It is trite to remark that if you wish to know really any people, itis necessary to have a thorough knowledge of their history, includingtheir mythology, legends and folk-lore: customs, habits and traits ofcharacter, which to a superficial observer of a different nationalityor race may seem odd and strange, sometimes even utterly subversiveof ordinary ideas of morality, but which can be explained and willappear quite reasonable when they are traced back to their origin.
ss Jito (A.D. 697). The Kojiki extends back equally far, but terminates at the death of the Empress Suiko (A.D. 628).
In the year 713, when the Empress Gemmyo was on the throne, all the provinces of the empire received orders to submit to the Court statements setting forth the natural features of the various localities, together with traditions and remarkable occurrences. These documents were called Fudoki (Records of Natural Features). Many of them have been lost, but a few survive, as those of Izumo, Harima, and Hitachi.
CHARACTER OF THE RECORDS AND THE CHRONICLES
The task of applying ideographic script to phonetic purposes is exceedingly difficult. In the ideographic script each character has a distinct sound and a complete meaning. Thus, in China shan signifies "mountain," and ming "light." But in Japanese "mountain" becomes yama and "light" akari. It is evident, then, that one of two things has to be done. Either the sounds of the Japanese words must be changed to t
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