Jōmon pot


The Jōmon indigenous people of ancient Japan, thousands of years ago, bequeathed modern people a legacy called Wosite (Wo-si-te, sometimes spelled Woshite). Wosite is the unique and precious creation of the Jōmon. It delivers ancient wisdom of an advanced indigenous civilization which has not been previously appreciated. Especially in these difficult times, it has much guidance for all people.

The Wosite Heritage

The heritage that the world receives from Wosite people of the Jōmon period is manifold. Among the many gifts of Wosite are these:

• History vs myth

• Sounds of universe and writing the language

• Who were the Jōmon?

• The message from the Jōmon

The legacy of the native Jōmon through the Wosite documents has not disappeared completely. It is merely not clearly visible. Jōmon traces are found in Japanese language and poetry and in many traditions such as the folk dancing during the Obon ancestor commemoration. The Jōmon gave to the world the beloved sake beverage. Wosite literature amply displays the basic and unusual Japanese grammar as well as the love of word-play. An example is the double meaning of momo for peaches and for hundreds, as in the observance of Girls’ Day peach blossom festival. Moreover, the stories of Wosite inspire one to live life as compassionately as they did.

History vs myth

There are many myths from the “historic period” of Japan which followed the Jōmon period. These myths were later created by a structured government out of the histories recorded in the Wosite documents. Since a myth is defined to be a story from folklore, these so-called myths are not truly myths. Are they?

Amaterasu emerging from Ama-no-iwato
Amateru and Mukatsuhime

Arguably the most popular “myth” is that of the kami “Sun Goddess Amaterasu.” She is shown emerging from the Ama-no-iwato cave, restoring light to the world. These mythical kami are supernatural beings who dwell in the sky. In contrast, Wosite records the gentle male leader Amateru and his gracious wife Mukatsuhime, as represented in this artist’s conception. They lived simply and humbly with consideration for the welfare of all the people. Given the epithet kami as a term of high respect by the people, their exemplary deeds are recorded in Wosite Jōmon history.

Isanagi and Isanami in Kuni-umi myth

Another of the well-known “myths” is that of Kuni-umi.  Umi means birth. What is kuni? It is said that the kami couple Isanami and Isanagi created the kuni land of the Japanese archipelago from their home in the clouds. Wosite records say that this was a human couple, and that they were the parents of Amateru. The kami couple created a kuni nation by teaching a language called Wosite. In this way, people who had spoken diverse dialects could now communicate with each other and cooperate in community-building tasks such as growing crops and building homes. This also led to unity among the people and a more abundant life.

Sounds of universe and writing the language

Awanouta, Song of Creation, in Wosite writing. Each character is a syllable. Art by Tsukiyo Hoshikage.

What did Isanami and Isanagi teach? They taught the 48 basic syllables of the Wosite language through the song, Awanouta (Awa-no-uta). The Awanouta is a 48-syllable song of how the world Awa comes into manifestation. Each syllable is a sound of Universe. Read it from right to left, top to bottom. Notice the rhythm of 5-7, typical of later Japanese poetry.

There are five vowels, pure primordial sound energies which create everything in Universe. They are represented in Roman letters as a, i, u, e, o, and are pronounced as in Hawaiian. See also the Appendix.

The Jōmon had a sophisticated writing system thousands of years ago. They wrote the Five Primordial sounds of Universe as characters representing their actions as follows. They made their cosmology into a practice of everyday life.

Wosite writing of vowels a, i, u, e, o

The vowels have the specific energetic functions:

a  represents the anticipatory energy of the void that will create everything.

i  represents vibrating energy analogous to light or sound, but is not yet manifest.

u  represents dynamic energy that is strengthening and heating up.

e  represents energy that flows as it accumulates more and more energy.

o  represents energy that manifests in a solid way in our material world.

The Wosite Five Primordials are not five static elements but are rather five dynamic processes of fundamental energies in action. The Jōmon made this contribution — the dynamic nature of energy — to world cosmology, refining the static five element theory that is found in many other cultures. 

Five vowels are paired with nine consonants to form open syllables (each a consonant followed by a vowel) full of powerful energy when spoken. Even the consonants symbolize energies. This is the sound energy recognized as Kototama in spiritual disciplines such as Aikido and Reiki. These five vowels and forty-three other syllables form the 48-character basis of the written Wosite language, as we saw in the Awanouta. They wrote Wosite text in vertical lines of five and seven syllables, rhythms of earth and space. These were the precurser of the Japanese waka poetry, with tanka form of 5-7-5-7-7 and haiku of 5-7-5. They wrote a number of documents full of history, philosophy, science, and wisdom. Most of those documents have been lost. Fortunately three of the most important of these treasures can be read by you and me.

Who were the Jōmon?

Ancestors of Jōmon arrived 40,000 years ago

Asian ancestors of the Jōmon arrived in the what is now the Japanese archipelago around 40,000 years ago during the last Ice Age when they traveled over land and ice. When the world started warming, sea levels rose and the land separated from the mainland to become the archipelago that we know as the Japanese islands. The people developed a very distinctive culture — an advanced civilization remaining in tune with nature.

They settled in villages, developed agriculture and mining and other innovative technical skills.

They understood the cycles of nature such as the seasons and the water cycle.

They created their own solar calendar through the engineering of megaliths.

They understood the operation of Universe and how human society can thrive when in harmony with it.

These remarkable Jōmon lived for more than 12,000 years without warfare, no doubt a world record!

The Jōmon period lasted from the end of the Ice Age around 12,000 BCE to some time (probably before 300 BCE) when immigrants arrived in numbers from the Asiatic mainland. The newcomers brought impressive riches and grew in political power. Soon they were running a newly created court system and a society of haves and have-nots. They created myths, extinguished the use of Wosite writing and replaced it with a form of Chinese characters that was difficult to learn. Not only was the writing system changed, but new sounds entered the speech. However, for those who know Wosite vocabulary and grammar, it is clear that the foundation of the Japanese language derives from Wosite. 

Why did the Jōmon period end?

Why is it that we have up until now never heard of Wosite and its writings? Wosite documents were not acknowledged by those holding political power, and new documents were written using a form of Chinese. The court-sponsored Kojiki and Nihon Shoki were promoted as if they were national histories when instead they were fabricated loosely based on Wosite and other documents.

Moreover, the establishment regarded Jōmon culture of the native people as inferior. Although there were no outward battles, Jōmon leaders were hunted down and executed. The urban myth is that the transition was bloodless. However, local traditions in the mountainous central Honshu land of Hida and in the sparsely developed northeastern land now called Tohoku tell of the execution of native leaders. Skeletons from the transition period, bearing inflicted injuries, have recently been found. Wosite vanished from the scene for two thousand years. But the Jōmon heritage lives on.

It was only in 1966 that the Wosite documents came back to light when a Tokyo publisher Yoshinosuke Matsumoto discovered some pages with strange characters in a used-book store. He researched Wosite diligently, gathered all the documents that he could find, studied them and taught others. Because of the dedication of Matsumoto and other voluntary researchers in Japan, we have the Wosite document collection and its interpretation.

However, for the Western Wosite student there remains the pivotal challenge of reading modern disussions in Japanese, as there are few English-as-primary-language teachers and researchers. As one taught by Japanese Wosite teachers, and being of third-generation American Japanese ancestry, Okunomichi has made it her mission to make Wosite known to the English-speaking world so that the Jōmon legacy can be more widely evidenced. Okunomichi presents excerpts from Wosite literature in WoshiteWorld.wordpress.com.

The message from the Jōmon

The Jōmon legacy is contained in the writings of Wosite. These are valuable documents. Written long ago, they were revised into their final form at around the turn of the Common Era under the leader known as Emperor Keikō. It was a time of increasing violence and warfare. The documents were meant to be a record of Wosite Jōmon wisdom to be safeguarded for future generations. They contain histories of events and people over thousands of years. Moreover, they record lessons that the Jōmon learned which enabled them to dwell in peace and well-being for a dozen millenia.

When we study the Wosite documents, we realize that these remarkable people achieved many advances in human activity through their willingness to be cooperative and generous in sharing the blessings received from each other and from nature. They were inquisitive and eagerly sought to understand the physical world as they developed science, engineering, and technology. They still retained harmony with their environment. Furthermore, they had a deep understanding of the Laws of Universe which demonstrate their high level of consciousness. 

Clearly the Jōmon have a great deal of wisdom to teach us if we will open our eyes, ears, and our hearts to their messages. We, too, can live in peaceful societies for millenia.

Even though we have focused on one culture, nevertheless our point is that ancient societies around the globe may have achieved high levels of civilization and consciousness, much higher than we had previously thought. Furthermore, our ancestors have much to teach us — if we will only pay attention — about living well and sustainably through honest communication and sincere cooperation. The main message is that we humans are all connected with each other and every living being.

Suggested questions for discussion

• What part of your identity is rooted in your heritage? Does knowing your heritage help your sense of identity and connection to others?

• What are the traditions that you recognize that come from your heritage?

• How does myth affect our culture? What purpose do myths serve in civilization and society?

• How do language, culture, myth, music and song perpetuate? 

• How might learning about Jōmon culture and the Wosite language help to strengthen who we are as a people or a community?

• What can I do to make a positive contribution to the world?   

Appendix: Japanese Pronunciation Guide

The five Japanese vowels are pronounced by Americans as follows.

a as the a in father

i as the ee in feet

u as the oo in fool  

e as the e in lemon

o as the o in so

For further details, see:  http://iprc.soest.hawaii.edu/users/furue/jp-pron.html.

Pronunciation of consonants — k, h, n, m, t, r, s, y, w –is pretty clear. However, since Wosite times, the sounds from the Asian mainland caused the following changes: si to shi, ti to chi, and tu to tsu, Thus you will find the Western spelling of Wosite as Woshite.


Okunomichi, Wosite: Our Jōmon Heritage, July 2021. A PDF document available by request to WoshiteWorld@gmail.com.

https://woshiteworld.wordpress.com/   Woshite World: Physics and Philosophy of an Ancient Language (in English). This blog, operating since the spring of 2016, is by the author with Japanese Wosite researchers Ms. Sakata Shoko and Dr. Hiraoka Norito.

https://www.hotsuma.gr.jp/index-e.html   Hotsuma Tsutae, by Japan Translation Centre. Many of the chapters of Hotsuma Tsutae, one of the Wosite documents, rendered into exciting legends. There are also Japanese and French language versions. Observe caution in reading these dramatized stories: Wosite civilization was much gentler and people lived equitably rather than in a structured class system with a king living in a palace. 

https://iwakage.wordpress.com/   This site is administered by the author and is the English-language site for the Jōmon solar calendar of the Kanayama Megaliths Research Center.


https://heritageofjapan.wordpress.com/just-what-was-so-amazing-about-Jōmon-japan/   A rich source of information about Jōmon Japan.


The author of this article and editor of this site is Okunomichi which means the path beyond. It is the pen name of Harriet H. Natsuyama, mathematical physicist with D.Sc. degree from Kyoto University Institute of Astrophysics with 200 journal publications and six mathematical books. She has studied with wisdom keepers from various ancient traditions.

In the Wosite language, her name is spelled Hatune Natuyama. She grew up with immigrant Japanese grandparents and this gave her a sensibility to learn about Jōmon and Wosite. She conveys knowledge and insights of world-wide ageless wisdom as viewed from the East so that we may restore peace and harmony to the world. She is deeply grateful to her Japanese Wosite teachers, Dr. Hiraoka Norito of Osaka and Ms. Sakata Shoko of Kumamoto. She appreciates the valuable perspectives that Japanese Americans PJ Hirabayashi and Mariko Miho have contributed to Wosite Wisdom.

Mountain stream in Central Honshu

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