Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
 main menu
  »New EOS site

  »Home

  »Foreword

  »Guide to Usage

  »Contributors & Translators

  

  »Movies List
 Links
AND OR

Home » 9. Texts and Sources » Other Basic Texts
Ryūkyū shintōki
This work is the oldest text on Shintō from the Ryūkyū Islands (present-day Okinawa), and includes in its scope the indigenous traditional religions of the area. This five volume work was written by the Jōdo Buddhist priest Taichū (1552-1639). While in his fifties, Taichū intended to travel to China but was unable to accomplish this; in 1603, he traveled instead to the Ryūkyū Islands. There, Taichū found favor with the Ryūkyūan king Shōnei, whose court official Bakō Min requested that Taichū compile this text. Taichū wrote the manuscript during his three-year sojourn in the Ryūkyū Kingdom, and corrected the text after his return to Japan. The book was published in 1648. Although it is ostensibly a Shintō text, the bulk of its content pertains to Buddhism. This is a result of the author's views about kami, to which Taichū relates the Buddhism of the Ryūkyū Islands: Volumes 1 through 3 concern the Buddhism of India and China, while Volume 4 examines such issues as the objects of worship (honzon) of temples, which according to Taichū, demonstrate the principle that the kami are buddhas which have manifested themselves in Japan (suijaku no honji ). Only Volume 5 is about Shintō, beginning with a description of the history of shrines in the Ryūkyū Islands, such as the seven shrines of the cult of the gongen (divine incarnation), as well as the traditional deities and beliefs that are unique to the Ryūkyū Islands. The work is characteristic of views on kami held by Buddhist priests in the medieval period, and in certain places also affords us glimpses into aspects of the indigenous Ryūkyūan religion as it was before the intervention of the Satsuma Domain. This text is included in the Ryūkyū Shintō kiben rensha taichū shū , edited by Yokoyama Shigeru (1936).
See also Ryūkyū Shintō

— Saitō Michiko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
URL http://21coe.kokugakuin.ac.jp/
Copyright ©2002-2006 Kokugakuin University. All rights reserved.
Ver. 1.3