A0703: Why is Japan special? – Part 4

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When a village headman noticed that the evening visits of the robed persons were not happening, he became concerned and asked neighbouring villages if they were also visited by these strange persons. Some villages knew about the robed persons and other villages did not, but where they appeared they were the number one topic of conversation and many of the villagers wanted to know more about and from these robed persons, so a chain of news was formed informing the neighbouring villages about this issue. All they knew at that time was that the robed persons had a wide knowledge because they always had a lot of useful advice ready for the people who took the short opportunity to talk to the Wanderers during their short passages. These robed people were henceforth called the Wanderers because they never gave themselves a title. The Wanderers always appeared at dusk, chatted briefly and then quickly moved on. Most of the time they talked about everyday things, but if the topic was something they could give out really useful advice, so that the village communities were already keeping watch so as not to miss when the Wanderers appeared again. Word spread quickly when a villager came up with a solution to a time-honoured problem that the Wanderers had just given him as advice. Many villagers also wanted their own problems solved, so they formed small communities to discuss their problems, and the next time the Wanderers arrived, they would ask for advice from a person who was keeping watch at the time. So it happened that village communities made a village development leap in a very short time, which was observed enviously by the other village communities, so that the question of the Wanderers drew ever wider circles. All villages wanted to enjoy the Wanderers, so volunteer villagers were assigned to find the Wanderers and ask them to stop by their villages as well. They were then to be promised rewards so that they would also visit their village. Several months passed before this happened and many villages were on the lookout for the Wanderers. The villager who knew the true identity of the Wanderers set about convincing his village elder that the Wanderers were special and that they offered many benefits if the group of Wanderers were accepted into the village community for a longer period of time. This had never happened before because a village community is a fixed group that cannot be suddenly enlarged or reduced. All villagers enjoy the protection of the village and they have to support each other. If a person or a group suddenly arrives seeking shelter, strangers are only helped to a limited extent because this is to the detriment of all villagers. The village community has to provide the shelter and it also has to provide food and clothing, so all matters are decided by the village elders and the village headman. The village headman handles the day-to-day things that happen in a village community and the village elder always has the final say in everything, because the village elder not only makes the wisest decisions, but the village elder is also commonly associated with the spiritual world, so the village elder is also associated with the spirits, which were very common in East Asian culture at that time. It was not a real faith, but the village elders can be seen as pre-shamanic mediators because East Asian culture quite quickly integrated rituals that dealt with the spirits of nature. Today’s Japanese are no exception and we would say most of this is still unchanged in their sagas, even if time makes the stories seem more and more dramatic than they were passed on at the time of the village elders. When the village elder needed to be convinced, the villager used a ruse that is still ubiquitous in Japanese spiritual beliefs. The villager told the village elder that the Wanderers were embodied spirits who came to earth to teach the people. If the village elder gives shelter to these embodied spirits, the embodied spirits will reciprocate and teach the village many things so that the common good of the village community increases. The village elder did not need to be told twice and he agreed to a remote meeting to be convinced by the villager’s stories himself. The meeting was held in great secrecy and when the village elder came face to face with an extraterrestrial being in the flesh, he was immediately convinced that it must be the embodied spirits who now need a place to stay so that they can also train the villagers properly. We will now recite brief passages from this conversation, although the wording has been adapted for you present-day readers.

“See now that we are true. Look upon our face and tell us, do we look like your kind?”

“No, verily not. I am overwhelmed that we may witness your resurrection. I am still conflicted as to how to name you, so tell me your names”

“We do not need names because you are to remember our deeds, not how a name is spoken. We are here to teach you so that you may progress as a human community, which you truly need. What would be your request of us, old man?”

“I would like to know exactly where you are from because our stories are inaccurate and everywhere they are passed on differently”

“We will teach you who we are and where we came from, but know that there is a lot to tell and we will teach you to keep what is told in such a way that the stories are always retold in the same way, without anyone else being able to tell the story differently. Do you want to take all this on yourself so that you can teach archiving the stories to other residents?”

“Yes, I would like to do that and we will also provide the shelter you need now that you are flesh and blood. We will make all the arrangements for that, honoured sirs“

So the village elder left the place of the meeting with the villager to arrange everything necessary. All the villagers had to follow the instructions of the village elder, including the village headman, who at first did not want to believe at all what the village elder told him, so that he constantly consulted the villager who brought the village elder to the Wanderers. Since the village head had long suspected that the village elder could no longer do his job properly, the village head was also someone who was very difficult to convince. In the end, the village headman was obedient and made sure that many families helped to ensure that an embodied spirit was given a place to stay. Many villagers were terrified of the embodied spirits because the stories told beforehand did not bode well. When the day dawned on which the extraterrestrial explorers entered the village as the embodied spirits, the day could not have been more exciting and far-reaching, because on this day, the foundation stone for the very special Japanese culture was laid. The extraterrestrial visitors trained the villagers in many disciplines and because the extraterrestrial explorers stayed there for a long time, they brought much of their own culture to the Japanese mainland that still endures today. Whether it is dwellings or the art of forging, everything was taught to the villagers and the villagers were willing students because they believed to the end that embodied spirits were training them and not extraterrestrial explorers. The belief in spirits intensified during this period because other village communities also quickly realised that this village could do extraordinary things, and since all the emissaries to this village reported with fervour on their return that embodied spirits were indeed there, many village communities intensified their belief in spirits because they were now seemingly faced with hard evidence that could not be argued away. Until the extraterrestrial explorers were picked up by their own race, the explorers passed on a great deal of knowledge that is still represented in the folklore of Japanese culture today. We will briefly discuss the arrival of the extraterrestrial explorers in the village community in the next part, and then report on the first training sessions that the explorers undertook with the villagers.

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