Tag Archives: Isanami

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.



Life and Death of Isanami and Isanagi

Kuni-Umi, Birth of a Land

220px-Location-of-Awaji-island-enInland Sea.   The Inland Sea of Japan separates three of the four major islands of Nihon retto archipelago. Among the countless islands in the Sea lying south of the western end of Honshu, the main island, is the major island of Shikoku. At the north-eastern tip of Shikoku lies the next major island, Awajishima. Awaji Island is about 50 km long. Its shape is a curious reflection of nearby Biwako, Lake Biwa near Kyoto. See map.

Awa-no Kuni.   Recall our ealier posts about the hutakami, the kami couple Isanami and Isanagi, and how they taught the Awanouta in Awa-no-kuni, the area around Biwako (kuni, land or country). This is the largest lake in Nihon. The lake was then called Awa-umi (umi, sea), and the name morphed into Oumi. This was the name of the province, Oumi-no-kuni, until the Meiji period when it became the Shiga-ken prefecture.

In Oumi, a notable grand shrine is the Taga Taisha. Its kami are the hutakami and Isanagi is considered to be the Taga kami. When Isanagi and Isanami went around the kuni teaching Awanouta, they were unifying their people and building their country, in other words, doing kuni-umi (umi, birth). This is the Wosite version of kuni-umi as told in the Hotsuma Tsutae.  

Birth and Death of Hutakami

Isanami, the daughter of Toyoke-sama, was born in Hitakami (now Tohoku) which her father governed. There are a number of Taga shrines connected to Toyoke. One of them spun off the shrine in Oumi which became the Taga Taisha. Isanagi was born in Ne-no-kuni on the north coast along the Japan Sea.

The hutakami couple were married in Hitakami and named the 7th Amakami in Tukuha (Tsukuba). Afterwards they moved their miya residence to the Ise-Kumano region of the Kii peninsula. Isanami gave birth to daughter Hiruko Wakahime, and sons Amateru, Tukiyomi, and Sosanowo. Isanami died in a fire in Kumano and is buried at Hana-no-Iwaya, an ancient shrine  near the present Kumano City. However, there is another monument that is said to be her ohaka tomb in far-away Izumo. This is a mound of large rocks on a hill behind the Sada Jinja. Furthermore, the Hibayama Kume Jinja in Izumo is dedicated especially to Isanami, and her ohaka is said to be on top of the mountain. 


After Isanami’s passing, Isanagi is deeply grieved. He passes away, Kojiki says, on the island of Awaji at a place called Taga. The honden of Izanagi Jingu is the site of his kakure-miya, his final resting place. There used to be from ancient times a mound of large rocks marking the spot. The rocks were buried in the Meiji period when the honden was constructed, with only one rock visible (honden in center of photo below). We can imagine that the monument may have looked like Isanami’s in Izumo.

Izanagi Honden

The connection with Izumo is through their wayward son Sosanowo who moved there after being exiled. He became a leader of Izumo. It makes one wonder if it was he who built the monuments in Izumo as memorials to his mother. They may not be actual burial places since Isanami died in Kumano.

Izanagi Jingu is ichinomiya (first shrine) of Awaji-no-kuni. Both Isanami and Isanagi are enshrined there.

Kuni-umi in Awaji

In Awaji, there are some of the oldest shrines dedicated to Isanami and Isanagi. The residents of Awaji claim that theirs is the locale of kuni-umi, by which they mean that physical land was first created by the hutakami. The myth of kuni-umi is related in Kojiki, where the couple in “heaven” dip their lance into the ocean and the dripping water forms the islands of Nihon. The first is Onokoro. Where is Onokoro?

There are two jinja called Onokoro Jinja. One is on Awajishima and the other on its tiny neighbor to the south, Nushima. This latter shrine is reached by ferry and a climb up a narrow wooded trail followed by three flights of kaidan steps. At the top we look down and see the ferry port and the town. We are on Onokoro yama. After paying respects at the honden, we follow a footpath and find a statue of Isanami and Isanagi holding their lance and creating land. 

Onokoro Nushima copy


The other Onokoro Jinja is in a more populated area of Awajishima itsef. It possesses a certain charm and a number of shrines to other kami. There is a huge red torii in front. 

Onokoro Awaji

Taiyo no Michi, The Path of the Sun

There is a new-looking granite monument near the entrance of Izanagi Jingu. The latitude here is 34.5 degrees North, longitude 134.9 degrees East. It is a map centered on Izanagi Jingu. North and South, East and West, the two directions of summer and winter solstice sunrises, and the two directions of summer and winter solstice sunsets are shown emating from Awajishima. In each direction is a major shrine connected with Isanagi and Isanami, although we must confess that we do not know all the connections. Were the shrines situated deliberately so as to form this particular design? It has become a fad in Japan to find these “ley-lines” connecting important sacred sites. At first, we think that it is a simple matter to find any number of ley-lines since there are so many shrines. And yet, there may be a deeper meaning behind these observations. As this chart has pointed out, ancient shrines may have been connected to each other in a geographical as well as spiritual manner. Just how ancient people accomplished this surveying feat, over mountainous lands separated by ocean, is amazing!

Taiyo no michi

We often check the orientation of shrines that we visit. We have found that shrines nearly always face east, toward the rising sun. If the shrine has been rebuilt in the Heian period, it may face south. Ancient shrines of Hinomoto are sun-oriented, as the name implies!


Is there a direct connection of Awaji to the Awa and Awa-no-kuni of Hotsuma Tsutae? On Shikoku there is a province called Awa-no-kuni. Is the similarity of names a coincidence?

At this time, we can’t explain why the myths of Kojiki say Isanagi died in Awaji-no-kuni. From the Hotsuma Tsutae we know that Isanami died in Kumano. Why would Isanagi go to Awaji to spend his remaining days? One may say that this is where the couple did kuni-umi, but it does not fit the Hotsuma history of kuni-umi taking place in Oumi.

Perhaps we’ll find the answer as we continue our study and research.

P.S. We are posting some thoughts about the mystery of Awa on Okunomichi. Do visit us there!


Rev. 2016.08.12

Amakami Family. Part 2. Hotuma Tutae

Amakami in Hotuma Tutae

We will get acquainted with the Amakami through a long passage from the Hotuma Tutae. We will show you the lines from 325 through 349 (with three lines snipped out) in four charts. Each of the four passages has the romaji on the left side. We will help you understand the lines.

Chart 1 Tokoyo-kami: Hitakami and Takamimusuhi

1)tokoyo-kami kinomi 325~

The first name for Japan was Tokoyo or Tokoyo no kuni. The center of the Yamato civilization was in the Awa (Lake Biwako) area. This civilization developed over a long period of time into what is now the nation of Japan. From the time of Isanaki / Isanami, the country name became Yamato-kuni or Hinomoto (essence of the sun). In Tokoyo-kuni, the first leader Kunitokotati planted a sacred masakaki tree. And he planted a sacred masakaki tree as well in the far-off eastern land of Hitakami. Tokoyo was expanding.

This made very important sense. Ta-no-kunisatuti, who developed the east, was highly skilled in arts and sciences. He produced a calendar by astronomic observation as a new technology useful to all the people. Because of that, the central Amakami regarded him with a special status: his title was also Ki-no-tokotati, Kuni tokotati of ki, the east. The majority of his descendants, the Takamimusuhi family, became academics in science and technology. So it was that the great Toyoke-sama was born.

The leaders in the eastern hako-kuni distant land created takama, a Takamanohara (see earlier post) center where the great ancestor Minakanusi was revered. Please remember that Takama / Takamanohara is the center which is the residence of Kunitokotati. In addition to the masakaki tree, the tatihana citrus was also planted there. In this poem, miko means a lineage heir.

Here is an interesting aside: Hitakami is Hi-sumi, where hi is sun and sumi is the place where it lives. In other words, Hitakami is the place where the sun lives. As for Tukusi (see Chart 2), it may be tuki-sumi, the place where the moon (tuki) lives. When you look at the map, you see that Hitakami is in the east where the sun rises, and Tukusi is in the west where the sun sets, which reminds us of the moon at night.

Chart 2  Sono miko ha:  Tukusi, Soasa, Ne and Titaru

2)sono miko ha 331~

Another son, Amekakami, went to govern Tukusi. For communication with Hitakami, Uhitini Amakami accepted the latter’s son, Ameyorotu, as his own. And he entrusted Ameyorotu with the governance of Soasa. Ameyorotu had two sons, Awanaki and Sakunaki. Awanaki left to oversee Ne (area around the mountain Sirayama) and Titaru regions, to spread the law and teachings.

[sono miko, one of the sons of Takamimusuhi;  mouku, accept as a son;   awa saku, Awanagi and Sakunagi]

Chart 3  Umu miko no:  Takahito, Tamakine, and Isako

3)umu miko no imina takahito 337~

Awanaki’s first son, whose imina was Takahito, became a powerful kami (kamiro-ki, kamirogi). The yitu-yo fifth generation Takamimusuhi had the imina Tamakine. Imina is a name given at birth which describes the essence of the person. The name Tamakine was predictive: tama means both jewel and spirit. For Tamakine became the great Toyoke-sama. Toyouke is an alternative spelling, and it means one who receives abundance. Toyouke’s daughter was Isako (Isanami).

Chart 4  Keta-tuho no: Toyouke, Isanami, and Isanagi

4)ketahuho no tusa no 344~

Ketatuho was the special miya residence of Toyouke. The name Ketatuho means spirit flowing abundantly in a vase. There is a Ketatsubo monument in the ruins of the old government capital Tagajo outside Sendai. In the present age, tubo still plays a vital role: its meaning is once again “the core.”

[tu-sa, west-south;   isa, rich and clear, pure and bright;   unatuki, agree;   ami te, to form a partnership (ami, a net or a connection);   masiwaru, exchange love.  toko is to-ko, where to is the teaching of the law, and ko refers to hoko, the force that protects the teaching. ko also means prosperity.]

The poem says that south of Ketatuho, the two (Takahito and Isako) agreed to partner at their own special miya at Tukuha. This would be near today’s Tsukuba city. The two became the huta-kami kami couple Isanagi and Isanami. After the couple exchanged love and had miki, the sacred sake, they spread the Ame no Woshiye law and teachings. And all prospered in Yamato.


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.


5.1 Isanami and Imo


Day 2 Sada J DSC04012_665

Monument for Isanami in Izumo, by Okunomichi


Isanami-no-Mikoto has been revered throughout the land since Wosite times. Isanami was a woman of great accomplishment in the annals of Hotuma Tutae. She is remembered in myths, legends, and in shrines even today. There is a monument for her in Izumo, shown above, as well as one in Kumano, shown below.

Let us study the meaning of  isa  in the names Isako, Isanami, and Isanaki. Isanami, the daughter of Toyoke-sama, had the childhood name of Isako. After she married and the couple became the head of the land, she was named Isanami and he became Isanaki. Here,  i  has the greater meanings of mind, spirit, faith, and will.

Isanaki Isanmi

The ideogram  sa  (drawn as a circle with a horizontal line through it) in  isa  means rich and clear, pure and bright. Notice how the bar of the  s  glyph takes the  a  energy and spreads it evenly when forming  sa. Thus, one of the meanings of isa is bright spirit.

In Isanami’s name, on the left of the figure, we note the ideogram for  mi.  The symbol for the consonant  m  shows a horiontal line indicating the balancing of energy and then the horizontal line sending the energy down.  Mi means fruit, body, self, very appropriate for the female. For Isanaki, the last ideogram is that of  ki  which, in addition to meaning tree, also means male. Isanaki is an abbreviation of Isana-kine. Kine is the honorific title for man. It has a good connotation. Isanaki’s name is sometimes written as Isanagi, which is another abbreviation for Isana-kine. Although in general voiced consonants such as g and z are considered to have a negative meaning, in this case gi is not negative and is permitted in Wosite.

We note that in later documents, however, the names Izanami and Izanagi have replaced the  s  by the voiced consonant  z .  These are serious errors which darken and lower the energies. Remember that the horizontal lines in  sa  and in  mi  mean that energy is being balanced and harmonized. Balance and harmony play important roles in the worldview of Wosite. Therefore, we do not recommend using these spellings and pronunciations of these two beautiful names.

It is said that this natural stone monument marks Isanami’s resting place at Hana-no Iwaya, a sacred place in south Honshu in Wakayama.


Hana-no-Iwaya in Kumano, by Okunomichi


This figure is that of  imo.  Imo means sister, wife, sweetheart (and also the potato). Amazingly, this word imo appears 58 times among all the Wosite documents. 


For our discussion, we consider this passage (Hotuma Tutae line 2718):

kokori no imo to     musuhase te

In this part of Hotuma Tutae, we are reading about Ukesuteme and Kokori-hime who were studying with Toyoke-sama. Kokori-hime was the sister of Isanaki. Toyoke-sama, father of Isanami who married Isanaki, connected them as step-sisters. Toyoke-sama is known for a long history of philosophy, analysis, and technology. He was unparalleled as leader, educator, and statesman.