Japan Early History Part I

The Gold JAPAN (from the origins to 1868). – Criticism places the dawn of Japanese history at the beginning of the century. VI d. C., that is, when, in imitation of China, the use of archives was introduced in the country. Numerous facts show, however, that even the events in those recorded under the century VI must be received with prudent distrust.

Mythical and legendary period. – The Orthodox account of the events that took place prior to that time, which has come down to us through the country’s two oldest literary monuments, the Kojiki (v.) And the Nihongi (v.), Begins with the exposition of traditional cosmogony and theogony and embraces the so-called “divine age” (jindai) in which the universe is inhabited only by divinities who alternate in numerous generations. The last of these, constituted by the god Izanagi and his wife Izanami is particularly important because it is due to the creation of the archipelago and numerous deities, including Amaterasu (the sun goddess), who came out of Izanagi’s left eye., Tsuki-yomi-no-kami, the god of the moon, exited from the right, and Susano-o-no-nmikoto, exited from his nose. It is among these three deities that Izanagi divides the universe, assigning the sun to the first, the moon to the second, the oceans to the third. This is followed by a series of accidents caused by Susano-o and finally we reach Niniginomikoto, grandson of Amaterasu, to whom she gives the sovereignty of Japan. Ninigi’s great-grandson is Prince Kamu-yamato-iwarehiko, known in indigenous history with the name of Jimmu Tennō (v.), progenitor of the current imperial dynasty. With him the divine age ends and that of human emperors begins (ninn ō – come on).

According to EZINESPORTS.COM, the main event in Jimmu’s life is the expedition to the east, where he left from Mount Takachiho (on the island of Kyüshū), after seven years of bitter struggles against hostile populations, struggles that the texts enrich with portentous details destined to form a halo of divine glory around the figure of the first sovereign, on 11 February 660 BC. C. ascended the throne in Kashiwabara, in the region of Yamato, which from now on becomes the center of the story. Jimmu reigned 75 years, during which time he consolidated power and died, according to the Kojiki, at 137 years old.

Of the first eight successors, the texts give a dry list of names accompanied by genealogies and dates of accession to the throne and of death. Of these sovereigns, from the reign poor in events, the longevity is remarkable (all exceed one hundred years), longevity that is noted up to the 16th emperor, Nintoku, and ends with his successor, Richū, who died at the possible age of 69 years., and with which, as we shall see, one enters more solid ground. With the 10th emperor Sūiin, the texts return to give details. His kingdom was busy organizing the nation, restoring the cult, building works of public utility, defending the borders of the Empire from the incursions of the Ebisu (the current Ainu), which disturbed the peaceful life of the frontier agricultural populations. Under his successor, Suinin, whom a conspiracy almost gets out of the way, an important fact occurs. The king’s brother having died, the servants of the deceased were buried alive with him, as usual, around the mound, with only their heads exposed. Night and day resounded the cries of these, left to die of hunger. The emperor was shocked and gave in to the proposal of his adviser, Nomi-no-sukune, to replace, from then on, the human victims with terracotta images (haniwa), representing men, women, horses and whatever else was used to bury with the deceased. As a reward, the councilor was elected head (omi) of the potters’ guild (hanibe), which was commissioned to make haniwa., examples of which still come today, from time to time, to light and constitute a precious study material for the ethnology of ancient Japan. Under the 12th Emperor Keikō, the war against the barbarians continues, but this time it is the Kumaso in Kyushu. A series of picturesque legends is grouped around the person of his son, Prince Yamato-take, whose exploits against the Ebisu and the victory over the Kumaso have remained famous, thanks to a miraculous sword obtained by a priestess of the temple of Ise. Tradition makes him die at the age of thirty (111 AD) poisoned by a cloud, while facing a snake. He could not therefore ascend to the throne, which belonged to his brother, the Emperor Seimu, in whose kingdom there is nothing remarkable. He is succeeded by a nephew, the Emperor Chūai, which transports the capital to the island of Kyushu. His wife, Empress Jingō Kōgō, of virile and energetic character, is a true heroine, whose exploits, mainly the expedition to Korea, have inspired artists and writers of all ages. After an unsuccessful expedition by Chūai against the Kumaso, four gods appeared to her, revealing that the annihilation of those barbarians was connected with that of the kingdom of Shinra (Silla) in Korea, to whose instigation their riots were due. It is the first time that, according to tradition, Korea has been made known to the Japanese. The emperor is skeptical of the divine message and hesitates in the face of difficulties. His disbelief is punished with death.

Japan Early History 1