Old Japanese Words Have Hebrew Origin
Old Japanese Words Have Hebrew Origin.
Joseph Eidelberg, a Jew who once came to Japan and stayed for years at a Japanese Shinto shrine, wrote a book titled "The Japanese and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel." He wrote that many Japanese words originated from ancient Hebrew.
For instance, we Japanese say "hazukashime" to mean disgrace or humiliation. In Hebrew, it is "hadak hashem" (tread down the name. See Job 40:12). The pronunciation and the meaning of them are both almost the same.
We say "anta" to mean "you," which is the same in Hebrew. Kings in ancient Japan were called with the word "mikoto," which might come from a Hebrew word "malhuto" which means "his kingdom." We call the Emperor of Japan "mikado." This resembles the Hebrew word "migadol" which means the noble. The ancient Japanese word for an area leader is "agata-nushi;" "agata" is area, and "nushi" is a leader. In Hebrew, they are called "aguda""nasi."
When we Japanese count "One, two, three... ten," we sometimes say:
"Hi, fu, mi, yo, itsu, mu, nana, ya, kokono, towo."
This is a traditional expression, but we Japanese don't know what this means if we think of it as Japanese.
It is said that this expression originates from an ancient Japanese myth. In the Shinto myth, the female god called "Amaterasu" who manages the sunlight of the world once hid herself in a heavenly cave, and the world became dark. Then, according to the oldest book of Japanese history, the priest called "Koyane" prayed with words before the cave and in front of the other gods to have "Amaterasu" come out. Although the words that were said in the prayer are not written in the book, a legend says that these words were "Hi, fu, mi...."
Joseph Eidelberg writes that this is a beautiful Hebrew expression, if we suppose that there have been some changes in the pronunciation throughout history. These words are to be spelled:
"Haiafa mi yotsia ma naane ykakhena tavo."
This means: "Who shall bring out the beautiful? What words shall we say for her to come out?" This surprisingly fits the situation of the myth.
Moreover, we Japanese not only say "Hi, hu, mi...," but also say with the same meaning:
"Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yottsu, itsutsu, muttsu, nanatsu, yattsu, kokonotsu, towo."
Here, "totsu" or "tsu" is put to each of "Hi, hu, mi..." as the last part of the words. But the last "towo" (which means ten) remains the same. "Totsu" may be the Hebrew word "tetse" which means "She comes out. " And "tsu" may be the Hebrew word "tse" which means "Come out." Eidelberg supposes that these words were said by the gods who surrounded the priest "Koyane." That is, when "Koyane" first says "Hi," the surrounding gods add "totsu" (She comes out) in reply, and secondly when "Koyane" says "Fu," the gods add "totsu" (tatsu), and so on. In this way, it became "Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu...." But the last word "towo" the priest "Koyane" and the surrounding gods said together. If this is the Hebrew word "tavo," it means "(She) shall come." When they said this, the female god "Amaterasu" came out. "Hi, fu, mi..." and "Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu..." later were used as the words to count numbers.
In addition, the name of the priest "Koyane" sounds close to a Hebrew word "kohen" which means a priest. Eidelberg shows many other examples of Japanese words which seem to have a Hebrew origin. His list contains several thousand words. I don't believe this is a mere accident.
In ancient Japanese folk songs, there appear many words which we cannot understand as Japanese. Dr. Eiji Kawamorita says that many of them are Hebrew. A Japanese folk song in Kumamoto pref. is sung "Hallelujah, haliya, haliya, tohse, Yahweh, Yahweh, yoitonnah...." This also sounds like Hebrew.
Lost Tribes of Israel Came to Ancient Japan.
Ancient Israel was divided into two countries; one is the southern kingdom of Judah, and the other is the northern kingdom of Israel. In 70 A.D., the people of the southern kingdom of Judah scattered all over the world. There is some evidence that Jews traveled the silk road and went as far away as Japan. But, how about the people of the northern kingdom of Israel? The ancient book of history 'the fourth book of Ezra' says that the Ten Tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel went east and walked for one and a half years to a far away land. The Bible also says, in Isaiah 11:12:
"He (God)...will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
The word "dispersed" is used for the people of Judah, but "outcasts" is used for the people of Israel. The ten northern tribes were driven away to a land rather than "dispersed". The main body must have gone to a country far away from Israel.
There is strong evidence of an ancient Israeli presence in Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, and China. According to a Chinese historical book, there were Israelites who had the custom of circumcision in the time of the second century B.C.E. in China. The ten tribes of Israel must have moved to east passing these countries. We cannot say there is no possibility that the main body of the Ten Tribes of Israel came far away to Japan.
In ancient times, some people moved to Japan from China, some people also came from Russia, and some people from South-East Asia. Most of them were of Mongoloid stock. Among them, there is a possibility that the main body of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel also came to Japan.
I don't believe that the Japanese religion called Shinto and all of its customs came from the southern kingdom Jews. But, if the Lost Tribes came to Japan in early history, it is understandable that their religion and customs would have a strong influence on Japan. According to the research of Dr. Kawamorita, there appears God's holy name "Yahweh" many times in ancient Japanese folk songs. The Jews of Judah do not use His name, because they quit pronouncing His name from the third century B.C.E.. But the people of Israel continued to pronounce His name.
The formal name for the Emperor "Jinmu," the first Emperor of Japan, is "Kamu-yamato-iware-biko-sumera-mikoto." Joseph Eidelberg says that it can be interpreted in Hebrew as "The king of Samaria, the noble founder of the Hebrew nation of Yahweh." This is not to mean that "Jinmu" himself is really the founder of the Hebrew nation, but the memory of the Hebrew nation might have come into the legend of the Japanese first Emperor "Jinmu."
But, how about the custom of circumcision? Rev. Takatoshi Kobayashi, who is one of the grandsons of Meiji-tennoh, and a member of the Imperial family of Japan, but is a Christian pastor now, says that the emperor and the prince of Japan are circumcised. However, this testimony is the only evidence I know that the custom of circumcision exists in Japan.