Tag Archives: Kototama

Kototama by Wosite Wisdom Circle

From https://woshiteworld.wordpress.com/2022/02/17/3165/

The three members of the Wosite Wisdom Circle associated with Woshite World and Wosite Wisdom made a presentation to a large viewer audience at the Nature Talks 2022 Conference held from February 9-13. Embodiment practices were shared, and a slideshow was presented by Okunomichi. You can find the slides and the script on Woshite World.

The blog posts on this Okunomichi site and on WoshiteWorld have been visited frequently by those seeking to learn more about Kototama. These two sites have a number of articles about Kototama which you can find by using the Search box. Some are from classical Japanese Kototama teachers. Others are uniquely the Kototama which the Wosite Wisdom Circle developed from our Japanese American viewpoint. Note that our American Kototama is distinctly different from both traditional and modern Japanese Kototama. It is meant for incorporating into our Western lives a path to realizing our true self, where we come from, why we are here.


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.


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.

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. 

The Kototama of MIZUHO NO TSUTAE by Yamaguchi Shido

Yamaguchi Shido chart

(L)  Kada’s Inari Koden Chart.     (R) Yamaguchi’s Futomani no Mitama Chart.

Editor’s Note: This is an English rendering from the Japanese book, Koshinto Gyoho Nyumon by Omiya Shirou, pp 100-107.

Yamaguchi Shido in the mid-19th century wrote a book that integrated the strange symbols found in two ancient scrolls into a metaphysical system of Kototama.

Yamaguchi Shido

In 1765 Yamaguchi Shido, the son of a wealthy farmer, was born in Awanokuni which is the modern-day Kamogawa-shi in Chiba prefecture. He was a child prodigy and learned Chinese literature at a young age. When he was 25 or 26, he moved to Edo to live with his uncle. He started the study of kokugaku, which is the study of ancient Japanese literature.

Futomani no Mitama/Kagotama Chart

The Yamaguchi family had handed down over the generations an ancient scroll that contained a mysterious chart known as Futomani no Mitama, also called Kagotama. Yamaguchi wanted to unwrap the secret of this chart. After three decades of studying, he came to understand that Futomani no Mitama told the secret about ancient kototama, the power of sound. But he did not quite understand the kototama.

Inari Koden/Mizuhi no Ontsutae Chart

The Inari Koden or Mizuhi no Ontsutae chart was handed down in the prominent Kada family. The Kada family, together with the Hata, of Kyoto were hereditary priests of the Inari shrine in Yamashiro no kuni, the present Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto. The noted kokugaku scholar, Kada no Azumaro (1669-1736) possessed this chart at one time. Azumaro has a lovely shrine at Fushimi Inari which I visited in 2012. Azumaro passed the chart to his adopted child, Tamiko, who in turn passed it to Kada no Noriyuki.

Kada shrine

Yamaguchi Shido studied classical Japanese literature under Kada no Noriyuki. Later he taught nobles at the Imperial Court in Kyoto. During these studies, Yamaguchi was given the Inari Koden chart. [Inari Koden probably means the ancient document of Inari.] The secret symbols written in the chart enabled him to solve his question of the ages about the Futomani no Mitama chart.

Mizuho no Tsutae by Yamaguchi Shido, an integration of the two documents

By receiving the Inari Koden, Shido became more confident about his study. In the year Bunsei 1, 1818, he returned to Edo and spent five years in developing a solid base for his study. In the year Tempo 1, 1841, he was invited to the house of Fukui Shigetsugu, his brother-in-law, at Kameyama in Kyoto. There he began writing his work entitled Mizuho no Tsutae which became his life-time achievement.

After that, his study of Kototama became so popular among court nobles in Kyoto that he gave many lectures to them. In the year Tempo five he finished writing seven volumes of Mizuho no Tsutae. Two years later, he was invited to see Kishu Tokugawa (one of the top three Tokugawa-related families) and went to Kishu in Wakayama. There he offered his books, Kamikazeiki and his series of Mizuho no Tsutae to Kishu Tokugawa.

Kototama of Yamaguchi Shido

According to Yamaguchi, all things in the universe consist of water and fire. These are also referred to as the sound of “i” and the sound of “ki.” Earth and people are all made up of these water and fire elements. The universe can be very much affected by the kototama that is created from water and fire. Shido thought “iki,” breathing, also consisted of water “i” and fire “ki.” Breathing was absolutely imperative to carry the words with kototama in them. For him, iki means to live, ikiru.

Yamaguchi found that the Inari Koden had much to do with Futomani no Mitama. He carefully compared them to each other. He revealed that the creation written in Kojiki actually told about the generation of goju-on, the fifty Japanese kana characters/syllables.

Yamaguchi saw that the Futomani no Mitama was made upof the five elements: the dot, the circle, the horizontal line, the vertical line, and the square.

He realized that the Inari Koden, through its twelve forms explained each of the five symbols in the Futomani no Mitama chart. This helped him work out the hidden meaning of Futomani no Mitama.

Yamaguchi noted the goju-on, the fifty voices of the kana syllables, as principal sounds and he made them into figures that represented the true identity of the universe.

The Japanese 50-kana syllables are a system showing the power of sound that controls the universe.

You can control the universe if you have a deep understanding of each sound. The belief of kototama that koto, something that is said, will become koto, something that happens, is a metaphysical system in the innermost recesses of traditional beliefs.

Omiya Shirou on Hotsuma Kototama

Omiya Shirou Sensei, Hachiman author, is discussing aspects of Hotsuma kototama.

ホツマを語る (Talking about Hotsuma)

This is a dialogue between Omiya Shirou Sensie and the interviewer Takeda, reported on the website http://www.hachiman.com/inteview/intvhotuma.html


The most important point of Hotsuma is the poetry written in the 5-7 rhythm of the chyouka waka. The Hotsuma kototama is reported in『完訳秀真伝』 Kanyaku Shuushin-den  completed by Torii, and is equivalent to Omiya’s  『言霊玄修秘伝』 Kototama Genshu Hiden. There are lots of secret messages in the waka. This kototama comes down from Awamiya Shrine which is now the Taga Taisha in Shiga Prefecture.  Path

The written material is known as the Taga Amatsu Kanagi book.  See our post:  http://wp.me/p3t1zS-1O

The Taga Amatsu Kanagi study was begun by Oishigyo of the Mochizuchi family of Kouga. The Mochizuchi family was the distributor of ofuda for Taga Jinja. The kototama study of the family has the same source as the Hotsuma. The source of Amatsu Kanagi is the person who made the Suikei moji and the Hotsuma moji. The documents were handed down to the Kyoto Yoomei Bunko. The Masumi no Kagami is written in Hotsuma moji. {Masumi no Kagami, The Clear Mirror, is an historical chronicle covering the years 1180-1333.}

We spoke of the Awamiya. The 75 sounds of the Masumi is like the root or bottom shelf to the branch or high shelf, divided into categories. The very root of the root shelf is the kototama AWAYA. Kototama, Amatsu Kanagi and Hotsuma Tsutae are related. Although the last is written historically, it is highly spiritual, Omiya thinks.

The Awa is a spiral. The left-turning and right-turning spirals show the spirals of the universe.  Awa is the turning cycle that creates all things in the universe from the inner spiral and the outer spiral. These spirals make the origin of life. This important (taikoshinpo) theory of spirit Amatsu Kanagi study, Ama no mihashira stands for Four elements of Heaven-Fire-Water-Earth. The left and right spirals represent the origin of the universe.

There are various secret formulas and ceremonies but, for example, Hotsuma eight directions eight descendants eight kami gives a detailed explanation.  TO-HO-KA-MI-E-HI-TA-ME are TO-O-KA-MI-E-MI-TA-ME and transformation/inversion Misogi-kyo (sect) chant 『玄秘修法奥伝』  that foundation is Hotsuma and relation.   genpi book

The Hotsuma has eight directions – eight descendants TO-HO-KA-MI-E-HI-TA-ME, eight kami. The TO-HO-KA-MI-E-HI-TA-ME is Hotsuma for secret writings. Read the 「玄府感通秘辞」Gen-pi Ho—- book by Omiya.  友清先生Tomokiyo Sensei studied  霊学 reigaku (study of spirit). One must know the deep meaning of words for the kototama to have much effect.

Hotsuma moji is in the 『神字日文伝』Shin-ji-nichi-bu-den.   http://archive.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kosho/ho02/ho02_04229/ho02_04229_0003/ho02_04229_0003.html

There are four kinds of Hotsuma moji: two are similar but there is a different one from Shikoku and also one from Izumo-no-kuni: the Ishi kutsu/cave Kamiyo-moji. This cave is near Izumo Taisha.

However 宮地水位 Miyaji Mizui Sensei says {see 『玄想法秘儀』p83} that we don’t know the real Hotsuma. His friend 川村茂之助 Kawamura’s mother entrusted to Kawamura an old scroll.

{They discussed Amateru being male/female. Deguchi, who had mystical experiences, said that Amateru was physically female and spiritually male, while Susanoo was the reverse. They also discussed which written documents are true and which false.} Fake writing hides secrets; the true has fake in it. When reading old literature one needs a good sense of which is right and which is wrong.  The 『霊界物語』Reikai Monogatari by Deguchi Onisaburo is lyrical, inspired by Buretsu Tenno.

Takeda’s closing remarks:

The form of waka is kototama. Hotsuma covers a huge area and the meaning is deep. Omiya’s book in modern Japanese gives a nice explanation of Hotsuma.


This brief, or beginning, glossary is intended to assist the reader in getting started in the study of esoteric Koshinto. Koshinto or old Shinto is the link to the religion we call Shinto today. Our aim, however, is to uncover and understand the origins of the religion when it was still a spiritual practice.


The earliest shrines were the himorogi and iwasaka. Himorogi represent the Sacred Tree of Life. Himorogi  神 籬 , ひもろぎ refers to a tree (or grove of trees) that captures the sun’s energy.  A verable himorogi tree is marked with a shimenawa, straw rope indicating a sacred object. “Hi” of course is the sun, “gi/ki” is tree.

Kami were present in the sacred enclosures called iwasaka  岩 境 , いわさか, the interior of a boundary (“saka”) of stones, “iwa.”  Iwasaka stone groupings are the prototype of the Shinto shrine, and they became the inspiration of the Japanese landscape garden which Westerners call the Zen garden.

I must caution the reader not to place undue emphasis on the kanji for the different terms. Remember, the spoken words were written in ancient scripts before the introduction of Chinese characters, so that the same ancient word can be written in different kanji.

Further, ancient language was kototama, having powerful energies.

Moreover, the same word could have many meanings, many layers of meanings. Take “hi” for example. It is the word for sun, day, and fire. “Hi” is also one as in hitotsu, and in the Hi Fu Mi kototama, the sacred sounds of the numbers one through ten, hundred, thousand, myriad, and so on.

KOTOTAMA   ことたま   言 霊

Kototama is an esoteric system of Japanese semantics. Perhaps I should say “the” rather than “an.”  This word-soul doctrine has adepts who claim that it lays hold of all-compelling truth of the universe.

The sounds of kototama are often written in kana, i.e., katakana or hiragana, the syllabic alphabet. The kanji above are “word” “spirit.”  The power of the word, 言 こと, can result in manifestation of the thing or deed,  事 こと.

Sometimes the spelling is given as “kotodama.” Westerners are familiar with the spelling, kototama, through the books of Western students of the aikido master, Morihei Ueshiba. See, for example, W. Gleason, Aikido and Words of Power: The Sacred Sounds of Kototama.

“Tama” can be spirit/soul,  霊  たま, or jewel,  玉  たま.  霊  is also read  れい, “rei,” spirit.

KAMI   神  かみ

We shall in general keep the word “kami” untranslated, although it has the meaning of deity or spirit. Deeper meaning should become clearer from the context and the philosophical worldview from whence the term arose.

“Kami” has multiple meanings, at first glance unrelated; upon further thought they may be connected.

紙   かみ paper (used for writing sacred words, Fujisawa)

髪   かみ hair (having strong magnetic power of divinity, Fujisawa)

上   かみ upper, as in upper reaches of a river

Observe that:

“Ka” 火 か  fire – represents the verticality of time

“Mi”  水  みず water – represents the horizontality of space

Kami then represents the joining of fire and water, male and female, heaven and earth, time and space.

The verticality of time meets the horizontality of space in the NAKA-IMA, the Middle-Now, the Eternal Now.

The scholar Sakakura Atsuyoshi has suggested that kami comes from the verb “kumu,” to be hidden. The word “kami” originally meant “source” while the word “shimo” (usually writen with the kanji for “down”) meant “end.” Thus “source” and “spirit” share the same root, “kami.”

Kami is the “hidden mode of existence of spirit.” [Sonoda, 2006]

Kami are the productive pulsing power of Tai-ichi or Taikyoku (in Japanese), whose logo is the yin-yang symbol of curved dark region with white dot and a curved white region with dark dot. Alternatingly, the white dot in the dark enlarges into a large white region with a dark dot, while the large white region shrinks into a dot in a large dark region. Thus the polar opposites pulse and cycle endlessly.


The Japanese religion now called Shinto is perhaps more properly described as Kami no Michi, the Way of the Kami. Of course, in ancient days, the spiritual tradition of the people did not require a name; they all knew what it was. The term Shinto was introduced to distinguish that religion from the other major religion of Buddhism.

However, in these pages, we are interested in the esoteric tradition of this Way as a spiritual path to Great Truth and Wisdom.

Fujisawa [1959] sees the Way of Kami as “a dialectical synthesis of the diversifyingly expansive potency and the unifyingly contractive potency, which will polarize from Ultimate Reality being identical with Cosmic Vital Energy, l’elan vital.”

MICHI.  Further, Fujisawa points out that “michi” means sacred blood (みmi ちchi) that centrifugally springs from the heart of Kami and centripetally returns to it, perpectually circulating.

Mi, three, an auspicious number

Mi, body

Mi, fruit

Chi, blood

Chi, earth

Chi, deity

Here, we see indications of Kami no Michi as the Tree of Life.

The Japanese scholar of religion Sonoda Minoru has described Shinto as “the ritual means by which early Japanese transformed their natural surroundings into a cultural landscape infused with religious and historical meaning” (Sonoda 2000).


“Matsuri is the occasion when the hidden kami appear in the form of a mikoto…It is because the spirit of things are kami that rites are performed for them, and without rites, without matsuri, they cannot be kami. [Sonoda, 2006]


Jinja is a word translated as “shrine.” The places where matsuri are performed for the kami are the sanctuaries known as jinja or kami no yashiro, says Sonoda. Yashiro is a residence or a palace. The shrine buildings that we see today have evolved from himorogi and iwasaka.


Musubi is generative energy from the sun. Related words are umusu, begetting; musu, to fecundate/brew/steam; bi, Hi, the sun, fire, light, life, soul, deity. Musubi has forward exhaling motion and backward inhaling motion.

Musubi also means binding or connecting things for a new life, i.e., generative binding. Thus, through the harmonious collaboration of the Musubi Kami (see below) all things can generate, grow and ripen. Musubi in this sense is considered a cosmic principle.

Thirdly, musubi means completion or conclusion.


High Productive Kami. This kami is the forward movement. See also Koto Amatsu Kami.

Takagi no Kami is an alternate name, meaning high tree deity, growing life and the Tree of Life, the life cycle from seed to seed.

Characteristics: forward







Divine Productive Kami. This kami is the backward movement.

Characteristics: backward







HITO, man/person


Fujisawa, Chikao, 1958, Concrete Universality of the Japanese Way of Thinking, a new Interpretation of Shinto

—, 1959, Zen and Shinto

Sonoda, Minoru, 2006, Symbolism of Spiritual Life in Shinto Tradition, in Symbolic Languages in shinto Tradition, Shinto Kokusai Gakkai, Tokyo.