewise born alone and hid their persons.6 The five deities in the above list are separate heavenly deities.

In the second section, gods continue to be born, among them, Earthly-Eternally-Standing-Deity, Mud-Earth-Lord and Mud-Earth-Lady, Germ-Integrating-Deity, Elder-Lady-the-Great-Place and Deity Oh-Awful-Lady, seven generations, none of them gods important in cult. Then appear a divine pair, Izanagi and Izanami, or the Male-Who-Invites and the Female-Who-Invites, from whom are born most of the gods who figure in present-day Japanese religion.7

Now begins the creation proper. Izanagi and Izanami are ordered by the heavenly deities to "make, consolidate and give birth to this drifting land." Standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven, Izanagi toys in the water with a jewelled spear which had been given him. Lifting it from the water the foam which dripped back into the ocean coagulated and became an island, one of the Japanese group called Onogoro.

Izanagi and Izanami descend to the island and there takes place an interesting courtship. A pillar is planted in the middle of the island. They walk about it in opposite directions. Meeting, the Female-Who-Invites, says, "Ah, I have met a fine gentleman," to which the Male-Who-Invites replies gallantly, "Ah, I have met a fine maiden." They are wed and of the union a child is born, but it is misshapen. Something was evidently wrong. The heavenly deities whom they had informed of the mischance said it was because the lady had spoken first. So they went through the ceremony once again, but this time the Male-Who-Invites spoke first. Born of the union, thus properly attained, were first, a number of the Japanese islands, then a number of the gods which now figure in the Shinto cult.

On giving birth to the fire god Izanami was badly burned and died. Izanagi was overwhelmed with sorrow. In anger he slew one of his sons, the deity Shining-Elder, and from his blood and various parts were born many deities. Izanagi then sought to follow his wife into the underworld. Forbidden to look upon her, he nevertheless lighted the tooth of a comb for a torch and saw her, now a mass of corruption. Horrified he fled, and she, put to shame by being seen, sent an ugly goddess to pursue him. Removing his helmet he threw it down and it turned to grapes, which the goddess stopped to pick up and eat. But she still pursued him. Then he threw down his many-toothed comb and it turned to bamboo sprouts, which she pulled up and ate.

Thereupon, Izanami sent eight thunder deities with a thousand five hundred warriors to pursue him. On reaching the base of the "Even Pass of Hades" he found three peaches growing. He plucked them and hurling them at the oncoming host drove them back. Whereupon he gave to the peaches the name, "Their Augustness-Great-Divine-Fruit." Izanami herself also pursued him, but with a great rock he blocked the "Even Pass of Hades," so she could not reach him. There they exchanged farewells. Said she: "My lovely elder brother, thine Augustness! If thou do like this I will in one day strangle a thousand of folks of your land." Izanagi replied, "My lovely younger sister, thine Augustness! If thou do this, I will in one day set up a thousand and five hundred parturition houses. In this manner each day a thousand people would surely be born".

Because of all this Izanami came to be called the Great Deity of Hades.

Having become unclean by his experiences in the underworld Izanagi felt it necessary to purify himself. From the staff he threw garments still others -- from his trousers, was the Road-Fork-Deity! down was born a deity, from the girdle another, from each of his Altogether twelve of them. From the bath were born a further number. "The name of the Deity that was born as he thereupon washed his left august eye was the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity," Amaterasu-Omikami, the sun goddess, the head of the Japanese pantheon as today held. From the washing of the right eye came the Moon Deity, and from the washing of his nose came His-Brace-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness, Susa-no-Wo or, to give him his full Japanese name, Take-haya-susa-no-Wo-no-Mikoto, often given, for short, in the English translation as "the impetuous male."

To the latter three deitiqs Izanagi gives the rule respectively of the Plain of High Heaven, the night, and the Sea Plain. Eventually Susa-no-Wo becomes the god of storm.

We cannot here follow in detail the further unfolding of the creative process. But it is all there in the Kojiki, in the greatest detail.

It is not too easy to discern just where the history of the creation of the gods ends and that of men begins. Most of the first volume is concerned with the gods. In Section 33, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, grandson of the sun goddess, is sent down from heaven to found the state. Volume II begins with the rule of Kamu-Yamato-ibare-iko-no-Mikoto, known to history as Jim-mu Tenno, the first emperor of Japan, from whom all subsequent emperors, including the contemporary Hirohito, are believed to be descended in an unbroken line. Jim-mu was himself a direct descendant of Amaterasu, the sun goddess, five generations removed, according to the official genealogy. This is the basis for the belief, held in Japan for centuries, that the emperor was divine, a belief repudiated for the first time by Hirohito, in a radio broadcast after the surrender of Japan, at the end of World War II. Although held in theory over a long period, the belief was accentuated during the latter part of the nineteenth century and since, and became finally a basic dogma underlying the Japanese Imperial thrust, which is often regarded as the beginning of World War II.9 The idea was taught in the schools, in the army, and resulted finally in a fanatical religious, as well as patriotic, devotion to the emperor, without which, it seems to the writer, it is impossible to explain the daring attack of the island empire of Japan upon the richest and most powerful nation in the world, the United States. It is still not surely known whether the emperor himself was guilty of the aggression or whether he was only a tool in the hands of an unscrupulous and power-mad military group in Japan who used him for their own ends. It still remains one of the anomalies of the modern age that a belief in the divinity of the emperor with the natural corollaries that flow from such a concept could have been developed within a people. It only goes to show that people can be made to believe almost anything and led almost anywhere the leaders wish, if they begin early enough and work assiduously enough at the task of indoctrination.

The remainder of the book is an account, largely legendary, of the rule of various emperors, down to the year 628 B.C. It is believed by scholars that the historical authenticity of the record increases as it approaches the close of the period. But in no case is it anything like a carefully written or complete history of the Japanese people or state. In the latter part there are many ancient songs, and all through the book there are numerous genealogies. Of most of the emperors included it is told how long each lived and where he was buried. Some of these statements resemble the early Biblical stories of longevity. One lived 106 years, another 168 years.

A few factual statements appear. For example, in Volume II, Section 96, the possession of Korea is promised and succeeding sections tell of the preparation for and finally the conquest of Korea under the Empress Jin-go. In Section 110, it is mentioned that Korea, in sending tribute, included the Confucian Analects and another book. Occasionally there is a story to account for something of common use among the people. The orange is thus explained:

The emperor sent one of his chiefs to the "Eternal Land" to bring back the fruit of the "everlasting fragrant tree." Meanwhile the emperor died. Returning, the faithful chief made an offering at the tomb of his sovereign and wailed and wept saying: "Bringing the fruit of the everlasting fragrant tree from the Eternal Land, I have come to serve thee," and at last he wailed and wept himself to death. "This fruit of the everlasting fragrant tree is now called the orange."10

It is obvious, from the reading of the book, that the age of which it tells was a crude age. Chamberlain calls attention to the fact that they had no tea -- imagine Japan without tea! -- no fans, porcelain, lacquer, no vehicles of any kind, no way of computing time, no money, very little knowledge of medicine, and there is no mention of writing. The mention of the Analects and one other book occurs in the period near the end of the third century AD.11 There is in the book a great deal of what the West regards as obscenity. Chamberlain puts into Latin the sections which he regards as offensive to Western readers, and he uses not a little Latin. While remarking that of course a barbarous age is not expected to hold to modern standards of decency, Chamberlain writes: "At the same time the whole range of literature might be ransacked in vain for a parallel to the naïve filthiness of the passage forming Section IV, or to the extraordinary topic which the hero Yamato-take and his mistress Miyazu are made to select as the theme of their repartee."

An interesting bit of magic is indicated in Section 116. A mother took a basket of jointed bamboo in which there were eight holes. Into this she placed stones wrapped in bamboo leaves, then she caused this curse to be spoken: "Like unto the becoming green of these bamboo leaves do thou become green and wither. . . . Again like unto the sinking of these stones do thou sink and be prostrate." 12 She then placed the basket over smoke. Whereupon the elder brother dried up, withered, sickened, and lay prostrate for the period of eight years. Upon his earnest pleading, she reversed the process and his body became sound again.

The Nihongi

The other book, important as a source for early Japanese religious beliefs, is the Nihongi which was written only eight years later than the Kojiki, in 720 AD. Alike in many respects and dealing with almost identical matters, there are also many differences between them. The Nihongi is about twice the volume of the Kojiki. The Kojiki dates nothing. On the other hand, the Nihongi gives an exact date, often to the very month and day of many of the events and chronicles. This is not to say that the dates are correctly given. Indeed, save for those in the later years of the Chronicles these dates are obviously not exact. As in the case of the Kojiki the later accounts are much more trustworthy historically than the earlier. The Kojiki brings the story down to 628, the Nihongi to 697. The Nihongi is written wholly in Chinese, and much of the manner of treatment of the events narrated betrays definite Chinese influence. Another difference to be noted is that the Nihongi, in the account of the earlier mythologies, gives not a single story of a particular incident, but two or more -- sometimes several. This is evidence of a different attitude toward sources than that of the authors of the Kojiki. Aston, who translates the document, believes they had access to written sources. He regards the history written in 620, which we mentioned above, as having been burnt. He evidently believes that at least a part, if not all, of it was preserved in what is known today as the Kiujiki.

The Nihongi is supposedly the work of two men, one of them the same Yasumaro who wrote the Kojiki. The other was one, Prince Toneri, according to the testimony of an early commentary written 810-824 A.D. There is no direct mention of the Kojiki in the Nihongi, though it appears that some use may have been made of it.

The first part of the book is, like the Kojiki, the story of the birth of the gods and is wholly legendary. It disagrees at a number of points with the story as told in the Kojiki, or, at least, some of the variant stories of the Nihongi do. For example the birth of the three divinities, Amaterasu, or the sun goddess; Tsuki-yomi-no-Mikoto, the moon-god; and Susa-no-Wo-no Mikoto, the Impetuous Male was, in one of the stories, simply the result of an agreement between Izanagi and Izanami. "We have now produced the Great Island Country, etc. Why should we not now produce some one who shall rule the universe?" To be sure other accounts are given paralleling that of the Kojiki.

The Nihongi begins its account in true Chinese fashion:

Of old, Heaven and Earth were not yet separated, and the In and Yo not yet divided, i.e., the Chinese Yin and Yang. They formed a chaotic mass like an egg, which was of obscurely defined limits and contained germs.

The purer and clearer part was thinly drawn out, and formed Heaven, while the heavier, grosser element settled down and became Earth.

The finer element easily became a united body, but the consolidation of the heavy and gross element was accomplished with difficulty.

Heaven was therefore formed first, and earth was established subsequently.

Thereafter Divine Beings were produced between them. . . .13


Thenceforward, the book follows much the same plan as the Kojiki.

Generally speaking the Nihangi has been held in much higher esteem than the Kojiki. Until fairly recently its superiority as a source of information concerning ancient Japan has been unquestioned. Now it begins to be seen that the Nihongi, under Chinese influence, has obscured much that was native Japanese. If the Kojiki is not completely dependable as to specific historical facts, it probably preserves more accurately the flavor of the Japanese culture which antedated the invasion of Chinese culture in the fifth century.

The Norito or Shinto Rituals

In some ways the Norito, or Shinto rituals, correspond more closely to the Western conception of sacred scripture than any other Shinto writings. The ancient Norito are collected in a work known as the Yen gishiki, or Institutes of Yengi (901-923 A.D.) . Here seventy-five of them are enumerated and the text of twenty-seven of the most important ones is given. The Norito, literally "words spoken to the kami," or divinity, are largely ritualistic prayers containing stanzas of praise and thanksgiving to the gods, and special petitions suited to the particular occasion for which they are being employed. In addition to those found in the Yengishiki, new Norito have been prepared from time to time as changing circumstances required. The new ones are modeled carefully upon the old, using much the same archaic style and imagery. New Norito were issued in 1875. These were revised in 1914 and again in 1927. Forty-two Norito were published in the 1914 edition together with a number of short sentence rituals.

The Norito provide an excellent index as to the desires of worshippers in Shinto. They vary from prayers for good crops to prosperity, national prestige, long life and a glorious reign for the emperor, etc. The Norito for use in celebrating the emperor’s birthday includes a prayer for his long life, a prosperous reign, that the imperial glory shine ever more widely and that his Imperial Benevolence be revered forever. Unfortunately the modern Norito have not been translated in full, but excerpts from them have been published by Dr. D. C. Holtom.14

Dr. Holtom reports that after the disestablishment of State Shinto following the fall of Japan in 1945, the Norito were revised and the old nationalistic elements eliminated. Each shrine was left free to formulate its own Norito. Soon, however, a non-government Shrine Association was formed to exercise some oversight of the shrines, and this organization published a book of rituals in 1948 which contains thirty-three Norito. Here may be given only a part of the ritual of the great purification service -- most notable of them all. It bears some resemblance to Yom Kippur of the Hebrews (Lev.16) .

It begins with a call to the Imperial Princes, Ministers of State, and high officials, to give ear to the great purification by which "are purged and washed away all sins which have been committed by Imperial officials and attendants," men or women, civil or military. It recites the founding of their empire by the gods. Then it lists the offenses, heavenly and earthly, which the people commit. It is an interesting list:

Heavenly offenses are the breaking down of divisions between rice fields, filling up water courses, removing water-pipes, flaying alive backwards, spreading excrement over the doors. . . . Earthly offenses are the cutting of living bodies, the cutting of dead bodies, leprosy, incest, calamities from creeping things, from the high gods and from high birds, killing of cattle, bewitchment.

When these offenses are committed then certain offerings must be made and the great liturgy recited:

When they do so, the gods of heaven, thrusting open the adamantine doors of heaven and cleaving the many-piled clouds of heaven with an awful way -- cleaving, will approach and lend ear. The gods of earth, ascending to the tops of the high mountains and the tops of the low mountains, sweeping aside the mists of the high mountains and mists of the low mountains, will approach and lend ear.

Then shall no offences remain unpurged, from the court of the august child of the gods even to the remotest ends of the realm. As the many-piled clouds of heaven are scattered at the breath of the Wind Gods; as the morning breezes disperse the morning vapours and the evening vapours; as a huge ship casting off its bow moorings, drives forth into the vast ocean; as yonder thick brushwood is smitten and cleared away by the sharp sickle forged in the fire -- so shall all offences be swept utterly away. . . .

They are now destroyed, and all, from the servants of the Imperial court down to the people in the four quarters of the realm, are from this day forth void of offence.

Attend, all of you, with ears pricked up to the plain of heaven, to this great purification by which, on this interlune of the sixth month as the sun goes down, your offences are purged and purified.15

If there is any one other document which might properly be included in a discussion of the Sacred Literature of Japan it would be the Imperial Rescript on Education. Given by the Emperor Meiji, it has been perhaps as influential as any one other single utterance upon the life of Japan, particularly in the field of moral education. It is interesting to note in the rescript the confirmation of the divine descent of the emperor, in the use of the phrase, "our imperial throne, coeval with heaven and earth."

Know ye, our subjects:

Our imperial ancestors have founded our Empire on a basis broad and everlasting and have deeply and firmly implanted virtue; our subjects, ever united in loyalty and filial piety, have from generation to generation illustrated the beauty thereof. This is the glory and the fundamental character of our Empire, and herein also lies the source of our education. Ye, our subjects, be filial to your parents, affectionate to your brothers and sisters; as husbands and wives be harmonious; as friends true; bear yourselves in modesty and moderation; extend your benevolence to all; pursue learning and cultivate arts, and thereby develop intellectual faculties and perfect moral powers; furthermore, advance public good and promote common interests; always respect the Constitution and observe the laws; should emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the state; and thus guard and maintain the prosperity of our imperial throne coeval with heaven and earth. So shall ye not only be our good and faithful subjects, but render illustrious the best traditions of your forefathers.

The way here set forth is indeed the teaching bequeathed by our imperial ancestors, to be observed alike by their descendants and the subjects, infallible for all ages and true in all places. It is our wish to lay it to heart in all reverence, in common with you, our subjects, that we may all thus attain to the same virtue.

The 30th day of the 19th month of the 23rd year of Meiji (1890) .

Some of the Shinto sects, of which there were thirteen officially recognized by government before World War II, have special scriptures of their own which cannot be discussed here. Two of these are briefly described in the last chapter of the book as examples of Modern Sacred Books.


Sacred Literature Of The Japanese

Sources for Further Reading

The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain. Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Supplement to Vol. X. Reprinted 1920, Tokyo. Again published by J. L. Thompson, Kobe, and Kegan Paul, London, 1932.

The Nihongi, Chronicles of Japan from earliest times to AD. 697. Translated by W. G. Aston. Original edition published for the Japan Society by Kegan Paul, Trench, Truebner and Company, 1896, in 2 Vol. Reissued in 1 Volume, Kegan Paul, Trench, Truebner and Company, London, 1924.

The Yengishiki, Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vols. 7 and 9, and Vol. 27, Part 1.

Sacred Books and Literature of the Early East. Vol. 13.

Pp. 1-51, selections from the Kojiki.

Pp. 63-147, selections from the Nihongi.

Pp. 161-174, selections from the Yengishi hi.

Frost, S. E., Sacred Writings of the World’s Great Religions, pp. 347-354.



1. During World War II, according to Dr. Holtom, Shinto nationalists hecjuently declared that the most sacred of all theft texts was the "divine" edict pronounced by Arnaterasu-Omi-Karni when she sent her grandson down from Talamaga-Hara to establish the state. This they called the most sacred absolute of Japanese nationalism.

2. The Kojiki, Vol. 1, pp. 3-13, passim. Translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain, it was published as a supplement to Vol. 10 of Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, 1882. It was reprinted again in 1906 and republished in 1920. This and all subsequent volume, section, and page references are to this latter edition which will be referred to simply as Kojiki. It was again published in 1932 by J. L. Thompson, Kobe, and Kegan Paul, London, with valuable critical notes by W. C. Aston, and a bibliography of books in Japanese on the Kojiki. written since 1883.

3. Literature of Japan, pp. 18-19.

4. Op. cit., pp. i and ii.

5. This deity and two others associated with him in the opening section, says Dr. Holtom, furnish the basis of a claim by some nineteenth and twentieth century Shinto scholars that Shinto believes in a trinitarian monotheism.

6. Op. cit., p. 15.

7. Op cit., p. 17.

8. Vol. 1, Sec. 7-9, passim.

9. See D. C. Holtom, Modern Japan and Shinto Nationalism, University of Chicago Press, Rev. Ed., 1947

10. Op. cit., Vol. II, Section 74, pp. 245-246.

11. Op. cit., Introduction, pp. lvi-lvii, passim.

12. Op. cit., Vol. II, Sec. 116, p. 327.

13. Book I, Pt. I, pp. 1-2.

14. Political Philosophy of Modern Shinto, pp. 286-292. The Yengishiki has been translated in part by Ernest Satow, in Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vols. 7 and 9, and by a German scholar, Karl Florens in Vol. 27, part 4.

15. W. G. Aston, A History of Japanese Literature, D. Appleton and Co., N. Y., 1916, pp. 11-13.