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400 NAOBI NO MITAMA (This section talks about the Way) Motoori Norinaga | 1771 [This is actually a section in the beginning of Kojiki-­den, but because it is essential in understanding Norinaga’s view of the Way, I have made it a separate piece. He argues that the Japanese received the Way directly from the kami, through their emperor, a descendant of Amaterasu. He notes that two other, man-­ made philosophies , Daoism and schools like Zhu Xi Confucianism, were evil and altered the Japanese, infecting them with the Chinese Heart. To Norinaga the Japanese Way provided a method to overcome defilement, which as seen in Kojiki, is provided by the rectifying kami Naobi no mitama. Thus, he insists that Japan can link with this rec­ tifying power and correct the defilement from foreign influences, but only if people will accurately identify and then be willing to pray to this kami.] “The great imperial land [of Japan] is the majestic country given its existence by the awe-­inspiring ancestor of the gods, Amaterasu Ōmikami.”1 Among the reasons that this country is superior to the myriad other countries this is the most remarkable. There is not a single country that fails to receive blessings from this great kami. “The great kami took in her hand the imperial symbols of the heavenly inheritance,” The reference here is to the three imperial regalia, symbols of the emperor that have been handed down from generation to generation. “[A]nd declared ‘My son will rule over this land eternally, like a myriad endless autumns,’ and then she bestowed the right to rule upon him [Ninigi].” The immovable and unchangeable nature of the heavenly inherited throne—immovable like heaven and earth—was established very early. 1. From hereon Norinaga consistently calls her 大御神 “the great august kami.” NORINAGA | Naobi no mitama401 “She established the land that the imperial grandchild was to govern, extending to the edge of the land where the clouds trail down, to the end of the crossing of the toads, and there were no violent kami, nor disobedient servants in all the land.” Through ten thousand generations where would there be a subject who would rebel against their emperor? How awe-­ inspiring! During the reigns of the emperors, there have sometimes been disobedient, filthy servants, but the imperial authority as it has been handed down from the divine age has shone forth, instantly cutting down these disobedient servants. “Until the end of the innumerable reigns, the emperor will remain a descendant of the great august kami [Amaterasu].” The successive emperors are sons of Amaterasu Ōmikami. Therefore, they are called the sons of the heavenly kami, or the children of the sun. “The will of the heavenly kami is the will of the Sovereign.” Concerning any matter, the sovereign does not follow his own wisdom, but follows the ancient precedence from the divine age in leading the people: if he has doubts about something, then the emperor performs divination and inquires into the will of the heavenly kami. “There is no difference between the present and the divine age.” This is true not only in relation to the imperial dignity, but even the Omi, Muraji and the eighty attending families have continued to respect their family names and titles handed down from father to son, continuing their inherited occupations. Thus there has been no difference between the people and the ancestral kami. These attendants have served the kami as if they belong to the same generation. “The emperors ruled the great land in peace and tranquility following in the path of the kami.” Consider what Nihon shoki records in the book of the Naniwa Nagara Palace Court [Kōtoku] who ruled in Naniwa [Kōtoku], “惟神 (kamunagara ) refers to following the will of the kami. It also means that this is naturally prepared in advance.” Following the will of the kami means that the great government ruling the land operates mainly as it did in the divine age without putting on airs of sophistry. That being the case, when the 402 Views on Japan/Religion emperors ruled generously as in the divine age, the will of the kami was naturally fulfilling, with nothing lacking; this is what is meant by having possession of the Way of the kami. And though we say that the emperor rules the land of the great eight islands, the governing of the successive emperors is actually the will of the kami. Poems in Man’yōshū also mention this kamunagara...


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