Amabe-shi Keizu (海部氏系図)

Amabe-shi Keizu are genealogical documents passed down by the Amabe family, a shake (family of Shinto priests serving a shrine on a hereditary basis) of Kono-jinja Shrine located in Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture, which comprises one book of "Kono-myojin-yashiro Hafuribe-uji Keizu" (Family Tree of the Family Serving for Kono-jinja Shrine, hereinafter referred to as 'Hon-keizu)' (main family tree)) and one book of "Kono-myojin-gu Hafuribe Tanba Kuninomiyatsuko Amabe Jikito-uji no Hongi" (Records of the Amabe family, an ancient local ruling family in Tanba Province, Serving for Kono-jinja Shrine, hereinafter referred to as 'Kanchu-keizu' (genealogical records based on surveys)). Both books were recognized as priceless documents for the study of changes and trends in ancient systems of powerful families and religious services and were designated as important cultural property in June 1975 and as national treasures in June 1976.

Hon-keizu (Main family tree)
Hon-keizu' is the second oldest extant family tree, following "Enchin Zokusho Keizu" (Family Tree of Enchin (Buddhist monk) as Layperson) (one of 'Records and Books concerning Chisho Daishi Enchin') (also known as 'Wake-uji Keizu' (Family Tree of the Wake Family)), which are also designated as national treasures. Hon-keizu is regarded as a precious historical document that communicates the form of ancient genealogical charts in the clearest way thanks to its adoption of a family-tree-style description. It is a Kansubon (book in scroll style) measuring 228.5 centimeters in length and 25.7 centimeters in width, which is made of five vertically pasted sheets of kozogami (paper made from paper mulberry trees), with the phrase 'Tango-no-kuni Yosa-gun Jushiinoge Kono-myojin Jugen Ukonjo Saiho Hafuribe Hoshi Amabe Jikito-no-uji" (the Amabe family, deputy head of religious services priests at Kono-jinja Shrine, Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade, in Yosa County, Tango Province) being printed in the middle. The straight line is drawn below the central phrase in thin black ink, on which the names of deities and persons are printed, and the square seal with the impression of 'Sealed by Tango Province' are placed above the names in red ink (the number of seals reaches 28), showing that the family tree was submitted to and certificated by Tango Province. As for when the Hon-keizu was drawn up, it is speculated that from the words 'Jushiinoge Kono-myojin' (Kono-jinja Shrine, Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade) of the central phrase, it was drawn up between July 3, 871 and January 24, 878, when Kono-jinja Shrine was ranked as Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade (Reference: "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (sixth of the six classical Japanese history texts)), supported by a footnote in the 'Kanchu-keizu' (see below) that says it was drawn up during the Jogan era (859 to 877). It is considered that the Hon-keizu was drawn up by Inao AMABE-no-atai, then the 33rd head of the Amabe family (hereinafter, the sequence number of family heads corresponds to the number described in Kanchu-keizu).

The Hon-keizu is a very simple family tree featuring Amenohoakari, the founder (deity) of the family, and only subsequent family heads and their direct descendants until Deno the 32nd, with its contents being roughly divided into the following three parts.

The first part represents the earliest generations from the founding father to Kenshinkuma no sukune, the 19th family head; all of them had no kabane (hereditary titles). In this section, the name of only three persons (deities) are printed because the second and third family heads and the family heads between the fifth and eighteenth were not recorded.

The second part corresponds to the generations between Tohi the 20th and Shoni the 24th, the era of leader of amabe (a legion of male divers) when the family was created kabane 'atai' and called 'Amabe-no-atai,' served as tomonomiyatsuko (the chief of various departments at the Imperial Court), and led amabe in Tanba Province (Tango Province was also included at that time).

The last part corresponds to the generations between Gohyakudo the 25th and Deno the 32nd, the era of Jogan when the kabane 'atai' ('Amabe-no-atai') and the word 'hafuri' (religious services) were added to their surname and first name, respectively, while footnotes in the family tree show how many years the person in question served as a hafuri (Shinto priest) of Kono-jinja Shrine.

Kanchu-keizu (genealogical records based on surveys)
Kanchu-keizu supplements the Hon-keizu with detailed footnotes while maintaining a family-tree-style. The extant Kanchu-keizu is a manuscript created in the early Edo period, and the manuscript says that the original is "Tanba Kuninomiyatsuko Amabe Jikito-uji no Hongi" (Records of the Amabe family, an ancient local ruling family in Tanba Province), which was compiled in the Ninna era (885 to 889). The other side of Kanchu-keizu features shihai monjo (an old document which was written on the other side of a piece of used paper) depicts augury based on the weather and the shape of clouds, which is considered to date back to the Momoyama period. In fact, the Kanchu-keizu was transcribed into the other side of the sheet featuring augury charts, which was used paper in nature (these augury charts are also regarded as a valuable historical document).
Incidentally, the note titled 'Ipponden' (an anecdote) in the Kanchu-keizu states that the Kanchu-keizu was compiled and completed as follows:

During the era when Emperor Suiko ruled the court, AMABE-no-atai Shira sukune, who was Tanba no Kuninomiyatsuko (ancient local ruling family in Tanba Province), and others compiled "Tanba no Kuninomiyatsuko Hongi" (Records of the Ancient Local Ruling Family in Tanba Province).

In 721, three generations after the completion of the above-mentioned "Kuninomiyatsuko Hongi," Tanba no Kuninomiyatsuko Chijima AMABE-no-atai (the 27th) and his brothers, Chishoku and Chinari, and others compiled "Kono-miya Hafuribe-uji no Hongi" (Records of the Family Serving for Kono-jinja Shrine, also known as 'Yoro Hongi') (According to another belief, it was compiled in September 722).

During the Jogan era, upon emperor's orders, Deno the 32nd and others completed "Kono-myojin-yashiro Hafuribe-uji Keizu" (today's Hon-keizu) as Honke-cho (record of the main lineage) by updating the above-mentioned "Yoro Hongi" through the addition of ensuing several generations.

During the Ninna era, as the Hon-keizu had not served as hongi (a document based on surveys) due to lack of descriptions for ancient times (age of the gods) and the names of older ancestors, Inao the 33rd and others completed "Tanba Kuninomiyatsuko Amabe Jikito-uji no Hongi" (Records of the Amabe family, an ancient local ruling family in Tanba Province) by adding oral traditions.

The Kanchu-keizu features a family tree from the founding father to the 34th family head with detailed footnotes about the episodes and achievements of each deity and person, and some part shows family head's brothers and their descendants as collateral lines. The Kanchu-keizu showcases original lore that cannot be found not only in the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) but also in ancient records such as "Kujihongi" (Ancient Japanese History) and supplements the Hon-keizu with the information about older ancestors, who are considered to be omitted in the Hon-keizu.

[Original Japanese]