November 27, 2005
The ancient lineage of Japanese Yamato Emperors have ruled with diverse layers of power for centuries. Cultural and social changes affected the political influence and power of the "Sun Line" dynasty. But, because of the religious aspects of the divine authority of the emperor, the dynasty was manipulated for political legitimacy instead of being totally annihilated. Thus, the dynasty has survived from the legendary Jimmu in 660 to the present day 125th Emperor Akihito.
Shinto, the native religion of Japan, defines the emperor's authority in Japan. The fundamental document of Shinto is the Kojiki, (Record of Ancient Matters). The Kojiki consists of an account of Japan from its creation to approximately the year A.D. 500, plus additional genealogical data about the imperial family for the next century.# Written in 712 and considered one of Japan's earliest remaining works, the Kojiki establishes the Yamato imperial kami as the dominant kami of Japan, which, correspondingly substantiates the royal authority. The kami is a polytheistic host that, on the one hand animistically inhabits nature and, on the other hand, is intimately associated with people and their most basic units of social organization.#
Amaterasu-Opo-Mi-Kami is the Sun Goddess, the dominant kami of the Yamato
royal clan, or uji. Amaterasu founded the imperial line when she sent her grandson down from the heaven to rule the land of luxuriant rice fields'.# An earlier tale in Kojiki tells how Amaterasu was so frightened by the behaviour of her brother Susano-o that she hid in a cave. The world was therefore plunged into darkness and her fellow kami tried desperately to entice her out. As a trick, Amaterasu was told that a rival kami even more powerful than she had arrived. Then a female kami danced a ribald dance outside the cave, and so loud was the merriment that... [continues]
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