Orange Collective

Mikan Dialogue Vol.5 『Orange Mythology: Let’s Know the Gods of Kinan”』Text Archive (Part 1)

This is the part 1 of the text archive for the talk session “Mikan Dialogue vol.5 ” held on Oct. 22, 2022.

Date and time: 9 October 2022 (Sun), 15:00-17:00.
Venue: Seminar room, 2nd floor, Tanabe En+ and online
Participation fee: free of charge
Capacity: 25 people
Guest speaker: Mr Tetsuji Yamamoto, General Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in Cultural Sciences
Panellist : Konomi Sakamoto (runs the Kumano Kodo blog site ‘Kumano Log’)、Takuo Hara(seventh-generation owner of Kishu Hara Farm)

<Guest Speakers>

Tetsuji Yamamoto
Former visiting professor at Tokyo University of the Arts, former professor at Shinshu University. General Director of the Institute for Advanced Study of Cultural and Social Sciences. While specializing in hospitality environmental studies, sociology of education, and political sociology, he is also involved in a variety of new academic production activities that differ from university academia, pioneering trans-disciplinary specialized research in economic theory, political theory, Japanese culture, and Mexican studies.

Konomi Sakamoto
She manages a blog site “Kumano Log” about Kumano Kodo (Kumano ancient roads). She has made it her life’s work to walk the ancient roads, including minor routes such as the road from Kyoto to Kumano and the Yodo River. Currently, he is preparing his base “Gongendo” in Hongu Town where Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine is located.

Takuo Hara
Takuo Hara is the seventh generation owner of a farm that has been in existence since the late Edo period. After graduating from university, he joined his family’s farm, Kishu Hara Farm, where he grows citrus and plums with his family and several staff members. He is especially fascinated by the diversity and deep history of citrus, and grows about 60 varieties of citrus. We actively cultivate not only the newest varieties, but also rare varieties called “original varieties” and old varieties rooted in the region. We deliver these citrus varieties to citrus fans and restaurants throughout Japan to expand the “Happiness with Citrus”. Together with local friends, we are also involved in the establishment and operation of direct sales of agricultural products and farmer-owned restaurants.

‘Mikan Mythology – Let’s Get to Know the Gods of Kinan’ Talk Show

Table of Contents

1.[Lecture] “Why Is It Important to Think About the National Gods (Gods of Place) Now?”
(1) On the Kojiki, the Nihonshoki and the Sendai Kuji Honki
(2) Clan Conflicts in Ancient Times
(3) What Is the God of Our Place?
(4) ‘Ketsumimiko’, the Main Deity of Kumano Hongu
(5) What Is the Descent to Earth of the Grandson of the Sun Goddess?
(6) Kii Gods.
(7) Nigihayahi In Spirited Away.
(8) What Was the Presence of Tachibana In Ancient Times?

Photo: Yoshiki Maruyama

Thank you for gathering here today in spite of the bad weather. Today’s theme is a maniacal one, ‘Mikan Mythology – Let’s get to know the Gods of Kinan’, but I am very pleased to say that the hall is full.

First of all, as to why the theme is “Mikan “, I had always wondered, for example, why “mikan” are on the top of “Kagamimochi” or on the sacred rope. I think that perhaps the clue to the answer can be found in ‘myths’ such as the ‘Kojiki’ * and the ‘Nihonshoki’ *, and I hope to be able to talk about these today.

*Kojiki: History book of the Nara period, 3 volumes. The Imperial Chronicle and the Former Records of the Former Generations, recited by Hiedanoare at the order of Emperor Temmu, were recorded in writing by Ono Yasumaro at the order of Emperor Genmei, and presented in 712. Japan’s oldest history book, which attempted to legitimise the rule of the emperor. The upper volume contains articles from the Jin dynasty, the middle volume from Emperor Jinmu to Emperor Ojin, and the lower volume from Emperor Nintoku to Emperor Suiko, including myths, legends and songs. Reference: Kotobank.

*Nihon Shoki : Nihon-gi, also called Ki for short. Japan’s oldest imperial history book. Together with the Kojiki, it is called Kiki. Compiled in 720 by Emperor Temmu’s third son, Prince Toneri, in collaboration with Ono Yasumaro and others, in response to an imperial edict. Reference: Kotobank.

Photo: Yoshiki Maruyama

In fact, it was here in Wakayama that the god Tajimamori brought back Tachibana as a medicine for immortality, and there is a shrine dedicated to citrus fruits called Kitsumoto Shrine* in Kainan, Wakayama. And the annual festival of this shrine was held today, 9 October, until a few minutes ago.

*Kitsumoto Shrine: Historic shrine in Kitsumoto, Shimotsu town, Kainan, dedicated to Tajimamori-no-mikoto, who is widely revered as the founder of the citrus and confectionary industry and as a god of culture. Reference: Wakayama Prefectural Shinto Shrine Office.

And we have Dr Tetsuji Yamamoto from Tokyo as a guest speaker who could not be more helpful in thinking about mythology. My thinking on Kojiki has changed dramatically since I read his book Kojiki to Kunitsugami Ron: Nihonkoku no Hajimari to Basho Shinwa* (Kojiki and the National Theism : The Mythology of the Beginning and Place of the Japanese State). Today, I would like to hear from Dr Yamamoto about what exactly the gods of citrus, Kumano and Kinan are all about.

* Kojiki to Kunitsugami Ron: Nihonkoku no hajimari to Basho Shinwa: Yamamoto, Tetsuji (Author), published by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Cultural Sciences Press, June 2022 (Amazon).

After that, Mr Hara, the seventh-generation owner of Kishu Hara Farm, will appear as a panellist. Mr Hara is a farmer who grows more than 60 varieties of citrus in the Kinan region. (Laughs). He has a lot of knowledge and insight into the culture and history of citrus and we always learn a lot from him. I look forward to talking to him afterwards.

The other panellist is Ms Konomi Sakamoto. She is a Kumano Kodo expert who has been walking the Kumano Kodo for a long time. She will talk about what kind of deities she encounters while walking the Kumano Kodo.

First, Dr Yamamoto will speak to you. Dr Yamamoto, please begin.

1.[Lecture] Why Is It Important to Think About the National Gods (Gods of Place) Now?

Around spring this year, I gave a talk on Kojiki in Nanki-Shirahama. After that I went to Hongu, and today I am speaking in Tanabe, but Kumano is very interesting to people from outside.

It is not clear what the grounds for concern are. Perhaps even insiders are no longer sure.

For example, this is a place called Tanabe in Kumano. But do you have a local deity that you cherish?

(Silence ……)

I don’t think anybody’s here. That is how far away God is from the Japanese. Even if you are told that you are in ‘God’s country’, as in Kumano, you have lost sight of who God is in your place.

I feel this is a considerable loss in Japan.

What triggered this feeling was the Great East Japan Earthquake, which was followed by a tsunami. During the earthquake, the torii gate of the shrine where the event Soma No Maoi* is held in Minami Soma City, Fukushima, collapsed. But because of the nuclear accident, the collapsed torii gate was left unattended.

*Soma No Maoi – a three-day festival held in the Soma region of Fukushima Prefecture, an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset of Japan (omitted). Around 400 mounted warriors, clad in armour and wearing sword belts, with their ancestral banner fluttering in the wind, perform a majestic and gorgeous historical picture scroll. Reference: Soma No Maoi Executive Committee

I was given permission by the city of Minami Soma to visit the site, and I wondered what was happening to Japan, where God is collapsing before our eyes and we were  unable to help. I felt that this is not just a problem of the nuclear accident. 

(1) On the Kojiki, the Nihonshoki and the Sendai Kuji Honki

Then I started doing a lot of research. And I am sorry to say this in a rude  way, but I found out that Kojiki researchers are people who “can’t read the Kojiki”. They should read the Kojiki honestly, but they don’t understand what is written in the Kojiki itself. They are guessing on their own.

What is most interesting is that no one knows who the main deity of Kumano Hongu is, Ketsumimikono-Okami. When I asked the chief priest, he told me that Kumano Hongu has the spirit of Susanoo. The main deity is ‘Susanoo’, isn’t it? But if that’s the case, They could have written “the main deity = Susanoo”. But They didn’t write it.

Then you have to ask who is ‘Ketsumimiko’. Even when I looked for it, but it didn’t turn up.

The Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) states that Emperor Jinmu (Iwarebiko) was defeated in Kawachi, went down south, then north from Kumano and entered Nara.

When he entered towards Nara, there was a god who was already ruling Nara. That deity was called Nigihayahi. Nigihayahi handed over the reign to Emperor Jinmu. However, this is a very strange story.

 There was clan called Nagasunehiko worshipped Nigihayahi. The story goes that Nigihayahi became angry and killed Nagasunehiko because he kept saying to Jinmu, “You are not the real god, but Nigihayahi, whom I worship, is the real god”. The story goes that this enabled the transfer to Jinmu.

This is written in both the Nihonshoki and the Kojiki. Most Kojiki researchers ignore it, even though it is written in the book. Conversely, researchers in the field are looking into it in detail.

A book called the “Sendai Kuji Honki”* was once said to be a “falsified book”, and was thrown out during the Edo period. However,Norinaga Motoori appreciated it as worthy of consideration.

* Sendai Kuji Honki: A history book presumed to have been compiled in the early Heian period. It is important as a historical source of ancient history.Reference: Kotobank.

In other words, the Kojiki, the Nihonshoki and the Sendai Kuji Honki are three books that can be used as references in showing antiquity. Actually, the Sendai Kuji Honki is the book of ‘Nigihayahi’. Therefore, from the Emperor’s point of view, it has been discarded as a ‘false book’, but if you read it, you will see that it does not deny the Emperor.

The most interesting part of the Sendai Kuji Honki is that in the Kojiki and Nihonshoki, the god Ninigi  descends to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess to Hyuga in Kyushu under the command of Amaterasu. The son of Ninigi’s son who descended to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess to Hyuga, this was Jinmu.

The story goes that he moved east from Hyuga and attacked eastwards, was defeated in Kawachi, entered the Kii Peninsula, moved northwards from the Kii Peninsula to Nara, took over rule from Nigihayahi and established the line of the first emperors.

However, in the Sendai Kuji Honki, it is “Nigihayahi” who descend to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess. He descends to a place called ‘Ikaruga no Mine’ in Kawachi. At that time, he holds ten kinds of treasures in his hands and announces there that he is a ‘god’. The Jinmu has only three treasures, as they are ‘three sacred treasures’, but Nigihayahi has ten.

Dr. Yetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

However, while researching the Sendai Kuji Honki, some people have said that the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki have been ‘falsified’ and are ‘lies’. They say that Nigihayahi is the real one. Some extreme theories argue that Nigihayahi was already there as emperor, that he could not have been emperor if he did not hand over the throne as emperor to Jinmu, and that therefore Jinmu could not have been an emperor. I call this the ‘nonsense  argument’ (laughs).

I assume that the people of Kumano are the ones who have inherited these two facts – that there was a god called Nigihayahi who had equal power with Jinmu, and that Nigihayahi recognised Jinmu – and are making the most of them in their daily lives. In other words, the people of the Nigihayahi lineage and the people of the Jinmu lineage coexist here.

(2) Clan Conflicts in Ancient Times

As we enter the world of Nigihayahi, we have to consider the issue of clans.

This is because the ‘Kojiki’ creates a myth and the ‘Nihonshoki’ proves that it is a fact, and the ‘Sendai Kuji Honki’ shows that there are other facts of events.

This would mean that we are not talking about a fantasy, but a more vivid clan. Conclusively, it was the Mononobe clan*. The god of the Mononobe clan’s lineage is ‘Nigihayahi’.

* Mononobe clan – Ancient powerful clan. From around the 5th century, the Mononobe clan became Dalian together with the Otomo clan, and after the downfall of the Otomo clan, they controlled the imperial administration alongside the Soga clan, who were the ministers of the Yamato court. The Mononobe clan was defeated in a dispute with the Soga clan over the propriety of the Subutsu (Buddhist asceticism), and the Mononobe family perished. Reference: Kotobank.

The Emperor’s family was positioned as being special and not related to the clan deities, and a new lineage of all the deities was created, from Amaterasu to Amano Minakanushi no Kami, Izanagi and Izanami.

There is nothing in Japan that can match this lineage created by the emperors and its historicisation. The Sendai Kuji Honki is a bit rough and crude. The Kojiki created the lineage system and justified it in the Nihonshoki. They even bring up the theory that the Sendai Kuji Honki is a false book, and draw up a historical lineage that they are right. Although the Sendai Kuji Honki is rough, it describes the gods of the Nigihayahi line in detail, as they are affiliated with the Mononobe clan.

I am doing these reserches now, but I am stuck in the doldrums. I’m losing my mind and I have to turn it all upside down? I’m in a quandary. But it’s not as if what I’ve turned over is the truth. To be honest, my head is in turmoil. But the more confused I am, the more interesting it is.

(3) What Is the God of Our Place?

Today, we have a lot of young people here, so I want to tell you something important.

Where we live, there is a shrine of some kind, and the ‘ God of the place’ that the shrine has worshipped since ancient times is ‘our own being’.

The way you are, your ancestors, your life, your feelings, what you put out, that is the God of the place. If that God is not there, it means that you are not there. The Japanese people have gone crazy because they have abandoned the God they have carefully built up themselves. It does not mean that we should believe in God. It means ‘discover yourself’.

What gods are worshipped at the neighbourhood shrine where you live? There will always be an emperor’s god there. That is why we have to regard them as Amatsukami in heaven.

Critics of the Emperor System say things like ‘the Emperor Family is wrong’ and ‘get rid of the Emperor Family’, but this is meaningless. What is important is that the God of Place accepts Amatsukami in some form. You have to find out what the Kunitsukami, the God of Place, is to you. If they are not there, we have to create them based on our own history. This leads to ‘making ourselves’.

The most important thing to talk about from now on is. The fact that the Emperor’s family has lasted this long, almost 2000 years, is proof that it has a proper grip on the people’s hearts and minds. Otherwise, it would have blown up somewhere else.

In some way or another, the Kojiki was drawn from the hearts and minds of the people and portrayed in a way that was close to their hearts.

The fundamental mistake is that the Kojiki is not taught in schools. Some people say that teaching the Kojiki leads to teaching right-wing ideology, or that it leads to teaching ridiculous lies, but it is the poverty of intellect that makes Japan strange.

The Kojiki, in my opinion, has more to offer than any other world mythology, be it Greek mythology, Roman mythology or Mexican Aztec mythology. This is because it expresses the heart of the Japanese people.

But you don’t have to take it on faith. Even a child can tell you that “descending to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess”, that a god would come down from the heavens and rule over the earth, is a lie. Instead, we have to ask ourselves why they used such a term as ‘descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess’.

The Nihonshoki says that the god went down to Hyuga, a place in the middle of nowhere. What does it mean that he “descended into nothingness”? It means that he wase completely defeated by Izumo and fled into the mountains. he couldn’t just say, “We fled”, so he said, “We descended to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess.”

It just says that he went down to a place where there is a rock in Hyuga, but nothing more than that. Even when we talk about the eastward migration of Jinmu, the story suddenly jumps from Oita and the Harima area to Kawachi.

Those who say that the Sendai Kuji Honki is the fact would say that it is a false history and therefore not good enough, but that is not the case. It is that they had to say it that way.

Some people say that it is strange that it took two or three years to reach the east, when it should have taken about three months, considering the actual walking speed, but it probably took hundreds of years for the various local tribes that cooperated with the Emperors, both to serve them and against them, to reach the east. The problem is that the Japanese people have forgotten that history. We have to understand that, and then we have to think about the descent of the emperor.

Because Nigihayahi came straight down to Kawachi. Nara is just a short distance from Kawachi. The reason why I went to the trouble of saying that Nigihayahi descended to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess here is that the clan that worshipped Nigihayahi had a base here and started a new reign.

That’s what I’m saying, let’s learn those things properly from the myths. If they were false, they wouldn’t be able to spread. It has a basis in fact and is based on facts. That means that you are projecting yourself onto it.

They are cherished, passed on to descendants and remain in Japan as shrines for hundreds or even thousands of years. Many people probably join their hands together casually at shrines, but it is important to know the existence of the gods and to feel respect for them when joining hands.

Whether the deity you worship at that time is the deity of the Emperor or the deity of Nigihayahi of the Mononobe lineage. It is only a matter of choosing the one that suits your feelings. I consider Kumano to be a co-existence of both. Kumano has probably not abandoned Nigihayahi.

(4) ‘Ketsumimiko’, the Main Deity of Kumano Hongu

To conclude here, the main deity of Kumano Hongu, Ketsumimiko, is in all likelihood Nigihayahi. It is impossible to think of anyone else but Nigihayahi. We cannot say that he is Nigihayahi, so we have left him in the form of Ketsumiko.

Kumano Hongu has placed all the gods in the Emperor’s lineage, so this cannot be given out as Nigihayahi. But they can’t erase it either, so they left it as Ketsumimiko. Furthermore, I infer that Nigihayahi would have changed his name and remained here and there in this Kinki region.

Okuninushi, the deity of the Omiya Shrine, is also referred to by some as ‘Nigihayahi’, but I believe this is of a slightly different nature. Okuninushi is closer to Izumo and is a ‘powerful god of place’. Nigihayahi cannot be a ‘powerful god of place’. He is descended from above in the descent of the grandchildren. What I mean is that perhaps the problem is that there is a state of being a god of the Katsuragi lineage.

The Mononobe clan enters the area, replacing the Katsuragi line. The Mononobe clan is defeated and driven out by the Soga clan, and Buddhism, promoted by the Soga, enters. The Mononobe family disappears from existence when Mononobe no Moriya is killed in a conflict to protect Shintoism. They then set up a god named Nigihayahi and described their own legitimacy in the Sendai Kuji Honki.

Even though they were defeated, it was only during the political phase, and they escaped somewhere else and survived for a long time. That is why the Mononobe clan can be found all over the country.

There is such a thing as genealogy in the Emperor’s family. It is only recently that it is a ‘blood lineage’. It’s not a blood lineage. There are totally different people in it. At the time of the Kojiki, Emperor Jinmu had  about three or four queens, but it doesn’t mean that they were  actually married. It means that he entered into an alliance with the tribes there.

Sometimes the child born is not a person, but the ‘land’ of the tribe there. It’s unclear and hard to tell if it’s a ‘person’, a ‘land’ or a ‘place’. We can only use our insight and imagination. It means that it is based on reality, but not reality itself. This is an incredibly important place.

So every single thing about God has a meaning. If you don’t follow that meaning exactly, you can’t grasp what God is.

Dr. Yetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

There is a genealogy here, but it is better to understand that this genealogy is also an alliance with some princess rather than a marriage partner.

So, a child of Susanoo, a god called ‘Ohotoshi’, was born. This is Nigihayahi. There was also a deity in the Amaterasu line named Amenohoakari, who also became Nigihayahi. This is the elder brother of Ninigi, who descended to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess

And then there’s Omononushi, a god who comes out of nowhere. I think he might also be ‘Nigihayahi’.

Nigihayahi’s son was Umashimadinomikoto, and from this lineage comes the Owari, Hozumi and Mononobe clans. This Owari clan controlled as far as Owari in present-day Nagoya. Iwarebiko (later Emperor Jinmu) had to create a force to oppose them. This is a big task. To put it a little more crudely, the emperors of the small tribes who have been driven into the countryside of Hyuga have to create a countervailing force, and this is the role of Iwarebiko.

The Kojiki and Nihonshoki were written during the reigns of Emperor Jito and Fujiwara no Fuhito. It is generally accepted that Emperor Jito represented Amaterasu and Fujiwara no Fuhito represented Susanoo. During this period, there were frequent battles among the nobility. It is a difficult period in which the emperor’s family is also divided.

In such a situation, they have to justify that they, the Emperors, are right. What they have created for this purpose is a system called the Kojiki. Therefore, there must be no omissions or failures.

The Nihonshoki has the distinction of covering the ideas of different theories, called “According to One Book”. It lists all the legends from different tribes and different places. This is done very carefully.

It is not about which is true. If you took the position of the person who wrote it and chose to write only what was convenient, it would be “self-made”. The distribution of the written content is outstandingly the Emperor’s family. This should be respected honestly. It is no use saying that the Emperors are false.

But as long as Kumano Hongu refers to Ketsumimiko as ‘Susanoo’, Kumano will perish. This should stop as soon as possible. The chief priest of Kumano Hongu is also said to be ‘Susanoo’, but Susanoo is a different god.

Susanoo is an extraordinary god, a god who does not fit into either Amatsukami or Kunitsukami. Apparently, Susanoo is from this Kii. He is a ‘god of wood’ from Kii, a crazy god who flowed to Izumo with a water problem on his back, and while being driven out of Izumo, laid the foundations of the Emperor’s family and created the Munakata shrine in Kyushu.

So wherever you go, you will find Susanoo. Conversely, there are places where anything can be made into a god of Susanoo. But at least at Kumano Hongu, they cannot create falsehoods. Perhaps they have created such a state of affairs in order to coexist with the Emperors, or in the severe power struggle that has been going on since the Heian period. But a god has a basis in history, you see.

My main point is that if we say, “God doesn’t care who you are,” then we are abandoning ourselves somewhere.

See this document. Dr. Tetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

The world’s largest caldera eruption occurred here 14 million years ago. It’s the biggest in the world. I believe that ancient people survived by physically feeling the sensations of caldera eruptions.

If you go to a monolith in the town of Kozagawa and try to play the flute, the flute doesn’t resonate. The sound gets absorbed. There’s no way that the ancient people didn’t feel this sensitivity. As you probably know, the Kii Peninsula is just floating on top of a pumice stone. The structure of the strata is different because of the amazing formation of the huge pumice stone on top of it.

What I want to say is that Kii has a very long history, built around a caldera, and that two myths are responsible for its myth-making: the Nigihayahi and the Jinmu line of emperors.

Dr. Tetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

This is the deity of the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine, Ketsumimiko no okami, Hayatama no okami

, Kumano musubino okami and Otosaka no onokami are not found in the Kojiki. Although the deities from Amaterasu downwards are also mentioned in the Kojiki, it is clear that the deities not mentioned in the Kojiki are the most important ones.

Dr. Tetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

Similarly, deities not mentioned in the Kojiki are equally valued at the three Kumano shrines, such as Nachi.

(5) What Is the Descent to Earth of the Grandson of the Sun Goddess?

Dr. Tetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

The Kojiki creates a world called Takamagahara. I believe this is actually Takachiho in Hyuga. The god Amaterasu is originally the god who illuminates the sea. It was the Emperors who vertically configured the god who illuminates the sea as the god who illuminates the heavens.

But in fact it is a small, poor country. This is the story of the Reed Plains Middle Landwhich expanded throughout Japan, received a state handover from Izumo, descended to Hyuga, and attacked Yamato. All these places coexist, which is important.

Modern Shinto since Hirata Atsutane has assumed that Takamagahara was above, Izumo was in hell and Reed Plains Middle Land was in the middle. What I want to emphasise is that they all existed together.

The descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess to Hyuga is the line of the Emperors. The Nigihayahi line descended to Kawachi.

I see the area where these merge as being from the south of Nara to Kumano.

Dr. Tetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

It was in Kawachi that Nigihayahi  descended to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess. And much later, the Heijo-kyo Capital was built in Nara. What this means is that neither Nigihayahi nor Jinmu were here. In reality, there is only Kawachi, and the whole Kii Peninsula area is the problem of God’s beginning.

Dr. Tetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

As can be seen from the map of tumuli, the places where tumuli are clustered are Fukuoka, Izumo and Kawachi of the Munakata family. There are none in Kii. The fact that there are none in Kii means that various gods lived there. The fact that various deities lived here means that there was no imperial lineage, or ruling lineage, here.

Most people focus on the area where these tumuli are clustered, but I am the opposite. I believe that Japan’s original existence existed where there were no tumuli.

Dr. Tetsuji Yamamoto’s Power Point Slide

(6) Kii Gods.

On the way to the east, Iwarebiko’s (Emperor Jinmu’s) elder brother, Ituse, dies. He also destroys various gods as he goes, and in Kumano, a large bear god called Okuma appears, at which point Iwarebiko faints.

So Iwarebiko was defeated by a tribe called Okuma on the Kii Peninsula. The story goes that Takakuraji threw a sword at them and used it to cut them open. The sword is called Shichishito, and is dedicated to the Isonokami Jingu Shrine*.

*Isonokami Jingu Shrine – Tenri City, Nara. The shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is unique in ancient beliefs as the head deity of the Mononobe clan, the leader of the warrior class, and has been worshipped as a guardian deity of health, longevity, healing of illness, protection from disaster and the fulfilment of a hundred  events. Reference: from the official website of Isonokami Shrine. from the official website of Ishigami Jingu Shrine.

Yatagarasu (八咫烏 ) then appeared and led Iwarebiko into Uda, cooperating with the gods who were in Kumano relations, such as Nihemotsu no ko (贄持之子), Oru hito and Ihaoshi wakunoko (石押分之子). They attacked the area, dividing the brothers Eukashi and Otoukashi into allies and enemies, obtained ten treasures from Nigihayahi, and entered Nara.

The story here is more closely written in the Nihonshoki. In the Sendai Kuji Honki, it is arranged in almost the same state as the Kojiki. So, the Sendai Kuji Honki acknowledged the Kojiki, and the 10 treasure handovers are more detailed.

Between the Heijo-kyo Capital and the Heian-kyo Capital, there were aristocratic battles and the capital changed hands several times. These aristocratic battles were intended to establish the legitimacy of the emperors, and it is clear that the Kii Peninsula played a very important role in this.

What is the fundamental problem is the unnamed shrines that remain in Kii. In those shrines, some things absolutely remain. While rediscovering such things, I think it will be important to think about Kumano’s town development, agriculture, forestry and the overall state of Kumano, and to build it up, with Amatsukami properly placed on top.

Trust only the facts. Where is the shrine located and what god does it worship? We have to be honest and discover for ourselves what the god is that is written there.

The Tanabe way of doing things and the Ryujin way of doing things can be different. There is no need for them to be one and the same. When we respect each other’s different ways of thinking in different places – Ryujin has Ryujin’s way, and Tanabe has Tanabe’s way of understanding things – then it becomes more vibrant.

(7) Nigihayahi In Spirited Away

You can read my basic ideas in Kojiki to Kunitsukami Ron: Nihonkoku no  hajimari to Basho Shinwa* here, and also in Learning from ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind’ and ‘Momo’: Taisetsu na koto wa nanika*, which focuses on Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa, so please do read it.

* Kojiki to Kunitsukami Ron: Nihon koku no hajimari to Basho Shinwa: by Tetsuji Yamamoto (Author), published by the Institute for Advanced Study of Cultural Sciences Press, June 2022 (Amazon).

* ‘Learning from “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” and “Momo”: Taisetsu na Koto wa nanika”: Tetsuji Yamamoto (Author), Yomitohito, published in September 2022 (Amazon).

Nausicaa was taken up because of the relationship between Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. In Spirited Away, the name ‘Chihiro’ is taken away and becomes ‘Sen’. When the name is taken away, the world of ‘Chihiro’ is taken away and becomes the world of ‘Sen’.

The god ‘Haku’ appeared in the world of the ‘Sen’. She has to become a ‘Sen’ before She can meet ‘Haku’. This is the important part. He is the god who saved Chihiro when she was drowned in the river, but she couldn’t meet him if she remained a ‘Chihiro’. She meets the god Haku as Sen, but Haku was not himself because his name also had been taken from him. 

‘Haku’ is reminded by the purity of ‘Sen’ that he is ‘Nigihayamikohakunushi’.

‘Haku’ was ‘Nigihayami’. Nigihayahi is the god of fire and Nigihayami is the god of water.

What this means is that when he is ‘Nigihayahi’,  he is down in the heavens. When he is ‘Nigihayami’, he is underground. Actually, it is ‘Nigihayami’ who put the same god in the ground.

In other words, ‘Haku’ is ‘Nigihayahi’. Then I wonder why Hayao Miyazaki pulled ‘Nigihayahi’ into a place like this. But when I ask him about it, he only says, “It can only be that”. So we have to think about this ourselves.

This is directly related to this issue. In other words, Japan has a history of emperors, and this should be respected. And then there is also a non-emperor family, which should also be respected at the same time.

This coexistence is established, and from this Kumano, based on ‘Nigihayahi’, we can review who ‘Omononushi’ is, while considering what Yatagarasu is. It is very difficult to say who Yatagarasu is. There are many stories about secret societies and so on, so I gave an introductory talk about why Yatagarasu is a god and why he has three legs, and how we can find many things if we walk the Kumano Kodo by reviving them as something fun and meaningful for ourselves.

(8) What Was the Presence of Tachibana In Ancient Times?

Thank you very much. I believe we also received the material on ‘Tachibana’, so I would be very grateful if you could tell us about that as well.

Tachibana comes from the time of the 11th emperor, Emperor Suinin. For the emperor, Tajimamori, who has just been mentioned, is sent to look for tachibana. When Tajimamori returned and tried to offer the tachibana, the emperor died, and he cried out and enshrined himself there.

The name ‘tachibana’ appears in the Nihonshoki under the name ‘tokijiku no kakunomi’. The name “ttokijiku no kakunomi” means “no time”, i.e. “it does not wither”. The tangerine flower does not wither even in winter, and the fruit is produced in winter, which means that this is a timeless fruit. 

Then there was another person named Agata Inukai Tachibana no Sukune Michiyo (県犬養橘宿禰三千代) during the reign of Emperor Genmei. This person was the wife of Fujiwara no Fuhito and also the female boss behind the scenes during the reign of Emperor Genmei.

A person called Akiko Yoshie has researched this in great detail and has written a book entitled ‘Agata Inukai no Michiyo’ *. What Ms Yoshie is investigating is that without the existence of a female emperor, there could not have been an imperial lineage.

At the same time, the Tachibana clan emerged from here. The Tachibana family is one of the Genpei Tokitsu*. In the words of Emperor Genpei, who said to Tachibana


There are some that are called. This is a family that was a central figure in this period, but is disappearing from the world of history. Why is this? That’s the kind of thing that is involved in history. There are so many mysteries.

* ‘Agata Inukai no Michiyo’: Akiko Yoshie (Author), Yoshikawa Kobunkan, new edition, Dec 2009 (Amazon).

* Genpei Tokitsu: Name of the four clans that flourished in Japanese history: the Minamoto, Taira, Fujiwara and Tachibana clans. Reference: kotobank.

Actually, fruit is also related to God. The design of the Order of Culture is  Tachibana, isn’t it? That’s how it properly remains. So I think it is interesting and important to grasp the relationship between our hearts and mythology, not just ‘tasty mikan’.

Reference: the Cabinet Office website.

Tachibana, an evergreen tree, has been planted in the south garden of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto since the Heian period (794-1185) and has been highly prized since ancient times, being known as ‘Ukon no tachibana’ (Ukon’s tachibana), and is said to have been chosen for the design of the Order of Culture because of its permanence and eternity, which is associated with cultural permanence.

Part 2 >>