pt2. Hirata Atsutane in Kami
“Hirata Atsutane, in particular, propounded a theology wherein Amenominakanushi was chief kami of the seven major stars of the constellation Ursa Major. As a result of this influence, Amenominakanushi was made a central deity at the Daikyōin in the early Meiji period, and he was worshiped within sectarian Shinto (kyōha Shintō” “During the process of separation of Shinto and Buddhist objects of worship (see shinbutsu bunri), the deity Myōken (the north star) was changed to Amenominakanushi at many shrines. -Mori Mizue (Encyclopedia of Shinto for the full article- http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=38)
In the Video Kikawa quotes from Hirata Atsutane in Kami “…We understand that he (Amenominakanushi) has sovereignty over all things in the universe” “Since this great kami thus exists without a beginning, it is only appropriate that he be called the ultimate, first deity, and that no words should possibly exist to describe the heights and depths of his virtuous power.”
Once again Kikawa eliminated what it says before, therefore changing the meaning –” So if one asks where the dwelling of this great kami is, it is in the very center of heaven, very highly elevated, in a still and unmoving place, namely, the so-called pole star, the point forming the fulcrumXVI of heaven; it is there that Amenominakanushi no kami resides. And just as though innumerableXVII strands were stretched out and woven from that single point, “We understand that he (Amenominakanushi ) has sovereignty over all things in the universe” Since this great kami thus exists without a beginning, it is only appropriate that he be called the ultimate, first deity, and that no words should possibly exist to describe the heights and depths of his virtuous power” (from 4. Hirata Atsutane's View of Amenominakanushi no Kami- Kami Contemporary Papers on Japanese Religion)
Notice, “namely, the so-called pole star, the point forming the fulcrum of heaven; it is there that Amenominakanushi no kami resides”
This is not anything near what the Bible states, so there is not correlation. Again, not all the scholars agree with Asutane. “Ōkuni's concept of Amenomi-nakanushi no kami possessed the simultaneous characteristics of a pantheistic substance and the “original nature” of Neo-Confucianism, making it quite different from the absolute god of Christianity” (6. Ōkuni Takamasa's View of Amenominakanushi no Kami)
Furthermore “Ōkuni begins from the claim that “in the beginning of heaven and earth, there was a kami called Amenominakanushi no kami, a kami who came into existence in the middle.” The footnote says XXVI. Amenominakanushi no kami means the “kami who is master of the middle (naka) of heaven.”(ibid)Ōkuni tells us “The sun is at the center of the planetary heaven. At its middle pole is Amenominakanushi no kami. Amenominakanushi no kami is called Amaterasu ōkami … She is the deity who has supervision over the sun and all the planets together.” It appears the mddle of this heaven is where the sun is -the middle pole.
Hirata Asutane is quoted in the video saying, “…We understand that he (Amenominakanushi) has sovereignty over all things in the universe” Yet he also wrote, “Amaterasu ōmikami as the “lord kami with dominion over the Plain of High Heaven.” (Hirata Atsutane, “Tamanomihashira “ Hirata Atsutane, Ban Nobutomo, Ōkuni Takamasa. Nihon shisō taikei vol. 50 (Iwanami Shoten, 1973), 54.
Atsutane further wrirtes- “The great parent deities then gave birth to the people, blessing the people by producing all existing things, and of all the multitude of kami to which they give birth, including kami of wind, fire, metal, water, and soil, Amaterasu ōmikami, together with her gentle spirit [nigimitama] and the kami of rectification [Naobi no kami], is given dominion over the heavenly sun, while Tsukuyomi no mikoto has dominion over the land of Tsukuyomi . . . (Hirata Atsutane, “Honkyō gaihen”, Shinshū Hirata Atsutane zenshū, 7:6.)
The Kojiki explains from the Earthly-Eternally-Standing deity to the Female- there are the Seven Divine Generations (each pair of deities is called a generation).
“ His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites greatly rejoiced, saying: "I, begetting child after child, have at my final begetting gotten three illustrious children." With which words, at once jinglingly taking off and shaking the jewel-string forming his august necklace, be bestowed it on Amaterasu, the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity.” Amaterasu was known as “She Who Shines in the Heavens”, “Illustrious Goddess” and “Ruler of the Plain of Heaven”, and the Japanese Imperial family was descended from her. The Sun Goddess Amaterasu is considered Shinto's most important kami- patron deity of Japan- many Shinto sects maintain this view today.
Having a she in the plain of heaven certainly puts a damper on Kikawsa’s revision of the myths.
Hirata further developed the studies by Motoori, Yet Motoori said “it is Amaterasu ōmikami who should be particularly venerated as the First Ancestor of the imperial sovereign; the matter of lord and vassal came to be only as a result of her having dominion over the Plain of High Heaven”
“Motoori's thought here recognizes Amenominakanushi as a kami who occupies the midst of heaven, but it lacks the concept of a kami of creation with sovereignty over all things. Amenominakanushi no kami came into being "within the void" (ōsora) before heaven and earth came into existence; but after heaven and earth were generated, that place became Takamagahara, and it was Amaterasu ōmikami who had dominion (shiroshimesu) over it.
In short, Motoori did not attribute to Amenominakanushi no kami the role and function of creation, sovereignty, and source of values (ethics)”. (2. Motoori Norinaga's Understanding of Amenominakanushi no Kami- Kami Contemporary Papers on Japanese Religion 4 NOUE Nobutaka, General Editor, Norman Havens, INOUE Nobutaka, ITŌ Mikiharu, MATSUMURA Kazuo, SASAKI Kiyoshi, UEDA Kenji Translated by Norman Havens Originally published in 1998 by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University. http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cpjr/kami/sasaki.html#tnoteIII#tnoteIII , SASAKI Kiyoshi- Adjunct lecturer at Nihon University.)
Both “ Motoori and Hirata had stated that Amaterasu has dominion over the Plain of High Heaven, coeval with the eternal heavens and earth, and illuminates every corner within and without heaven and earth. And since there is no nation under heaven not subject to her divine spirit, she is the great lord over the ends of heaven and earth, and it is to this Great kami that belongs the title of utmost, noblest in this world.36 (5. Mutobe Yoshika and Ōkuninushi no Kami- Kami Contemporary Papers on Japanese Religion by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University. SASAKI Kiyoshi- Adjunct lecturer at Nihon University.)
Accorsing to the Shinto scholars it is Amaterasu who had dominion over the Plain of High Heaven ( not middle) not Amenominakanushi.
Who is Hirata Atsutane? – “Japanese thinker, systematizer, and leader of the Restoration Shint (also known as Fukko Shint; q.v.) school. His thought, stressing the divine nature of the emperor, exerted a powerful influence on royalists who fought for the restoration of imperial rule during the second half of the 19th century” (Encyclopędia Britannica.)
He is numbered as one of the “four great kokugaku scholars. “The most important successor of Motoori in the field of Shinto was Hirata Atsutane (1776-1843), who showed the influence of Roman Catholic teachings in some respects--derived from the writings of Jesuits in China--by advancing the idea of a creator god and retribution for ethical and religious failings in another world. These doctrines, however, were not accepted into the main current of Shinto. Hirata developed the philological studies started by Motoori and trained many capable disciples. He also wrote prayers, worked out formulas for family cults of tutelary kami and ancestors, and promoted Shinto practices. His spirituality, reverence for the emperor, and desire to restore the spirit of ancient Shinto enlisted many supporters and served as one of the factors in bringing about the Meiji Restoration in 1868.”
“Mutobe took the evaluation Hirata had given to the three kami of creation, and reapplied it directly to Ōkuninushi no kami, thus reversing their places. For example, Hirata says that the three kami of creation existed in that part of the sky called “Purple Palace”33 (shibikyū,XXI but Mutobe claims that “In the Taoist canon, the Purple Ministry (Shifu XXII) is called variously shibikyū, or shikyū, or shibi tengū, but these are merely terms customarily used by the hermit sages of China to refer to Japan's own headquartersXXIII for the hidden palace of the divine (yūkyū), namely, the Great Shrine of Izumo.”34 In this way he associates the celestial shibikyū with the Izumo Shrine. (5. Mutobe Yoshika and Ōkuninushi no Kami Kami Contemporary Papers on Japanese Religion- Originally published in 1998 by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University. http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cpjr/kami/sasaki.html#tnoteIII#tnoteIII, SASAKI Kiyoshi- Adjunct lecturer at Nihon University.)
In fact we find that Hirata was into some syncretism himself “Atsutane grasped the concept of a creator god, and recognized that the emperors forming the descendants of that creator god were absolute beings in a sense even greater than that admitted by Norinaga. In other words, by introducing a creator deity to restoration Shinto, the spiritual basis for a restoration of imperial rule was strengthened, and by viewing the Japanese emperors as descendants of the same Amenominakanushi no kami who created the world and entire universe, Kokugaku's Japano-centric thought formed one factor promoting the establishment of absolute emperorism upon the conceptual basis of “all eight corners of the world under one roof.”III In short, even if Amenominakanushi no kami included elements of a “sovereign kami,” it was a concept with completely different significance from the sovereign god of Christianity.
It was Hirata's theology that erected a system of deities within this structure. The world of the kami revealed within the “ancient history” (koshi) possessed an overlapping of roles and division of labor, together with a division into the various realms where the kami existed. From Hirata's perspective, Amenominakanushi no kami was neither a supreme being nor creator deity of the Christian mold. Hirata related the creation of all existing things to the second level of Takamimusubi no kami, while considering Amenominakanushi as existing in a world separate and apart, in a state of inaction and quiescence.
“Hirata Atsutane wisely avoided a direct comparison of Amenominakanushi no kami with the god of Christianity. Instead, he opted to associate the Christian god with the kami of production, Takamimusubi. Ōkuni, however, found it easy to link the Christian god to Amenominakanushi, though the pair had virtually no points of resemblance. (6. Ōkuni Takamasa's View of Amenominakanushi no Kami)http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cpjr/kami/sasaki.html#tnoteIII#tnoteIII , SASAKI Kiyoshi- Adjunct lecturer at Nihon University.)
http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cpjr/kami/sasaki.html read this for an in depth report
“Ishida Ichirō, who called Hirata's thought “syncretic Shinto-Christian Shinto” (Shin-Ki shūgō Shintō), adopted the same viewpoint when he stated, Hirata Atsutane, who called himself Motoori's posthumous disciple,IV authored the work Honkyō gaihen with the appended comment “not to be shown to others.” As a private work, he considered it “Shintoistic self-exhortation” [honkyō jibensaku]; in fact, it was after he wrote Honkyō gaihen that he penned all his other works relating to Shinto. This Honkyō gaihen is, as a matter of fact, a replication of a book of Christian apologetics, or else a satire of such a work, in which Atsutane models Amenomina-kanushi no kami after the deus of Christianity as a creator and ruler of all things, who dispenses rewards and punishments to human beings in accord with actions during their lives, and who leads good souls to heaven and casts evil souls into an underworldly hell. This syncretic Shinto-Christian “Hirata Shinto” became the rallying ideology of the sonnō [“revere the emperor”] movement in the late Tokugawa period, as is evident from such works as Shimazaki Tōson's Yoakemae [“Before the dawn”]. And that same Hirata Shinto became linked to the movement for the “Dissemination of the Great Teaching” (taikyō senpuV) in the early Meiji period, and to State Shinto from the last half of the Meiji period.2 Amenominakanushi no Kami in Late Tokugawa Period Kokugaku- Kami Contemporary Papers on Japanese Religion- Originally published in 1998 by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University. http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cpjr/kami/sasaki.html#tnoteIII#tnoteIII , SASAKI Kiyoshi- Adjunct lecturer at Nihon University.)
Kikawa said on the Word to the World interview –”So by finding the native name of God which in, in Japan we found that name Ameno mi-naka-nushi which means the God in the glorious center of heaven and he is their creator God who created everything. And so we found this name of this creator God there, and it immediately says he’s a Japanese God and he loves them. This is what Paul did in Acts 17. in fact Ameno mi-nak-nushi and what we found in Hawaii that theres, y’know, uh, uh as Io, is much better than what Paul used in Acts 17 in Athens, because he used one God among hundreds of Gods on Mars Hill, whereas Io and are the benevolent creator God, or Hananim benevolent creator God of all things, so its much better” (Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa, Feb. 16, 2006 #9)
Satan appears as an angel of light, isn’t that seemingly benevolent? Of course this does not fit into the universal theme that he is trying to convince us of. Kikawa in the Video states, “This is a name from olden times that express it seems to be the concept of the Christian God, this is not one of the myriad of gods but its the central God of heaven.”
After a cursory examination of the facts we can see this is simply not true. That he had to selectively reduce and eliminate the full quotes to make his presentation look like it was relevant to the Bibles revelation. What Kikawa has done is find the closest in agreement but he still fails to solidify his point to the Bible. In fact Hirata has some very interesting things to say about the various gods and so does his disciple. Not all the scholars held to the same viewpoint. Ōkuni became a disciple of Hirata Atsutane in 1806 at the age of fifteen. He later studied under Murata Harukado. “For Ōkuni, Amenominakanushi no kami existed universally throughout the entire universe, descending to gradually indwell each individual concrete being, while in the same way possessing the consolidating function of integrating all existence, as all individual beings converge in him. As a result, while the process appears to be one of reducing all to a single centralized Amenominakanushi no kami, it is not necessarily so, since by existing as ki within all things, his substance is attenuated. Simultaneously, the existence of Amaterasu becomes more pronounced, and she takes on the concrete aspect of a ruling kami. Ōkuni describes the relationship between Amenominakanushi no kami and Amaterasu ōmikami in the following words: The sun is at the center of the planetary heaven. At its middle pole is Amenominakanushi no kami. The most wondrous apportioned spirit (sakimitama) of Amenominakanushi no kami is called Amaterasu ōkami. She is the deity who has supervision over the sun and all the planets together.” (emphasis mine)
“Amenominakanushi no kami and Amaterasu ōkami are a single deity, but divided spirits, and that is why the sakimitama of Amenominakanushi no kami is revealed as Amaterasu” (6. Ōkuni Takamasa's View of Amenominakanushi no Kami).
Again, Amaterasu is a she. Therefore Amenominakanushi is both he and she but revealed as a she.
Kikawa says in the video, “It makes perfect sense that the Japanese people would have this revelation of God. The Bible say what may be known about God is plain to all men.” He ignores the context of Romans 1 which states they refused to acknowledge God or worship him, but then he contradicts himself right afterwards saying “Although knowledge of the God in the glorious center of heaven is vague and he is an unknown God to most Japanese there is overwhelming evidence of his existence.” So then he knows more than they do about their own god, but then it is not as plain to them as he would like it to be.
If it is so plain then why is there such a complex system of god and goddesses in the Japanese system? The Bible speaks of God who is unknown to all people until they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. The god Amenominakanushi whom Kikawa presents as the ancient of days, the eternal I am is simply not Him. this proven by the Japanese scholars interpretations in the very same books.