Kojiki: Japan's Literary Relic

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The Kojiki (古事記) is considered the oldest book in the history of Japan and is also known as furukotofumi. The relic's writing is in the ancient Japanese language, such as the use of manyogana (Japanese script with Chinese characters, used in the 6th century).

Kojiki's writings have tales from the year 712 when Ō no Yasumaro showed it to Empress Gemmei. Supernatural beings are also portrayed in the stories (very similar to those portrayed in anime). The tales are based on an earlier version with a similar name: Kujiki. The book is full of songs and poems subdivided into three volumes representing the order of each: Kamitsumaki (“upper roll”), nakatsumaki (“middle roll”), and Shimotsumaki (“bottom roller”).

The first Kojiki contains a preface and the unit's focus is on gods, as well as their creation and birth. In the following book he talks about the history of the Emperor Jimmu (first Japanese emperor) and ends with the life stories of the Emperor Ōjin (15th Emperor of Japan). But, the stories are not taken as true because they have a mixture of reality and fiction. The 2nd to 9th Emperors of Japan are mentioned, but their conquests are not as complete as the others.

The last unit of the book highlights from the 16th to the 33rd Emperors and the difference in relation to Koijki's previous volumes is that it refers to relationships with the gods and the emperors from the 24th to the 33rd also have information that has been suppressed.

Kojiki - kojiki: the literary relic of japan

Kojiki's historical background

Kojiki is part of a historical context of political unification and social stratification in Japan that ended in 710. A little before Emperor Tenmu (672 – 686) ascended the throne to the fall of Emperor Kobus (672).

For the authorization of the development of the Kojiki, the genealogical record of the royal family was used as legends, traditions, manuscripts, songs and among others in which the court as a whole would benefit from the mystical narratives of the work that began to be written in 712. By That's why the first writings are concentrated on reigns and imperial succession, after which mystical stories emerged to explain the origin of everything.

Kojiki was the object of study for 0 Edo period, by Metoori Norinaga (scholar) who wrote a survey on the work and called it Kojiki – den divided into 44 volumes. It had the English translation called Basil Hall Chamberlain, but the most recent Kojiki translation is the 1968 one translated by Donald Philippi.

The Ise and the Urabe are considered the largest fragments of the Kojiki. The Ise is divided in the manuscript Shinpukuji-bon (真福寺本), from 1371-1372 (oldest manuscript), and in the manuscripts doka-bon (道果本).

The doka-bon (1381) is one of three subdivisions of the doka. Of doka-bon only the first half of volume one remains. Then there's the Dōshō-bon (道祥本) from 1424 which also only has the first volume and with flaws, and then the Shun'yu-bon (春瑜本) single volume.

The mythology depicted in Kojiki

Japanese mythology talks about gods and how they suggest, their abilities, the creation of everything in the Universe and the history of the emperors who rose to power. Some gods are the Sun, Moon, Astros, Rain, Wind and Agriculture. and among others. It is also discussed the relationship between the good and evil of the deities and the humans themselves.

The Kojiki says that the main gods are: Amenominakanushi (deity who presides over the universe), Takamimusubi (deity responsible for the creative force), Kamimusubi (creative deity), Umashiashikabihikoji (deity of shoots and reeds) and Amenotokotachi (deity of heavenly eternal abiding). .

In addition to these gods, considered the main ones, seven more generations emerged, in which Izanagi and Izanami emerged. The prefix at the beginning of their name IZA means to invite or lead. At the end of the name, it identifies the sex, being MI for female and GI for male. It is not possible to reach a consensus on what the relationship between them was, if they were brothers, married or something else.

Kojiki - kojiki: the literary relic of japan

For those who believe that Izanagi and Izanami are a couple, there is a belief that their union resulted in the emergence of the islands, Japanese archipelagos, after all, according to quotes, they were the ones who had the function of finalizing the creation of the universe. There were events that led to the birth of the Sun Goddess and her younger brother the Thunder God in which they had conflicts with each other.

If you pay close attention to the complete narrative of Kojiki, even with a lot of mysticism involved, it is possible to notice that it is a story with political interests of the rulers of the time in order for people to respect and accept rulers coming from the same lineage.

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