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  • Writer's pictureAkiko Murakami

IZUMO and YAMATO exhibition in Tokyo

This year, 2020 commemorates the 1300th anniversary year of publishing NIHONSHOKI, or "The Chronicles of Japan (720)". It was a national project to make the first written history of Japan by the Japanese, and it was done in the capital city Nara during Nara period. Right now, starting from January 15th to March 8th, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park) is holding a special exhibition titled "IZUMO AND YAMATO-出雲と大和--The Birth of Ancient Japan--" , and many important historical objects from those areas. Yamato, in this title's context, is Yamato region of Nara prefecture. That is where I grew up and guide many international guests to show my favorite sites.

------------------------------------------- Izumo was one of the regions of ancient Japan where major political powers arose. A powerful clan of Izumo constituted an independent polity, but during the 4th century it was absorbed due to the expansion of the state of Yamato with imperial authority.

Even today, the Izumo Shrine constitutes (as does the Grand Shrine of Ise) one of the most important sacred places of Shinto (see the picture below: ancient image of Izumo Shrine) : it is dedicated to kami, especially to Ōkuninushi (Ō-kuni-nushi-no-mikoto). It is in today's Shimane prefecture.

In Japanese mythology, the entrance to Yomi (land of the dead) was located within the province, and was sealed by the god Izanagi by placing a large boulder over the entrance. (from Wikipedia: Izumo Province)


I would like to go and see this exhibition.

Especially because a national treasure, a very unique "7 pointed sword" from Isonokami Shrine is among the displayed objects. I heard the news from the head priest of Isonokami Shrine in Tenri city last November after and important ceremony officiated at night time. He said it is such a rare occasion..



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