Tag Archives: Amakami

Amakami Family. Part 1. Family Tree

We have posted stories about the Amakami couples Isanami and Isanagi, and Suhitini and Uhitini. We have mentioned the fifth Takamimusuhi Toyoke-sama and the eighth Amakami Amateru. How were these people connected and where did they live? Above we see the early generations of the Amakami family tree. It relates to the map of the Yamato kuni which we presented in the previous post. The charts and the map are created and copyrighted by S. Sakata.

Minakanusi and Kunitokotati

The Amakami family tree begins with Minakanusi, the earliest named ancestor from very ancient times. However, Minakanusi is not shown in our chart. First we see Kunitokotati, the ancestor of the Amakami, founder (tati) of the land (kuni). It is written that Kunitokotati had eight sons, of whom four are shown. These eight were known as the Kunisatuti, namely Ye-no-kunisatuti, To-no-kunisatuti, Ta-no-kunisatuti, and Ka-no-kunisatuti, and so on. Names in red are the Amakami, beginning with Kunitokotati down the generations to the 7th Amakami Isanami and Isanagi.

Ye-no-Kunisatuti and To-no-Kunisatuti

Eldest son Ye became Amakami after Kunitokotati, then passed the position to his brother To. In the next generation their Toyokunnu offspring alternately took the position. There were untold generations of Toyokunnu, hence the question-marks and numbers in red solid circles. Encircled numbers indicate the order of Amakami and Takamimusuhi.

Ye’s descendants Ukemoti and Sirahige gave up the position of Amakami. Ukemoti wanted to apply his talents to the development of agriculture in Kyoto and became the ancestor of Kata. Sirahige became noted for his ability in medicine in the Awa area. He is the ancestor of Sarutahiko.

Ukemoti and Sirahige turned over their heriditary Amakami positions to the To descendants, the fourth Amakami Uhitini and Suhitini (whose story we told in the Hinamatsuri posts). Then came their heirs the fifth Amakami Ootonoti and Ootomae, and the sixth pair Omotaru and Kasikone. Alas, the last couple had no children. Later, we will learn the story of how Isanami and Isanagi of the Ta lineage were chosen to become the next Amakami.


Since Ta-no-kunisatuti went to Hitakami in the east (ki), he is also called Ki-no-tokotati, founder of the east. His descendants were the Takamimusuhi of Hitakami. The fifth Takamimusuhi is the sage Tamakine Toyoke whom we have been referencing as Toyoke-sama out of our great respect for him. Four of his children are shown on the chart. His daughter Isako became known as  Isanami when she married Takahito who became Isanagi. That was when the couple became the seventh Amakami. Toyoke’s son Yasokine held the position of Takamimusuhi and he was called Kanmimusuhi. His wife was Kokori-hime and they resided in Sirayama.

Takamimusuhi’s brother Amekakami went to govern Tukusi. Amekakami’s son Ameyorotu went to administer Soasa. Ameyorotu’s son Awanaki governed Kosi and Titaru. The other son Sakunaki stayed in Soasa. Awanaki’s son Takahito became known as Isanagi. Awanaki had a daughter, Kokori-hime, who also known as Sirayama-hime. There was another son named Kurakine.


Lastly, we turn our attention to Ka-no-kunisatuti. His Toyokunnu descendants oversaw the land of Akagata in China. A later descendant was known as Ukesuteme. The chart concludes with the seventh Amakami Isanagi / Isanami. Their son became the eighth Amakami Amateru.

Imina Names

Where two names are given for an individual, the first is the imina, the name given at birth to describe the essence of this person. The second name is the one used in adulthood or a title of respect/position held by that person. There is a third type of name. A prestigious name was bestowed by Amakami to honor outstanding achievement. These three distinctions are important.

Ye Lineage: Sirahige 

The Ye brothers Sirahige and Ukemoti began their own lines of generational names in the time of the Toyokunnu. There is a person in each generation bearing these names. Their names indicate the nature of their work.

For Sirahige, Wosite explains this fine name:

si     to do, to work

ra     to radiate good energy

hi     a new and good situation is born

ke     good spirit and energy are flowing

Later, since the time when Chinese characters were fitted to the sound of words, a wrong meaning has been conveyed. The characters 白髭 are used, and they mean shirahige “white beard.” There is a shrine called Shirahige Jinja on the west side of Biwako. The deity is said to be the the kami of longevitiy, “white beard”, Sarutahiko. However, we have the chart above which shows that Sarutahiko was a Sirahige.


Sarutahiko was a great person in his own right. It’s said that he had the power of prediction and the power of medicine. He left the Sirahige house at the time of Amakami Ninikine. He studied Amenarumiti while serving Amateru-kami faithfully all his life.

Sarutahiko treated the sick, using the medicine of the family lore. He saved the life of the second baby of Ninikine. There was a child by the name of Sakuragi who was deeply grateful to Sarutahiko. When Sakuragi became an adult, he studied medicine and inherited a territory behind the senior home in Sirahige — with an herb garden! Then he helped treat Amakami’s baby (later the 12th Amakami). Sakuragi received the praise name, Sirahige.

Amateru-kami trusted Sarutahiko completely, and he presented him with three treasures (similar to his own three sacred treasures) to represent the special position of Sarutahiko. Amateru, before he died, commanded Sarutahiko to dig a hole for a tomb in the same location as Toyoke-sama’s tomb. Until the end,  only Sarutahiko was allowed inside. At the time of the farewell Amateru said, “When something happens in this country, you must represent the way of Amenarumiti.” This was Amateru’s testament to only Sarutahiko, a precious member of the Kunitokotati lineage.

Updated 2016.04.10



Tokoyo and Yamato kuni

Map of Yamato-kuni

Yamato Kuni

Our post today is about Yamato kuni, an old name for Japan. Even older is the name Tokoyo (Tokoyo-kuni). We may ask what is kuni? Let us think of kuni as “land” in the sense of “the land of Tokoyo,” Tokoyo kuni. Much later, kuni comes to mean “nation.”

Where was Tokoyo? Tokoyo started in the center of the main island of Honshu. Its headquarters was naturally called Naka-kuni (center of the land). Very significantly, its name was Awa or Awa-no-kuni, “the land of cosmos and earth.” This was the area around the largest lake in Japan, Biwako. Biwako is located in today’s Shiga Prefecture which neighbors the prefectures of Kyoto and Nara. Tokoyo spread out to include all of old Japan. And later it came to be called Yamato, even during Wosite days.

The name Yamato is still known today. However, most people have a different notion of Yamato. For example, according to Wikipedia, “Yamato (大和) was originally the area around today’s Sakurai City in Nara Prefecture of Japan. Later the term was used as the name of the province and also as an ancient name of Japan. The term was semantically extended to mean ‘Japan’ or ‘Japanese’ in general.” This is the impression commonly held today by people who do not know this ancient history of Wosite.

The first kami leader was Tokoyo-kami. He is also known as Kunitokotati (Kunitokotachi), the one who established the kuni. He planted a sacred masakaki tree as a symbol of the natural calendar.

Map of Yamato Kuni (Hinomoto)

Yamato kuni was known as Hinomoto, the essence of the sun.

Now let us study the map of Yamato kuni. Please note that ancient maps have north at the bottom, and the five directions are ki-tu-wo-sa-ne (east-west-center-south-north). This is one of several maps we will present; consequently we have labelled areas mentioned in this post and the several which follow. Woshite World is grateful to S. Sakata for creating this unique map.

Starting at the northern end of Honshu main island, Hitakami is northeastern Honshu now called Tohoku (east-north). X marks the spot of Ketatuho (Ketatsubo), the residence of Toyoke-sama. South of Hitakami on the Japan Sea coast is Kosi, also called Ne (north). The X in Kosi indicates Sirayama (Shirayama mountain, now called Hakusan, both names meaning White Mountain). Titaru (Chitaru) and Sahoko are next along the same coast.

Along the Pacific coast south of Hitakami is Tukuha (Tsukuba) in Koye-kuni. Awa / Naka-kuni is the center of Yamato. There are some unlabelled regions of Honshu which may be taken up later. The island of Shikoku was called Soasa. Tukusi (Tsukushi) is the island of Kyushu.

As an overview, we see that the Kunitokotati family spread out from the Awa area. To the north-east land of Hitakami went the Takamimisuhi, descendants of Ta-no-kunisatuti. Another branch went to Tukusi and Soasa, Kosi, and Titaru. Later, the 7th Amakami pair had their miya built in Tukuha. We will be giving further details about the Amakami family.

Awa, Center of Yamato

Yamato no kuni began at Naka-kuni which became known as Awa. After Isanami and Isanagi had been enthroned as Amakami, they moved their miya from Tukuha to Naka-kuni. They composed the Awa-no-uta and they went around the land teaching the song of cosmos and earth. So it is no wonder that they named the land Awa-kuni

The original name of the lake was Awa-umi (umi meaning large body of water). Over time, it was pronounced more like Oumi. Later, the province of this area came to be called Oumi, a name which has lasted for a long time. Even now, when visiting Shiga, we often hear of Oumi. Currently, Oumi is written 近江 (Ōmi).

Another old name from the Wosite era is Mio-no-umi which is the land of founding on the west bank of Awa-umi. Archaeologists know that the area around Biwako has been settled for a long, long time. The name Biwako is from the early modern period, and thus quite recent. The lake (ko) is named for its shape which resembles the biwa, a lute-like musical instrument.

In the Wikimedia map below of the Kansai area of Honshu, Lake Biwa is clearly shown in dark blue. This was the original home of Yamato-kuni. This was the land of Awa.


Hitakami and Takamimusuhi

When we apply Wosite analysis to the word hitakami, we obtain the results in the following chart. Hitakami was a place for observing the sun — to see the sun rising in the east, setting in the west. East and west are analogous to left side and right side, to spring and autumn, when energy is gathered and when energy is declining. Hitakami is a place to see and observe, and know that new ideas will be born.

hitakami 2Now consider Takamimusuhi, takami-musuhi. It is commonly written Takamimusubi. First, we note that takami refers to Hitakami, as discussed above. Next, musuhi is a response to takami: balance and harmonious movement are collectively created, achieved and accomplished, and new situations and new ideas appear. The Takamimusuhi leaders were very active and creative, producing new technologies and ideas such as the calendar, not only for their local land of Hitakami but also for the rest of Yamato.

takamimusuhi 2

Updated 2016.04.10


Hinamatsuri. Part 2. The poem in English

DSCN3742 2

We related the story of the peach festival, the celebration of the wedding of the Amakami couple, Uhitini and Suhitini, in Part 1, which we interpreted from the poem in Hotsuma Tsutae, Verse 265ff. Here in Part 2, we give a free translation of the verse. You will be able to read the verse in the original Wosite form together with romaji pronunciation in Part 3.

Free Translation of Hotsuma Tsutate Verse 265

     1)  The heir of the Amakami, Uhitini, and Suhitini who became his wife,

their happy story from the beginning

took place in the area of the capital in those days

which was the Hinaru mountain, the home (miya) of the Amakami.

     2)  When children, they liked to play under the trees in the garden.

They picked up fallen nuts and planted them.

Trees grew and blossomed after three years.

On the third day of the third (lunar) month,

there were hundreds (momo) of flowers and later hundreds of peach (momo) fruit.

So when they were young, they were called Momohinagi and Momohinami.

     3)  The kimi were given names from the fruit of the tree:

the male is the tree (ki), the female is the fruit (mi).

On the third day of the third month, they observed their coming-of-age,

with an offering of miki sacred sake.

     4)  Under the peach trees, they poured miki,

and the moon reflected on the surface.

When offered the miki, she drank first, then he did.

They exchanged love by the teachings of To no Wosite.

     5)  In the morning, to calm down their flushed bodies,

they poured cold water on themselves at the stream.

Their sleeves got wet, a lot and a little (u-su) like the ardent hearts

of Uhitini and Suhitini, perfectly named, and

similar to Universe after creation (uhi) in olden times.

     6)  The clothing of the young people were

kamuri hat and uo-sote with hakama for the male,

ko-sote with uha-katuki veil for the female.

At that time began the custom of taking wives and forming homes and families.

All the people followed the Amenaru Miti.

Miki, Sake, and Misogi


Sake is a rice wine traditionally brewed during the winter months. The photo from Wikipedia shows a sake brewery in Takayama with a sugitama cedar ball showing that sake is being produced. The first batch of sake is usually ready in late winter or early spring. That is when we see the green sugitama. Over the course of the year, the ball turns browner and browner.

Miki is sacred sake. It is offered to kami and used in ritual and ceremony. Notice that mi-ki is the reverse of ki-mi. If ki is spirit, and mi is a high honorific, then mi-ki may be considered to be sacred spirit. Miki, when used in ritual, represents purity and purification.

Misogi is a water purification ritual, often practiced under natural waterfalls or in the ocean. The above story may be thought of as a first form of misogi, when Uhitini and Suhitini wash themselves in the cold mountain stream.


Hinamatsuri. Part 1. Origin of Peach Festival

momo no hayasi

Hinamatsuri Peach Festival

It is said that Hinamatsuri originated in the Heian period as a form of play with dolls. In modern times it is a Girls Day festival held on the third day of March. One of the main elements is a display of dolls of Emperor and Empress (Tennnou and Kougouand their court in Heian period dress. This is the true story behind Hinamatsuri and it reveals why it is also the peach blossom festival. This is the charming tale of childhood friends who became the fourth Amakami. The deep significance to their wedding is that it was the first time that the Amakami were recognized as a couple, and this led to societal changeover to a family-based system.

Peach Festival of the Third Day of the Third Month

Long, long ago, Uhitini and Suhitini played together under the peach trees of Hinaru mountain as children. There were hundreds of peach trees. Momo means both hundreds and peach. They were called Momohinagi and Momohinami, momo boy kami and momo girl kami. Their name suffixes were ki/gi for the male, from ki for tree; for the female, mi meaning fruit. They were referred to as kimi.

When they became adults, a ceremony was held on the third day of the third lunar month when the moon was a slim crescent. Under the flowering peach trees, they poured miki sacred sake wine with the crescent moon reflected in it. When offered miki, she drank first and then he did. (Mi-ki, woman first, man second.) They exchanged love by the sacred teachings of To no Woshite. This was their wedding ceremony.

In the morning, they went to the stream to cool off their ardent bodies. When pouring water, their sleeves got wet, a lot and a little (u-su). And so they received their adult names, Uhitini and Suhitini

Their style of clothing can still be seen today, although worn only on special occasions by special people. He wore a kamuri (also spelled kanmuri) hat and a robe with uo-sote sleeves over hakama trousers. She wore a robe with ko-sote sleeves and a veil called uha-katuki.

The wedding of Uhitini and Suhitini has great significance to Japanese culture and history. This is the first recorded wedding when a wife is publicly recognized. This began the custom of marriage and, moreover, a new lifestyle when families were formed by men and women and their children living in their homes. Everyone followed the Amenaru miti.

A wedding is the start of a new generation. The Hotsuma poem says that their wedding was like the beginning of Universe after creation. The poem is full of words that sound similar and have different meanings. For example, momo for peach and for hundreds. The meaning of momo is abundance and fertility.

And so, today when we see the dolls displayed on Hinamatsuri, let us remember the loving couple Uhitini and Suhitini and the sacred institution of marriage which they began so long ago. Indeed, the custom of the bride sipping miki before the groom continues in a traditional wedding ceremony even today.

Photo Captions

The photo of a young prince wearing (left) uo-sote sleeves that have wide (uo) openings, and wearing (right) ko-sote sleeves with small (ko) openings. 

Drawing of a 15th century woman wearing uha-katuki on her head. The uha-katuki was originally a kimono with short sleeves worn as a veil. 

Photo below of  Tennnou and Kougou  Emperor and Empress hina-dolls in Heian court dress. He wears a kamuri cap, and her robes show the uo large opening sleeves. [Permission received for use of copyrighted photo.]



Awanouta. Part 2. Awanouta and Wosite Syllabary


Awanouta analysis 2We show how the ideograms/syllables of the Awanouta (in the box above) were derived from the Wosite syllabary. This figure is by S. Sakata.

Wosite Syllabary

Shown in the box is a chart of the Wosite syllabary. It begins with the blue ideogram for  a. Follow the blue arrow to the left for the upper half of the song which Isanagi sings. The red ideogram for  mo  begins Isanami’s lower half. Follow the red arrows to the right to the end of the song at  wa.

You can see why Isanagi’s half is called “upper” and Isanami’s is called “lower”. When the ideograms are written and sung in the given order in 5 – 7 rhythm, the Awanouta of Part 1 is produced.

Verse 402 Hutakami ha

The verse reads:

huta kami ha     arata ni mekuri

wo ha hitari     me ha miki mekuri

ahi utahu     ame no awa uta


hutakami /  two kami.  aratani / newly.  mekuri / to revolve.  hitari / left.  miki / right.  ahi (ai) / together.


The two kami     newly went around

male to the left     female to the right

sang together     song of Cosmos.

This is the famous story of how Isanagi goes around to the left and Isanami to the right. Isanagi sings first and Isanami sings second. That is the proper way. The reason is: Isanagi’s song comes from the upper five lines of the syllabary, minus the last syllable, mo. Isanami starts with mo and goes through the rest of the chart to the end, wa. His lines are regular: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5-1. Hers are irregular: 1+5, 4, 5, 4, 5 and begins with mo. Thus it can be said that it was not proper for her to sing first, as the well-known legend relates. When they realized this, then he sang first and all was well.

The singing and movements of Isanami and Isanagi may be considered to be a ceremony for giving birth to a good country. This insight of theirs came from much praying with their whole hearts.


Awanouta. Part 1. Song of Creation

Awanouta in box

Part 1.  Awanouta, Song of Creation

Awanouta (Awa no Uta) is a powerful song. See it in the box above. All figures provided by S. Sakata. It is comprised of all 48 of the creation kami as taught by the great sage, Toyoke-sama. Toyoke-sama designed the Motoake chart to teach the creation of Universe by Amemiwoya, Great Origin, and the 48 kami. The Wosite syllabary itself is powerful since it contains all 48 of the kami. Indeed, one can say that the Wosite language is powerful. Wosite contains the power of sound, the power of human voice.

Isanagi and Isanami, and the Motoake

The Awanouta was composed by Isanagi and Isanami, the futakami (two kami, the kami pair) who served as the 7th Amakami in Wosite era. When they first came to live in the capital, there was something they noticed. Although the two of them spoke proper Japanese, the people of the land found it difficult to understand each other because of their strong regional dialects. The two Amakami thought that it is important to clear the speech of the people to proper language. They would base the teaching on Motoake. When people sang the Awanouta, their speech would become beautiful and they would naturally acquire a unified sense of being Japanese. Further, the Awanouta contains the hidden laws and history of Universe. Creative energy works through sound, and sound energy establishes the message of Awanouta in people’s mind and body.

Verse 111  Akahanama and Awanouta

The Awanouta is given in lines 111 – 114 of Hotuma Tutae. 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 wu ti ri     si yi ta ra sa ya wa

The song begins with  a  and ends with  wa. As we know,  a  represents Cosmos, and  wa  represents earth. The song contains hidden energy of the creation of Universe. It applies to the birth of a baby as well as of a kuni, country/land/area.

The figure above shows the Awanouta in the box. Isanagi sings the first two columns and Isanami sings the next two columns. Note the eight ideograms shown in green. They are: a, i, hu, he, mo, wo, su, si. Did you realize that they are the eight Anami-kami in the Motoake chart? They were discussed in a previous post, Hutomani Part 1. These eight appear in the second ring (pink) of eight kami in the Motoake chart.

Motoake En.

Verse 654 Kuniume to and the law of 5 and 7

Verse 654 on the left side of the first figure reads:

kuni ume to     tami no kotoha no

hutu kumori     kore naosan to

kankayete     yine nana miti no

awa uta o     kami husoyo koye

isanagi to     simo husoyo koye

isanami to     utai turanete

Observe that there are three colors of ideograms in the poem:  Green indicates the phrase, yine nana miti. In blue, kami husoyo koye isanagi. In red:  simo husoyo koye isanami. We will explain them shortly.


kuni ume (umi) / birth of a country.  tami / people.  kotoha / language, speech.  hutu / very.  kumori / dim.  naosu / to fix.  kankayete / thinking.  yi ne / 5 root.  nana (ne) / 7 (root).   

miti / law (in this case).  kami / upper or first (in this case).  simo / lower or second (in this case).

hu-so-yo / 20 plus 4, or 24.  utai / sing.  turane / to continue.


The birth of the country     the speech of the people

was very dim.     To fix this

they thought of     law of 5 and 7 roots.

Awa Uta      upper 24 sung

by Isanagi;     lower 24 sung

by Isanami     who continued the song.

Isanagi and Isanami give birth to the country.

This verse is telling the story of the time when the speech of the diverse people was “dim”, that is, not clear, and they had difficulty communicating with each other due to their distinct dialects. Isanagi and Isanami thought of a remedy. Based on the intonation of the language, they felt that they would focus on a backbone of five and seven syllables (yine nana miti, the green ideograms in the poem). Five and seven are the base of syllables and grammar, the unique rhythm and intonation of the Japanese language. They composed a song of 48 syllables, and Isanagi sang the first half (kami husoyo koye isanagi, it says in blue) and Isanami sang the second half (simo husoyo koye isanami, in red). The reason they are called the kami upper and the simo lower will soon become clear in Part 2.

To protect the pronunciation, rhythm, and syllables of the five and seven, the eight Anami-Kami were placed at the beginning of each phrase in the Uta. These are shown as the green ideograms in the Awanouta.

From the age of Woshite to the present day, for more than three thousand years, the rhythm of five and seven is in the Japanese poetry, language and mind. Haiku and tanka poems employ 5 and 7 syllables.


4.1 Ama, Amakami, Amemiwoya

Ama and Amakami

The words that we study in this article all begin with ama which is written with the cosmic allograph for the Wosite  a .  Ama is the Wosite word for cosmos, which includes sun, stars, and galaxies. It also describes a highly respected person. The  a  in ama is written with the cosmic spiral of  a.

Kami is a word from ancient times which is still used today. Kami is a powerful force of nature or a person who possesses great power and has earned great respect. Amakami is a special term, a title, for a secular-spiritual leader in Wosite times. Amakami was a leader who stayed connected with Ama Cosmos. Amateru is the best-known Amakami in Hotuma Tutae. Let us try to understand Amakami through Wosite analysis.

First, for Ama, look at the right of the illustration below, and note how Ama is written in Wosite. The usual form of  a  has been replaced by a spiral that opens to the left. This is a special ideogram, an allograph, of a  when it is associated with Cosmos or Universe. In Wosite analysis, we treat it the same as the basic circular utuho-tai for  a.

「Amakami」Ancient TENNOU

The ideogram below it in the figure is ma, the circle of utuho-tai with an overlaid T-glyph indicating strong will. Therefore Ama refers to the energy from the Original Presence, the presence that originated Universe.

Finally the term we analyze is amakami.  The ideogram for ka means shining, as in kaguya. It also implies megumi wo watasu, sending blessings. Mi is a wind-like energy which is balanced and sent down. The amakami of the past always shone brightly for his people, sending them abundance equally, without thought of personal gain.



Amanohara (also Ahara) has important meanings in ancient Japanese. (See our later posts on Ahara and Takamanohara.) Amanohara is the place of the Amakami’s Congress. Amakami as the leader communicated with Ame Cosmos and the ancestors who returned there. This meeting of communication with Universe was held at the miya, Amakami’s residence. The meeting is called maturi.

Although now we think of matsuri as a festival at a miya Shinto shrine, the original meaning of maturi was connecting with Universe and its laws for the welfare of the people. By connecting with Universe, Amakami was following the Amenaru-miti, the Laws of Universe. This was Amakami’s most important responsibility.

Amanohara has the greater meanng of Cosmos and all the Laws of Universe. Regretfully now, these meanings of Amanohara have been lost to modern people.


Amemiwoya is the Great Source, that which produced Universe, the essence of existence. Amemiwoya generated Universe, and is the Presence of the Origin. Amemiwoya is Energy from the Original Presence. Amemiwoya taught the To no Wosite, the Amenaru-Michi, and other great teachings of The Way. 


Ame is the universe. Mi is a high honorific of great respect. Woya usually means parent. But Amemiwoya is not a person, rather “Something Immensely Great”.