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"I dedicate this page to
my dear friend, Ayano Ohmi."



In Search of the Spirit




Poetry

shin shutsu ki botsu
to appear & disappear

ji ga ji san
self-praise

isseki ni chou
to kill 2 birds with 1 stone

juu nin to iro
different strokes for different folks

kabe ni mimi ari shouji ni me ari
the walls have ears, the paper doors have eyes

saru mo ki kara ochiru
Even monkeys fall from a tree

Form Is Emptiness

Form is emptiness
Emptiness is form
Emptiness is no other than form
Form is no other than emptiness

shiki fu i ku
ku fu i shiki
shiki soku ze ku
ku soku ze shik

 

Mono no aware¯
Murasaki iro no hana
Haru no hana
To fuyu mo koyuki
Harahara

Shize¯n no bi kana
Ah! Midori no ha to
Aki no iro

Kaze no koe
Tori no saezuri
Kanashii umi
Vorokobino umi
Yama
Koishi
Ayamegusa

A purple flower
The blossoms of spring
and the light snow of winter
How they fall

The beauty of nature
A green leaf and
Autumn colours

The voice of the wind
The song of the birds
A sad sea
A joyful sea
Mountains
Pebbles
A wild iri
s

Literature

Early Japanese literature was heavily influenced by Shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism. The early literature, which began as an oral tradition, depicted a love of nature and man and held that man was a part of nature. Good was rewarded andevil was punished and values like loyalty to the King, filial piety, respect for one's elders, true friendship and chastity were emphasized.


History / Myths

The English word "myth" comes from the Greek word "mythos" which means word or story. Humans have used myths to describe or explain things that they couldn't have comprehended otherwise. Questions like: why do the seasons
change?, where did the first human beings come from? or why does the sun travel across the sky?. Myths served as the basis for rituals by which the ways of humanity and those of nature could be psychologically reconciled.


Myths are an important part of every society, including our own. Without at least a basic understanding of a cultures myths it's impossible to fully understand that culture because myths express a societies beliefs and justify it's institutions, customs and values.

Enoshima Engi

The Enoshima Engi is a history of the shrines and temples on Enshima Island in Sagami Bay, a little ways south of Tokyo.  Written by the buddhist monk, Kokei, in Chinese in the year 1047AD, the work is most well known for its myth of the Goddess Benzaiten coming to the region, and raising Enoshima Island from the bay, so to protect the local villagers from a dangerous dragon that had been harassing them.

Hotsuma Tsutae

Hotsuma Tsutae is a very long, detailed poem written in Yamato-kotoba, an ancient form of Japanese.  The poem provides a mythic history of Japan, divided into three volumes: The Books of Heaven, The Book of Earth, and the Book of Man.

Kojiki

The Kojiki (The Record of Ancient Matters) is one of Japan's oldest chronicles, compiled in 712CE by Ono Yasumaro.  The book contains much of what has gone on to define Japanese mythology, with its creation myths, explanation of the tie between the Imperial Family and the gods, and so forth.

Kwaidan

One of the most recently written entries into Japanese mythology, as well as one of the most popular, Kwaidan was actually compiled by a man of Greek decent: Lafcadio Hearn (who later became known as Koizumi Yagumo after becoming a Japanese citizen).  Kwaidan is a compilation of a number of ghost stories that had been passed on primarily through oral means, without any formal written record of them before the writing of this book.  Even today, Kwaidan has a reputation for causing its readers to have a tough time sleeping at night, and giving a terrible fright.

Nihongi

The Nihongi was completed in 720CE, eight years after the Kojiki.  This book was originally ordered to be written by the Emperor, when he asked for a thorough compellation of the folklore and histories of the various areas of Japan.  The Nihongi is written entirely in Chinese, and while its content is highly steeped in myth, much like the Kojiki, this slightly later work goes to greater lengths to chronicle the Imperial family line, and its connection to the gods.

Old Stories of Japan

Japanese Folklore

Classic Japanese Literature

Quotations from
Japanese Classics

Japanese Gods

Japanese Heroes

Japanese Monsters

Japanese Places

Japanese Creation Story

Japanese Fairy Tales

Ainu Stories

Folktales from Japan

Folk Stories from Japan

Tales, Legends, and
Folklore of Asia


Aikido

Aikido, a strictly Japanese martial art, embodies the three concepts that comprise its name: Ai, meaning harmony; Ki, meaning the spirit, or source of energy; and Do, meaning the "Way." Together they signify the way in which one can attain harmony with one's spirit. As such Aikido is more than just a means of self-defence: it has deep religious undertones, which make it a way of life. In the words of its founder, Aikido is "the way of the love of mankind."

 

Japanese Tea Ceremony

 

 

 

 

The Japanese are classified as the Mongoloid (the 'yellow' race) along with Korean, Chinese, Native Americans, Mongols, Eskimos, and so on. The Yellow race makes up 33% of the world population. The Caucasoid (the "white" race), including the Australian aborigines, Arabs, Indians, Polynesians, and so on, accounts for 59% of the world population, while the Negroid (the 'black' race) accounts for only 8%.  It is believed the Negroid and Caucasoid are more closely related than the Mongoloid, which gave rise to the regionalism hypothesis whereby the Mongoloid has evolved from homo erectus while the Negroid and the Caucasoid have evolved from a common ancestor homo antecessor. The Mongoloid has dry earwax while others have wet earwax.

No one knows exactly where the Japanese came from or who they are.  It is believed that the humanoid - human-like creatures - appeared about two and half million years ago and that the humans as we know today, homo sapiens sapiens, came into being some 35,000 years ago. Although the oldest known writings - written language - date back only 5,000 years at best, we can 'read' our history by studying fossils, our DNA, geological data, cosmological data, our language, and so on, and from these records, we can determine the origin, or rather the prehistoric history, of the Japanese race.

Compiled by: Glenn Welker



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