Kojiki-Den [古事記傅] volume 1, Explanation by Itwse (001)
【The General Introduction of Old Records】
“Commentary on the Kojiki” Volume 1
※ “Kojiki” is also called “Hurukoto-bumi”, Kojiki’s both names mean “The Record of Ancient Matters.”
Written by Motoöri Norinaga
The General Introduction of Old Records
When did we have a record about the old things in the previous periods?
If we focus the statement, “In Autumn, August 403 A.D., for the first time, clerks were appointed to record the traditions in each provinces” in the section of Richu-Tennou in the “Syoki (it means Nihon-Syoki: hereinafter, it will be written so, through this series.)”, we can find that Our Imperial Court have already carried out to write a record, before this record.
Although it had covered the things of that time, but I don’t know if it had covered something in past period. However, because it had been recorded the things in that time, the editor would need to directly record also the past time things that were handed down, from the records as many as possible. Therefore, such the records must existed from that time.
※ The latter, “根” in “如何有希む知根止”, perhaps looks like “流”. That may be misscopying.
Thus, we can think that there were a number of old records on the time when the Syoki was began to edit.
(Should understand by the fact that the volume of Kamiyo of that record quote from many records as a reference.)
In the Syoki, it is written below,
“In 620 A.D., Syoutoku-Miko-No-Mikoto and Sogano Umako-No-Ooomi had edited the records of imperial’s, countries’s, and 180 sections from Omi-Muraji, Tomono-Miyatsuko and Kunino-Miyatsuko, farthermore, and biographies from the peoples and so on.”
, that must be an evidence of the first record, as much as we can see.
※ The latter “曽” in “書紀曽阿累”, maybe a misscopying. it maybe true, “尓”.
And, in 671 A.D., Mikado ordered 12 members included a person Kawashima-No-Miko a direction to edit the history of Mikado and the various ancient matters. that is written on the Syoki.
However, those two records wouldn’t be handed down to modern times.
Then, on November 7, 711 (Wado 4.9.18, in Japanese calender), Mikado ordered Oo-No-Asomi Yasumaro a direction to finish to edit that the Kojiki.
In the introduction of the record, it is written, “On March 13, 712 (Wado 5.1.28, in Japanese calender), that work was completed and submitted.” (But, Shyoku-Nihongi isn’t written this thing.)
Therefore, this is the oldest record among the existing recods about the ancient matters.
By the way, according to the Syoku-Nihongi, “the Syoki have been finished to be made in 720 (Yoro 4, in Japanese calender),” then the record, the Syoki, would be finished to be made after eight years from the Kojiki was made.
We can find it in the introduction of this record, that made efforts to edit it to preserve the real states of ancient times, without a adorning the latters. And that is as follows.
However, after the record, the Syoki, was appeared, most of peoples have thought of the Syoki just as important, and just studied it, so there are many persons who don’t know even the title of the Kojiki.
The reason is what most of persons have exclusively studied the knowledges of Chinese, and prefered or admired the style of Chinese, then they take the Syoki what look similar to the Chinese records in impressions, and they don’t take the Kojiki, with saying, “it is not a correct appearance of the history of our states.”
A person suspected a doubt about this explanation and asked me a question, “the reason that the Syoki was edited, though it just completed the editing of the Kojiki, is that the Kojiki has errors, isn’t it?”
I said, “No, it’s not so.
The reson why, though the Kojiki was available at that time, the imperial court ordered them to edit Syoki, is that, because the imperial court had very prefered the studies of Chinese knowledge around that time, they felt that the records had not be enough the respectable looks and short to compare the records of China, so they would order it to edit it that have added things, periods for edited and impressions like Chinese, with Chinese language, to edit the records having the respectable looks just like Chinese recoreds.
Well, if I closely say its origin, that in the Syoku-Nihongi shows ‘first, it ordered Kawasima-No-Miko and other menbers to edit the Teiki, as mentioned above, and then also it gave Ki-No-Asomi-Kiyohito and Miyake-No-Omi-Hujimalo the imperial edict, and had them to edit the Kokushi in 714 A.D. (Wado 7 in Japanese calendar).’
The editing by Kawashima-No-Miko among these two was begun to preform in the same period, when there was the imperial palace on ‘Kiyomihara’, same as the Kojiki was begun to. However it is difficult to decide whether the beginning to edit the Kojiki is before the Teiki, or after, if the Teiki begun to edit before the Kojiki, then, because it is written on the introduction of Kojiki, that is, ‘the records of the Teiki that given from the possessions of many families are already not fully ture and included many fallacy’, in that state, the editing for the Syoki would not be fully ture and would be included many fallacy.
Or, if it after the Kojiki editing was started, the Teiki has enough contents, so the Kojiki was useless, but the introduction of the Kojiki says “although the times change, the thing still hasn’t been done.”, therefore, when thinking about this introduction, this record and that record seem to have the different meanings from each other.
The reason why both of those have different meanings from each other, should be recognized that the editing for the Syoki aaimed to make it looks like Chinese records, and the editing for the Kojiki aimed to bequeath the facts of ancient times.
We can feel editor’s motive in the introduction.
Then, in the period when there was the capital in Heijou-kyou, Kenmu-Tennou had accepted the spirit of that motive, and had ordered Oono-Asomi to edit the record based on the old matters memorized by famous Hi-No-Da-No-Ale.
And the record edited in Wado 7 (714) must be one given a embellishment.
Furthermore, in the period Yoro (717-724), it ordered Toneri-No-Miko to edit the Syoki.
The reason why, thus, those was edited in succession, must be thought that two embellished records was not able to make Mikado to be satisfied.
Therefore, these seem that quickly became unattened around that time, so these are not handed down in the current era, and even the names are become unknown.
However, the Syoki was recognized one having a superiority over the preceding two, then it is decided as the standard record of history, and the similar editings had not been gone after the decision.
Nevertheless, the Kojiki seems that it has continued to exist since the Syoki released. That reason must be that the record is not a kind of previous two adorned with embellished, and it is recorded to the true of ancient times.
Given the case, the reason why the Syoki was edited is not because the Kojiki had an error.
From the first, it has the meanings deferent to each other.
Suppose it has had an error, and it still wasn’t reduced, then that must be immediately forgotten just like as the two records, however, only the record has been known up to the present time. You should think of the fact.
By the way, there was a happen that a person suspected, “whethr it has been handed down for the later eras or not, are decided accidentally. Because it is not correct that good one were handed down, and not good one were not handed down, commonly, in China and Our states, such the case are lot which the very good old works are forgotten, and not very good works are handed down. Is this untrue?”
I answered, “in many case it is true, but even so, in this case it isn’t so.”
First, those two were official records because Syoki and Shokki have recorded the things about the two, therefore, if the two were accidentally forgotten, it must not forget quickly, and many people recognized two around that time, at least, those titles should be handed down. However, persons does not know even the titles of two.
In the period of Nara (710-784), already no one knew the records, but we couldn’t find that were refered with an annotation describing old matters in Manyousyuu and other works.
Nevertheless, Kojiki doesn’t like the national records of China, which having no embellishment and just recorded the pure traditions, therefore, if it had a lot of errors, it would be immediately forgotten, wouldn’t be to attract some persons and wouldn’t be handed down, because thus the people preferring Chinese books are many in that time. However, it does be handed down from the time for thousand years later, then I think that though Syoki have been edited, but even it would be used in public, civilians would also read it, and it be referred on Manyoushiu.
(I can not clearly discovered the above. By the way, I said a guessable hypothesis, besed on the both meanings of the introduction of the Kojiki and the tracks that two records was edited.)
Moreover, he ask me, “The thing about the editing that Kawashima-No-Miko was orderd is recorded on the Syoki, and the things about the editing in 714 (Wado 7) and the Syoki are recorded on Shokki, but we’re not able to find a record about the editing the Kojiki. Considering the above, I think that the record isn’t a important public matter, but I think of the record as a personal small matter. It seems in which Jindaiki and other of the Syoki take it as one of references, so it seemed, in that time, one amoung a lot of such records (they don’t have large value). In contrast, the Syoki contains almost the valuable matters and gather from many records, therefore, it has no lack, then it is inconparable with the Kojiki. Why you can regared this record as important as that record?”
Indeed, there are a such opinions which judge the Kojiki as one of records referred by the Syoki, and the Syoki has entirely referred the records, therefore the Syoki has very enough contents.
In fact, because the Syoki has taken many matters from various traditions, and even has been written the date of those matters, so the record has no lack, therefore, it is able to agree, and needless to say, that the Kojiki doesn’t has some parts the Syoki having.
However, if I say that the point of the Kojiki is being superior to the Syoki, I say, “because there was not a texts in ancient times, and there had been only the handing down with oral, hence it would certainly not be like the words of the Syoki, but like the words of the Kojiki.
The Syoki has been molded the style to imitate of Chinese, as much as possible, but the Kojiki hasn’t been affected by Chinese, on top on that, editing has avoided to solely lose the antiquity language.
(The reason is closely showed where following the introduction of the next book.)
In the first place, they must match each other, meanings, things and words. In an ancient time, each one has ancient meanings, showing ancient things and being showed in ancient words. In the time followed by the ancient time, each one has following time’s meanings, showing following time’s things and showed in following time’s words. In Chinese, each one has a Chinese meanings, showing a Chinese things and showed in Chinese words. However, The Syoki has been written the things in the ancient times with the following time’s meanings, and the meaning of our states are showed in Chinese words, therefore, it has many unmatched points. In contrast, the Kojiki has been written directly without the thought of the writer, hence, its meanings, things and words match to each other, and these are an ancient true states.
This would be because it focused the pronouncing words in ancient times.
All of meanings and things are to be handed down with words, therefore, the kind of written words must be important subjects.
In contrast, due to the preference for Chinese style, the Syoki has lost the nuances of antiquuty Japanese, but the Kojiki has directly written in the old language, then its style of the old langage would be so beautiful.
Therefore, even if it is merely one of the various references, and is not a inportant official document, still, we should value it, and especially, in which the Pope in the period of Kiyomino-Miya had ordered to edit it, and the imperial edict in the period of Heijou had it to restart the editing, then it shouldn’t be compared with an uninportant personal document.
If we think of such things, then one that shoud be more and more attended and respected is actually this record, the Kojiki.
Nevertheless, in the time, the society was solely performimg the Chinese studies and even the institutions of Japan was becoming similar to Chinese, people was solely respecting which is similar to the Chinese style on such the records. Also, the truth of ancient times which should be on the main place would have been being just on the sub, and it became to be seemed one of private writings.
Hence, it must have been becoming to appear in the records, especially the Shokki.
After that, the thinking showed above became to be believed, and persons reading that record are to be small number, and most of scholars in many periods for today finally decided what this is not a correct style of national records, and think it as unimportant. That have been very sad.
Since there was not national records in the first place of our Empire, the judgement which a record has a correct style, must be to prefer the style like a Chinese.
In the thinking without fawning on China, is there a probrem, if it is not similar to the Chinese one?
A manner in the present time, what judges good or not good based on Chinese as standard, has been just unwise.
Dear my master Okabe (Agatanushi, Kamo-No-Mabuchi), leaded to Kogaku with a permission given by the branch of Empire in eastern Japan. By that work, thus, so muny persons have realized that the spirits of Chinese literature are bery evil and have been realizing this record as important. That is a incomparable work in the way of study from ancient times.
I also have realized the meaning, and been being gradually to realize that Chinese sprits are evil, then I have found closely the trues in ancient times, hence I decide this record as the highest in existence, and I say Syoki as the second.
A person aspiring to study the learning of our great empire must never mistake the this meaning.
2017.3.22 五瀬 [Itwse]