Yamakoshi Meisho (Akimasa) was the son of Yamakoshi Koudo (Hiromichi) who studied the kototama of the Kojiki with Emperor Meiji. The Kojiki is a book of eighth century Japan; in its myths are hidden secrets of Michi, or Tao, which are the teachings of kototama. Kototama is Universal Spirit, and humans are made of kototama. Indeed, everything is made of kototama. Yamakoshi gave a series of lectures entitled Kototama Okagami in 1940. In this article, we present Lecture 1. There will be another post, on Lecture 2.
LECTURE 1 Introduction, Kojiki, and Three Sacred Treasures
The eighth century Kojiki and Nihon Shoki are considered the classical books of Japan. Yamakoshi believes that the Nihon Shoki is a history book, while the Kojiki is about Michi, which is also known as the Tao. The Kojiki has, concealed within it, secrets of the Michi which are the teachings of kototama, as Yamakoshi reveals to us.
As we know from reading the Kojiki, there is a cave called the Amanoiwato. When Amaterasu Omikami hid herself in the cave, all the world went dark. Light was restored when she was enticed to open the door of the cave. According to Yamakoshi, Amanoiwato is the human brain itself, and it is kototama that opens it. What is kototama?
Kototama is uchuu-rei, Spirit of Universe, or Universal Spirit. The human is made of kototama and indeed kototama is the spirit of everything. All things koto have sound koto, too. Koto is the sound vibration that solidifies into things. It may require all your senses to understand this.
Kototama is the origin of the universe; it is the principle of every teaching.
However, it is not written about in other countries, only in Nihon. Where is it written in Nihon? In Ise Jingu’s Naiku and Geku, in the form of the shrine building in the shinmei-zukuri style. Adjacent to Ise Naiku, the river Isuzugawa flows. This is physical and symbolic, as well as spiritual.
Emperor Meiji referred to the Kojiki by its classical (kototama) name of Furukotobumi, where furu=ko, koto=ji, fumi=ki. The seemingly ordinary two to three pages at the beginning of Furukotobumi are about kototama, but they are hard to decipher. Truly, kototama is Nihon’s treasure. It was in Nihon that it was discovered and formulated.
Mikusa no Kantakara, the Three Sacred Treasures
The traditional three sacred treasures of Nihon are: the kagami mirror, magatama jewel necklace, and tsurugi ceremonial sword. Here are their true meanings.
Kagami. Kagami is not merely a mirror. It is something written. Amaterasu said it is a book of rules, a book which contains her spirit. The rules have eight seishitsu characteristics, and they are made of kototama.
Magatama. Yasaka no magatama, or tama, represents the spirit of the jewel, and you have to know how to use it.
Tsurugi. Tsurugi, the sword, is the action, the way of properly using the tama. Tama means both jewel and spirit in Nihongo.
Sound Characteristics, Mother and Father Sounds
[Ed: The three sound orders of kototama theory are Amatsu Sugaso, Amatsu Kanagi, and Amatsu Futonorito. We are discussing the kototama of Amatsu Sugaso sound order of a previous age. The vowels and consonants are named in an order which differs from the Amatsu Kanagi sound order of our times. The current-day set of mother sounds, vowels, goes in this order (the Kanagi order): A I U E O. The current-day set of father sounds, consonants, have the order: K S T N H M Y R W. However this is not the “correct” order. For details, see Nakazono’s Source of the Present Civilization.]
The vowels, A O U E I, are mother sounds. The qualities of the vowels are as follows.
O, reacting to seeing light
Mother sounds need energy to bring out child sounds. This energy is called nuboko. It makes A into KA, I into KI, etc. We call these energies consonants.
The consonants are given in this order: T K S H Y M R N W. Their meanings are as follows (with Nihongo keywords in parentheses).
- T, swiftly coming out (Tsuku)
- K, gathering energy (Kaku)
- S, spearing energy (Sasu)
- H, developing power (Happa)
- Y, makes the vowels stronger (Ya, arrow, see below)
- M, rotating (Marui, round)
- R, spiraling (Rasen ryoku)
- N, absorbing (Nyuushu)
- W, unifying (Wa, circle)
Each sound has a shape, and the shape is kotoba (speech). There are fifty sounds, and isuzu = fifty sounds. The Isuzugawa river adjacent to the Ise Naiku flows with the fifty sounds. [Since there are five vowels and 9 father sounds, there are 5 x 10 = 50 sounds, although we might call them syllables.]
Oto no dekata, How the sound comes out
The way the sound comes out of the mouth, goes from front to back.
- A, mouth opens wide
- O, lips
- U, teeth
- E, tongue
- I, back of tongue
- T, push out from top of tongue
- K, upper jaw is scratching
- S, bring out the lower jaw
- H, breath comes out
- Y, upper lip area
- M, lower lip area
- R, back of tongue
- N, nasal
Each sound is a kami. The consonants pair with their opposites, as confirmed by sound wave studies. The consonant pairs are:
In-yo sounds. We translate the Nihongo in and yo as yin and yang.The clear, yang, sounds are the gyo (the five in the set of vowels) of A, namely A O U E I; the five in the set of T syllables (TA TO TU TE TI); the K syllables, the S syllables, the H syllables. The minor yin sounds come from further down in the throat: Y syllables, M syllables, R syllables, N syllables.
The consonant Y (as in ya, arrow) makes the vowels stronger. Thus, YA is really IA, and it makes A stronger.
The mother vowels A O U E I are brighter compared with the syllables WA WO WU WE WI which are ‘under the azalea,’ meaning in the shade. Of the vowels, not all of them have the same brightness. A and O are darker; U is middle; E and I are brighter. The bright sounds are the sound of fire and are positive; the dark sounds are the sound of water and are negative.
- Universal Spirit
- the spirit of everything
- the origin of the universe
- the principle of every teaching
All sounds, vowels and consonants alike, have meanings. There are yang and yin sounds. Each sound is a kami.
There are fifty sounds. When the fifty are reflected in the sacred mirror, there are one hundred sounds, one hundred kami.