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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
This term is used as a noun to refer to people in the world. It is seen for the first time in the Kojiki, where it has the same meaning as jinmin, shomin, and tamikusa (all meaning "the people"). Although the term is commonly rendered with the characters Ŀ, the Nihonshoki uses the character-combination . In the Kojikiden by Motoori Norinaga, the term is explained as a metaphor for an increasing population, like green grass spreading and thickening. The word appears in several classical Chinese texts, beginning with the Shokyō (Ekishoku), and also in works such as the Nihonshoki and the Shiki (䵭, or ) where it is written with the characters ¸ߵ׺ and pronounced aohitokusa, following the Japanese reading. Other examples can be found in ancient sources such as poem 802 in the Man'yōshū, or in another work called Shōmu tennō doban chokuganbun from 753.

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