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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

' called Kami no michi or Shinto


"The

Chinese 'holy men' also invented the Book of Changes, by which they pretended to discover the workings of the universe; a vain attempt, since it is impossible for man with his limited intelligence to discover the principles which govern the acts of the gods. In imitation of them, the Chinese nation has since given itself up to philosophizing, to which are to be attributed its constant internal dissensions. When things go right of themselves, it is best to leave them alone. In ancient times, although there was no prosy system in Japan, there, were no popular disturbances, and the empire was peacefully ruled. It is because the Japanese were truly moral in their practice that they required no theory of morals, and the fuss made by the Chinese about theoretical morals is owing to their laxity in practice. It is not wonderful that students of Chinese literature should despise their own country for being without a system of morals, but that the Japanese, who were acquainted with their own ancient literature, should pretend that Japan too had such a system, simply out of a feeling of envy, is ridiculous.

"When Chinese literature was imported into Japan, the people adopted many Chinese ideas, laws, customs, and practices, which they so mixed up with their own that it became necessary to adopt a special name for the ancient native customs, which were in consequence called Kami no michi or Shinto, the word 'michi' being applied in the same sense as the

Chinese Tao, and Kami because of their divine origin. These native customs survived only in ceremonies with which the native gods are worshipped. Every event in the universe is the act of the gods. They direct the changes of the seasons, the wind and the rain, the good and bad fortune of States and individuals. Some of the gods are good, others bad, and their acts partake of their own natures. Buddhists attribute events to 'retribution' (Inga), while the Chinese ascribe them to be the 'decree of heaven' (Tien ming). This latter is a phrase invented by the so-called 'holy men' to justify murdering sovereigns and seizing their dominions. As neither heaven nor earth has a mind, they cannot issue decrees. If heaven really could issue decrees, it would certainly protect the good rulers and take care to prevent bad men from seizing the power, and, in general, while the good would prosper, the bad would suffer misfortune. But in reality we find many instances of the reverse. Whenever anything goes wrong in the world, it is to be attributed to the action of the evil gods called 'gods of crookedness,' whose power is so great that the Sun goddess and the Creator-gods are sometimes unable to restrain them; much less are human beings able to resist their influence. The prosperity of the wicked and the misfortunes of the good, which seem opposed to ordinary justice, are their doing. The Chinese, not possessing the traditions of the Divine Age, were ignorant of this truth, and were driven to invent the theory of heaven's decrees.

"The eternal endurance of the dynasty of the Mikado is a complete proof that the 'way,' called Kami no michi or Shinto, infinitely surpasses the systems of all other countries. The 'holy men' of China were merely unsuccessful rebels. The Mikado is the sovereign appointed by the pair of deities, Izanagi and Izanami, who created this country. The Sun goddess never said, 'Disobey the Mikado if he be bad,' and therefore, whether he be good or bad, no one attempts to deprive him of his authority. He is the Immovable Ruler who must endure to the end of time, as long as the sun and moon continue to shine. In ancient language the Mikado was called a god, and that is his real character. Duty, therefore, consists in obeying him implicitly without questioning his acts. During the Middle Ages, such men as Hojo Yoshitoki, Hojo Yasutoki, Ashikaga Takauji, and others, violated this duty (michi) and look up arms against him. Their disobedience to the Mikado is attributable to the influence of the Chinese learning. This 'way' was established by Izanagi and Izanami and delivered by them to the Sun goddess, who handed it down, and this is why it is called the 'way of the gods.'


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