Category Archives: Vowels

Kototama Secrets of Michi (Tao) in Kojiki Myths – 1


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=kokoto=jifumi=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.

A,  manifesting

O,  reacting to seeing light

U,  moving

E,  understanding

I,  concluding

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:

T   Y
K   M
S   R  
H   N

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.


Kototama is:

  • 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.



Wosite Fundamentals 3. Allographs

「Amakami」Ancient TENNOUAllographs are alternate forms of writing characters. We have already learned to write the basic  A  and  I. The above two illustrations show two of their allographs.

On the left is the spiral form of  A. This cosmic allograph indicates the special meaning of the syllable  A  in the word  ama, Cosmos. The example in this analysis is the word  amakami, the title of leaders such as Amateru who are held in supreme regard as if they represent Cosmos. Analyzing the elements of the characters enables a deeper understanding of the word.

The example on the right is the word,hitakami hitakami, the northern land of Toyoke-sama. The allograph used is the solar  HI. The usual  HI  is written with  kase  bell-shape of  I  and two vertical lines of the consonant  H. However, the allograph which is used to mean sun contains the solar symbol in place of the two lines.



There are many homonyms in the Wosite language. One of them is  ho  which has the multiple meanings of time/season, millet ears, and fire. Recall that the utuho glyph represents burning or fire. It is used accordingly when  ho  means fire. 

Allographs in Wosite make the text clearer as well as more interesting.


Wosite Fundamentals 2. Wosite Syllabary

Written Wosite is a syllabic script of 48 basic characters plus some special forms to enhance meaning, such as for emphasis, numerals, or clarification. Each character is read as a syllable, consonant first and vowel second. There are only two sounds in each syllable, a single consonant and a single vowel. Of course, for pure vowels, there is no consonant sound at all.


There are five vowels in Wosite. The vowel sounds are  A,  I,  U,  E,  O. They are pronounced as in Hawaiian or in Spanish. Vowels can stand alone or can be combined with a consonant to form a syllable. Each vowel represents a cosmic energy or a process of creation. Although their names seem to be “things” or “elements,” they are really “actions” or “movements.” Universe creates through movement.

There are five basic vowel glyphs, each shown here with its vowel sound, Wosite name, translation of name in quotation marks, and cosmic energy / creative process. 

Wosite Similarity vowels.002

The translated names are given for mnemonic purposes, not as literal meanings; meanings are given succinctly in the last column.

Exercise:  Pronounce the vowels out loud. Imagine the type of process each vowel represents.


There are ten glyphs indicating nine consonants plus no consonant sound (i.e., pure vowel sound). The null consonant is indicated by a dot. Consonant sounds are indicated by glyphs which are superimposed on vowel glyphs to be sounded as syllables. Consonants are always sounded before vowels. There would be five times ten = 50 characters but there are only 48 ordinary syllables in the Wosite syllabary since two are missing.

Wosite Similarity consonants.001

Exercise:  Learn the consonants in the given order by sounding the syllables above.

Wosite Syllables

The result of combining the vowels with the consonants produces syllables. In this special case, the written character for the sound  a  is composed of the utuho glyph and the dot. Thus,


Similarly, to form the syllable  ka, superimpose the utuho glyph and the  k  glyph:


Following this procedure for all but two combinations of vowel and consonant glyphs, we obtain the chart of basic syllable characters below, to be read from right to left and top to bottom. The characters are very regular, following the above rules except for a few irregularities. This chart resembles a mathematical table, an array of five columns and ten rows. The columns represent cosmic creative energies and the rows symbolize transformative processes. Herein lies the cosmogony of the Wosite people.

Wosite Syllabary (Matsumoto)

Wosite Syllabary Chart

(Matsumoto 1999)

Reading down the first column, we have:

A   KA   HA   NA   MA   TA   RA   SA   YA   WA

This sequence symbolizes creation of the world from Cosmos A to Earth WA. (Notice that WA is not written with a circle.) With this chart, you will be able to read Wosite literature except for special symbols (allographs such as the cosmic  A).

The second column reads:

I   KI   HI   NI   MI   TI   RI   SI   YI

We note that current Nihongo pronounces  chi  for  ti and  shi  for  si.  These sounds changed after the introduction of the Chinese language. Similarly,  tsu  for  ti.

Third column:

U   KU   HU   NU   MU   TU   RU   SU   YU   WU

We notice that  ru  and  wu  have modified shapes. For the  E  column:

E   KE   HE   NE   ME   TE   RE   SE   YE

For the  O  column:

O   KO   HO   NO   MO   TO   RO   SO   YO   WO

Frequently,  wo  is written with a dot in the center. This completes the entries in the syllabary.

Exercise:  Write the Wosite syllables in the form of the syllabary chart. Compare your chart with Matsumoto’s.


The rule in Wosite is that consonant goes before vowel to form a syllable. This is very important because Wosite is a kototama language. This is a rule of kototama, the power of sound, the Spirit in speech. 

Kototama refers to vowels as “mother sounds” and consonants as “father sounds.” A prominent myth of Isanagi (“father”) and Isanami (“mother”) reminds us that “father goes before mother.” As a kototama language, Wosite is powerful, as evidenced by tales in Hotsuma Tsutae. 

Another rule of kototama is the avoidance of voiced consonants (called dakuon) which darken energy and make it more negative. Thus, even the name kototama is preferred over the modern version, kotodama. Dakuon rarely appears in Wosite literature except when necessary.


Basics of Wosite

Ametuti Passage H.TWosite Literature

There are three extant documents written in Wosite script. They are called the Hotsuma Tsutae, the Futomani, and the Misakafumi. Here we show an excerpt from the Hotsuma Tsutae, lines 2576-2583. Wosite literature is read from top to bottom and right to left, the same as in traditional Nihongo. The Wosite documents have been composed and written as poetry with a five-seven rhythm, said to be the rhythm of earth and cosmos.

Each character is read as a syllable, consonant first and vowel second. There are only two sounds, a consonant and a vowel in each syllable. For pure vowels, of course, there is no consonant at all. There are 48 such syllables.

We will show how the syllables are written, starting with their vowel sounds. We will find that the Wosite written language is full of meaning, especially having to do with the energies of creation of Universe. As for spoken Wosite, it may be considered kototama, that is, spoken Wosite carries the power of sound energy. Therefore, one speaks in a responsible manner.


There are five vowels.  The vowels are  a,  i,  u,  e,  o.  They are always given in this order because the order represents cosmological process.

Utsuho tai    A           Utuho     “space”          Originating energy/process

Kase tai     I            Kase          “wind”        Vibrating energy/process

Ho tai     U            Ho             “fire”           Burning energy/process

Mitu tai       E             Mitu         “water”       Flowing energy/process

Hani tai       O            Hani         “earth”        Solidifying energy/process

Vowel sounds are similar to Hawaiian and Spanish. There are no diphthongs.

Each vowel represents a cosmic energy or process. Although their names seem to be “things” or “elements,” they are really “actions” or “movements.” Universe creates through movement.

Exercise: Pronounce the vowels out loud. Imagine the type of process each vowel represents.


There are ten consonants if we count the null sound as a consonant. The consonant order is important for cosmological reasons.

The first five consonant glyphs read (top to bottom):

                                              –         K          H        N        M                                                                     Ten consonants

                                              T          R          S        Y        W

Ten consonants copy

In Nihongo, since there are no consonants per se, one would say, “a  ka  ha  na  ma  ta  ra  sa  ya  wa.”

Exercise:  Learn the order of the ten consonants, reciting “a  ka  ha  na  ma  ta  ra  sa  ya  wa.”


9. Ma: Yama, Muma, Koma — Mountains and Horses


Higashi-no-yama, Gifu, by Okunomichi

Yama, Mountain

9)YamaWe show here the writing of yama, mountain. This is an example of utuho-tai used to mean a location relevant to the situation. Here, in ya: a person on the mountain is looking up at the sky above the horizon (horizontal bar) for the rising movement of the sun (represented by the vertical bar). In ma, ma-sou is looking at energy coming down from above. The horizontal bar of ya means horizon; the horizontal bar of ma means the zenith of the sun. The movement of the sun is indicated by the vertical bar in both cases. The top of the mountain is a place that gets light for the longest time; it is closest to Ame. It is a place of gratitude for this gift from Ame. Perhaps this explains why Nihonjin have revered mountains from ancient times.

Muma and Koma, Horses

muma komaIn Wosite literature, horses are mentioned many times. They were treasured as special animals. There are two names for horses. The horse that is natural or wild is called muma. The horse that one rides is called koma. Notice the difference in the ideograms of mu and ko. The wild horse is indicated by the ideogram of ho-tai overlaid with m symbol implying a more fiery temperment. Mu means able to move freely with natural energy. The domesticated horse is stable and fixed, as the hani-tai indicates. The common syllable ma is the ‘certain place’ of utuho-tai, namely the horse’s body.

Training of Horses

We learn from lines 3652 – 3659 of Hotuma Tutae (not shown but transliterated here):

kosi sue norite     yawa-yawa to     muma no asitori     ikisu ahi     awasu kaname no     nori-nori so     tune ni kokoro o     u-heki nari     muma ha umarete     mono sirasu     ata-hasiru toki     noriotu so     kanete wosiye ha     kanahu mono

Toyoke taught how to train wild horses: firmly seated on the horse’s back, slowly and gently keep the stepping in rhythm with the breath, for this is essential. Always get to know the horse’s mind. Wild horses don’t know but to run freely, and can toss the rider to the ground; so if we keep training on a daily basis, the horse will become well-accustomed to being ridden.


8. O Vowel and the Completing Energy of Hani-tai


Hana-no-Iwaya, Kumano, by Okunomichi


Hani-taiHani-tai, as its square shape indicates, is heat energy circulating in a stable manner. It means that it is getting dry and firm. The process of change is over and has been completed, as the image suggests.

Hani and Verse 2593-2596


Hani is dry ground, clay. This is explained by its name, ha-ni. Notice how stable the ideograms ha and ni  look.

The verse reads:

hani ukuru     utuho ama-mitu     naru kusa-ki     utuho ha tasuku     mitu hiyasu

Hani receiving     rain from utuho     makes grass and trees     utuho helps     water cools.

Ground receives rain water from utuho (light, in this case air). Grass and trees grow with the help of utuho and cooling water. Observe the second time, utuho is written with the  ho  allograph, implying heat of fire. This may refer to radiational/radiative cooling. These lines again allude to the cycle of water.

In any case, hani-tai is the solidification and completion of process, the building of land and mountains.


7. E Vowel and the Flowing Energy of Mitu-tai


Photo by Okunomichi



Mitu-tai is shown here. It is the basic shape for the vowel sound  e.  Mitu makes us think of mizu, water. Yet it means much more. The mitu-tai is clearly a process of flowing motion from top to bottom. The top of the shape is energy which is light, like vapor, mist, dew, or cloud. The vapor gradually becomes drops of water which come down, water flows on the ground and is sucked into the earth. As it moves, water gathers more and more quantity, from high to low places, and finally flows into the sea.

Mitu and Hotuma Tutae lines 2610-2613


The next figure shows how the word mi-tu is spelled out in Wosite.  It is made up of the  m  consonant with kase-tai vowel i  plus the  t  consonant with ho-tai vowel  u

The lines from Hotuma Tutae tell us about  mitu.  They read:

tuki no mitu     kutaseru tuyu ha     kawa no mitu     utuho ukure ha     kumo to nari     ti-ayumi nohoru     hani no iki

This is clearly a description of the water cycle where water comes down as dew and rain into rivers which then evaporate to form clouds and the cycle repeats.


Constellation Eridanus The River, by Johann Bayer, 1661