The importance of this metaphysical-aesthetical value can only be fully understood when it is applied within the framework of cultural theory. In the field of religion there is a clearly structured model of the ‘metaphysic’ with regard to the relation of the upper and lower part. This aesthetically "primitive" meaning of the term pro-portion is explained more fully in this volume (following text). Philosophically, we come across a system of cognition that obviously relies on categories in the Aristotelian sense. It becomes plausible anthropologically, since the polar relation is shown in the model. The homologous structural principle and the formal differentiations in these forms create a system of generalization and differentiation. Their relation to natural forms (e.g. tree; see Egenter 1981) indicates a long past as the cognitive bridge for the human perception of natural objects.
The settlement's relation to its fibroconstructive sign and symbol is comparable to that of a mature plant and its seed. The order of the settlement is programmed within the ‘seed’s homologous polar relations.
What are conventionally termed Japanese 'myths', are available in the oldest historical works in two versions, 'Kojiki' (712) and 'Nihonshoki' (720). The first is generally considered a tendentious record of an oral tradition, the second as the first genuine historiography modelled on Chinese imperial annals. After a temporal reference to the origins of heaven and earth, the former begins with the first generation of deities, Ame no Mi-naka-nushi no Kami, Taka mi musubi no Kami, kami musubi no Kami. In the latter, the word 'musubi', meaning 'knot', is the defining term, in the former, 'naka nushi', meaning 'owning the middle' (or centre). Two further names of gods in the second generation of deities: the first is characterized as 'something originating of something that looked like a sprouting reed’ and the ‘delightful reed sprout’s marvellous child'. The second has 'for ever standing' as its principal term. In the following seven generations the first name is particularly remarkable: 'Kuni no Toko-tachi no Kami', 'the God who for ever stands in the land'. The second mythical source, the 'Nihonshoki', presents a short description of the origins of the world, obviously borrowed from Chinese cosmologies. Then, similarly to the first source, it mentions a series of evidently autochthonous names of deities. Here too, we come across expressions such as ' for ever standing', 'owner of the land' (kuni nushi), as well as 'musubi' (knot) dominating the deities' names. In both theses sources the gods of these early generations are counted by the term 'hashira' (pillar), e.g. 'mi-hashira-no-kami', three–pillar gods (Florenz 1919). These are only a few hints. Evidently constructive categories from the repertoire of Japan’s ‘semantic architecture’ (s. Egenter 1980, 1982a, 1994b) play an important part in this. If the localizations mentioned, e.g. 'Ame no', and 'Kuni no', are not interpreted as heaven and earth in a modern cosmological sense, but rather geographically in relation to topographical domains (the upper/ lower part of a region, of a settlement), it becomes evident that these 'myths', actually describe socioterritorial units, that is to say certain districts and populations who, in their rites, cyclically renewed certain 'deities' of specific forms (e.g. those characterized by certain knots etc.) and are therefore - on entering the mythical text - named correspondingly. In its grouping and temporal sequence the 'mythical' text thus expresses the factual or intended political organization of a certain region at the time. An early constitution which only appears obscure to us nowadays because the geographical indications are no longer clear.
The founding principle must have had a similar significance to prehistorical settlements as a constitution has to the modern state. In a settlement the circumstances were easily comprehensible to everyone. Everyone knew the metalinguistic components: the cult and its significance with regard to the order of the settlement. Legends revolving around its foundation, genealogies, lines of the founding family and its branches, as well as those of newcomers, all this is known in a settlement. With the formation of larger territorial units, the date of settlement foundations, the site, and the founder become disputed. With the expansion of spatial knowledge new terms, based on vaguely defined world concepts or cosmologies, are introduced. These wider concepts of diachronically deeper implications (geological: creation islands; creation of the world) supplant the primary 'cosmogonies' clearly linked to agrarian village settlements. The latter are then utilized by the new superior order. Somehow naively, modern humanities still deal with this complex in terms of (creation)'myths'.
Hall (1968) gives a very vivid description of early Japanese history which comes quite close to our interpretation. The politico–territorial aims explain the intensive campaign in support of Buddhism.
Remarkable in this context are the fierce struggles between the house of the Soga and the Nakatomi and Mononobe in the years of Shôtoku Taishi (574-622). A crucial support to our thesis is the project begun in 731 that intended to build in every province a provincial main temple ('kokubunji). The immense efforts undertaken to construct the enormous Todai Temple in Nara (745-52) underpin this argument.
This is a classical example of the distortions produced by Eurocentric perspectives. Shintoism is described as a 'belief' based on the historically earliest texts (myths). The immense quantity of religious institutions in Japan amounts to about 40'000 settlement shrines including historically centralized shrines; in addition, there is an endless amount of smaller shrines related to local house or agrarian cults, further the enormous formal abundance of rites and festivals related to all these shrines, festivals that are annually celebrated all over Japan in thousands of variations, altogether these cults might amount to hundreds of thousands. And all this is supposedly understood by someone who has only read the imperial myths! This is an unbelievable simplification that lies at the roots of Eurocentric arrogance. This is precisely not the case as our study of 100 villages in central Japan (see Egenter 1980, 1982a, 1994a, b) has shown. To put it another way, the Eurocentric approach is of an unbelievably negligent and superficial! The method is not only tremendously reductive, it is also misleading. The evolved historical text is used to explain something that has its roots much earlier, in prehistory. This produces dangerous blind spots. Around the time of the Second World War, even authorities on Japanese culture were struck by Japan's radical nationalism and imperialism. They were absolutely mystified by the Japanese veneration of their emperor as a godlike figure. It was simply not perceived that Shintoism is essentially based on a traditional continuity of prehistorical constitutions. This type of "history" does not appear in written texts, but finds expression in a hierarchic system of cults. After the war the historically supported top of the Shinto-pyramid was forcibly dissolved. But the whole traditional substructure of this pyramid, the invisible iceberg is still in existence. Unfortunately Japanese studies has never been, and is still not, interested in Japanese 'folklore' studies! Beardsley, Hall, and Ward (1959) in their monograph >Village Japan< give an overall survey of the tightly–knit social networks - many of them related to the house – but fail to record the importance of local Shinto rites.
Viewed in structuralist historic terms (including folklore) there emerges a strong dominance of settlement genetically structured 'house lines' ('ie', 'honke/ bunke' etc.). These are differentiated according to primary main lines and secondary branch lines, as in the case of village Shinto shrines (moto-miya, waka-miya; Beardsley et al., 1959 :248f.). Such settlement genetic systems apparently also exist in other cultures (European >house< of princes, note that the English 'first' and the German for ‘duke’, 'Fürst', belong to the same group of words). The 'territorial imperative' (Ardrey 1966) has not received due notice. Should it gain ground, most of social anthropology’s reductionist constructions confined to blood relationships would have to be reconsidered with regard to territorial and toposemantic systems (or settlement continuity).
This prejudice is essentially rooted in medieval European thought. For political motives, the popedom had, throughout the Middle Ages, and in fierce competition with the secular empires of the Merovingians, Franks, and Ottonians been busy consolidating in theory (universality and investiture struggle) its late Roman heritage (Christianity as the Roman state religion, declared by Theodosius I in 391). It succeeded in establishing Neo–Platonism, thus providing a powerful instrument (deduction) to the later humanities, but at the same time hurling the European sciences into a schizophrenic chaos (natural sciences/humanities) which had a disastrous effect on Europe’s relations with other cultures. The idealistic scholastic emphasis on the continuity of the godly line and its intimate relation with Christian ethical values has obscured the fact that the Old Testament actually belongs to the type of Near Eastern / Egyptian state constitutions, and thus should be dealt with in the history of ancient constitutions. In such early constitutions godly lines essentially were a support of territorial legislation (Thou shalt have no other gods before me).
It is quite obvious that a non-scriptory culture cannot be the ideal area of research for the structural historical method. It is far more suitable for highly developed cultures which, like the Indian or Chinese, not only have their historical centres and peripheral traditional tribal peoples, but also have preserved many of their ancient traditions. We shall not go into detail why Japan, among other highly developed cultures, provides – from a structural historical perspective – ideal conditions and represents a sort of "Galapagos islands of culture". We shall only give a few hints: 1000 years of agrarian prehistory, 1000 years of urban centralism imported from China together with script and historiography, absence of foreign rule in historical times, hardly any Christianization. These are the primary reasons why Japan was able to preserve an enormous abundance of pre–Buddhist and prehistorical agrarian traditions into the present day. A further positive aspect is that Japan possesses a tremendously well–documented body of folklore (Yanagita Kunio), which is neither the case with India nor China.
The same type of settlement core complex marked with fibroconstructive signs is also widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Two texts in volume 7 of this series will deal with this phenomenon. Currently, there is a research project being undertaken in India which focuses on the settlement core complexes in various regions, of both agrarian and tribal settlements (Sacred Topography Survey Programme; Indian Rural Settlement Survey Institute, Ahmedabad).
The Story of the Three Kingdoms' (Samkook Yusa), 'The Narratives of Kings’ (Chewang Woonki), 'The Official Records of the Three Kingdoms' (Samkook Saki), 'The Collection of Yi Sang Kook' (Tongkook Yi Sang Kook Jip) from the Koryo Period; and finally in the 'geographical outlines of the true records of King Schong' (Sechong Silok Jiriji) from the period of the Yi dynasty (Kim 1982).
From the viewpoint of spatial anthropology, which assumes an evolution of space perception (Bollnow 1963) it is highly questionable, if not naive, to translate terms, which have aquired macrocosmic meanings in our times, like heavens, heavenly fields etc. of mythical texts of early history with their modern contents. Such retroprojections might produce colossal distortions. Evidently 'decending from heavens' is an archaic stock phrase, indicating an outer world–origin of obscure geographical definition, which is applied to conquerors - in this case the Chinese - who brought with them a higher civilized knowledge and installed themselves in underdeveloped regions, founding their own dynasties and ruling the country (Hong 1994). Hong's book is remarkable in that it considers Japanese myths in a wider context of 'extranational' historical sources, thus discovering many proofs of a close relationship between the early Japanese state Yamato and the early Korean state Paeckche. This Korean book published in English might be hard to come by at Japanese booksellers!
In March 1995 the author (together with Richard Hollenweger) visited the South Korean open–air museum in Yong-in. There is a marvellous view of the South Korean ‘house-scapes’ in a traditional atmosphere. In five of the reconstructed farmhouses there were straw huts generally located in the backyard opposite the entrance. They rested on stone slabs, at the top they were equipped with a characteristic spherical knot. The designations for the deity were 'Todh-chu-dae-kam'. The original locations of these farmhouses were at 1) Sonchon Pyonganbukdo 2) Asan, Ch'ungch'ongnam.do, 3) Kongju, Ch'unch'ong-nam-do 4) Konju, Ch'ungch'ongnam-do.
In contrast with the archaeological method, which interprets the regional diffusion of certain finds as 'cultures', cultural theory based on settlement research assumes that basic conditions of prehistoric settlement (anthropological space, topological orientation, cyclic concept of time) were a comparatively homogenous influence on prehistorical society. Consequently we are faced with only a limited number of prehistorical settlement types. Knowing the specific ways of demarcation as the ontological value–centricity of such settlement types tells us a lot about the world view of the respective population (s. Egenter 1991, 1994a).
Karl Narr's concept is important also because it employs an ethno-archaeological terminology. The characterization of the Mesolithic Age as the age of hunters and gatherers, of the Neolithic and the Metal Age as an age of agrarian village societies and of historical times as the age or urban life is extremely productive, because this terminology represents essential criteria of space and time.
E.g. the one-sided emphasis on the 'urban', which, having historical depth, is thus rated as complex and worthy of research. On the other hand, the 'rural', which appears simple, is considered of little importance by research.
A symposium on folklore attended by experts from Asian cultures such as India, Southeast Asia, China [including marginal populations], and Japan on one hand and specialists on European (alpine) regions on the other, with the aim to compare materials and theories might produce considerable impulses for both sides.
Not yet familiar with cosmic orientation, the elementary and autonomous settlements are considered to have their basic orientation related to the topography of rivers (mountains and valleys). See Egenter 1991, 1992f. vol 7: 'The Master of the Wilderness, the Bear, lives in the upper Part our Home')
Regarding the Roman substratum of agrarian village cults, see G. Wissowa, >Religion und Kultus der Römer<, (2)1912
Virtually at the same time the figure of Christ is theoretically "deified" within the framework of the Arius / Athanasius controversy (Arius: Christ not identical with the Jewish state god; Athanasius: Christ identical with the Jewish state god). The decision in favour of the latter was pronounced at the first ecclesiastic convention (Nicaea 325). The decision later became a cornerstone of Christian doctrine.
From a humanistic standpoint it is difficult to understand how rulers of this type of godly empires dominate their subjects. But, seen from the perspective of settlement research, this can be recognized as a persistent survival of a very ancient system of territorial law based on ancient god-ruler-cults and thus conserved in certain milieus, according to the zeitgeist, usually with definite intents. This type of constitution focuses primarily on territories and their safeguarding, both from the inside and the outside. The inhabitants are merely 'part' of the sacred territory, are of secondary importance. This structural principle has also left its traces in modern nations, whether monarchic or democratic. Very anachronistically it is clearly still found in the Roman Vatican state with its scholastic constitution of a 'spiritual' (pseudoterritorial) empire. Particularly in so far as - based on this type of ecclesiastic law - it once again vehemently tries to dominate modern democracies.
Methodologically, the crucial aspect of our approach is that the "horror of basket–making" has led us to a method of prehistorical reconstruction, which no longer contents itself with mere casual finds - or even remains - dug out from the dirt, but, to the contrary, searches for the highest values which are then integrated into a new systematic reconstruction of continuities. Unquestionably, with the help of this method we shall gain much more knowledge of prehistorical spirituality than if we were to content ourselves with what our modern history-tricksters order us to do – to fish for casual remains.