Category Archives: Hotsuma Tsutae

Tanabata Matsuri — A Star Festival of Ancient Hinomoto

In this post, we discuss the popular Tanabata Festival in terms of its origin.  This star festival of the Weaver was traditionally held on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. It is held in July or August in modern times.

While many think erroneously that the Tanabata Festival is of Continental origin, this post by Julian Way shows that it was known in the ancient land of Hinomoto Japan long before Continental contact:

     “Tanahata is a festival already ancient in Hotsuma times.”

Tanahata is a loom for ori weaving.  Tanahata matsuri is indigenous to the early people of Japan and is described in the Wosite documents Mikasafumi and Hotsuma Tsutae. This passage is from the Mikasafumi document.

From Namekoto no Aya in Mikasafumi,  as presented in Julian-Way:

afumi matsu     /     fume ni yawashite

kaze to nasu     /     yumi hari ni umu

iu to asa     /     woto tanahata no

hoshi matsuri     /     mochi ha miwoya to

iki tama ni     /     yena no hasuke no

me-wo a-e ha     /     a-ogi odori te

i o ukuru

Mikasafumi Namekoto no aya

Afumi  is the 7th month of the luni-solar calendar of the old days. Fume ni yawashite, the heat of summer is softening.

Yumi-hari is the first quarter of the moon, the seventh day, so the night sky is dark and stars can be seen. At the end of the seven days, a ceremony is held. Cotton and asa (hemp) are spun in the ceremony called woto tanahata no hoshi matsuri.  [Hoshi matsuri, star festival, where hoshi means star and matsuri is translated festival, although it meant an observance in the olden days.]  This is the star festival of Tanahata.

From time immemorial, weaving was sacred work that has been entrusted to women. The ceremony of tanahata, too, was considered sacred.

The special Wosite letter  wo  seen in the third line of the verse has a vertical line indicating the unseen connection to the stars. Stars are honored as ancestors. The other  wo  in  me-wo  refers to male and  me  to female.

Amemiwoya and Universe

The origin of Universe can be understood through Amemiwoya as the Great Origin. Amemiwoya is the Cosmic Parent. Amemiwoya is like the pole star, and Kunitokotachi and the eight Kunisatsuchi sons are like the stars rotating around the pole star.

つまり機織りはアメノノリ(アメの法則)を目に見える形にするという、尊いお仕事なのですね。

In short, weaving is precious work that makes Ame-no-nori the Law of the Cosmos visible in form. So, both the order of the world and governing were taught by likening to hataori weaving with a loom.

Tanahata is a festival already ancient in Hotsuma times.

Odori, dance

なんと、(祖先を)仰ぎ、 踊って アメ のエネルギーを受ける・・・元気になる。

Our ancestors looked up, danced, and received the energy of Universe and  –good health.

縄文のころからの私達の伝統であったのです。

It was our tradition from Jomon times.

Long ago, when thinking of the beginning of the world and the beginning of people while looking up at the beautiful stars in the night sky, our hearts communed with our precious ancestors and started this ceremony dedicated to stars.

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Image above: Woodblock print, Tanabata Matsuri in Edo by Hiroshige

Photo: Sky and Telescope

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Note added:  2022.06.16.  This post was prepared in 2017.06.08 and not published. Since Tanabata season is about to begin, we are publishing this post for all to learn about the origin of Tanabata and the Obon Odori in Jomon/Wosite times. For more about Wosite, please see our other site, WoshiteWorld.

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Tanabata — A Jomon Festival

mikasafumi-namekoto-no-ayaNamekoto no Aya by Yasutoshi Waniko, courtesy Japan Translation Center

Tanahata (Tanabata)

Tanahata is a matsuri of the Jomon people, as told by the Wosite documents of Jomon Japan. The Law of Universe is explained in terms of a weaving metaphor. Tanahata is a weaving loom. When weaving, one uses a shuttle to connect horizontal threads with vertical threads. In a similar manner, Ame Cosmos interacts with Tuti Earth, just as wo Male with me Female. The result is Hito, a human being, like you and me. Tanahata connects us with time and space — and with each other. Tanahata is an event that fosters family, global and cosmic relationships. 

Tanahata Maturi, Hosi Maturi

In the 7th month of the year, the heat of summer is softening and there is even a breeze tonight. It is the seventh day, the first quarter of the moon, so that the night sky is dark and stars twinkle. The Amanogawa Milky Way is an awesome spectacle. A ceremony is held, the Woto Tanahata no Hosi Maturi. Cotton and hemp are woven, and lotus rice is offered to Amemiwoya, the Cosmic Parent.    [Namekoto no Aya, see below.]

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Shuttle of a loom

Weaving.  The Tanahata ceremony was sacred. Weaving was sacred work entrusted to women, for weaving makes the Way of Universe visible in form. The weaving itself represents the unity of Universe and Earth, of man and woman, and their intersection is a person like you and me. This is explained in the Kituyoji teaching recorded in the Wosite document called the Mikasahumi.

Stars. Stars are honored as ancestors. Breath of spirit, breath of life, come from Ame Miwoya. Miwoya is like the pole star, and ancestors are like the stars that rotate around it. Ancestors, too, are a source of life to each one of us. We look up at stars and feel gratitude for the life with which we are blessed. Our Jomon ancestors felt moved at the beautiful sight in the night sky. Their souls connected with ancestors and they started this tradition. Hearts filled with joy and gratitude, they danced. 

Time and Space.  Another effect of ori weaving of Tanahata is connecting toki-tokoro, time and space. The vertical threads represent time, the horizontal threads space. Tanahata is an observance of time and space. The Tanahata festival was originated by wise ancestors of Wosite Jomon times. Tanahata connects us with time and space, with Universe and Earth, with each other. 

Modern Tanabata Festival

“Tanahata is a festival already ancient in Jomon times.”

http-::yokosojapan.co.jp:tanabata-time:

The Tanahata (Tanabata) star festival of the Weaver was traditionally held on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. The lunar year did not begin on our January first, so the seventh month is not July but likely to be in our August. Tanabata Matsuri is held in July or August in modern times, and it has become a story of two lovers meeting once a year at the Milky Way. While many think erroneously that the Tanabata Festival is of Continental origin, it was celebrated by Jomonese long before Continental contact. It was not about love relationship, but rather about relationship of humans with others, with ancestors, and with Universe. When you participate in the Tanabata Festival, remember how it originated in Jomon Japan and remember your connections with the stars. 

Obon Odori

The dancing of the Jomon Tanahata has spun off into the Bon Odori, the folk dancing a week later when people in their later Buddhist faith welcomed the spirits of deceased ancestors.

Namekoto no Aya

The Wosite passage at the top of this page is from the Jomon-period Mikasafumi document, Namekoto no Aya. It mentions Tanahata in the third line below. A glossary is given in an appendix.

ahumi matu     /     hume ni yawasite

kaze to nasu     /     yumi hari ni umu

iu to asa     /     woto tanahata no

hosi maturi     /     moti ha miwoya to

iki tama ni     /     yena no hasuke no

me-wo a-e ha     /     a-ogi odori te

i o ukuru

Discussion

In the annals of the Wosite documents of Jomon Japan, annual festivals of the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth lunar months are mentioned as follows:

1/1     Hatsuhi, New Year’s Day

3/3     Momo no Sekku Peach Festival of Girls Day (Hinamatsuri)

5/5      Aoi Matsuri, Hollyhock Festival of Kyoto

7/7     Tanahata Matsuri, Star Festival

9/9     Kiku-kuri Matsuri, Chrysanthemum-Chestnut Festival

These are all Jomon festivals, kept alive to today.

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Milky Way, by Brunier

Jomonese were keen observers of the skies, day and night. When the moon was in its first quarter on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month, they would have seen the summer Milky Way, which they called Amanogawa, the Cosmic River. They would remember the Kituyoji teaching and contemplate toki-tokoro time-space. They could imagine weaving amongst the stars, weaving time and space. And so they called this observance Tanahata Maturi, Hosi Maturi, and we would say Tanabata Festival, Star Festival.

Appendix – Glossary

ahumi, 7th lunar month

hume ni yawasite, the heat is softening

kaze, breeze

yumihari, first quarter of the moon

iu, cotton;  asa, hemp

hosi, star

maturi, observance

Miwoya, Cosmic Parent

hasuke, food offering

odori, dance

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Weaving on a Loom, by Kitagawa Utamaro 1798

 

Update 2018.09.12.  Matocayamato, another Wosite blogsite, has published a similar post, entitled, Origin of Tanahata and the Origin of Bon Odori.

We have also published a new post on the Tanahata festival of Sendai, August 2018.

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Hokuriku: Nou Hakusan Jinja

2018-05-16 18.05.53 Nou Hakusan Jinja

Nou Hakusan Jinja

Benten Iwa 弁天岩

Benten iwa is an eye-catching small island immediately off-shore near the Nou Hakusan Jinja.  The two sites are geologically connected, having the same type of stone. Benten is short for Benzaiten, deity of water, originally the Hindu Saraswati. Made by the eruption of the submarine volcano of Fossa Magna 3 million years ago, Benten Iwa is one of the Geosites of Itoigawa Geopark. Itsukushima shrine to Benzaiten (Ichikishima-hime) as the guardian deity of the sea is on the island. The Itsukushima Shrine is considered a satellite shrine of Hakusan. The lighthouse continues to light the way for fishing boats coming back to the Nosei fishing port. There are large koinobori carp kites swimming in the strong wind over the Japan Sea. 2018-05-16 18.03.56 Benten Iwa

Benten Iwa

Nou Hakusan Jinja 能生白山神社

The Nou Hakusan Jinja is on the side of a small yama near Benten Iwa. In a sense, Benten Iwa is an extension of the mountain. Nou Hakusan is a Hakusan jinja in the Nou district. The honden was built in 1515, although it must have an older origin as a sacred place.  Nou Hakusan contains a number of relics of Hakusan Worship and is a bridge to the Nou Region’s ancient history. It is a Nationally Registered Important Cultural Property. The top photo shows the thatched roof of the prayer hall which resembles that of the Amatsu Jinja, shown earlier.

Kukurihime (Shirayamahime) was the earlier gosaishin. Shirayamahime is the guardian of Hakusan. During the Meiji period, her name was replaced by Nunokawa-hime’s. The current gosaishin are Nunakawahime 奴奈川姫命Isanagi no Mikoto  伊佐奈岐命 and  大己貴命 Oonamuchi no Mikoto. The kami trio of Shirayamahime (original gosaishin), Isanagi, and Oonamuchi are closely connected in the Hotsuma Tsutaye. Isanagi was the father of Amateru. When Amateru was born, Shirayamahime heard him speak his name, Uhirugi. That is how she received her Kukurihime name (she heard him). Amateru’s younger brother was Sosanowo, and Oonamuchi was Sosanowo’s son. 

Nou Hakusan Honden

While the dramatic building of the haiden faces the open grounds, the mysterious honden is in the woods behind the haiden. 

Akiha Jinja 秋葉神社

On the grounds of Nou Hakusan is a small shrine, the Akiha Jinja. The next post will show another Akiha Jinja in Itoigawa town.

Nou Hakusan Akiha Jinja

All photos by Okunomichi 2018.

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Hokuriku: Amatsu Shrine

The Amatsu and Nou Hakusan shrines have such strikingly similar architectures, namely their thatched roofs, that we are reporting them sequentially. They are both in the city of Itoigawa (糸魚川), Niigata-ken (新潟県), and they both enshrine Nunakawa-hime, the heroine of this region, plus other kami of interest to those who study the Woshite documents. 

Amatsu Jinja 天津神社

2018-05-15 19.59.45 torii

Amatsu Jinja, ichinomiya of Echigo (Niigata), is a few minutes walk from Itoigawa station. When you arrive at the site, cross over a bridge and turn to your left to the temizuya, then resume your path. You are taken to a higher level so you are on a yama. You make a final left turn and suddenly the striking haiden prayer hall comes into view on your left. The hall has an immense thatched roof. There are three altars in the haiden: 奴奈川神社 (Nunokawa Jinja)、天津社 (Amatsu Sha)、住吉の扁額 (Sumiyoshi Hengaku).

2018-05-15 20.02.32 temizuya

The primary gosaishin of Amatsu Jinja is Amatsu-hikohikoho-ninigi-no-mikoto, or  Ninikine. Ninikine (Ninigi) is enshrined in several sacred sites in this Hokuriku area of Niigata and Toyama, far from his home area of Kansai. Ninikine is Wakeikazuchi, kami of Kamigamo Jinja in Kyoto. Also enshrined here are Amenokoyane no Ookami and Futodama no Mikoto; both are mentioned in Aya 20 of Hotsuma Tsutaye. Amenokoyane was Tsurugi no Tomi to Amateru. He was the author of Mikasafumi.

2018-05-15 20.16.24 AMATSU HONDEN

Amatsu Jinja Honden

The Amatsu honden is detached from the haiden and is in the back with other hokora. In the background of the haiden photo, you can see a row of hokora. The one that is visible in the photo is Nunakawa-hime Jinja, left of the honden. Nunakawa-hime is a popular heroine of Itoigawa and she is regarded as kami of jade found in the area. There is a dragon carved on the lintel, closeup photo.

2018-05-15 20.18.03 Nunokawa-hime closeup dragon

Nunakawahime Jinja

On the right of the honden is the 聖神社 Hijiri Jinja ( hijiri means sacred). 

.Hijiri Jinjajpg


Next to it is a compound of small stone hokora, and they have the great charm of age.

2018-05-15-20-14-23-hijiri-ishi-hokurajpg.jpg

 

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Toyouke Ōkami

 

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Toyoke-sama.  Our beloved Toyoke-sama is also known as Toyoke Kami and Toyouke Ōkami 豊受大神. Toyoke-sama was arguably the greatest kami of Hotsuma. He is remembered as the father of Isanami and grandfather of Amateru. Amateru came to study with him when he was sixteen. Toyoke-sama imparted to the future Amakami of Yamato the wisdom of the ancestors known as the To-no-Wosite teachings of the Ame-naru Michi, the Way of Universe. 

The teaching is for all, and especially for leaders of society, to embody high principles of human behavior: honesty, integrity, and caring for the welfare of others.

Hutakami.  Toyoke’s daughter Hisako became Isanami, spouse of Isanagi. The couple are known as Hutakami (Futakami), the kami couple of myth and legend. The Hutakami went throughout the land of Hinomoto teaching the Awa no Uta, the Song of Universe, containing all 48 of the syllables of Wosite language, promoting speech for improved communication and cooperation as well as for promoting good health and vitality.

Takamimusubi.  Toyoke was descended from Ta-no-Kunisatsuchi. Toyoke’s imina birth name was Tamakine. This means he was a man of tama spirit. We notice the many local words beginning with Ta. Tamakine became the fifth Takamimusubi in Hitakami which we now call Tohoku. Hi-taka-mi means to see the sun high in the sky. A remnant of Hitakami remains in the name of the major Tohoku river, Kitakami-gawa, whose old name was indeed Hitakami-gawa.

Taga.  The center of Hitakami was at Tagajo (Taka-jo), east of current Sendai. You can get there after a short train ride. You will be shown the remains of a former government center. There is still a large stone inscribed in more recent times, called the Keta-tsubo. On this rise may have been located the Yamate-miya of Toyoke. Nearby are several shrines named Taga Jinja. One of these, we believe, is the original shrine of Toyoke. This shrine spun off the Taga Taisha in Ōmi (now Shiga-ken). Why Ōmi? Ōmi was the center of Yamato under the care of Isanami and Isanagi.

We visited Taga Taisha. It is a large shrine that hosts a million devotees on New Year’s Hatsumode. By looking for the oldest part of the keidai precincts, we found Toyoke’s hokora next to Amateru’s.

Tanba.  Toyoke lived to a ripe age. When he was quite along in years, there was a disturbance in the region we call Kyotango in Kyoto-fu near the Japan Sea. Amateru asked Toyoke-sama to manage the situation from a base in Miyazu. Toyoke-sama transferred from Hitakami to Tanba and all went well and the people prospered. Toyoke-sama taught how to raise the five grains such as rice, wheat, and beans, and also how to raise silkworms for weaving.

When Toyoke-sama felt his lifeforce dwindling, he called for a tomb to be dug in the mountain of Kujigatake. He would prepare for his last breath. When Amateru heard about his grandfather, he rushed to his side. He entered Toyoke’s tomb and received the final teaching. Thus Amateru was initiated into the high level of wisdom. Then Amateru was sent out and the tomb sealed. The people were in such grief that Amateru stayed for a while to comfort them.

Toyoke’s tomb is said to be on Mt. Kujigatake (Kushi-gatake, also called Manai-gatake) where there is a manai spring. At the foot of Kujigatake is a shrine called Hinumanai Jinja. Toyoke Ōkami is the revered deity. The monument shown above mentions Five Grains. It is said that half-way up the mountain is an altar rock for the offering of five grains and other foods.

When Amateru himself came to the end of his life, he had a tomb built nearby. Amateru’s trusted friend, Sarutahiko, was the last to see Amateru in his tomb.

Futomani.  Toyoke-sama is the author of the Futomani Motoake chart which was employed as an aid for teaching cosmology and as a guide for decision-making. Amateru complemented the Futomani by selecting its 128 waka. We wouldn’t be surprised if Toyoke-sama also organized the Wosite syllabary into the neat, logical system that it is.

awa_motoake

Motoake chart from Julian-Way

Another grandson of Toyoke-sama also attended the lessons with Amateru, and he became Takagi, the seventh Takamimusubi.

ukesuteme     ne no kuni ni kite     tamakine ni …

Ukesuteme came to Ne no kuni to see Tamakine …   from Hotsuma Tsutae Aya 15

Another Kunisatsuchi, Ta’s brother, Ka-no-Kunisatsuchi, had gone to China, and he had a descendant named Ukesuteme. Ukesuteme came to Hitakami to study with Toyoke accompanied by the sister of Isanagi from the land of Ne. Shirayama-hime (Kokori-hime) and Ukesuteme both excelled in acquiring the wisdom of To.

ukesuteme korohin kimi to      tinami ai

After Ukesuteme returned to the Korohin mountains and married the ruler of Akagata, they had a son. Consequently, admired for her wisdom as for her nurturing, she became known as Nishi no Haha, Mother of the West. In China, the Mother of the West has the name Xi Wangu. She is one of the Seven Immortals. In Taoist paintings she holds the Peach of Immortality in her hand. In the Wosite literature, it is written that she received peach branches from Toyoke-sama to plant in Korohin.

Alternate identities.  Another name for the kami of food is Ukanomitama. And Toyouke’s most popular identity is Inari, the kami of the rice fields. The Inari shrines are the most plentiful in Japan, grounded in folk religion. Inari devotees may not realize the connection with the sage of Hitakami.

Toyouke at Ise and Moto-Ise Shrines:  Probably due to Toyouke’s reknown as provider of Five Grains and foodstuffs, his name has morphed into the female Toyouke-hime no kami at the Geku Outer Shrine of Ise Jingu. And yet, the chigi of the honden is cut vertically in male sotosogi fashion! As it is at the Moto-Ise shrines Hinumanai Jinja and Manai Jinja Okumiya of Kono Jinja (below).

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Remembering Toyoke-sama

Let us remember Toyoke-sama who served the people of Hinomoto during their critical developmental period. Toyoke-sama, the great sage, set society’s tone of compassion based on a deep connection with Universe  And in remembering Tamakine Toyoke-sama, we do not forget our own tama nature.

Note:  This has been cross-posted from  https://woshiteworld.wordpress.com/2017/03/05/toyouke-okami/

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Hotsuma Tsutae Aya One: “tati maiya” by Waniko

ayame-001

tati maiya         mihuyu kami oki        

     Standing up;  when 3 years old hair-cutting ceremony

hatuhi-moti         Awa no uya ma hi        

     New Year’s day mochi, gave respect to Awa

momo ni hina         ayame ni ti maki         

     peach for Hinamatsuri, iris and mochi

tanahata ya          kiku-kuri iwahi.         

     Tanabata,  chrysanthemum-chestnut festival.

This is a continuation of the previous post, with a continuation of the verse. In this passage we see the traditional Japanese festivals of the year:  New Year’s day, third month Hinamatsuri Peach Festival, fifth month Boys’ Day Iris Festival, seventh month Tanahata Weaving Loom Star Festival (more about Tanahata Hosi Maturi in another article), and ninth month Chrysanthemum-Chestnut Festival. Many people even today think that the Tanahata or Tanabata festival came from China. You can see that it originated in the land of Wosite. It perhaps, much later in the Heian period, combined with the Chinese Weaver festival of Qixi.

As for the Peach Festival, WoshiteWorld has posted three articles beginning with  https://woshiteworld.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/origin-of-hinamatsuri/

Again, we thank JTC and Mr. Takabatake for kindly permitting us to present these excerpts from the Waniko book. For further information about the book, please refer to  http://www.jtc.co.jp/english/hotsuma/hotsuma.html and contact:  info2@jtc.co.jp.

tati-maiya

Hotsuma Tsutae Aya One: “Sono waka wa” by Waniko

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These opening lines from the  Hotsuma Tsutae appear in the Waniko edition published by the Japan Translation Center in 2001 and 2016. They are shown here with the kind permission of Mr. Seiji Takabatake of JTC. We wanted to show you how beautifully the writing of Waniko Yasutoshi from 1779 has been reproduced. For further information, please see our earlier post.

Hotsuma Tsutae Aya One

Hotsuma Tsutae Mihata no Hatu:  Kitu no na to homusi saru aya
Sore waka wa        wakahime no kami         

     That waka of Wakahime Kami,

suterarete       hirota to sotatu        

     Given away and taken up to raise

kanasaki no        tuma no chi wo ete        

     Kanasaki’s wife gave her milk

awa-u-wa ya        te uti sio no me        

     Baby clapping awa-u-wa with the gentle wife.

ume-re-hi wa        kasimi-ke sonae        

     On her birthday, he made an offering of cooked food.

Hotsuma Tsutae Waniko Edition

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The Japan Translation Center has recently (2016) republished the Hotsuma Tsutae as written out by Waniko Yasutoshi in 1779. It is a fine collector’s edition with cover embossed in gold lettering, the title being a facsimile of Waniko’s handwriting. You can read about Waniko’s work here:

http://www.jtc.co.jp/english/hotsuma/hotsuma.html

We will show excerpts from the book in the next two posts.

The JTC also publishes The Hotsuma Legends, 1999, by Yoshinosuke Matsumoto and The World of Hotsuma Legends, 1996, by Mitsuru Ikeda. For further information, please contact: info2@jtc.co.jp.

The Hotsuma Tsutae is an alternate history of ancient Japan.

The oldest version now available to us was copied in the 
year 1779, but it is said to have been first written more 
than 1,800 years ago. 

The Waniko original version of the Hotsuma Tsutae, plus 
a commentary on the course of tradition of the Hotsuma Tsutae 
by Yoshinosuke Matsumoto.

The Japan Translation Center is working on a progressive 
translation of the text into contemporary Japanese, and 
thence into English. For further details, visit 
www.hotsuma.gr.jp/index-e.html

Hinamatsuri Peach Festival

ohinasamaWoshite World has posted three articles about the Hinamatsuri Peach Festival, also known as Girls Day or Dolls Day on March 3.

“It is said that Hinamatsuri originated in the Heian period as a form of play with dolls. In modern times it is a Girls Day festival held on the third day of March. One of the main elements is a display of dolls of Emperor and Empress (Tennnou and Kougou) and their court in Heian period dress. This is the true story behind Hinamatsuri and it reveals why it is also the peach blossom festival. This is the charming tale of childhood friends who became the fourth Amakami. The deep significance to their wedding is that it was the first time that the Amakami were recognized as a couple, and this led to societal changeover to a family-based system.”

The origin of this festival is described in Hotsuma Tsutae, Verse 265ff. It is the love story of the fourth Amakami, Uhitini and Suhitini. You can read the first part of the three-part post here:

https://woshiteworld.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/origin-of-hinamatsuri/

Kototama of Takenouchi and Hotsuma Civilizations

Takenouchi and The Three Civilizations

There are various koshi-koden, secret documents from ancient Japan. They have been kept secret both by hostile repression and for safekeeping of wisdom. The Takenouchi records were compiled over a vast period of time; they were preserved by the Takenouchi family until these modern times. The Hotsuma Tsutae is a later record of a time of legendary figures which gives an insight to changes in human society. According to the Takenouchi Monjo, people lived spiritually in peace and plenty for a long period of time. However, new generations grew restive; they wanted more materiality and physicality. The guiding elders discussed this seriously and eventually made the decision to let humanity undergo a period of exploration of the material world. The sages would cooperate so that this painful period would be as brief as possible.

Thus the First Civilization gradually ended and the Second began. The decision for the transition was made about ten thousand years ago. Wisdom keepers began to hide their teachings by concealing documents, by creating and spreading myths that veiled the true nature of the stories, and by building religions that would impart some and only some of the truth. Although veiled, precious wisdom would need to be accessible when the time came for it to be revealed and applied.

When we think of how much humans have accomplished even in the last two thousand years in analyzing and controlling the physical world through technology development, building of nations, formalizing religions and other social systems, we are not amazed to realize that this material civilization has just about culminated.

The Second Civilization is nearing its end. In the Takenouchi Documents, transition dates of 2011 and 2017 are given. The Third Civilization of higher consciousness and greater unity is coming. This is the age all ancient wisdom cultures have been awaiting.

Those who are on the Path of Wisdom see signs of returning spring. As the physical world of nature and man grows more disruptive, at the same time more people are awakening to walk the Path. The world is emerging from the bleakness of winter into the rebirth of spring.

Kototama

The Path of the ancient ones of the Japanese Islands is called Kototama. This term refers to the spiritual (tama) power of sound (koto). Its formal name is Kototama Futomani, Kototama Great (futo) Mana (energy). Kototama Futomani is a cosmology and a practice. It is based on the fundamental property of Universe to create, to manifest, by vibrations. Vibrations produced by the human voice form the sounds of speech. We often forget that these vibrations of speech carry great spiritual energy. Kototama is based on the principle that the way sound patterns are organized determines the development of individual human consciousness and of human society. Civilizations evolve and fall on the basis of these sound systems.

Most important of the sounds are the vowels, aptly called mother sounds. In Kototama, we teach the sounds rather than the letter names. The sequence of the vowels plays a key role and describes the process of human and societal development. Consonants are father sounds and together they create child sounds.

In the coming Third Civilization, the vowel order of Futonorito will be:

          Ah  Ih  Eh  Oh  Uh

You will see some authors write vowel sounds as A I E O U. This is only a shorthand that represents sounds. In our current Second Civilization, the order of Kanagi is:

          Ah  Ih  Uh  Eh  Oh

The past First Civilization used the Sugaso order:

          Ah  Oh  Uh  Eh  Ih

Kototama science is deep and complex. We can only give the tip of the iceberg. The power of the vowels can be briefly and inadequately presented in the following.

          Ah           Spark beginning activity

          Ih            Will, intention, desire

          Eh           Judgment, discernment, evaluation

          Oh          Memory, experience

          Uh          Senses, materiality

Do not be misled by words. It takes practice to understand the subtle workings of these vowels. Individual sounds cannot be understood in isolation, for they always interact with other sounds. By working with these hints, we can begin to get an idea of the three civilizations.

Hotsuma Tsutae

Hotsuma Tsutae is another Koshi-koden. It is a legacy written in a beautiful script called Woshite. It was recorded two to three thousand years ago. It relates history and teachings of advanced humans thousands of years prior. We can well wonder how to fit the Hotsuma Tsutae into the overall scheme of the Takenouchi.

The main characters of the Hotsuma legends are known to readers of the conventionally accepted books: Kojiki (711 CE) and Nihon Shoki (720 CE). By the eighth century when these two documents were produced by royal order, there was already a formal ruling system and a stratified society. Elements considered not suitable for the court’s political purposes were eliminated or modified. It is very illuminating to compare the contents of the two koshi-koden documents with the eighth century versions.

Today’s scholars recognize a long period of peace and culture called the Jōmon period. The name Jōmon was given to describe the cord-marked earthenware said to be the oldest in the world. The Jōmon period lasted from about 14,000 BCE to 300 BCE, a remarkably long period of peace. It was followed by the Yayoi (300 BCE to 300 CE) with significant immigration from the Asian continent which greatly impacted society in the islands. Then came the Kofun period of burial mounds, and so on into historical times.

In terms of Kototama sound order, the Jōmon would be Sugaso and the following periods Kanagi.

Where does the Hotsuma culture belong in this timeline? There are two seeming inconsistencies when dating it. From the spiritually guided nature of Hotsuma society, it would appear to belong to the Sugaso order, at least in the beginning. The early tales are full of compassion and resolution of conflicts by nonviolent means such as negotiation and Kototama. Society was guided to embody Heaven on Earth which means to live in harmony with nature and universe. In the teaching sections of the Hotsuma Tsutae, the lessons emphasized living the Way of Hotsuma which is the Way of Heaven.

We know the sound order of their language through a teaching song, Awa no uta, the song (uta) of Heaven and Earth (A and Wa). It goes like this.

          a ka ha na ma            i ki hi ni mi u ku     

          hu nu mu e ke           he ne me o ko ho no

          mo to ro so yo           wo te re se ye tu ru

          su yu n ti ri                 si yi ta ra sa ya wa

From this we see that the vowel order is Ah Ih Uh Eh Oh, the Kanagi order of the Second Civilization! So we may view the Hotsuma culture as the last gasp of the Sugaso.

As in the above Awa no uta, the entire Hotsuma document is written in verse of 5 and 7 syllables. When a master poet is asked why, she replies because 7 and 5 are the rhythms of Heaven and Earth. Deep study of the Woshite syllabary has led to some understanding of the cosmology of the Hotsuma people.

As later tales unfold, especially the last 12 chapters which were added generations later, we view society moving more and more to materialistic worldviews and behavior, thus fully entering the Kanagi civilization. The sacred is declining and materialty is growing. There are battles of nation-building. While the building of a nation may seem grand and glorious, it comes at the cost of human blood and suffering. These stories mark the beginning of our Second Civilization. Hotsuma tales record the transition from the First to the Second Civilization.

Since Hotsuma times, we have continued down this path of separation and conflict, loss of connection with other people and our environment. We can go no further. We must stop and build the Third Civilization.

The documents mentioned here all include the common story of Ama no Iwato no Hiraki, the opening of the heavenly cave door. All four prophesize that the door of darkness will be opened and light of truth will pour forth once more.

The door is opening.