How Kototama Makes the World

According to Rei Torii in Kamigami no Nazo

Kototama refers to the rhythms that bring forth the manifested world.

Mother rhythms are the five vowels  あ   い  う   え   お  which span the dimensions of infinite space. They are the processes of movement of: space, wind, fire, water, and earth. Moving space gives rise to moving wind, which gives rise to moving fire, and which in turn gives rise to the flowing down of moving water/liquid and earth/solid.

Father rhythms are the eight consonants which develop time. These are the processes of creating life and building the world.

Koji Ogasawara:  T”he world is perpetually beginning right here, right now!”

The 48 sounds of Hotsuma no Kototama

Please refer to the Hotsuma woshite table. This becomes a Chart of Generating Space and Time.


Top row symbols are the mother symbols which span space.

Right column symbols are the father symbols of time.

The elements in the matrix, combinations of father-mother rhythms are the processes of generating space and time.

Mother Rhythms (vowels) generating space:

Symbol   /   Sound   /  Name   /   Movement of:

Circle   /   sound  あ   /   utsuho   /   space

Bell   /   sound  い  /   kaze   /   wind

Triangle   /   sound  う   /   ho   /   fire

River   /   sound  え   /   mizu   /   water

Square   /   sound  お   /   hani   /   earth

Father Rhythms (consonants) generating time, i.e., developing humans and culture:

.         The Source starting to breathe

|        Breath coming from heaven to earth (unseen to seen)

||       Separating into two (male, female)

+       combining the two

T        making humans

Y        making father

^       making mother

–        people spreading east-west

L        making leaders

<>     making countries

Observe that the Hotsuma character for utsuho is a circle. It represents ku (sora), the sacred place that creates everything in the universe. It marks places of power such as pyramids, stone circles, and kofun burial mounds. Note: utsubo is a sacred vessel and also refers to a mother’s womb. We also know of the Tsubo no Ishibumi, a stone monument, which the poet Matsuo Basho sought  at Tagajo.