Shinto Texts

Shinto Texts

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Shinto's oldest text was compiled in 712 CE by O No Yasamaro. It is called the Kojiki and tells the story of the creation of the world.

Before the heavens came into existence, all was chaos, unimaginably limitless and without definite shape or form. Eon followed eon: and then, lo! Out of this boundless, shapeless mass something light and transparent rose up and formed the heaven. This was the Plain of High Heavens, in which materialized a deity called Ame-no-Minaka-Nushino-Mikoto (the Deity-of-the-August-Center-of-Heaven). Next the heavens gave birth to a deity named Takami-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity), followed by a third called Kami-Musubi-no-Mikoto (the Divine-Producing-Wondrous-Deity). These three divine beings are called the Three Creating Deities.

In 720, the Kojiki was joined with the thirty-volume Nihongi or Nihon Shoki, the "Chronicle of Japan," which relates the history of Japan from its mythological inception to the coming of the Emperor in 697.

These texts are often coupled with the yengishiki, Shinto rituals related to the harvest, wind gods, fire, evil spirits, the road god, the sun goddess, and purification.

Writing didn't develop until quite late in Japanese history—sometime during the eighth century CE. Since "history" begins with writing, this means that virtually everything before that time has to be considered prehistoric. These early Shinto texts employed Chinese script and were probably influenced by Chinese history, but they are in character with the very early history of Japan, going back to 4500 BCE, when the first Japanese people lived in pit dwellings and survived by hunting and fishing. Many stone circles have been unearthed, indicating rituals involving sun worship. Because of this ancient history, Shinto texts show no history of "coming from" anywhere. The Kojiki and Nihonga assume the sacredness of the motherland, the womb from which the people sprang.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.