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Kojiki

Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters). The earliest account of Japanese mythology and early history in three books. Compiled in 712 CE, it focuses on the origin of kingship in the sacred history as narrated in myths, and on the ‘smooth’ transition from myth to actual history. Emperor Temmu (672–86) initiated the process of compilation. However, it was not until 712 that the work was compiled into the Kojiki by another scribe in the imperial court, Ō no Yasumaro, and presented to Empress Gemmei (707–15).

Book i unfolds what is usually known as Japanese myths.

Book ii opens with the story narrating how Jimmu, the great-grandson of Ninigi and Japan's legendary first emperor, establishes the imperial dynasty at Yamato in central Japan.

Book iii covers the period from the reign of Emperor Nintoku to that of Empress Suiko (593–628), presenting the genealogies of the emperors and their legendary stories. Cf. Nihongi.

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Kojiki

Kojiki

Together with the Nihongi, the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) is the earliest and most important chronicle of early Japan. Compiled in a.d. 712 by Ô no Yasumaro, the Kojiki records events from the mythological age of the gods up to the death of Empress Suiko in a.d. 641. The three-volume work is a valuable resource for understanding Japan's mythology, traditions, art, and religious beliefs. In addition, it is one of the classics of Japanese literature.

genealogy record of a person's ancestry

The Kojiki had two main purposes: to reinforce the idea that the emperor was descended from the gods and to determine the ranks of the leading Japanese families in society. During the 600s, increased contact with China had introduced the Japanese to many aspects of Chinese society, including its royal court system. After Japan imported the Chinese court system, the Kojiki created a history of the court similar to that of the Chinese. The work presents the genealogy of the most prominent families in Japan and traces the family history of the Japanese emperor back to the creation of heaven and earth. The Kojiki also includes myths on the founding of Japan.

See also Japanese Mythology; Nihongi.

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