“Kototama no michi is explained in super-ancient history of Biwako’s esoteric doctrine. Dr. Agō accomplished this momentous research in a lifetime career as pioneering director of the Biwako Research Center. “
These statements were retrieved in November 2013 from the website of the Biwako Research Center. The website is no longer online. Biwako, largest lake in Japan, lies in the center of Shiga Prefecture. It is of particular interest to students of Wosite as the Naka-Kuni Central Land of Isanami and Isanagi. Biwako is also of historical interest to geologists, biologists, archaeologists, and anthropologists as a region rich in human and natural activity from ancient times.
Agō Kiyohiko, former electrical engineer who spent his long retirement years studying ancient matters such as Wosite, made the following remarks about Kototama on this website.
“Kototama is the recognized spiritual function of Japan’s ancient language.”
“Kototama is a language inseparable from sending the supernatural…”
“Kototama is the sound coming from kami, as distinct from the sound made by ordinary people.”
“When ordinary people speak a language of understanding, then it is kototama. ‘That person has kototama’ we often hear, meaning that he/she has grasped spiritual phenomena.”
“In today’s scientific, materialistic civilization, there are those who deride it mistakenly. But wise people find a deep recognition.”
Brief Biography of 吾郷清彦 Agō Kiyohiko (1909-2003)
Agō Kiyohiko is best known for his research into Old Shinto and ancient literature of Japan. He went to school in Shimane-ken. He had a degree in electrical engineering from the Manchuria Institute of Electrical Engineering. He worked as a power engineer at Manchu Electric Industry in a thermal power plant. After returning to Japan, he played a central role in the construction and operation of a hydroelectric power plant in Shimane.
After his retirement, he devoted himself to research in ancient Japan and leadership of the Biwako Research Center. He published fifteen or more books on topics such as Old Shinto, Takamahara, Uetsufumi, Kuki Shinden, Kamiyo-moji, ultra-ancient history, Takeuchi documents, Hotsuma Tsutaye, and Kototama. Introduction to Old Shinto (Koshinto Nyumon ), a book of three-person dialogues on many of the above subjects, was published in 2000 when Dr. Agō was 90 years old. He died three years later.
“In today’s scientific, materialistic civilization, there are those who deride it [Kototama] mistakenly. But wise people find a deep recognition.” — Agō Kiyohiko
We have been sharing with you, for three years, on the pages of WoshiteWorld, knowledge and wisdom of the ancient Wosite civilization of the Jomon period.
+ We learned to write and read the written characters of Wosite, and now we can read Wosite literature (albeit with assistance).
+ We are trying to understand what the characters express in terms of symbolizing energies and their processes in how they create Universe and everything. Wosite names contain deep meanings which we discern by analysis.
+ As we read Wosite documents, we meet outstanding people who contributed greatly to society. When we learn of what they could do and how they did it with grace and competence, we are inspired to emulate them in our own ways and in our own time.
+ We realize that we moderns do not have to live in compartmentalized ways. We don’t have to discriminate by nationality, language, religion, physical appearance. We don’t have to separate science from spirit. We don’t have to compete, and instead we can cooperate. In our decision-making, our objective is not only of benefit to ourselves but for others as well.
We feel inspired to create a new Taka-ama-hara, Earth as a place where Law of Universe is followed. We affirm that we can and we will live in peaceful harmony.
An Invitation to our Readers
We are enjoying communicating the wisdom of Wosite to all of you. Thank you for joining our global community.
Now, we invite you to convey your own wisdom as well as heart-felt questions to those who are fellow travellers along the Seeker’s Path, the Miti of Wosite.
Amenaru-Miti in Daily Life
A reader of WoshiteWorld has asked for advice on how to apply Amenaru-Miti and other Wosite teachings to our own daily lives. We profess that we are primarily researchers and conveyors of knowledge and wisdom, and we are sincerely trying to apply the lessons learned to our own lives. We are not teachers of rules of religion or of a moral code. We believe that it is up to you to decide how you behave. So we do not presume to have any instructions for you. Let Nature and Universe teach you.
All that being said, we have gathered together a list of possible actions that you can take. It is up to you.
+ Observe Nature: the land, sky, ocean, mountains, rivers, plants and animal life and how they change over the seasons.
+ Contemplate what the changing seasons and the cycle of life is teaching you.
+ Extend your contemplation to Universe in all its glory. Whether scientists or not, we have learned that Universe operates according to certain laws. What are these laws? How do they affect us in our decision-making?
+ Consider: What are laws of humanity? Why are we here? How can we be contributing members of not only human society but of Universe as well?
+ Think of the values of highly evolved people we have encountered in WoshiteWorld. How did they demonstrate their mastery of values? How did they achieve mastery? How can we?
+ What values do you live by, and how do you activate them?
Let’s share with the WoshiteWorld global community!
This is an updated list of references and resources. Here are some sources for the Western and Japanese Wosite researcher. There are only two books in English; the others are in Japanese. We are preparing what will be the third book in English. Keep watching for further news. We welcome your inputs.
The first modern books on Wosite were written (in Japanese) by Yoshinosuke Matsumoto after he had studied the Hotsuma Tsutae for thirty years. Two books appeared in English.
1. Mitsuru Ikeda, The World of the Hotsuma Legends, Japan Translation Center, 1996.
2. Yoshinosuke Matsumoto, The Hotsuma Legends: Paths of the Ancestors, Japan Translation Center, 1999.
Numerous books in Japanese have been published by Mitsuru Ikeda. Of particular value is this two-volume work offering all the extant Woshite literature, in Woshite with footnotes,
More recently, books by Wosite researchers Aoki, Hiraoka, and Shiba have appeared, also in Japanese. Wosite research and this site draw heavily from these two books:
6.「よみがえる日本語 −−ことばのみなもとヲシテ」Yomigaeru Nihongo — Kotoba no minamoto Woshite, Revival of Japanese Language – Woshite Origin of Language. 青木 純雄・平岡 憲人 (著), 池田 満 (監修), Aoki Sumio and Hiraoka Norito (authors), Ikeda Mitsuru (supervision). 明治書院 Meiji Shoin Publishing House, 2009.
7. よみがえる日本語II: 助詞のみなもと「ヲシテ」 Yomigaeru Nihongo II: Joshi no minamoto Woshite, Revival of Japanese Language II: Woshite Source of Particles.青木 純雄 (著), 斯波 克幸 (著), 池田 満 (監修), Aoki Sumio and Shiba Katsuyuki (authors), Ikeda Mitsuru (supervision). 明治書院 Meiji Shoin Publishing House, 2015.
8. 完訳 超古代史 秀真伝 Kanyaku (complete translation) “Chou-Kodaishi Hotsuma Tsutae” by 須田麻紗子. Ultra Ancient Document Hotsuma Tsutae, 2013, two volumes by Suda Masako. See previous post for details.
9. 〔ホツマツタヱ〕―秀真政伝紀 by 大田田根子命、 安聡, 和仁估. Hotsuma Tsutae by Ohta Taneko, Yasutoshi Waniko, Japan Translation Center, 2000/2010. This book presents the complete text of Yasutoshi Waniko, handwritten in 1775.
10. 古史古伝大系―神道・倭人・天皇の歴史 Koshi Koden Taikei, Compendium of Ancient History of Legends, by 吾郷 清彦, 鹿島昇Agō Kiyohiko et al., 1983. The term koshi koden was coined by Agō to refer to this genre of literature. There is a chapter on Hotsuma Tsutaye and Mikasafumi by Agō. Other chapters include Kodai moji (ancient scripts); Uetsufumi,Kuki Shinden, and Takenouchi Monjo ancient documents. The Wosite documents are not the only documents written in an ancient script.
Our sister blogsite, https://okunomichi.wordpress.com/ has carried posts on Woshite which can be found by searching on this word. These were earlier posts that were translated from various Japanese language sources to the best of our ability at that time. We have since had the honor and the privilege to study with Japanese Wosite researchers and have produced this site devoted to Wosite research.
Online Japanese-English dictionary
If you have a digital text in Japanese, you can copy and paste it into this dictionary: http://jisho.org/. “Enter any Japanese text or English word in the search box and Jisho will search a myriad of data for you.”
We hope that this Woshite World site now makes Wosite research more accessible to English language readers.
Please refer to previous posts on Hotsuma Tsutae, especially the initial post, https://okunomichi.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/hotsuma-tsutae/. Briefly, the Hotsuma Tsutae’s first 28 aya were written for Jimmu Tenno (r. 660-585 BCE) by Kushimikatama. 12 additional aya were written under Keiko Tenno (r. 71-130 CE) by Ohtataneko. The 40 aya were copied and annotated with kanbun by Waniko Yasutoshi in 1775. The Hotsuma Tsutae was discovered in recent times by Matsumoto Yoshinosuke in 1966.
Suda Masako who is now 87 has been searching for Truth for forty years, as her mother Ryo did. Ryo’s father was a surgeon who died when she was 17. Ryo wanted to learn the right perspective for life which was precious. Her mother died around the time she graduated from college.
Showa 44, 1969, mother and daughter began to study the Hotsuma Tsutae under Matsumoto Yoshinosuke, twice a month for a year and a half. Masako did suigyo water purification every morning and started to see spiritual things.
Showa 58, 1983, they studied Ago’s Hotsuma Tsutae exclusively. Masako translated and wrote the stories in her own words, from Prologue to the last of the 40 ayas.
Ago was living in Shimane. He sent Ogasawara Nagahiyo (great grandson of Michimasa) to see her in Yokohama. Ogasawara and five associates visited and asked if they could have her translation, and they would send her related materials such as their commentaries. She could see that her translation was more modern than theirs.
Next, they examined the Hotsuma Tsutae (HT) of Ohtataneko’s kept at Hiyoshi Taisha in Biwako. This was the copy written out in kanbun, Chinese writing, by Waniko Yasutoshi in 1775, comprised of 24 books in three boxes. It was beautiful, interesting, and held deep meaning for Masako. This is the copy she used for her translation.
Hotsuma Tsutae contains the origin of Japanese culture and the heart of Nihon. This is Suda’s fervent belief.
This set of two volumes by Suda Masako contains the complete Hotsuma Tsutae in these five forms: genbun original, yomikudashi straight translation, modern translation, Waniko’s kanbun, and Masako’s translation.
Suda writes the kanji for Mikasafumi as book of kami riding on the mountain (as compared to others who write it as three umbrellas). Mikasafumi was written by Lord Kasuga, Ame no Koyane, who presented it to the 12th tenno, Keiko . It was edited by Ohokashima. This was at the time that Ohtataneko completed the Hotsuma Tsutae and offered it to the tenno.
Prologue, Hotsuma Tsutae o nobu
When heaven and earth began, the two parent kami had an Ame-no-sakahoko (representing order) and To-no-woshite (representing heavenly law), and all was good. As the number of people grew, they became more insensitive. Amaterasu made yatakagami to show truth, and gave the Mikusa-no-kantakara three treasures to Ninikine.
Long after the human tenno age began, there was the ninth tenno Kaika (r. 157-98 BCE) who abused his power. He took his father’s concubine. Ohomikenushi, the grandfather of Ohotataneko, left his post at the government in protest. He was the fifth generation grandson of Kushimikatama who wrote the original 28 ayas of the HT.
The new tenno, Keiko, needed help in governing the people and Ohotataneko provided it. He edited 40 ayas of the HT, the original 28 and the additional 12 ayas which he wrote. He presented them to the tenno. He was 234 years old.
Hotsuma means perfect harmony. Hotsuma is also a way of life, a policy, so that when using Hotsuma, the country is Hotsuma.
“If you count all the sands on the beach, you can never end the teaching of Hotsuma. Hotsuma is Oshiye no Michi.” Hotsuma is the teaching of the Way.
Koto nobe no nagauta, Song to Introduce the Story
This uta was written by Ohokashima no Mikoto, 247 years old, to congratulate Ohotataneko on the completion of the Hotsuma Tsutae.
Amaterasu said that Ninikine is the reincarnation of Kunitokotachi because he separated lightning into fire and water, and he was given the name Wakeikazuchi. Ninikine was the first to be called Amakimi (Tenno). Amaterasu, after 170 ten thousands of years (1,700,000 years) went back to the sun and he is still shining on us.
The 26th aya is about Toyotama and it raises a question of her being a dragon. It is due to the use, or misuse, of tenioha. Tenioha is an important element of grammar as it includes particles and syntactical relationships. Without proper application of tenioha, interpretations may be erroneous.
Then, Ohokashima wrote the Hana no soe ueta, about Yamata no kuni and Hishiyo-no-miya, Keiko Tenno’s palace. Ohokashima was daiguji (kan-ochi) of Ise Kotai Jingu.
Seishu mondo by Kibi no Makibi
This document is produced at the end of Suda’s book. [It has been published by JTC with a beige cover.]
Mikasafumi had 64 aya, and the copy or copies had many bug holes. Therefore, when Nihon Shoki was being written, using Mikasafumi as a reference, there would have been mistakes. Furthermore, when Toneri Shinao was diligently writing the text, Amaterasu was male. But the Empress had a doukyo Buddhist priest that she was in love with. He wanted to take over the country with his son. With his power over the empress, he was able to change the Nihon Shoki and make Amaterasu female.
Buson was born in the Taniguchi family in Settsu Province, and later changed to the surname of Yosa, for the town in Tango Province. He advocated a return to the style of Bashō. He left many haiku and paintings. His vision sweeps over vast realms of space and time. The material here was again inspired by Nakano Koji, translated by Julia Winters Carpenter, in the book, Words to Live By, 2018.
Haiku of Space
Buson’s poetic imagination evokes the expansiveness of space. After a boat trip down the Yodo River in the freezing night, Buson wrote the following, highlighting the moon and the frost and himself in a small boat.
shūchū ni ware
tsuki o ryosu
Frost for a hundred leagues —
alone in my boat
I rule the moon.
The peony, too, appears in a poem of a hundred leagues of space.
For a hundred leagues square
holding rainclouds at bay —
As Mr. Nakano states: “The peony has the power to hold rainclouds at bay for a hundred leages in all directions.” This haiku requires us to translate the word, yosenu. Dictionary meanings for the verb 寄(よせる) are many. They vary from “to bring near” to “to push away.” Here, Nakano takes the latter meaning. Again, Buson uses the imagery of a hundred leagues of space and a small peony flower.
Another simple, yet dramatic, scene is this haiku tagged “Spring scenery”.
na no hana ya
tsuki wa higashi ni
hi wa nishi ni
the moon in the east,
the sun in the west.
Haiku of Time
Nakano aptly calls these haiku “Layers of Time.” He points out that, in addition to his view of space, Buson expresses an ability to see the passage of time. Let us consider some of the seasonal poems.
osoki hi no
Lazy spring days
piling up — so far away,
In the lazy days of spring, the past seems far away. And yet —
kyō mata kurete
yuku haru ya
today is also ending —
so goes the spring.
kosu ureshisa yo
te ni zōri
The joy of wading
across a summer stream
sandals in hand.
Buson thus wrote of the pleasure of wading in a cool stream in the hot summer of Tamba.
去年より又さびしひぞ秋の暮 kyonen yori mata sabishii zo aki no kure
mata sabishii zo
aki no kure
than last year —
the end of autumn.
This haiku evokes memory of Bashō’s kono michi ya / yuku hito nashi ni / aki no kure.
こがらしや岩に裂行水の聲 kogarashi ya iwa ni sake yuku mizu no koe
Cold wintry wind — Breaking over rocks The voice of water.
—– Takafumi Saito and William R. Nelson, trans., 1020 Haiku in Translation (2006) 956, 249; from Upaya.org.
初雪の底を叩ば竹の月 hatsuyuki no soko wo tatakeba take no tsuki
Ed. Note: This is such a magnificent haiku that we leave it to you to interpret for yourself. Hatsuyuki means first snow; soko is bottom; tataku is to beat; take is bamboo; tsuki is moon.
Buson’s range of haiku includes this exciting scene.
To Toba Palace
race five or six horsemen —
These horsemen are riding furiously through the storm to the villa of the retired emperor Shirakawa near Kyoto. This historical scenario would have taken place during Shirakawa’s lifetime, 1053-1129, six hundred years earlier.
Buson left many paints from simple sketches to grand vistas in the Chinese style. Here is a painting commemorating Basho’s journey to Michinoku.
As we were thinking about kototama, we came across the chapters on Saigyō in the book, Words to Live By, by Nakano Kōji, 2018, translated by Julia Winters Carpenter. For a fuller discussion of Saigyō the monk and his works, we refer you to this book.
Saigyō , 1118-1190
The monk Saigyō lived during the turbulent times of the Genpei War between the Genji and the Heike, and the Kamakura shogunate was established. He is beloved for the honest feelings expressed in his waka, waka that reflect the kototama of Wosite and Yamato Kotoba.
Saigyō was born Satō Norikiyo (佐藤 義清) in a samurai family; the Satō clan originated from the Northern Fujiwara, whose founder was Fujiwara no Fusasaki. The very first Fujiwara was Fujiwara no Kamatari, 614-669, of the Nakatomi clan, who received the Fujiwara name from Emperor Tenji. The Nakatomi were descended from the Mononobe of the Wosite period, who were in turn descended from Kasuga no Kami, of the Amanokoyane lineage. Saigyō was actually related to Fujiwara no Hidehira who ruled Mutsu Province and who sheltered Minamoto no Yoshitsune from his warlord brother Yoritomo during the Genpei War.
Cherry blossoms and heart
Saigyō was entranced by sakura, cherry blossoms, which are referred to as hana in waka. Here is one of his cherry blossom waka.
kozue no hana o
mishi hi yori
kokoro wa mi ni mo
Since the day I saw
cherry blossoms in treetops
on Mt. Yoshino,
my heart is no longer
here inside me.
Saigyō wrote a lot about his heart.
kokoro wa mi ni mo
ika nari totemo
ika ni ka wa semu
My heart, I find,
wanders off in ecstasy
quite out of myself;
I neither know where this may lead
nor what to do about it.
Let us explain the word mi which has been translated as “I” or “me”. According to Mr. Nakano, mi refers “to the whole person without the division into body and heart/mind that is typical in the west.” Saigyō often wrote about mi and kokoro, heart/mind or simply heart.
hana o tazunu to
Yoshino no oku e
Come away, my heart!
I’m going to search for blossoms,
I will say,
then be off to Yoshino
to enter mountain depths.
Don’t you just love the first line, iza kokoro, Come away, my heart!
If you are a lover of Bashō’s haiku, you know about his journey to Michinoku, following the footsteps of Saigyō. Saigyō wrote this at the Shirakawa border gatehouse.
sekiya o tsuki no
moru kage wa
hito no kokoro o
the old gatehouse
moonlight beams arrest
the human heart.
Saigyō in his old age made another arduous journey to Michinoku. On the way, he saw the smoke of Mt. Fuji.
kaze ni nabiku
Fuji no kemuri no
sora ni kiete
yukue mo shiranu
waga moi kana
Trailing on the wind,
smoke from Mt. Fuji
fades into the sky,
drifting toward an unknown end
just like my own thoughts.
When the blossoms fall…
Saigyō wrote several waka about dying when the blossoms fall.
ware o mo gushite
ukiyo o itou
kokoro aru mi zo
when you scatter,
take me with you too!
My heart is oh so weary
of this cruel world.
Saigyō died on the sixteenth day of the second month, as the cherry blossoms fell.
Okunomichi and WoshiteWorld are deeply interested in the study and practice of Kototama. This is another in the Kototama series of expository articles. Here, we share a Shinto view of Kototama. We received the statements below from a representative of Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine.
Izumo Taisha (Izumo Ōyashiro) is one of the oldest and largest Shinto shrines in Japan. The taisha enshrines Ōkuninushi no Ōkami, kami of earth and spiritual world.
Shinto is the native Japanese religion which is based on traditional nature worship and animism. It does not have a particular founder, doctrine, or scripture. This is similar to old Hawaiian and Native American religions.
Nakaima, The “Now”
The word Nakaima comes from a national history book, Shoku Nihongi, Sequel to Chronicle of Japan, 797 CE [sequel to Nihon Shoki, 720 CE]. Nakaima is made up of two words, naka and ima, where the former means middle and the latter means now, the present time.
As Shinto does not have concepts about heaven and hell in the hereafter, “this world” is considered the most valuable and important time for all lives. It is the “middle” between the past and the future. “Now” is the precious time to reflect the past and expect the future.
Kototama of Norito
Shinto prayers, norito, are based on Kototama, the worship to words and language itself. From ancient times, it is said that, “The words can move the heaven and the earth” especially in the Japanese poems (waka, tanka). Traditionally, people use and choose words very carefully when they compose the poems because of Kototama, especially yamato kotoba (ancient Japanese classical words). This is why norito is composed only from yamato kotoba. When the words are pronounced, Kototama is involved — with its vibration toward the world.
Kototama and Nakaima
In Shinto cosmology, Kototama is the basic tool to affect Nakaima.
Experience Kototama and Nakaima
To experience Kototama in Nakaima, recite Ōharae no Kotoba, the prayer for Great Purification, one of the most famous norito.
HARAE NO KOTOBA, PRAYER FOR PURIFICATION AND BLESSING
The Harae no Kotoba below is an invocation often recited at Izumo Taisha asking Ōkuninushi no Ōkami, and all the myriads of Kami to join in the ceremony. There are three basic types of harae purification and blessing:
the body (to maintain health and well-being, to heal or avoid illness;
the soul or spirit of the living and the dead;
our surroundings and natural environment.
The last three lines can be recited as a short prayer for purification and blessing.