Divine Record

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Divine Record is a common gloss of the Scriptural term Koki こふき. It is also translated simply into as English as “talk” in the official translation of a verse belonging to the Ofudesaki unnumbered set. Although it is uncertain to what scope the term “Koki” was meant to refer to, it is generally thought to mainly center around the Story of Creation and other fundamental Tenrikyo teachings.

Definitions/identity of the Koki

The Ofudesaki chushaku (Annotations to the Ofudesaki) defines Koki as the “foundation for talks of single-hearted salvation” (たすけ一条の話の台 tasuke ichijo no hanashi no dai)[1] and “the true teachings that will be transmitted to future generations to become the basis for the salvation of many people”[2]

Kanji applied to “Koki”


A variety of kanji have been applied to the kana “Koki.” The most common is 古記, literally “ancient records.” Whereas the term Koki is simply presumed to mean “teachings that were conveyed or recorded in writing from times of old” in the context of Ofudesaki 3:69 in particular[3], these kanji help capture the strong nuance of “Koki” referring to a written record describing matters more ancient than those covered in the Japanese Shinto classics such as the Kojiki and Nihongi. [4]

It might be worthy of note that early followers often referred to the Story of Creation as the Doroumi koki 泥海古記, literally meaning “ancient records of the muddy ocean.” This title most likely resulted from the fact that Tenrikyo creation narratives often opened with descriptions of the world at the beginning being a muddy ocean.


The English gloss of Koki, “Divine Record” is assumed to come from the kanji 神記.


Second Shinbashira Shozen Nakayama has noted that other kanji early followers applied to “Koki” include 後記 (“later record”), 光輝 (“radiant story”), and 功記 (“meritorious/efficacious record”).[5] He has also suggested 口記 (“record of oral transmissions”) as another possible set of kanji.[6]

Shigeru Matsumoto once suggested the kanji 鴻基, meaning “foundation for a grand task” as Koki in Ofudesaki referred to Oyasama's fundamental teachings.[7]

Koji Sato has described Koki as oral, ancient records that represent the meritorious, fundamental, and official (綱記) teachings.[8]

Koki in history

Oyasama is said to have told followers to “Compile a divine record (Koki)” in the years prior to 1881[9] Ryosuke Yamazawa in 1881 composed a Koki comprising 161 waka verses that covered the Story of Creation and other basic Tenrikyo teachings. Many other early disciples followed suit with their own versions of the Koki (usually written in prose form) from 1883 and onward.

It may be noted that Oyasama did not allow her disciples to take notes[citation needed] when she described the Story of Creation to them and also did not give her final approval to the manuscripts she was shown.[10] It is said that there are about 40 of these manuscripts in existence.[11]

Koki narratives

The following is a list of known Koki manuscripts.[12]

Year composed Title Found in collection of
1881 明治十四年三月記之 Meiji juyo-nen sangatsu no ki Yamazawa family
1881 日本無雙書物 Nihon muso shomotsu Nakayama family
1881 (none) Nakayama family
1881 此世初まりのお噺扣え Kono yo hajimari no o-hanashi hikae Masui family
1881 此世初まりのお噺扣え Komatsu family
1881 神之古記 Kami no koki Komatsu family
1881 明治十五年正月寫求之 Meiji jugo-nen Shogatsu no shakyu Imamura family
1881 古記 Koki Haruno family
1881 古記 Moroi family
1881 天輪王命 Tenrin-O-no-Mikoto Kita family (2 copies)
1881 古記 Matsumura family
1882 天輪王命 Ihachiro Yamada
1882 聞問記 Bunmonki Ihachiro Yamada
1883 神の古記 Masui family (2 copies)
1883 神の古記 Ueda family
1883 神の古記 Miyamori family
1883 神の古記 Kajimoto family
1883 神の古記 Kita family
1883 神の古記 Umetani family
1883 untitled scroll Nagao family
1884 御神代の古記 Mi-Kami-yo no koki Imamura family
1884 神代之古記 Kami-yo no koki Izutsu family
1884 神代之古記 Maegawa family
1885 神之古記 Komatsu family
1886 かみのおんこふき Kami no on-koki Sawada
1886 神の古事記 Kami no kojiki Department of Doctrine and Historical Materials
1886 神之古記 Matsumura family
1886 (none) Yamazawa family
1886 神の傳 Kami no tsutae Nagao family
1887 神の傳之記 Kami no tsutae no ki Masui family
1887 神の傳之記 Koda family (2 copies)

Appearances of “Koki” in the Ofudesaki

External link


  1. 『おふでさき注釈』 Ofudesaki chushaku, p. 20.
  2. Ofudesaki chushaku, p. 77.
  3. Ofudesaki chushaku, p. 41.
  4. For instance, one may recall the following quote attributed to Oyasama when she was confronted by Shinto priests: “I wish to teach the world of things not to be found in learning, ancient things extending over nine hundred million and ninety-six thousand years” (The Life of Oyasama, p. 88).
  5. 中山正善 Nakayama Shozen. 『こふきの研究』 Koki no kenkyu, p. 12.
  6. Koki no kenkyu, p. 1.
  7. 松本 滋 Matsumoto Shigeru. 「「から」と「にほん」—本居宣長のからごころ批判との関連から」 “Kara to nihon—Motoori Norinaga no kara-gokoro hihan no kanren kara.” 『G-TEN』 41 (May 1989), p. 53.
  8. 佐藤浩司 Sato Koji. 『お道の常識』 Omichi no joshiki, p. 282.
  9. The Life of Oyasama, p. 117.
  10. Ueda Yoshinaru. Insights into the Story of Creation, p. 2.
  11. 西山輝夫 Nishiyama Teruo. 「「元の理」の研究史概論」 "Moto no ri no kenyku shi gairon" In 『「元の理」の人間学』 Moto no ri no ningengaku, p. 15.
  12. From 『ひながた紀行』 Hinagata kiko, p. 259.