Tag Archives: Hotsuma Tsutae

Hotsuma Tsutae, Aya One. 2. The Four Cardinal Directions

Ed. Note:   This is a continuation of Aya One. Wakahime’s foster father Kanasaki, now known in shrines as Sumiyoshi Kami, explains to her the meaning of the five direction system, KI-TSU-O-SA-NE (E-W-Center-S-N). [On the map below, traditionally the north direction is toward the bottom of the page.] He connects it with diurnal and seasonal processes and implies a philosophical framework for society. As a cycle, it is to be regarded as clockwise. In Japanese convention, clockwise is called left-turning circular motion. Kitsu-o-sa-ne relates space and time. And suggests how to live well. 

Why the Names of East and West

Nakararute            Sumie no okina             Sumiyoshi kami (Kanasaki) …

Kore wo shiru        Wakahime satoku         Clever Wakahime asked him

Kanasaki ni            kitsusane no na no       Kanasaki, why the names of East-West

Yue wo kofu            okina no iwaku            He replies:

Hi no itsuru            kashira wa Higashi            Sun’s head rises in east

Take nohoru            minamiru Minami            Sun rises, everyone looks south

Hi no wotsuru          Nishi ha nishi tsumu           Sun sets, sinks in west.        

Cooking Rice          

yone to mizu           kama ni kashigu wa            Rice and water, cook in pot

hikashira ya            niebana minami             the fire is high, cook medium

niru shizumu            eka hi to tabi no           lower down; a good day

mike wa kore            furutoshifu yori          food, two meals

tsuwo mi (3) ke no   hito wa moyoro ni          month, 3 meals, million years

tsuwo mu (6) ke no   hito wa fusoyoro         month, 6 meals, two million years

ima no yo wa      tada fuyoro toshi           The present world, only 20,000 years.

Food and Long Life

iki naruru            mike ga sanareba           To live we must have food

yo-wa-i nashi      yue ni onkami              to not weaken, Kanasaki says,

tsuki ni mike      nigaki ahona ya            month of three meals, bitter ahona.

The Cardinal Directions

minami muki      asaki wo ukete            South facing, fresh air

nagaiki no        miya no ushiro wo            to live long, stand with your back to the house

kita to ifu            yoru wa neru yoru            North, night for sleeping

kiku wa ne zo     moshi hito kitari            don’t sleep to the north.  If someone comes

koto wa ken       awane ha kita yo            don’t meet person from north

afu wa hide       minami ni koto wo           Meet someone in east, south for understanding things

wakimaete     wochitsuku wa nishi           matters settle down in the west.

kaeru kita       ne yori kitari te            Returning from north, go back north

Ne ni kaeru.  

The Seasons and Directions

Ki wa haruwakaba            Spring’s young leaves

Natsu awoba     aki ni e momiji           summer green leaves, autumn maples

Fuyu wochiba.   Kore mo onajiku           winter fallen leaves.     This is the same

Ne wa kita ni       kizasu higashi ya          Roots in the north, sprouts in the east

Sa ni sakaru        tsu wa nishi tsukuru               south blooms, west ripens.

O wa kimi no        kuni osamure wa            The center kimi pacifies the land

Ki-tsu-o-sa-ne      yomo to naka nari         E-W-center-S-N, four directions and center

Ki wa higashi         hana-ha mo minami        tree in east, flower-leaves in south

Ko no mi nishi          mi wo wakewo furu            nuts in west, seeds in south,

Ki no mi yuru.        Kimi wa o-me kami             fruits of tree.     Kimi is male-female kami.

Shikaru nochi          isawa no miya ni            after a while, to Isawa Hall.

Map of Kaminoyo




Hotsuma Tsutae, Aya One. 1. Customs and Festivals

Aya One: Mihata no Hatsu, Beginning of the Loom.  


This is part one of Aya One, the first chapter of Hotsuma Tsutae. It starts with the childhood of the talented woman known as Wakahime. It’s packed full of anecdotes about festivals and customs.

Aya One also introduces Awa no Uta (Awanouta), in bold italics below. The earlier Wosite lesson on Awanouta was posted here,  https://woshiteworld.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/wosite-fundamentals-4-awanouta/.

This is our interpretation of Aya One starting with the transliteration from Wosite to Japanese of http://www.k3.dion.ne.jp/~yamas/kodaiy2k/hotumika/hotu01.htm.  We first prepared this in 2013, long before we met Woshite teacher Sakata Sensei and started the Woshite blogsite. Although this text has not yet been checked by her, we thought that we would revise to the best of our ability in light of her teachings and re-post this for those who are waiting for more material to study.

Wakahime no kami

Sore waka wa        wakahime no kami         That waka of Wakahime Kami,

suterarete       hirota to sotatsu        Given away and taken up to raise

kanasaki no        tsuma no chi wo ete        Kanasaki’s wife gave her milk

awa-u-wa ya        te uchi shio no me        Baby clapping awa-u-wa with the gentle wife.

ume-re-hi wa        kashimi-ke sonae        On her birthday, he made an offering of cooked food.

Childhood and Festivals

tachi maiya         mifuyu kami oki        Standing up;  when 3 years old hair-cutting ceremony

hatsuhi-mochi         Awa no uya ma hi        New Year’s day mochi, gave respect to Awa

momo ni hina         ayame ni chi maki         peach for Hinamatsuri (3/3), iris and mochi for Boys’ Day (5/5)

momo no hayasi

tanahata ya          kikukuri iwahi.         Tanabata (7/7),  chrysanthemum-chestnut festival (9/9)

itoshi fuyu          o wa hakama kiru          me wa kashiki.              

Fifth year winter, boys wear hakama,  girls wear kazuki.

Akishinonomiya Fumihiti Sinnou 1970           Uha-katuki

Awa no Uta 

kotoba wo naosu       To fix speech:

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.

a wa no uta            kadagaki uchite        Awa-no-uta, striking the lute,

hiki utau       wo no tsu to koe mo         playing and singing, in natural voice.

akirakani            ikura mu wata wo         Clear voice goes into the five organs and the six wata (body)

ne koe wake          fusoyo ni kayohi         voice spreads in 24 directions

yosoya koe         kore mi no uchi no        48 voices, in the body

mekuri yoku          yamahi araneba         circulates well, not getting sick, living long.

[To be continued in Part 2]


1. Woshite Literature

Woshite Documents

There are only three documents extant in the Woshite corpus, even though many others are mentioned in the ones that we have. The three documents are the Mikasafumi, the Hotsuma Tsutae, and the Futomani. They are written in verse of five and seven syllables. Even today, Japanese poems, called waka, have five and seven syllables. In Woshite World, we study the Woshite written language and equip ourselves to read and understand the messages contained in these ancient documents. This is an introduction to the three documents. As you read this article, you will begin to become familiar with the Woshite World. There is much to learn, and it will be tough-going at first. But fascinating as well! Your understanding will grow as you keep studying with us.

A note about the Wosite society.  In Wosite times, wise and compassionate persons rose to leadership positions. They took on the responsibility to oversee the welfare of the people of the land. At the top was the Amakami, and he was assisted by his Tomi. Today, we may think they were rulers governing people, but it was not quite like that. They kept the best interests of the people in mind as they dealt with issues from time to time. They approached situations from the view of the Amenaru-miti teachings. In a particularly difficult situation they consulted the Hutomani for inspiration and guidance. Therefore, for the most part, their society lived in peace and sufficiency for a long period of time.

Sounds of Wosite.  Woshite in the old days was pronounced Wosite. You will learn how to pronounce Wosite syllables and words in later lessons. You will note some differences with contemporary Japanese, namely the syllables:  hu, ti, tu, si in Wosite versus fu, chi, tsu, shi in contemporary Japanese. We are writing Wosite words for English readers using Roman letters that are close to the way the Wosite language was spoken. In Wosite times, the H syllables were pronounced like fa, fi, fu, fe, fo. However, the F sound spoken by Japanese is very gentle and very similar to an H sound. This is unlike the Western F sound which is very fricative. Therefore, we will use the letter H. Later the sounds of language changed so that the syllable hu became sounded more like fu, as it is written now. So these days most people say and write Futomani. Here on these pages we will write it Hutomani. And instead of Mikasafumi we write Mikasahumi. Let us start using the Wosite spellings of words. At first, you may have encountered some Wosite words before in their modern soundings and will find the traditional way a bit strange.

Hotuma Tutaye (Hotsuma Tsutae)

The Hotuma Tutaye, at age around 2,000 years, is the youngest of the three documents and is, fortunately, complete. Of course, what we have are copies of copies. Tutaye is a term meaning a document that imparts knowledge and wisdom for later generations. All forty chapters, called aya, have been found and can be read today. The Hotuma Tutaye is an epic history of the land of Hotuma, the events and developments as well as the people who were prime movers. It shows that they tried to live in harmony with Universe, and most of the time succeeded in doing so. It conveys the lessons learned so that future generations can benefit.

The original 28 ayas of Hotuma Tutaye were composed by Kushimikatama, the Oomononushi who wrote it for Ihawarehiko (now called Jinmu Tenno). Oo-Tataneko of the same blood relationship added to it 12 more ayas in the times of Woshirowake (Keikou Tenno), approximately 800 years later. Oo-tataneko was Turugi-tomi and a descendant of Sosano-o, and this lineage called the Oo-mononusi held the position of Turugi-tomi from genertion to generation. His duty was to maintain peace and order in the land according to the principles of Amenaru-miti. (The title of Turugi-tomi is also called Migi-no-tomi which translates fo Minister of the Right. However, at that time, the position was different from what Migi-no-tomi came to mean later.)


Hutomani (Futomani)

11)Motoake(Amoto)The Hutomani was compiled by Amateru Amakami. In order to have the best document for use by the leaders of society, Amateru compiled 128 waka verses. He was in his last years of life. The Kagami-tomi Amano-koyane assisted. The Wosite original calls this document Moto ra tutaye no humi. A humi, like a tutaye, is a written document to convey wisdom of the elders to succeeding generations. The term Moto ra tutaye no humi refers to how the solution to a problem is found. It is based on applying the principles of creation of Ame-tuti Universe. The words, Hutomani and Motoake, also refer to the creation process. The teachings were vital to understanding the process of creation, and thus to deriving a solution. The creation of Universe is taught through the Motoake chart shown here, and details are given in Post 6.1 and other posts. Please search on Category Motoake.

Motoake chart depicts the forty-eight creation Kami as the ideograms of phonemes. What is the relationship of the Motoake Kami to waka? Waka poetry is made of the combination of sounds of two kinds of Kami and their effects. Waka has a connection with the energies of Universe and the solution of a problem. When a problem arose, one of these waka poems would be selected to assist in the solution. Regretfully, we do not know the selection rules.


Mikasahumi (Mikasafumi)

Mikasahumi is an older Wosite narrative of which only around 14% has been discovered so far. The fragment that we have consists of approximately 10,000 Wosite characters. The contents include history similar to that of the later Hotuma Tutaye. They also describe important events more precisely than does the Hotuma Tutaye. The theme of Mikasahumi is how to keep Amenaru-miti, the Way of Cosmos, alive for daily life. It carefully analyzes the changes that take place seasonally. It formed the basis for festivals and other events that observe the seasonal changes and express thanks for their blessings.

This seasonality has been transmitted even to today’s matsuri/festivals of gratitude: New Year’s eve and New Year’s day, Nanakusa (rice porridge with seven herbs), Setsubun (the traditional end of the winter festival), the Hina-matsuri doll festival in the third month, the Aoi-matsuri in the fifth month, the Tanabata-matsuri star festival in the seventh month. This is also continued in the observances of Jichin-sai (ceremony of calming the ground prior to building construction) and of Shichi-go-san (for children 7-5-3 years of age), and others. The origins and the ideas of all these traditional festivals are written in the ancient Mikasahumi.

There’s even more. Mikasahumi describes how the size of Universe is determined by a certain measurement technique. More familiarly, there is a measure to use for everyday purposes.

We learn from Mikasahumi that those who took on the responsibility for the welfare of people operated in accordance to the Laws of Ama, the Universe. (It would not be fitting to call them rulers or governors.) These ideas from Universe form the basis of the academic study of Japanese tetsugaku (philosophy).

Mikasahumi was written by Oo-Kasima who held the position of Kagami-tomi. It is said that the first half of Mikasafumi was written by the first Kagami-tomi Amano-koyane. Amano-koyane was a great-great-grandson of Toyoke-sama. Kagami-tomi was a top leadership position according to Wosite tradition. After Amano-koyane, the position was inherited for many generations by members in the lineage of Toyoke-sama. Kagami-tomi’s duty was to keep alive the transmission of the Kagami tradition: the discernment of good and bad in pursuit of Amenaru-miti, the right Way, in running society for the sake of the people. The word, Kagami, comes from ka (good) ga (not good) mi (to see). Kagami-tomi held the important responsibility of upholding the principles of Kagami. (In those days, Kagami-tomi was also called Hidari-tomi, which can be literally translated as Minister of the Left. The title, Minister of the Left, has continued but has come to carry a different meaning for his role.)


Wosite Literature

Wosite writing is found extant only in the three documents described above. Two primary characteristics of Wosite literature are:  (1) Writing and reading proceed from top to bottom, and from right to left. This is similar to traditional Japanese writing.  (2) Documents were written in columns of 5 and 7 ideograms each. When read aloud, these lines amount to verses with rhythms of 5 and 7 syllables.

You will see selections from the Wosite literature in following lessons.