From HandWiki

Norito (祝詞) are liturgical texts or ritual incantations in Shinto, usually addressed to a given kami.[1][2][3]


There is no single accepted universally accepted theory to explain the meaning of the term.[4] One theory derives norito from noru (宣る, 'to declare'; cf. the verbs inoru 'to pray' and norou 'to curse'[4]) - combined with the suffix -to.[3] A variant term, notto, is derived from a combination of norito with koto, 'word'.[3]

There are various known ways of writing the word in kanji: aside from 祝詞 (currently the standard), 詔戸言, 詔刀言, and 諄辞 are also attested.[3]

One recent writer summed up the original meaning of norito as "a general term meaning magic by means of words."[5]


The first written documentation of norito dates to 712 CE in the Kojiki and 720 CE in the Nihongi.[3]

The Engishiki, a compilation of laws and minute regulation presented by the court compiled in 927 CE, preserves twenty-seven representative forms of norito.[6][7]


Norito were (and still are) traditionally written in a variety of man'yōgana where particles and suffixes are written in a smaller script than the main body of the text.[8] This style of writing, used in imperial edicts (宣命 senmyō) preserved in the Shoku Nihongi and other texts dating from the 8th century (Nara period), is known as senmyōgaki.[9]

See also


  1. Philippi, Donald L. (1990). Norito: A Translation of the Ancient Japanese Ritual Prayers. Princeton University Press. p. vii. ISBN 0691014892. 
  2. "Norito". 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Motosawa, Masafumi. "Norito". Kokugakuin University. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Philippi (1990). p. 2.
  5. Shiraishi, Mitsukuni, cited in Philippi (1990). p. 2.
  6. Philippi (1990). p. 1.
  7. Kitagawa, Joseph Mitsuo (1987). On Understanding Japanese Religion. Princeton University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0691102290. 
  8. Sinor, Denis, ed (1969). American Oriental Society, Middle West Branch, Semi-Centennial Volume: A Collection of Original Essays. Indiana University Press. pp. 242-243. 
  9. Seeley, Christopher (1991). A History of Writing in Japan. Brill. pp. 54-55. ISBN 978-9004090811.