出雲の国【The Izumo no Kuni】

I love Japan! Of course I am from the small city of Matsue, which is located in the northwest of Honshu and in the country.


It is the most beautiful country that I have ever found, accounting for the fact that I have lived here for over 30 years. (By the way, I’ve spent more than half of my life out of the states. I’ve lived in places like, India, Africa, Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Korea, Japan, most of the states, etc. It’s been mostly in Japan, I’m happy to say.)


The most important feature of this charming area is that it is a cultural center unmatched anywhere.


The archeological history dates back to the Jomon Era (12,000 to 300 BC) and this area is mentioned in the first part of both the Kojiki (712 AD) and the Nihongi (720 AD), the most ancient books in Japan. The Izumo no Kuni Fudoki (733 AD) is the third oldest publication in Japan, and is completely about the Izumo Kingdom.


The oldest legends of the Gods start here on Earth with Izanami and Izanagi, the first gods to come to earth to settle the Great Rice Ear Land of the Gods. The next to come was Susanoo, Amaterasu’s brother. The Great Shrine, Izumo Taisha, is reputed to have been built to satisfy Okuninushi no Mikoto (Daikoku), Lord of the Great Land, when he offered his land to Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. The three oldest shrines in Japan are in my area.

ここ出雲は、イザナミとイザナギの二人の神が広大な田んぼを耕すため地上に降臨した、という日本最初の神話の舞台です。 その次にやって来たのは、アマテラスの弟のスサノオでした。出雲大社は、大地の神オオクニヌシノミコト(ダイコク)が自分の土地を日の女神アマテラスに譲ったとき、彼を慰めるため建てられたとされています。

One is dedicated to the first goddess Izanami, one to the god Susanoo and his bride, the Princess Inada, and one to the god Daikoku. With a history second to none, how could a person dislike such a beautiful place, especially when he has an interest in researching Japan. Tombs in the area have never been opened–by Imperial Decree –perhaps because they are afraid of what they will find to change history.


I firmly believe that this part of Japan was the true birthplace of the country. Culturally, ethnically, and even religiously, we can build a real history for this area. The oldest religious artifacts have been found here, even those related to Buddhism.

私は出雲こそ日本の誕生の地であると確信しています。文化、民族、宗教などのあらゆる観点から、この地の真の生い立ちを探っていくべきです。 仏教に関する最古の遺物がこの地で発見されました。

While Izumo Taisha is supposed to be the oldest Taisha architecture, it isn’t. In this part of Japan, there are at least three others that are older. Kamosu, the oldest shrine in Japan is 1600+ years old; Kumano Shrine, 1300 years old and, at one time, one of the most important shrines in Japan; and Yaegaki, 1300 years old. This is the shrine where Susanoo took his bride, Princess Inada, for safety. This shrine has the oldest wall mural in the country (1300 years old), a picture of Susanoo and Kushi Inada, his bride. It’s amazing! Wouldn’t you wonder why?

出雲大社が大社造りの建造物としては最古のものと思われていますが、実はそうではありません。この地方には出雲大社より古い神社が少なくとも三カ所存在します。 日本で最も古い神魂神社は1600年以上前、日本で最も重要な神社の一つである熊野大社は1300年前、八重垣神社は1300年前にそれぞれ建造されました。スサノオが妻のクシイナダを避難させたと言われる八重垣神社には、二人を描いた日本最古の(1300年前)壁画が現存します。なんとも驚くべきことです。不思議な思いに包まれます。皆さんはどうですか。

I certainly do. What else can be said about this area to attract the true scholar of Japan and its culture? There are shrines and temples all over the area. The three oldest Buddhist Temples are here. Daisen Temple, Kiyomizu Temple and Gakuenji Temple. They all go back to the earliest time that Buddhism came to Japan (538 AD). This is easy to understand since many Korean people and Chinese people came here as immigrants and refugees from war, bringing their cultures and religions with them.


The oldest and most advanced stone age culture was here, and this land has the oldest history of pottery production in the World. Artifacts abound, and while the culture developed into the lovely art found in other places, the earliest art has been found here.

古代の出雲は、日本で最初の、そして最も進んだ石器文化を誇っていました。さらには、世界で最も長い焼き物の歴史がここにはあります。 この地方は多くの遺物を内包し、他の地域で成熟していった文化の多くも、ここにその起源を持っています。

This area became less popular when the later sites of Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo became political centers. However, this area, in addition to helping in enthroning at least two emperors, has produced Prime Minister Takeshita, many politicians, famous authors, artists, poets, and other unique people such as Miss Izumo Okuni, who invented Kabuki!It is true that I love this land!

奈良、京都、東京へと政治的中心が移っていくに従い、出雲は人々の心から次第に忘れられていきました。しかし、古代に二人の天皇を生んだこの地からは、元総理の竹下氏をはじめ多くの有能な政治家、著名な作家、芸術家、詩人や、歌舞伎の祖である出雲阿国のようなユニークな人物が輩出しています。 この地を私は心から愛してやみません。

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