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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Finally they hold that Ninigi and these five adjunct Kami


gist of the Japanese creed, as based on their ancient annals, may be briefly summarized. They hold that when the Sun goddess handed the three sacred objects to Ninigi--generally called Tenson, or "heavenly grandchild"--she ordained that the Imperial Throne should be coeval with heaven and earth. They hold that the instructions given with regard to these sacred objects comprised the whole code of administrative ethics. The mirror neither hides nor perverts; it reflects evil qualities as faithfully as good; it is the emblem of honesty and purity. The jewel illustrates the graces of gentleness, softness, amiability, and obedience, and is therefore emblematic of benevolence and virtue.* The sword indicates the virtues of strength, sharpness, and practical decision, and is thus associated with intelligence and knowledge. So long as all these qualities are exercised in the discharge of administrative functions, there can be no misrule.

*It must be remembered that the jewel referred to was a piece of green or white jade.

They further hold that when the Sun goddess detailed five Kami to form the suite of Ninigi, these Kami were entrusted with the ministerial duties originally discharged by them, and becoming the heads of five administrative departments, transmitted their offices to generation after generation of their descendants. Thus Koyane was the ancestor of the Nakatomi family who discharged the priestly duties

of worship at the Court and recited the Purification Rituals; Futodama became the ancestor of the Imibe (or Imbe), a hereditary corporation whose members performed all offices connected with mourning and funerals; Usume became ancestress of the Sarume, whose duties were to perform dances in honour of the deities and to act as mediums of divine inspiration; Oshihi was the ancestor of the Otomo chief who led the Imperial troops, and Kume became the ancestor of the Kumebe, a hereditary corporation of palace guards. Further, they hold that whereas Ninigi and his five adjunct Kami all traced their lineage to the two producing Kami of the primal trinity, the special title of sovereignty conferred originally on the Sun goddess was transmitted by her to the Tenson (heavenly grandchild), Ninigi, the distinction of ruler and ruled being thus clearly defined. Finally they hold that Ninigi and these five adjunct Kami, though occupying different places in the national polity, had a common ancestor whom they jointly worshipped, thus forming an eternal union.




IN considering the question of the origin of the Japanese nation four guides are available; namely, written annals, archaeological relics, physical features, and linguistic affinities.


The annals, that is to say, the Records and the Chronicles, speak of six peoples; namely, first, Izanagi and his fellow Kami, who, as shown above, may reasonably be identified with the original immigrants represented in the story of the so-called "birth" of the islands; secondly, Jimmu and his followers, who re-conquered the islands; thirdly, the Yemishi, who are identical with the modern Ainu; fourthly, the Kumaso; fifthly, the Sushen; and sixthly the Tsuchi-gumo (earth-spiders). By naming these six separately it is not intended to imply that they are necessarily different races: that remains to be decided. It will be convenient to begin with the Sushen.


The Sushen were Tungusic ancestors of the Manchu. They are first mentioned in Japanese annals in A.D. 549, when a number of them arrived by boat on the north of Sado Island and settled there, living on fish caught during spring and summer and salted or dried for winter use. The people of Sado regarded them as demons and carefully avoided them, a reception which implies total absence of previous intercourse. Finally they withdrew, and nothing more is heard of their race for over a hundred years, when, in A.D. 658, Hirafu, omi of Abe and warden of Koshi (the northwestern provinces, Etchu, Echizen, and Echigo), went on an expedition against them.

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