Monday, January 12, 2015
Mythic Islands: The significance of "Big Island"
Annotated Google Map of the the 14 Islands mention have been born in the Record of Ancient Matters (Kojiki) creation myth of Japan. The prevalence of Islands created in the myth, rather than mountains for instance, suggests that the mythographers were a sea or costal people, and that the ama (e.g. of Amaterasu) which has come to mean heaven, derived from the word for sea people also "ama." Bearing the concentration of Islands it seems reasonable to suppose that the mythographer's world centered Western Japan or Kyushu, and probably on the Seto Insland Sea. Further, noting that the 11th Island born was called simply "Big Island" (now Suo-OoShima) though it is not large compared to Shikoku, Kyushu and Honshu, or even Awaji Island it seems linguistically implied to me that it was large in the context of its size and position to the mythographers. Thus Big Island likely to have been the nearest big, but not vast, inland sea island to those that were doing the naming. This suggests to me that the mythographers were to the West of Big Island rather than to the East, where there are several bigger islands, and probably near to Big Island for it to have been named in this generic way. The centre of Mythic Japan thus may have been somewhere in the Suo-Nada Insland Sea, the Western half of the Seto Inland sea. Big Island is in the centre of the 13 island mentioned in the Record of Ancient Matters not including Honshu. I have not put a mark on Honshu, which, somewhere in Western Japan, is likely to have been the centre of the mythographer's world. http://flic.kr/p/qLR2d9
This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.