Kazutama by Kobayashi Bigen


Editor’s note:

Kototama is the spirit of sound. Kazutama is the spirit of numbers, i.e, numerology. Studying the kototama-kazutama lectures of Yamakoshi Sensei, we wanted to know how Ise Jingu hid the teaching of kototama-kazutama in the shinmei-zukuri style of shrine design, and the significance of the number 41. We turned for clarification to the book by Kobayashi Sensei, Koshinto Nyumon, 1998, pp 79-81 and 156-164.

Before we start, here are three units of measurement for constructing buildings in Japan:   1 jo = 10 shaku;  1 shaku = 10 sun ~= 12 inches.

Ise shinmei-zukuri, see Kobayashi, pp 79-81.

Chigi are the crossed rafter ends on shrine gables. Chigi also means a pledge, a promise, as between man and wife. The expression, chigi wo musubu, means a deep connection is made. Chigi wo tateru means to ask what a kami is saying.

Kobayashi on kazutama_0001

The Imperial Ise Naiku and Geku shrines each have the kazutama numeral 41 in their four enclosures/fences plus one for the center honden. See Kobayashi’s Figure 6 p 80, shown above; they show the ground plans of Ise Naiku (left) and Ise Geku (right). So this is how the number 41 is encoded in the shrine grounds. The width of the Naiku honden is 369 sun; depth 180 sun. The Geku honden is approximately the same shape, so far as we can tell from the maps.

Torii no kasagi, the rail across the top of a torii, represents the great creator kami Amenominakanushi. The right and left sides (as we look from the front of the torii), respectively, represent Takamimusubi and Kamimusubi.  Thus, the torii is a symbol of kototama.

The shimenawa twisted rope appears in the story of the opening of the Amanoiwato cave. It represents the uchuu no ugoki, the movement of the universe. The ‘beginning’ and the ‘end’ of the shimenawa are respectively the Amatsu kami [kami of the cosmos] and the Kunitsu kami [kami of earth]. (The Kunitsu shrines are the Izumo, Kumano, Okuninushi, etc., shrines dedicated to Kunitsu kami.)

Kototama and kazutama have been connected for a long time. The uchuu universe is a tremendously large living organism; it includes stars, the sun, …, down to electrons and elementary particles. Each thing has a principle, a nousaku, and all together have integrated principles.


These are Figures 8 – 16 on pp 156ff of the book.

Kobayashi Fig 12-13

Figures 12 and 13

Kobayashi 8 - 9

Figures 8 and 9

Kobayashi 10-11

Figures 10 and 11

Figure 8 is a table of nine digits called a magic square; all rows, columns, and diagonals sum to 15.  The central number is five.

Figure 9 shows the eight directions, each having value 15.

Figure 10 shows just the five numbers from table 8 that form a cross (a + sign). The row numbers are 3, 5, 7; the column numbers are 9, 5, 1.

Figure 11 shows five numbers that form an X. The numbers in the X are 4, 10, 6, and 2, 10, 8, where 10 replaces 5 in the center.

When an X is superimposed over a +, we get a figure with eight spokes as in Fig. 12. Figure 12 represents the key to kototama and kazutama. It is Rei Shisou, the thought of spirit, shisou no genri, principles of worldview (shisou, thought; genri, principles). There are eight nodes numbered 1 through nine; the number 5 is the center. We interpret this as meaning there are eight forces plus a central force. The digits on opposite sides of each of four lines passing through the center sum up to ten. There are thus four tens which equal forty. Adding the center point gives us the numeral 41. In kazutama numerology 41 is equivalent to 5.

***  The numerals 41 and 5 denote kami.   ***

Figure 13 is another version of Rei Shisou. This swastika-like figure has nine nodes with the 5 in the center. It looks much like the magic square in Table 8.

Kobayashi Fig 15-16

Figures 15 (R) and 16 (L)

Kobayashi Fig 14

Figure 14

The tables in Fig. 14 are kazutama charts. This figure is made up of three tables. The largest one at the top shows all fifty syllables plus ’n’. Each of the fifty sounds of the Japanese syllabary has a number associated with it; the numbers run from 1 through 50. The lower right chart continues the numbering from 51 through 75 of the dakuon, the voiced syllables. On the left is the numerology table for the Roman alphabet.

Figures 15 and 16.  When a circle is divided by four ‘petals’ as in Fig. 15, each is worth 10; thus four tens plus the center equals 41. Figure 16. There are eight ‘petals’, each is worth 5; thus 41 again.

Figs 17 - 21

Figures 17 – 21

Figures 17 – 21 show us how the number 369 arises. Figure 17 shows the development of the final table in Fig. 18, starting with Table 8. Please note the placements of the nine digits, shown again as Fig. 19. (For details, see Michio Kushi, Nine Star Ki.) When complete as in Fig. 18, we note that the numbers 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81 appear in certain special places. The number 41 is in the center.

The 9 by 9 magic square of Fig. 18 is composed of nine 3 by 3 magic squares. The upper right magic square sums to 114; the one to its left to 135, etc. These nine squares then simplify to a 3 by 3 square, Fig. 20. Figure 20 shows the sums for each of the rows and columns of the nine squares.

The final result is shown in Fig. 21. Figure 21 shows the totals for the nine squares. Note that the central square totals 369. The number 369 is also obtained by directly summing the nine numbers in the diagonals of Fig. 18, or the nine numbers of the central row, or of the central column.

***   The number 369 is the kazutama of Amaterasu Ohmikami.   ***

Kobayashi’s Commentary

The Kojiki was written under Tenmu Tennō (天武天皇, Tenmu-tennō, c. 631 – October 1, 686) who was the 40th emperor of Japan. This was after a war that joined all the tribes of Nihon. The Kojiki was completed in 712 C.E. The Kojiki probably included parts of five books: Takenouchi Monjo, Hotsuma Tsutae, Kukami Monjo (Kuji Sendai Hongi), Katakamuna, and Uetsufumi. These five books, hidden until now, are currently coming out. The Kojiki, on the surface, was written for the people of Nihon and tells  about the great imperial family. The Nihon Shoki, on the other hand, was written to show the Chinese the history of the nation of Nihon. It is the Kojiki that contains kototama in disguise.

The Amatsu kami, the divine kami, came from Heaven to Takaamahara (Taka ama hara, High Plain of Heaven). The Kunitsu kami, the earthly kami, were born on the land of Nihon (Earth). These kami are part of the first 17 kami to appear.

The kazutama 41 is the creator kami Amenominakanushi; it is also tamashi no hataraki (the working of spirit), and ichi sei shi kon (one spirit, four souls of Shinto).

Misogi purification practice accomplishes isuzu wo seiri suru, i.e., misogi puts the isuzu 50 sounds in the right order. During the course of a person’s life, one’s isuzu often goes out of order, out of balance. This is corrected by practicing misogi.

Ise means i no se, where ‘i’ means jose mother, and ‘se’ means imose father; thus ise refers to the ancestral mother and father, Isanami and Isanagi. Place names with two syllables are very old place names. For example, Ise, Miwa.

Finally, it is important to understand that:

***   Kototama and kazutama are closely connected with the people of Nihon.   ***

Okunomichi’s Commentary

The kazutama of 41 being equivalent to 5, and 5 signifying five kami may have deep meaning for those who know the Wosite documents (see other posts on Okunomichi and on WoshiteWorld.) The five kami may represent the five creative energies of the Wosite kototama.