5.1 Isanami and Imo


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Monument for Isanami in Izumo, by Okunomichi


Isanami-no-Mikoto has been revered throughout the land since Wosite times. Isanami was a woman of great accomplishment in the annals of Hotuma Tutae. She is remembered in myths, legends, and in shrines even today. There is a monument for her in Izumo, shown above, as well as one in Kumano, shown below.

Let us study the meaning of  isa  in the names Isako, Isanami, and Isanaki. Isanami, the daughter of Toyoke-sama, had the childhood name of Isako. After she married and the couple became the head of the land, she was named Isanami and he became Isanaki. Here,  i  has the greater meanings of mind, spirit, faith, and will.

Isanaki Isanmi

The ideogram  sa  (drawn as a circle with a horizontal line through it) in  isa  means rich and clear, pure and bright. Notice how the bar of the  s  glyph takes the  a  energy and spreads it evenly when forming  sa. Thus, one of the meanings of isa is bright spirit.

In Isanami’s name, on the left of the figure, we note the ideogram for  mi.  The symbol for the consonant  m  shows a horiontal line indicating the balancing of energy and then the horizontal line sending the energy down.  Mi means fruit, body, self, very appropriate for the female. For Isanaki, the last ideogram is that of  ki  which, in addition to meaning tree, also means male. Isanaki is an abbreviation of Isana-kine. Kine is the honorific title for man. It has a good connotation. Isanaki’s name is sometimes written as Isanagi, which is another abbreviation for Isana-kine. Although in general voiced consonants such as g and z are considered to have a negative meaning, in this case gi is not negative and is permitted in Wosite.

We note that in later documents, however, the names Izanami and Izanagi have replaced the  s  by the voiced consonant  z .  These are serious errors which darken and lower the energies. Remember that the horizontal lines in  sa  and in  mi  mean that energy is being balanced and harmonized. Balance and harmony play important roles in the worldview of Wosite. Therefore, we do not recommend using these spellings and pronunciations of these two beautiful names.

It is said that this natural stone monument marks Isanami’s resting place at Hana-no Iwaya, a sacred place in south Honshu in Wakayama.


Hana-no-Iwaya in Kumano, by Okunomichi


This figure is that of  imo.  Imo means sister, wife, sweetheart (and also the potato). Amazingly, this word imo appears 58 times among all the Wosite documents. 


For our discussion, we consider this passage (Hotuma Tutae line 2718):

kokori no imo to     musuhase te

In this part of Hotuma Tutae, we are reading about Ukesuteme and Kokori-hime who were studying with Toyoke-sama. Kokori-hime was the sister of Isanaki. Toyoke-sama, father of Isanami who married Isanaki, connected them as step-sisters. Toyoke-sama is known for a long history of philosophy, analysis, and technology. He was unparalleled as leader, educator, and statesman.