The Sacred Science of Ancient Japan is released today

My first book, The Sacred Science of Ancient Japan, has been published. If you have any questions or comments about the book please leave a comment on this blog post.

Posted: January 24th, 2014 | Parahistory 25 Comments »


The four or five races

Theosophy is well-explained elsewhere, to the extent that it can be explained at all.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach: yellow, red, black, brown-Malayan, white (1793)

Fabre d’Olivet, Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Phyllis Schemmer: yellow, red, black, white (1824)

Edgar Cayce: yellow, brown-South American, black, white

As used in Traditionalism

White race North winter infancy lymphatic water

Yellow race East spring youth nervous air

Black race South summer maturity sanguine fire

Red race West autumn old age bilious earth

Letter from René Guénon to Gaston Georgel, 1937. Excerpted in Joscelyn Godwin, Atlantis and the Cycles of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, and Occult Revelations (2010)

As used in obscure Shinto sects and the Takenouchi Documents in Japan

White race North winter Europe 水波女神 water

Blue race East spring Oceania* 勾々奴智神 wood

Red race South summer America 火具土神 fire

Yellow race Center Earth Cycle Asia 埴安姫神 earth

Black race West autumn Africa 金山彦神 metal

Tsunehiko Sano, 「本教神理学入門」, 1883. Translated from the impenetrable kanbun in 菅田正昭「古神道の系譜」 (1990); another English interpretation is given by Nobutaka Inoue. Directions and seasons not stated explicitly, but drawn from traditional Wŭ Xíng parallels

* In Sano, this appears to mean Malaysia. Other writers call it Australia. In the Takenouchi Documents, the king of the blue race is in Cambodia. However, Wado Kosaka reassigns it to the super-ancient Hyperboreans, with modern Nordic nations being mixed-race descendants; I am not sure of his basis for this.

Conclusions

The bottom two tables look impenetrably esoteric, but both are actually trivial to derive. Sano began with the Wŭ Xíng, which prescribes colors for the cardinal directions, and matched the cardinal colors to prominent races of the world. Guénon took the inadvisable step of using the Wŭ Xíng for directions and seasons but then ignoring their color values and the fifth element, and matching the directions to location relative to Europe (Asian being east of Europe and so on). The temperaments are found by crossing the Classical table of four elements with the Wŭ Xíng’s five elements. The table of gods in Sano is not trivial but was created through his research to match ancient kami to elements.

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 | Parahistory


悲しき不明瞭なインテリ 「古史古伝の謎」

In my research on Japanese “parahistory”, the name I give to a large collection of documents in ancient languages that are claimed to have been kept secretly in the hands of shrine families for countless centuries, I am reading a lot of books, mostly written by amateur researchers who think they have discovered an amazing secret. Here is an exception: a book written by self-styled professionals, who doubt the truth of the documents. But their mentality is far less creative and positive than the amateurs, who can simply claim that they are learning the truth about Japanese history. With one exception, they really don’t have much to say in their own defense. Instead of including them in my forthcoming book I will summarize what was said here.

別冊歴史読本64号「古史古伝の謎」
Supplemental History Readings, No. 64 “Mysteries of the Parahistories”

作家の古史古伝にむいて視点を探してつらつら読んだが、結局歴史的な情報以外知恵がほとんどなかった。「懐疑な研究」と呼ばれなくて、標準的な世界観を強制するための非難である。(井村宏次だけは別に、非常によかった。)

This is one of three “academic” Japanese books devoted to parahistory that I am aware of. You would expect these “academics” to engage in an open-minded analysis of the importance of parahistory, but they did not produce any insight so amazing I would want to include it in my book. The first five chapters are devoted to these introductory questions, but with one exception I found them unsatisfying. Outside of conveying actual historical facts, their primary goal seems to be enforcing the materialist-scientific case against the upstart amateurs.

原田実 「古史古伝」研究の状態と展望
Minoru Harada, “An Overview of the Current State of ‘Parahistory’ Research”

(概要)原田さんの視点で、古史古伝はミクロストリエとして評価して「史料の細部を重視することで、それに現れる徴候を読み取り歴史像を記述展開していこうとするものである」(二十三)というだが、古史古伝は小さなミクロストーリーではなく、記紀とつながる壮大な物語である。もしある古史古伝が正しい歴史として教えたら、日本人の自己像が大きく変わる!

Harada, a scholar of the occult and of civilization, could be expected to offer a unique perspective on how parahistory changes our view of civilization. Instead, after explaining how parahistorical research was largely naïve and uncritical in the kindai, and how a second boom coincided with the Yamatai craze of the 1970s, Harada leaves only a hint of deeper analysis. He points us towards the Jewish-Italian Carlo Ginzburg’s microhistory. Ginzburg’s idea is to avoid the grand narrative of history, kings, wars, etc. and focus on small events. This approach to history is exemplified by The Cheese and the Worms (1976), a book where a 16th century dialogue between an eccentric miller and his Catholic inquistors becomes symbolic of a so-called “popular culture” of the lower classes being suppressed by “high culture”.

Here’s the problem: microhistory is neither useful nor applicable. It’s not useful because it doesn’t actually tell you what parahistory means, it just implies that it could be relevant as a “symbol” of the times. What is it a symbol of, and why? Microhistory doesn’t give you any hints; Ginzburg, for example, considers a focus on small things necessary to obtain his Marxist portrait of “the people”, a construct that he believes has been silenced by the major events of history, but I don’t think he means to limit other historians to that purpose. You can fill in the blank with whatever you like, and Harada only provides inklings of what that might be.

More importantly, microhistory is not applicable, because parahistory is not a simple instance of an ordinary event, like the miller interacting with inquisitors. In fact, parahistory is purposefully entangled with the “grand narrative” of the official Japanese histories, and as a subject of study it cannot be isolated from Japan’s “megahistory”. If any parahistory is true, the entire narrative of Japan will be changed! So, I do not consider his historiographical suggestion at all useful. In fact, this was really the worst possible paradigm to suggest for parahistory.

藤野七穂 「上記鈔訳」と”古史古伝”の派生関係
Nonao Fujio, “Deriving Connections to ‘Parahistory’ from the Uetsufumi Shouyaku

This actually contains no explanation whatsoever of why the topic the author is studying is important. It’s a mere analysis of some of the common themes shared by the Ugaya Dynasty branch of parahistories, and the author appears to present it to readers as a sort of logic puzzle inviting further analysis, which has no meaning beyond being a fun game for old men.

北山耕平 歴史にとってヴィジョンとはなにか ~私が「偽書」から学んでいること~
Kouhei Kitayama, “What is a Historical Vision? What I Learned from the ‘Forgeries'”

I really wanted to like this essay, since the author’s tone is very clear and readable. Unfortunately, he’s also totally insane. Here’s the beginning of his “academic” rant:

私たちや、私たちの子供が学校で学ぶ「日本国の歴史」ではなく、まったく視点の異なるところから眺めている別のヴァージョンの「日本列島の歴史」がいくつか存在しているのは、私が気がつかされたのは今から20年以上も前のことだえる。それまでは、私は「日本の歴史はひとつである」と思っていた。いや、正確には「思い込まされていた」と言うべきか。学校における一貫した日本人化のための差別教育は、人間にたいするプログラミング以外のなにものでもないと、私は今では考える。これまでの2000年間、私たちは人間として生まれ、生まれた国の人間になるように、日本人になるように、教育されてきた。

Over 20 years ago, I noticed that there exists several different histories of the Japanese archipelago, looking from a different viewpoint from the “history of the Japanese nation” we and our children learn in school. Up until then, I too thought “there is only one Japanese history.” No, I should say rather “I had been convinced”. I can’t call it anything but my school’s integrated Japanization brainwashing. For the past 2000 years, we who are born as human have been educated to believe we are Japanese, humans of our country.

Basically, the author has stumbled upon an amazing revelation that education involves learning things, and when you learn a thing that means you didn’t know it before. He presents this to the world as a stunning finding which obviously implies that

いわゆるわたしたちのような「弥生期の日本人」とはまるで異なる人たちではなかろうか。にもかかわらず、縄文期まで続く数万年のサイクルを持って地球を守る生き方を保ってきた(略)縄文以前の人たちの存在を間抜けな野蛮人として差別しつづけているのは誰か。日本における歴史教育はそのはじまりから今日の文部省指導の学校歴史まで一貫してファシズム的なものを中心に持っている

us so-called “Yayoi period Japanese” are the weird ones! [Before us, Japanese people] up to the Jomon period preserved a way of life that protected the Earth for cycles of tens of thousands of years … Who is it who has been constantly discriminating against the people who lived before the Jomon period as stupid savages? Japanese history education, from that beginning until the present day’s government-administered school education, has been centered in this fascism.

I don’t know what would happen if I pointed out to the author that the existence of the Jomon people is not just an idea which fell into his head, but is another thing that was researched and taught to him, and is therefore also fascism or whatever. Would he explode? Anyway, he goes on to explain that nuclear power is akin to invading Hokkaido, because a shrinekeeper conducted a safety ceremony at a nuclear plant which proves that the Jomon period AHHHH SCREW THIS GUY

久米晶文 近代日本の異端史家とフェティシズ
Masafumi Kume “Heretical History Fetishism in Kindai Japan”

Kume begins by explaining the concept of “fetishism” backwards, starting with Alfred Binet’s 19th century sexual fetishism, and then moving back to the original anthropological concept proposed by Brosses, which he then fetishizes to claim that history itself could be a fetish. The subject is not returned to, which makes me wonder why he introduced it in the first place if not to obliquely insult the concept of history. The essay continues with useful facts about parahistory but no overarching structure. In the concluding paragraph, Kume winds down his discussion with, “Therefore, parahistory is fetishism. I guess there might be some problems with that, but I think it’s a cool idea. Welp, hope you enjoyed my essay!” I don’t really have much to add to that stunning insight. Like the previous writers, he doesn’t make an effective apology for his own research.

山田雅晴 新宗教の教義に隠された古史古伝
Masaharu Yamada “Parahistory Hidden in Cult Doctrines”

I have to admit, I don’t know why this person is included in this supposedly academic book, because he himself is involved in the sale of magical amulets and other spurious items. Anyway, he just talks about the influence of the Takenouchi Documents on Mahikari, a link so prominent that American scholars have already noted it; it’s hardly “hidden”. The motive for studying parahistory would ostensibly be to help stamp out cults, but this would seem to infringe on Yamada’s own turf, as it were.

井村宏次 荒深道斉の有史以前研究への超心理的アプローチ
Kouji Imura “Arafuka Michinari’s Parapsychological Approach
to Prehistory Research”

And here, finally, is the good essay. Yes, “Arafuka Michinari’s Parapsychological Approach to Prehistory Research” is the good essay, the only one that actually had an influence on the small readership of this book. Sakai, founder of the Life Energy Research Institute (生体エネルギー研究所), introduces the virtually unknown spirtualist Michinari, by way of an anecdote about a pyramid-shaped rock he found while hiking in Aomori. 「私が気付いたでなく、この巨石が気付かせたのであろうか?」 “Did I notice the rock, or was the rock brought to my attention?” he asks, segueing into a discussion of the difference between material-scientific and spiritual knowledge. I note with no small amusement that this guy is the only writer among these “academics” to actually use full citations and footnotes.

For Imura, the process of reading the ancients becomes progressively more difficult as we move backwards from medieval into classical times. Medieval writers can be sometimes understood by literate people. For the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, we have almost unintelligible language, which can be read only by specialists who constantly argue about meaning. For the Yayoi and Jomon people, though, we pass out of specialization entirely and into an entirely different, transcendental realm of knowledge: the era of the kamiyo moji, scripts of the age of the gods, whose scientific truth value is clearly in doubt, but which seem to hint at some knowledge earlier than the Kojiki. The distortion is greater as you go further back, but the “romance” increases as well.

The rest of this essay will be included in my book!

Posted: May 16th, 2012 | Parahistory