Encyclopedia of Shinto

詳細表示 (Complete Article)

カテゴリー1: 7. Concepts and Doctrines
カテゴリー2: Basic Terms
Kotodama refers to the spiritual power that is contained within words, but also refers to the conception that spiritual power can be manifested through the intonation of words. This is explained as an aspect of animism, or alternatively is explained from the perspective of its function as influencing a person's mind. There is also the view that this way of thinking is one of the special characteristics that define Japanese culture. Especially in the world of waka poetry (thirty-one syllable poems in five lines of five, seven, five, seven, seven) it is traditional to think that words "move heaven and earth." Kotodama was also an important concept among National Learning (kokugaku) and Shintō scholars. However, some have put forth the view that originally only spells and incantations were seen as having the force of divine power, and that historically kotodama belief arose during the period when the Man'yōshū was compiled.

—Yonei Teruyoshi

Pronunciation in Japanese/用語音声

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