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Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, [1885], at

p. 140



According to the mast ancient texts, Japan is the centre of the earth.—W. E. Griffis.

According to the earliest cosmogony of the Japanese, as given in their most ancient book, the Ko-ji-ki, 1 the creators and first inhabitants of our world were a god and goddess, Izanagi and Izanani by name. These, in the beginning,—we quote from Sir Edward Reed,—"standing on the bridge of heaven, pushed down a spear into the green plain of the sea, and stirred it round and round. When they drew it up the drops which fell from its end consolidated and became an island. The sun-born pair descended on to the island, and planting a spear in the ground, point downwards, built a palace round it, taking that for the central roof-pillar. The spear

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became the axis of the earth, which had been caused to revolve by the stirring round." 1

This island, however, was the Japanese Eden. Here originated the human race. Its name was Onogorojima, "The Island of the Congealed Drop." Its first roof-pillar, as we have seen, was the axis of the earth. Over it was "the pivot of the vault of heaven." 2 Mr. Reed, who has no theory on the subject to maintain, says, "The island must have been situated at the Pole of the earth." 3 In like manner, with no idea of the vast anthropological significance and value of the datum, Mr. Griffis remarks, "The island formed by the congealed drops was once at the North Pole, but has since been taken to its present position in the inland Sea." 4

Here, then, is the testimony of the most ancient

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[paragraph continues] Japanese tradition. Nothing could be more unequivocal. Izanagi's divinely precious spear of jade, 1 like the transverse jade-tube of the ancient Shû King, 2 is an imperishable index, not only to the astronomical attainments of prehistoric humanity, but also to humanity's prehistoric abode.

In Part fifth, chapter fourth, further illustration of the Japanese conception of the origin of their race will be given.


140:1 Speaking of this work, M. Léon de Rosny calls it l’un des monuments les plus authentiques de la vieille littérature japonaise, and says, "Nous devons non seulement à cet ouvrage la connaissance de l’histoire du Nippon antérieure au vii. siècle de notre ère, mais l’exposé le plus autorisé de l’antique mythologie sintauïste. Il y a même ce fait remarquable, que les dieux primordiaux du panthéon japonais, mentionnés dans ce livre, ne figurent déjà plus au commencement du Yamato bumi, qui est postérieur seulement de quelques années à la publication du Ko ji ki. Ces dieux primordiaux paraissent oubliés, ou tout au moins négligés, dans les ouvrages indigènes qui ont paru par la suite." Questions d’Archéologie Japonaise. Paris, 1882: p. 3. An English translation of the Ko-ji-ki, by B. H. Chamberlain, has just appeared in Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. v.

141:1 Sir Edward J. Reed, Japan, vol. i., 31.

141:2 Léon Metchnikoff, L’Empire Japonais. Genève, 1881: p. 265.

141:3 Ibid.—Our interpretation of ancient cosmology and of the true Eden location at once brings light into the whole system of Japanese mythology. In the following, extracted from Mr. Griffis, no one has ever before known what to make of "the Pillar of Heaven and Earth," "the Bridge of Heaven," the position of primitive Japan "on the top of the globe," and at the same time at "the centre of the Earth:"—"The first series of children born were the islands of Japan. . . . Japan lies on the top of the globe. . . . At this time heaven and earth were very close to each other, and the goddess Amaterazu being a rare and beautiful child, whose body shone brilliantly, Izanagi sent her up the Pillar that united heaven and earth, and bade her rule over the high plain of heaven. . . . As the earth-gods and evil deities multiplied, confusion and discord reigned, which the sun goddess (Amaterazu), seeing, resolved to correct by sending her grandson Ninigi to earth to rule over it. Accompanied by a great retinue of deities, he descended by means of the floating Bridge of Heaven, on which the divine first pair had stood, to Mount Kirishima. After his descent, heaven and earth, which had already separated to a considerable distance, receded utterly, and further communication ceased. . . . According to the most ancient texts Japan is the centre of the earth."

141:4 McClintock and Strong, Cyclopædia, vol. ix., p. 688. Art. "Shinto."

142:1 Émile Burnouf, "La pique céleste de jade rouge."—La Mythologie des japonais d’après le Kokŭ-si-Ryakŭ. Paris, 1875: p. 6.

142:2 "He examined the pearl-adorned turning sphere, with its transverse tube of jade, and reduced to a harmonious system the movements of the Seven Directors." Legge's Translation in The Sacred Books of the East, vol. iii., p. 38. Professor Legge once examined this passage in my presence, and found unexpected corroboration of the interpretation which identifies "the transverse tube of jade" with the axis of heaven.

Next: Chapter III. The Cradle of the Race in Chinese Thought