Hachiman Gudokun (Exegesis of Hachimanshin Legends for the Ignorant and Children) (八幡愚童訓)

"Hachiman Gudokun" is a history of temples and shrines that narrates the miracle and divine virtue of Hachimanshin (Shinto god of War), which is considered to have been compiled in the middle or late Kamakura period.

The word 'gudokun' refers to 'exegesis for ignorant persons and children' and, in this case, easy explanations of the divine virtue of Hachimanshin for them. It is unclear who the author is, but it is thought that the exegesis was authored by a shaso (Buddhist priest attached to a shrine) of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine. Depending on the titles of different kinds of books, it is also known as "Hachiman Daibosatsu (Hachiman the Great Bodhisattva) Gudokun" or "Hachiman Gudo-ki." Also, it is sometimes called "Hachiman Gudo-kin" based on the title of the book compiled in the early Edo period. It is also famous as records of Mongol invasions.


Hachiman Gudokun is roughly divided into two categories, which are conventionally called 'the first category' and the 'second category' - despite the shared origin, there is a slight difference between the two. The date of the first category is considered to be between 1308 and 1318 while that of the second category is said to be around the Shoan era (1299-1302). Both the first and second categories come in two volumes (book I and II), but it is also likely that they were originally one book.
(It is also said that the 1660 transcription, the so-called "Yanagihara Kyuzobon" (a collection of books once possessed by the Yanagihara family), had three volumes because book 1 of 3 and book 2 of 3 are preserved, although nothing book 3 of 3 remained.)

Furthermore, the first category is divided into category A and category B, in particular. The preface of category A features detailed descriptions, whereby the attacks on Tsusima and Iki Provinces by the coalition army of the Yuan Dynasty and Goguryeo are described in detail as the explanation of Bunei War, one of Genko (Mongol invasion attempts against Japan). The preface of category B, meanwhile, consists of abstract contents, whereby there are few descriptions about the invasion to Tushima and Iki Provinces.


As mentioned above, there is a slight difference between the first and second category books, whose outline is given below.

First category books

They consist of Book I and Book II. The first category books describe invasions by foreign enemies and their defeats in history. Book I introduces the following episodes: the so-called 'sankan-seibatsu' (the conquest of three countries in old Korea) by Empress Jingu; the achievements of Emperor Ojin, the son of Empress Jingu, who was regarded as Hachiman Daibosatsu (Great Bodhisattva Hachiman); and the attacks of Mongol army, invasions into Tsushima and Iki Provinces, Mongol army's landing on Kushyu island, battle between Mongol army and Kyushu warriors, and the burning of Hakozaki Hachiman-gu Shrine during the Bunei War. Book II introduces episodes such as Buddhist priest Eison's (aka 'Shien Shonin') prayers and the auspicious sign of Mongol army's retreat during the Koan War.

The first category books are almost the only extant historical documents about the invasions of the Mongol army, namely the coalition force of Mongolia and Goguryeo, into Tsushima and Iki Provinces during the Bunei War. The books explain that the Mongol army was often beaten back by the auspicious spells and divine power of Hakozaki Hachiman. Also, the influence of miracles caused by Buddhist priest Eison's prayers is emphasized in the books. From this fact, it is pointed out the there is a possibility that the birth of the books had something to do with prizes given by Imperial Court to shrines and temples for their prayers.
(Included in the Gunsho ruiju [Collection of historical documents compiled by Hokiichi HANAWA], First Series, Jingi - gods of heaven and earth - Volume 13)

The second category books

They consist of Book I and Book II. The second category books explain the miracle and divine virtue of Hachiman Daibosatsu in fourteen chapters, which have doctrinaire characteristics and preach merger with the worship of Amida.

The books comprises a preface and the following fourteen chapters: Suijaku (synthesis of Shinto and Buddhism), Myogo (name of the Buddha), Senza (travels), Gotai (body), Honji (original ground or true nature), Oi (imperial power), Ujibito (clan members), Jihi (mercy), Hojoe (the ritual for releasing captivated animals for mercy), Jukai (receiving the religious precept), Seichoku (honesty), Fujo (uncleanliness), Buppo (Buddhism), and Gose (afterworld). In each chapter, the limitless divine virtue and miracle of Hachiman Daibosatsu is elucidated.
(Zoku Gunshoruiju [The Collection of Historical Sources, continued], Second Series, Jingi - gods of heaven and earth - Volume 30)