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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
Kuniyuzuri
The "transfer of the land." The term indicates a series of episodes in the Kojiki and the Nihongi related to the transfer of the land of Japan to the descendants of the heavenly kami (amatsukami) by Ōkuninushi, a terrestial kami (kunitsukami). After Susanoo, the brother of Amaterasu, descended from the heavenly realm to Izumo and slew the great serpent, he married Kushinadahime. Their child (according to the main text of the Nihongi) or grandchild (according to one alternative passage of the Nihongi) was Ōkuninushi. Ultimately Ōkuninushi and Sukunahikona worked together to solidify the Central Land of the Reed Plains (Toyoashihara no mizuho no kuni). However, Amaterasu and Takamimusuhi, wanting the land for their descendants to rule, sent a messenger to Ōkuninushi asking him to transfer the land. Both Amenohohi, the first messenger sent, and Amewakahiko, the second, took sides with Ōkuninushi and did not report back. Not only did the latter marry a daughter of Ōkuninushi and fail to report back to the High Plain of Heaven (Takamanohara), but he also became the practical ruler of the Central Land of the Reed Plains. Amaterasu then conferred with the deities of the High Plain of Heaven and sent Takemikazuchi accompanied by Amenotorifune (Torinoiwakusufune). Takemikazuchi strongly urged Ōkuninushi to transfer the land, and received the allegiance of Ōkuninushis son Kotoshironushi, and defeated another of his sons, Takeminakata, who opposed the plan, in a trial of strength. Then Ōkuninushi agreed to transfer the land, giving the unconcealed realm of the Central Land of the Reed Plains to the Heavenly Grandchild. Ōkuninushi retreated to govern the unseen world (yūkai, see kakuriyo) while being eternally enshrined in the Great Shrine (Izumo Taisha). With this preparations were complete for the descent of the Heavenly Grandchild (tenson kōrin). There also exist different traditions relating to the above events. For example, the Izumo no kuni no miyatsuko kamu yogoto says that the true messenger sent down from the High Plain of Heaven was Amenohinatori, the ancestor of the Izumo kokusō. It is now thought that the episode of the "transfer of the land" as described in the Kojki and the Nihongi represents a mythical version of the process of state unification under the Yamato court. This unification was achieved over a long period of time both through negotiation with powerful local families and through military conquest. Izumo seems to have retained its ancient political and religious authority until the very end, and it was only with its fall that final unification was achieved. This appears to have happened in the time of the emperors Sujin and Suinin.

—Kobori Keiko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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