A one of the key to the mystery of the representative works of Japanese mythology, “Kojiki”, ”Nihon Shoki” is said to be found in the ancient history,
and I’d like to cover these old tales "Jinshin War" before myths in this prologue.
To see from the first, click “Prologue” on the right side because of reverse chronological order.

Unknown people who had supported Ise Grand Shrine and Yakushiji

Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine originated by Emperor Tenmu more than 1300 years ago has still kept performing every 20 years.
Visitors from all over the world can be counted as one of those who have supported Sengu.

Visitors to Ise Grand Shrine can wander further into the shrine under the benevolent watch of trees which are “much older” than people, and stand in front of the shrine buildings for deities.
And they can throw some coins into the wooden box, bow two times, and clap their hands 2 times.
Then, they can put their hands together, say silently to themselves what they hope or thank so as to be able to send their feelings, and bow again.
It is a common sight in Ise Grand Shrine today.
We can see the sight because Japan has been peaceful and people can visit freely to Ise Grand Shrine with their own motives.
Ise Grand Shrine will perform Sengu every 20 years in the future thanks to the supports of people from all walks of life.
The story of those who support Sengu will continue.

Incidentally, Emperor Tenmu who had left his name in the world of Shinto religion had also protected Buddhism heavily because he had once entered the priesthood.
Yakushi-ji registered as World Heritage Sites is the shrine that originally Emepror Tenmu had ordered to construct with aspirations for recovery from illness of his wife, Unonosarara.
Ironically, Emperor Tenmu had passed away before its completion though Unonosarara could have felt completely well.
Unonosarara had inherited throne from Emperor Tenmu as Empress Jito, and seen the completion of Yakushi-ji.
But still, Emperor Tenmu had been earned his place in Yakushiji as an originator.
Today, Yakushi-ji is registered as World Heritage Site.
Modern Buddhist monks spending their religious lives in Yakushiji has held annual ceremony for the death anniversary of Emperor Tenmu who had been dead for over 1300 years, and commemorated him.
In fact, the temple had been transferred from where it had been constructed in those days.
The beautiful buildings described as Dragon’s Palace (a place at the bottom of the sea where Dragon God is said to live in Japanese mythology) had experienced natural disasters, flames of war, and been burned to the ground in the past.
It had been thanks to the fruit of dedicated efforts by those who had lived each time for rebuilding.
And Yakushiji had won back its beautiful figure suited for the registration as World Heritage Site.
You can meet not only admirable pattern come from Greece, Persian, India, and China but also one of the records about rebuilding of Yakushiji, if you visit the temple.

It is true that Emperor Tenmu’s had originated Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine and Yakushiji.
However, it has kept them in great condition because there had been unknown people who had provided a constant support since then.
Thanks to those who hadn’t left their name, there is the happy journey to these sites called as sacred places.
When you would bring back memories of the drama of those who had supported the sacred places, surely it could be the spiritually rich journey for you.
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Posted in Ise Grand Shrine, Old tale of ancient people | Tagged | 2014/7/10

Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine have been supported by people

For over 1300 years, people had created the same things exactly the same way as before and dedicated those to the deities every 20 years.
And for that, people had managed to collect huge amounts of money, and it had taken many years to prepare.
It is the very Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine.

Why had Emperor Tenmu defined that Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine had been performed every 20 years?
Unfortunately, there had remained no record for this reason.
God only knows, literally.
In other word, we can only imagine as to the reason.
Of course there would have also been some sort of meaning for religious ritual as Shinto.
Among the estimated reasons, however, there had been some which it could be easy to understand.
For example, there had been the reason that that the storage life of grain dedicated on thank offering for abundant crops had been 20 years.

In ancient times, individuals had been banned from visiting to Ise Grand Shrine because of the position, “the shrine dedicated to the guardian goddess of imperial family”.
It had been impossible for the ordinary people to visit to Ise Grand Shrine which hadn’t set even wooden box for receiving money offerings.
Ise Grand Shrine had changed with the times, and come to be considered as “the shrine dedicated to the guardian goddess of all Japanese people”
And also some times, the Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine performed every 20 years had been forced to discontinue.
They had receipt the support from the power men and lost, and enjoyed the protection of state, and lost.
Every time the country had been devastated, Ise Grand Shrine had experienced a critical moment.
However, now those who have support Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine have been not all Japanese, because everyone can visit to Ise Grand Shrine freely.
There have been some wooden boxes for receiving money offerings properly.

Most recently, after Sengu had been performed without trouble in 2013, the number of the visitors to Ise Grand Shrine has been considerable.
In this regard, however, there might not many people who are “faithful Shinto believers” among the visitors.
There are also foreigners who come to Japan for sightseeing.
Many coins thrown into the wooden box for receiving would be a very small amount of money such as 1 yen and 5 yen.
Compared to those who have contributed a large amount of money every year, it might be only a marginal impact.
But all the visitors could become the supportive driving force for Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine.
Sengu have been supported by many people.
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Posted in Ise Grand Shrine, Old tale of ancient people | Tagged | 2014/7/7

The expenditure related to Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine

In October 1953 when Japan had entered into the era of its reconstruction period after the war, Ise Grand Shrine had performed the 59th Sengu.
Both the national treasury paid before the war and the private donation had been used for the expenditure related to Sengu.
In other word, Ise Grand Shrine had had the kind of government aid though they had started to walk along the new path as a religious corporation.
However, they couldn’t have been allowed to rely on the nation for even 1 yen after that.
Ise Grand Shrine had had to manage to collect the expenditure related to Sengu all by themselves.
Perhaps, Ise Grand Shrine had faced a crucial test at the very 60th Sengu.

The private association established after the war for the sake of collecting the expenditure related to the 59th Sengu had functioned beautifully.
And also after that, its activity has been taken over as the foundation until today.
By the great deal of action of those who had supported Ise Grand Shrine, Sengu had been also performed every 20 years since the 60th.
The 60th had been performed in 1973, and the 61st, in 1993.
Naiku, on October 2, and Guku, on October 5.

And in 2013, they had just performed the 62nd Sengu.
Ise Grand Shrine said that the expenditure related to the 62nd was about 55 billion yen.
For your reference, the expenditure related to new attraction of the world-renowned theme park in Osaka was 45 billion yen.
The new attraction scheduled to open in summer 2014 has attracted much attention as the largest investment in their history.
Compared to that, we can feel again how expensive money it takes for the Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine.

It had been in 685 that Emperor Tenmu had been originated Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine.
And his wife, Empror Jito had performed the Sengu of Naiku in 690, and Geku, in 692.
Indeed the Shinto rituals with so much money have been lasted for about 1300 years even though it was suspended temporarily.
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Posted in Ise Grand Shrine, Old tale of ancient people | Tagged | 2014/7/3

The 59th Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine in a postwar reconstruction

In 1945, the year that war World War II had ended, all religious organizations that had enjoyed the careful protection of nation had been required self-sustainability under the situation that the U.S.-led Allied forces had had the initiative of all decision-makings.
Since then, shrines and temples had headed down the path of existence as the religious corporation with independent accounting system like industrial firms.
At the same year, Ise Grand Shrine had announced the discontinuation of the 59th Sengu that they had planned 4 years later.
In fact, they had planned to put the public fund given in past times to practical use for the sake of Sengu though it had been decided officially that the termination of public funding for Ise Grand Shrine.
But still it had been said to be far from enough.
The reason had been that the public fund had been provided poorly and fallen behind in war time.

“What people feel about Ise Grand Shrine with no support from our nation?”
Can we collect money for Sengu in Japanese life that even daily food is hard to come by?
Can we perform the 59th Sengu?
…..Can Ise Grand Shrine keep the position as “the shrine dedicated to the goddess of all Japanese people?”

Perhaps, some might have had an internal conversation with themselves about like this.
It could have been easily imagined that Ise Grand Shrine had faced the crisis since the Warring State period.

Fortunately, Japan had entered a remarkable post war reconstruction.
And Ise Grand Shrine could have managed to collect the donation for Sengu.
Thanks to both the public fund given before the end of the war and the donation from the ordinary people, they could have secured the vast amount of money for Sengu.
Finally in 1953, Ise Grand Shrine had performed the 59th Sengu.
Naiku, on October 2, and Guku, on October 5.
It had been 24 years after the 58th Sengu.

Incidentally, it is generally said that Japanese full-scale post war reconstruction had come in 1950-1954.
The 59th Sengu had just been performed in the midst of that.
What would people have really thought the resurgence of Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine?
It had been the times when even black-and-white TV hadn’t become widely used, and the sources to gain information for Japanese people had been radio or small talk.
Of course they couldn’t have seen that with their own eyes.
But still, there might have been many people who could have been encouraged by the blight news of “the shrine dedicated to the guardian goddess of all Japanese people”.
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Posted in Ise Grand Shrine, Old tale of ancient people | Tagged | 2014/6/30

The religious policy after the end of World War II

After World War II had ended in 1945, the U.S.-led Allied forces had played a leading role in deciding Japanese policy, and Japan had struggled to recover.
The policies which had driven Japanese people to war had been cleared out so as not to try to make war again.
And the prejudicial religious policy after the Meiji Period (1868- ) had also been included among these policies.

Emperor Showa had issued like that people could have denied the concept “Emperor is the living god” one year after the end of the World War II, though he himself had never made an assertion like “I am a God”.
The action that anyone would have inculcated the idea of Japanese people being a chosen people by interpreting Japanese mythology to suit their convenience had banned.
The concept “state sponsorship of Shintoism” had also been prohibited.
And the rating of shrines which Ise Grand Shrine had rated the top grade had also been abolished.
Of course, sufficient degree of protection provided by the state for any specific religion had also been extinguished.

However, the existences of successive Emperors who had already been enshrined as deities hadn’t been denied.
And they had also been allowed to perform traditional Shito ritual dedicated to the gods of the shrines.
The existence of Shinto hadn’t been denied, and Japanese mythology hadn’t been lost.
In other word, protection hadn’t been provided, but at the same time, they hadn’t been intended to ruin.
Metaphorically speaking, shrines and temples had been required independent accounting system like industrial firms.
“Find a way on your own for your lives!”
Would it have been the situation like above?

With the change of the religious policy, Ise Grand Shrine that had been provided careful protection as “the shrine dedicated to the guardian goddess of imperial family” had faced the crisis of discontinuation of Sengu again.
It had been the reason why that public funding for Sengu had been terminated.
They had been no longer able to rely on those in power, though they could have come out of the crisis thanks to the support from ODA Nobunaga, TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi, and TOKUGAWA Ieyasu in the Warring States period when they had suffered from financial difficulty.
It had been all darkness one step ahead.
In 1945, the same year that World War II had ended, Ise Grand Shrine had announced the discontinuation of the 59th Sengu.
In fact, the 59th Sengu had planned in 1949, and it had been 4 years away.
But still in those days, it had been clear that prospects had been extremely gloomy.
Sengu of Ise Grand Shrine that they had been continued to perform every 20 years without fail from 1609 had been discontinued.
After that, “the independent account system” of Ise Grand Shrine had come to face a real test.
The supports from many people had been needed for the sake of Sengu.
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Posted in Ise Grand Shrine, Old tale of ancient people | Tagged | 2014/6/26

The existence of the Emperor before and after the war

The time had moved into the era of Emperor Showa, and World War II had broken out.
The mind of Japanese people had been occupied by the single thought, “Sacrificing everything for the sake of the country” until the defeat in the war.
It had been the time to have no choice.

And also, it had been the time when Japanese mythology had been the Emperor had been interpreted in each war leader’s own favor.
There had been no free expression of ideas.
For example the Jinshin War had been erased its truth from history textbooks.
Because the 39th Emperor who had taken over Emperor Tenji know by his charismatic character had been defined as Emperor Tenji’s son, Prince Otomo and given the Emperor name, “Emperor Kobun”.
It had been absolutely unforgivable act to try to kill the Emperor.
However, it had been Emperor Tenji’s brother, Prince Oama to try to kill Prince Otomo.
He had been also known as the 40th Emperor, the Emperor Tenmu.
They could have even discussed the Jinshin War, because the unforgivable man who had try to kill the Emperor had been another Emperor.
In other word, it had been regarded as a sort of taboo.
The Jinshin War had been treated as something like blue rose, and known and described as “the mythology of ancient Japanese history” by historians.

It had been after defeat in the war for all Japanese people to be able to talk about the kind of thing, “the Emperor is not a god but a human being” without trouble.
In fact, however, Emperor Showa himself had never made an assertion like “I am a living God”.
The very Emperor Showa had released the paper that people could have read “Emperor is not the living god but the human being as well as Japanese citizen” on the 01 January 1946, the one year after the end of World War II.
In those days, Japan had been under the control of the U.S.-led Allied forces, and this document made the front page of all the Japanese newspapers had been said to create on the initiative of the Allied forces.
But still, the writings hadn’t denied the existences of the successive Emperors who had already been enshrined as the deities in each shrine.
And also it hadn’t denied Japanese mythology.
It hadn’t meant the prohibition of the traditional shrine rituals dedicated to the Japanese deities.

Based on these details, it could have said that the victorious countries had had tolerance for defeated country, Japan.
It had been natural that the thought like “Japan is superior to other country” on the ground of mythology had been banned, but Japanese mythology itself had been denied.
Also they hadn’t denied the existence of Emperor, and the period of Emperor Showa’s reign had been as long as 62 years including the post war period.
And today, the Constitution of Japan declares “the Emperor of Japan is the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people”.
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Posted in Jinshin War, Old tale of ancient people | Tagged | 2014/6/23

The religious policy in the Meiji Period

The Meiji Period (1868- ) had been the time when they had exerted various authorities under the name of the Emperor and the scheme of things had been changed rapidly.
At first, they the Meiji Government had established a policy of deciding the national religion as Shinto, and intended to give the order to religions world.
Of course Ise Grand Shrine, the religion belonging to Shinto had been positioned the top of all Japanese shrines as “the shrine dedicated to the guardian goddess of imperial family”.

Incidentally, it had also around that time that the syncretism of Shinto (Kami warship) and Buddhism, the traditional Japanese way of thinking about the religion had been denied, and made people distinguish clearly between God (in Japanese word, “Kami”) and Buddha, in other word, shrine and temple.
“The Kami and Buddhas Separation Order” had been issued in 1868.
They had aimed at national education by using Shinto and not intended to eliminate Buddhism.
But still, the destructive behavior triggered by the Kami and Buddhas Separation Order against temple and Buddhist objects had broken out all over the country.

And within very little time, the religious policy which they had tried to bring all religion including Christian religion and Buddhism under tight political control had fallen through.
There had been some inconsistencies in the policy, and the ordinary people’s mind could never have catch up.
It had been clear that the religious policy of the Meiji Government had lost their way.

In fact, however, Ise Grand Shrine hadn’t faced a funding shortfall and Sengu had been performed smoothly.
And the time had changed from Meiji (1868- ), through Taisho (1912- ), to Showa (1926- ), and Japan had plunged into World War II.
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Posted in Ise Grand Shrine, Old tale of ancient people | Tagged | 2014/6/19