HOTSUMA TSUTAE

Hotsuma Tsutae is an ancient Japanese document written in a script called Woshide. Recently (since 1966) discovered and translated, it reports historical episodes of brave warriors, beautiful princesses, and wise rulers. Above all, it teaches us the folly of using violence to accomplish aims, and rather to offer compassion and forgiveness.

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The word “tsutae” in Hotsuma Tsutae means a document that imparts or bequeaths knowledge and wisdom for later generations. Such was the aim of the Jimmu Tenno who asked his Minister of the Right, Kushimikatama, to create it. The task was brilliantly executed in 28 chapters written in the poetic rhythm of 5 and 7 syllables, the rhythm of Heaven and Earth. Seven generations later, in the first century of the Common Era, 12 more chapters were added by one Ohotataneko for Keiko Tenno. Thus the 40-chapter document was completed.

The Hotsuma Tsutae has been handed down in noble families for many generations. The previous resurrection was done by Yasutoshi Waniko, a 78th generation descendant of Kushimikatama, in 1775. He translated the chapters into Japanese using Chinese characters.

In a second-hand bookshop in Tokyo in 1966, Yoshinosuke Matsumoto found three of the chapters and after much searching and traveling, Matsumoto managed to acquire all forty chapters of Hotsuma Tsutae!

The story of his heroic efforts to track down a complete copy of the Tsutae is given in his book, The Hotsuma Legends: Paths of the Ancestors, 1999.