Kotoage (言挙げ)

Kotoage (word rising) ritual is to make the religious principle or interpretation in Shinto clear by word.


The intermediate part of Kojiki (The Records of Ancient Matters) contains a scene where Yamato Takeru (no Mikoto) encountered a white boar on the way to beating down the god of Mt. Ibuki, and did 'kotoage' ritual by saying as follows; 'This should be an emissary of the god. Then, I will kill it on my way back not now.'
This example is considered to be the oldest one in existence. Yamato Takeru (no Mikoto) was killed by a curse of god because the Kotoage ritual he did came from self-conceit.

Therefore, voicing one's intension clearly is referred to as a Kotoage ritual, and it is understood that Kotoage ritual coming from self-conceit leads to a negative outcome (quotation from Section of 'Kotodama' (soul or power of language)).
However, in the broad sense, 'words' should contain elements other than voice, such as 'gesture.'
Most of current Shinto schools who are said to value a gesture (motion) are also considered to attach importance to 'words' in broad sense (language.)
However, shintoists themselves declare that 'Shinto does not do Kotoage ritual' (see below).

Currently, shintoists tend to avoid the dispute over Shinto.

Essential history of 'Kotoage' ritual

Jodai, mainly Nara era (Nara period)

Yamato Takeru (no Mikoto) found in "Kojiki"
See above.

Manyoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves)
One verse of KAKINOMOTO no Hitomaro says, 'Ashihara no Mizuho no kuni does not do Kotoage ritual even if he is a god.'
Quoting this verse, current Shinto devotees declare that 'Shinto does not do Kotoage ritual', and tend to avoid the dispute over Shinto.

Ancient times (Heian period)

Based on 'Engishiki Jinmyocho' (Jinja shrines' list under the Engishiki ('Engishiki' is an ancient book for lows and regulation compiled during the Engi era, in which shrine listing procedures are included) (Volume 9 and 10), the ranking of Jinja shrines was decided.

Medieval period (Kamakura period and Muromachi period)

Kanetomo YOSHIDA
Kanetomo YOSHIDA is an author of "Yuiitsu shinto myoho [myobo] yoshu" (Compendium of the Doctrines of the One-and-Only Shinto) and "Shinto Taii" (Gist of Shinto) which are said to be the first theoretical system in the history of Shinto.

Gobusho (five-volume apologia) of Shinto of Ise Jingu Shrine
From the medieval period through early modern period, Gobusho had been considered the most important Buddhist scriptures until it was identified as a gisho (apocryphal book) by Yukikazu YOSHIMI in the mid modern period.

Early modern times (Edo period)

Ansai YAMAZAKI was against Buddhism as a Confucian scholar, and actively promoted a fusion of Confucianism and Shinto, advocating Suika Shinto (Shinto thoughts advocated by Ansai YAMAZAKI). He reinterpreted the relationship between gods and men as a relationship between lord and vassal in light of Confucianism.

Atsutane HIRATA
Atsutane HIRATA read books related to Christianity although those books were prohibited, and introduced the concept of the god of creation into Shinto.
Trying to interpret Kojiki, he emphasized Ame no Minakanushi no Kami (one of the gods in Japanese mythology) as the god of 'creation.'
Likewise, he interpreted Okuninushi no Kami as the ruler of yukai (world after death) or yominokuni (realm of the dead), whom Susanoo met when he went there. Atsutane HIRATA considered the world to consist of the 'yukai' and real world, and created the idea that the one who rules the 'genkai' (the real world) is the Emperor. This idea served as a theoretical base for the Meiji Restoration, and caused Izumo-ha school, which enshrined Okuninushi no Kami, to emerge in early modern times.

Modern times

Dispute over the enshrined deity of Shinto Shrine Jimukyoku
Dispute from 1880 through 1881
Religious principle dispute over the enshrined deity of the Shrine of Shinto Jimukyoku (bureau) which was established in Hibiya, Tokyo. Shrine of Shinto Jimukyoku selected, as the enshrined deity of the Jimukyoku, Yohashira (four gods) including 'Zoka-sanshin' (three gods of creation): Ame no Minakanushi no Kami; Takamimusubi no kami; Kamimusubi no kami; and Amaterasu Omikami. Upholding the belief called 'Yuken ichinyo' (unity of the world after death and the actual world), Izumo-ha school argued that Okuninushi no Kami should be included as an enshrined deity to form Itsuhashira (five gods). Eventually, this dispute was sorted out by an imperial decision made by Emperor Meiji (it was determined to be a Yohaiden (a shrine to worship gods from afar) of the Three Shrines in the Imperial Court; Izumo-ha school was virtually defeated). The government is said to have realized that it would not be possible for the modern state to either develop a common religious principle code or directly rule citizens using Fukko Shinto (returning to the ancient Shinto).

Masumi OISHIGORI claimed that Chikubu-shima Island in Lake Biwa was the mother of all people.
Oishigori Masumi Zenshu (complete works of Masumi OISHIGORI) published in 1923 by Kokka-sha (国華社)

Yoshisane TOMOKIYO
Yoshisane TOMOKIYO claimed in his "Hekishinmu" (1924) that Zion is a kingdom of the Sun God, which means Japan, quoting the passage in Old Testament 'Wake up Zion, and show your power' stated by a prophet Isaiah.

Yoshisane TOMOKIYO claimed in his "Shinto-kogi" (1936) that scene that Jehovah spoke to Moses from the Old Testament can be interpreted as Jehovah being an incarnation of Susanoo, and tantara on the Mt. Sinai was Horagai (Conch Shell) sounded by a kenzoku (disciple or follower) of Itakeru no Mikoto, the sun of Susanoo.
He also claimed that Jesus Christ was the incarnation of Itakeru no Mikoto, and Christ later descended to Japan and became Yamato Takeru (no Mikoto.)

Kiyomaro TAKEUCHI 'Takeuchi-monjo' (1928)

Shinto-shi-gakkai (Academy of Shinto history)
Shinto-shi-gakkai first published 'Shinto-shi-kenkyu' (Study of Shinto history) in January 1, 1953 (and continues to this day).

Analysis of the State Shinto's creed
There has been no 'State Shinto's creed that the 'State Shinto' itself explicitly stated. However, Masaharu HISHIKI organized State Shinto's creed into three points below, saying that some religion disregard verbally expressing their creeds, but those creeds can be extracted easily by using the result of Philosophy of Religion and Cultural Anthropology.

1. Holy war: One's country's conflict is always right, and it is one's sublime duty to participate in it.

2. Eirei (spirits of the war dead): One can become a god when he engages in a holy war, and dies. Therefore, the dead are to be celebrated.

3. Honoring: On the model of Eirei, all follow suit.

Then he pointed out that 'those are to embellish a political purposes of driving people to aggressive war which is hidden in honoring creed.'
There is another argument that the State Shinto's creed center around the thought of Arahitogami (kami (god) who appears in this world in human form) or the thought of an unbroken imperial line.