United States or Christmas Island ? Vote for the TOP Country of the Week !

The story of the magical jewels and the visit to the sea-god's palace, for example, in the second book of the Nihongi, sounds oddly like an Indian fairy-tale; and it is not unlikely that the Ko-ji-ki and Nihongi both contain myths derived from various alien sources. At all events their mythical chapters present us with some curious problems which yet remain unsolved.

Several other myths scarcely less remarkable are to be found in the Ko-ji-ki and Nihongi; but they are mingled with legends of so light and graceful a kind that it is scarcely possible to believe these latter to have been imagined by the same race.

The Ko-ji-ki is said to have been written from the dictation of an old man of marvellous memory; and the Shinto theologian Hirata would have us believe that traditions thus preserved are especially trustworthy.

Still, we read in the Ko-ji-ki of "evil gods who glittered like fireflies or were disorderly as mayflies," and of "demons who made rocks, and stumps of trees, and the foam of the green waters to speak," showing that animistic or fetichistic notions were prevalent to some extent before the period of Chinese influence.

By this pair, Izanagi and Izanami, were produced the islands of Japan, and the generations of the gods, and the deities of the Sun and Moon. Some went to dwell in the blue Plain of High Heaven; others remained on earth and became the ancestors of the Japanese race. Such is the mythology of the Ko-ji-ki and the Nihongi, stated in the briefest possible way.

Almost every deity mentioned in the Ko-ji-ki or Nihongi has a shrine somewhere; and hundreds of others including many later apotheoses have their temples. Numbers of temples have been dedicated, for example, to historical personages, to spirits of great ministers, captains, rulers, scholars, heroes, and statesmen.