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Daoist Cosmogony in the Kojiki 古事記 Preface

Asian Studies Department, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404, USA
Academic Editor: Mark Berkson
Religions 2021, 12(9), 761;
Received: 9 August 2021 / Revised: 20 August 2021 / Accepted: 6 September 2021 / Published: 13 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese Influences on Japanese Religious Traditions)
A close reading of the cosmogony found in the preface to Ō no Yasumaro 太安萬侶’s Kojiki 古事記 (Record of Ancient Matters, 712 CE) reveals the ways in which Japan’s early Nara period elites appropriated aspects of China’s Daoist traditions for their own literary, mythological, and political purposes. This debt to Daoism on the part of the oldest Shintō 神道 scripture, in turn, reveals the extent to which Daoist traditions were eclectically mined for content that early Japanese elites found useful, rather than transmitted as intact lineages. This also raises questions about whether and how “Daoism” has functioned as a systematic body of doctrines and practices, whether in China or overseas. The essay argues that Ō no Yasumaro’s appropriation of the Daoist cosmogonic repertoire is consistent with Daoist traditions as they developed during China’s Six Dynasties and Tang periods—that is, with Daoism as it existed contemporaneously with the early Nara period, when the Kojiki was compiled. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; cosmogony; Daoism; Japan; Kojiki; Shintō China; cosmogony; Daoism; Japan; Kojiki; Shintō
MDPI and ACS Style

Richey, J.L. Daoist Cosmogony in the Kojiki 古事記 Preface. Religions 2021, 12, 761.

AMA Style

Richey JL. Daoist Cosmogony in the Kojiki 古事記 Preface. Religions. 2021; 12(9):761.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Richey, Jeffrey L. 2021. "Daoist Cosmogony in the Kojiki 古事記 Preface" Religions 12, no. 9: 761.

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