Hotsuma-Tsutae [Japanese] [French]

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This page includes contemporary translations of the Hotsuma-Tsutae in both Japanese and English. Though only partially complete, we will add more sections as time goes on.
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What is the Hotsuma-Tsutae?

The Hotsuma-Tsutae is an epic poem of more than 10,000 lines written in "yamato-kotoba", an ancient form of Japanese.
It tells the story of the "gods" who inhabited Japan in the Late Jomon, Yayoi, and Early Kofun eras (spanning more than a thousand years from the 8th century BC to the 3rd century AD).
Its authors are given as Kushimikatama, Minister of the Right in the reign of the Emperor Jimmu, and Ohotataneko, who lived during the reign of the Emperor Keiko. Kushimikatama wrote the first two volumes (The Book of Heaven and The Book of the Earth). Ohotataneko edited these and added the third volume (The Book of Man).

About the Translation

On these pages you will find modern interpretations of the Hotsuma-Tsutae in English and Japanese. The source material has been adapted into contemporary Japanese by Seiji Takabatake, and this in turn adapted into English by Andrew Driver.

Our work is by no means a word-for-word translation of the Hotsuma-Tsutae. Nor would we even presume to do so, as so much of the original is shrouded in the mists of ancient allegory and ritual. Many elements of the vocabulary have no modern counterpart, and much of the content is open to debate.

Nevertheless, as time goes by, each of the 40 "aya" or chapters of the Hotsuma-Tsutae will receive a counterpart representing a greater part of its content in Japanese and English. These counterparts may not appear in the same sequence as the original 40; but, one day, the aim is to have such counterparts for the entire Hotsuma-Tsutae.

In the CONTENTS, you will find the 40 "aya" listed in order, with counterpart versions added to the titles as and when complete. Click on the title to see the counterpart - and share this journey of discovery with us.

About the Translator

Seiji Takabatake, President of the Japan Translation Centre in Tokyo, has been involved in research of the Hotsuma-Tsutae for some thirty years. As well as maintaining close contact with Yoshinosuke Matsumoto, who was responsible for unearthing the Hotsuma-Tsutae following a chance find in 1966, Mr. Takabatake also hosts regular monthly meetings of a Hotsuma-Tsutae Research Group in Tokyo.

Note: English titles of Hotsuma-Tsutae chapters are tentative and subject to change.

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