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Home » 9. Texts and Sources » Shinto Classics and Literature
A history in ten books arranged in a chronological format, mainly centering around events from the beginning of the "age of the kami" down to the reign of Emperor Suiko, with other sections (like the Kokuzō hongi) added. The title is also abbreviated to Kuji hongi and Kujiki. The period of origin and the compiler are both unclear, but it is believed the work was compiled by someone of the Mononobe family around the end of the ninth century in the beginning of the Heian period. As for the contents, Book One is Jindai hongi (the original record of the age of the kami) and In'yō hongi (the original record of yin and yang). Book Two is Jingi hongi (the original record of divine worship); Book Three is Tenjin hongi (the original record of the heavenly deity), Book Four Chigi hongi (the original record of earthly deity worship), Book Five Tenson hongi (the original record of the heavenly grandchild), Book Six Kōson hongi (the original record of the imperial grandchild), Book Seven Tennō hongi (the original record of heavenly sovereigns), Book Eight Shinnō hongi (the original record of divine sovereigns), Book Nine Teikō hongi (the original record of earthly sovereigns), and Book Ten Kokuzō hongi (the original record of provincial governors). According to the preface and the table of contents a separate genealogy of divine lineage was included, but it is no longer extant. Books One to Six detail events in the age of the kami, and Books Seven to Nine contain a chronological history of Emperors Jinmu down to the twenty-ninth year of Emperor Suiko. Book Ten contains a record of the origins of the pre-Taika reformation governors (kuni no miyatsuko) of one hundred forty-four provinces like Yamato, Kazuraki, Ōshikawachi, and Izumi.

The theory of fraudulence
       According to the preface, "This work was compiled and presented by Minister Soga no Umako no Sukune and others," showing that this is pretending to be the history Shōtoku Taishi and Soga Umako were commanded to compile in 620. In Nihongi shiki from the Jōhei era (936) this work is already known as a work "compiled by Crown Prince Upper Palace" (Shōtoku Taishi). Not long after its inception, Kujiki was revered as Japan's oldest historical record. Kujiki was especially revered by those of Ise Shintō (Ise shintōka) in the middle ages, and it was called one of the tripartite scriptures of Yoshida Shintō, along with Kojiki and Nihon shoki as found in Yuiitsu shintō myōhō yōshū. But in the early years of the early modern period, starting with Imai Arinobu's Sanbu honsho ben, which indicated that there were parts of the text that post-dated Shōtoku Taishi, Tokugawa Mitsukuni pointed out that Chinese-style names of the emperors that had been presented by Oumi Mifune in the Nara era appear in the record, as well as quotations from Nihon shoki appearing here and there, and the work was labeled a forgery of a later era. After this Tada Yoshitoshi wrote Kujiki gisen kō (On the Fraudulent Compilation of the Kujiki), and Ise Sadatake (Teijō) wrote Kujiki hakugi (The Fraudulence of the Kujiki Stripped Bare), and it was shown that the preface of Kujiki could not be trusted. In spite of this, in a small segment called "Kujiki to iu sho no ron (An essay on the work called Kujiki)" in the first book of Kojiki den by Motoori Norinaga, he argues that in Tenjin hongi and Tenson hongi there are sections found in no other work, as well as Kokuzō hongi which contains information found nowhere else. He argued that these were valuable old legends based on ancient works.

Period of inception
       Because Kujiki contains parts of Book One of Kojiki, along with Nihon shoki and Kogo shūi, it must have been compiled after the presentation of Kogo shūi in 807. The upper limit is 936 when the Jōhei Nihongi shiki notes that "The previous teacher argues" and Kuji hongi appears for the first time, which points to the Engi lectures of Fujiwara Harumi (Yatabe no Kinmochi's teacher) which were held somewhere between 904 and 906. Kujiki must have already existed by this time. Thus Kujiki's inception must be sometime a little before this in the latter half of the ninth century. Regarding the compiler, because the genealogy of the Owari and Mononobe families are noted in detail in the Tenson hongi, as well as the appearance of traditions particular to the Mononobe in the Tenjin hongi, Hirata Atsutane postulated in Koshichō kaidaiki and Koshi niten no ron that the compiler was a member of the Mononobe. The Mononobe in ancient times were a powerful group who had charge over military affairs at court along with the Ōtomo, and had administrative authority over the festival rites of Isonokami Jingū and the divine treasures (jinpō).

       Regarding the characteristics peculiar to Kujiki, the first deity when heaven and earth are divided and opened for the first time is called Ameyuzuruhiamanosagiri Kuniyuzurihikunisagiri, a deity in a lineage not seen in any other record. Also, in the story of the heavenly grandson descending from heaven, in the Kojiki and Nihongi Ninigi is the central character, but in Kujiki the story of the descent from heaven of Nigihayahi, the founding deity (sojin) of the Mononobe, and the story of his receiving the ten heavenly precious symbols (tokusano kamudakara) appears along with mention of the mysterious power of these heavenly symbols. The legend of the ten heavenly precious symbols has crucial significance in helping scholars understand the pacification rites in which the ancient Mononobe participated, as this tradition is different from the tradition at court. Also, the genealogies of the Owari and Mononobe families, as well as the Kokuzō hongi, are valuable historical materials in relation to research on ancient Japanese history. In general the place of Kujiki among other records can be said to be important as it contains a different Shintō handed down by the Mononobe which differs from the festivals and traditions passed on by the imperial family. It is also important as a Shintō classic in elucidating festivals, as well as researching into the history of Shintō from the middle ages on, and the history of the development of Shintō thought. It should also be said that this work is different from Sendai kuji taiseikyō (Kuji taisekyō), which sometimes leads to confusion.
       Regarding critical texts on Kujiki, there are volume seven of Shintei zōho kokushi taikei, Kamata Jun'ichi's Sendai kuji hongi no kenkyū—kōhon no bu (1960, Yoshikawa Kōbunkan), volume eight of Shintō Taikei, Koten-hen and others. As far as research into the text, there is Kokuzō hongi kōchū by Ban Nobutomo, Kokuzō hongi kō by Kurita Hiroshi, Sendai kuji hongi sekigi by Mikannagi Kiyonao, and Sendai kuji hongi no kenkyū—kenkyū no bu (1962, Yoshikawa Kōbunkan) by Kamata Jun'ichi as well as others.

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