Kojiki, Part 3

From a previous post of an article written by Cynthia Lenssen Broshi (Jin Shin Jyutsu Journal – Israel) in which she mentions the word “Kojiki”.  I thought many readers might be unfamiliar with the ancient Japanese chronicle and began a brief introduction two days ago. Here is the final post of that introduction:

“If you are not feeling well, the most important thing you can do is breathe.”
— Master Jiro Murai

Disputes About Authenticity

The Kojiki was followed by the Nihon shoki, and does not recount official history like the later Nihon shoki. Kojiki is the only history that claims that it was compiled by Imperial order. This has led to claims that the Kojiki was a forgery and actually appeared much later than the Nihon shoki, but these claims have little support. Some scholars assert that Teiki and Kuji were created, in the first half and middle of the sixth century C.E., by the Imperial aristocracies to explain the progression of the Japanese emperors’ reigns, and could not be considered true oral traditions of national and racial history. Other scholars say that in order for Teiki and Kuji to be widely accepted by the general public, they had to reflect genuine traditional oral history and folklore. The name “Nippon” (Japan), which would indicate an official nationalistic viewpoint, does not appear; this is evidence against the interference of the government.

Some scholars argue that Kojiki is a forgery because there are no direct external records of editing and compilation of Kojiki outside of the document itself. Since the earliest existing manuscript was transcribed in the fourteenth century, we cannot be sure that it has preserved the original form of Kojiki from before that time. In this manner, the authenticity of Kojiki has been disputed since early modern times. Kamo no Mabuchi and several other scholars argued that the creation of Kojiki is not mentioned in official historical records of ancient times. This view was accepted by the general public, but not by scholars of ancient literature and historical writings. The main reason for this is that the transcription of the pronunciation “mo” remained in Kojiki, even though this pronunciation had already disappeared in Manyoshu (759 C.E.) and Nihonshoki (720). There are two schools of thought among those who believe Kojiki to be a forgery. Some base their premise on an analysis of the entire document, and others only on the preface. The latter questioned why O no Yasumaro’s Chinese inscription in the preface differed from the inscription of his name in other historical books. However, in 1979, a stone engraved with O no Yasumaro’s name was unearthed in Nara city, and added support to the claims that Kojiki is authentic.

Research

Research of Kojiki flourished after early modern times. The Kojiki-den, written by Motoori Norinaga in 1798 (during the Edo age), was a 44-volume annotated edition, an important classic of Kojiki research whose rigorous and empirical revision have had a great influence on subsequent studies. Motoori Norinaga was one of the leading figures of the Kokugaku movement, and his research using the viewpoint of monono aware (the sorrow which results from the passage of things) revived an awareness of the deeper meaning of Kojiki. At the present time, the focus of Kojiki research is shifting from theories of its origins and formation to the construction and content of the work.

Contents

Kojiki starts with the very beginning of the world as it was created by the kami (deities) Izanagi and Izanami and ends with the era of the Empress Suiko. It contains various Japanese myths and legends as well as songs. While the historical records and myths are written in a form of Chinese with a heavy admixture of Japanese elements, the songs are written with Chinese characters used to convey only sounds. This special use of Chinese characters is called Manyogana, knowledge of which is critical to understanding these songs. These songs are in the dialect of the Yamato area from about seventh century to eighth century C.E., a language called “Jſdai Nihongo” (lit. “upper age Japanese”).

The Kojiki is divided into three parts: Kamitsumaki (lit. upper roll), Nakatsumaki (lit. middle roll), and Shimotsumaki (lit. lower roll). The Kamitsumaki includes the preface and is focused on the deities that made Japan and the births of various deities. The Nakatsumaki begins with the story of Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor, and his conquest of Japan, and ends with the fifteenth emperor, Emperor Ojin. Many of the stories it contains are mythological, and the allegedly historical information in them is highly suspect. For unknown reasons, the second to ninth emperors are listed but their achievements are largely missing. The Shimotsumaki covers the sixteenth to thirty-third emperors, and, unlike previous volumes, has very limited references to the interactions with deities so prominent in the first and second volumes. Information on the twenty-fourth to thirty-third Emperors is largely missing.

I pulled this information from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/kojiki and japanesemythology.jp/kojiki.

Some day I’ll be able to read this on my own…the entire text has be translated…and yet, something may be lost in that translation…as with the Bible and other religious historical writings.

Thank you, Master Jiro.

Thank you, Mary.

Thank you, David.

Gassho, Namaste, Blessings.

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2 thoughts on “Kojiki, Part 3

  1. Mary Langeron

    HI Debbie,If you know of a good english translation, even if incomplete, I’d be grateful if you shared!Mary

    From: Jin Shin Jyutsu Is – New Jersey To: marylangeron@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, August 4, 2016 8:18 AM Subject: [New post] Kojiki, Part 3 #yiv1575305075 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1575305075 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1575305075 a.yiv1575305075primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1575305075 a.yiv1575305075primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1575305075 a.yiv1575305075primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1575305075 a.yiv1575305075primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1575305075 WordPress.com | Debbie Beaton posted: “From a previous post of an article written by Cynthia Lenssen Broshi (Jin Shin Jyutsu Journal – Israel) in which she mentions the word “Kojiki”.  I thought many readers might be unfamiliar with the ancient Japanese chronicle and began a brief introduction” | |

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