Together with the Nihongi, the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) is the earliest and most important chronicle of early Japan. Compiled in A . D . 712 by Ô no Yasumaro, the Kojiki records events from the mythological age of the gods up to the death of Empress Suiko in A . D . 641. The three-volume work is a valuable resource for understanding Japan's mythology, traditions, art, and religious beliefs. In addition, it is one of the classics of Japanese literature.

genealogy record of a person's ancestry

The Kojiki had two main purposes: to reinforce the idea that the emperor was descended from the gods and to determine the ranks of the leading Japanese families in society. During the 600s, increased contact with China had introduced the Japanese to many aspects of Chinese society, including its royal court system. After Japan imported the Chinese court system, the Kojiki created a history of the court similar to that of the Chinese. The work presents the genealogy of the most prominent families in Japan and traces the family history of the Japanese emperor back to the creation of heaven and earth. The Kojiki also includes myths on the founding of Japan.

See also Japanese Mythology ; Nihongi .

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