I am reading a book about the life of 国友一貫斎. For reference, the title is 「夢をまことに」. There is the following courtroom scene, in which reference is made to 権現様, a Shinto-Buddhist term for a god. The full sentences are perhaps not needed, but I included it in the second example for context. The story takes place in the early 1800's.

How should these sentences, specifically the part with the word in question be translated? Is it really "we cannot find that the gods have forbidden..." or is it referring to something else, like the court?



I am also curious about the end of the second sentence. Is believe it is a shortening of こんなんだ, as in 来ないのだ。

  • This 権現様 is probably Tokugawa Ieyasu, aka 東照大権現 (とうしょうだいごんげん).
    – marasai
    Mar 25, 2016 at 0:51
  • @marasai Aha, that would explain it! Mar 25, 2016 at 1:05

1 Answer 1


Based on the 新明解{しんめいかい}国語{こくご}辞典{じてん}, the term 権現{ごんげん} refers to a bodhisattva, an avatar of the Buddha, or a Japanese god as a manifestation of a buddha in Shintoism. 徳川{とくがわ}家康{いえやす}, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, was worshipped and called 権現様{ごんげんさま} or 東照{とうしょう}権現{ごんげん} by people.

So the line you quoted is translated as follows;

In the time of Gongen-sama (the Lord, Iyeyasu)…
In fact, I had the bureaucrats check the old records, but no regulations to prohibit the storage of cannons and guns were found.

"出てこなんだ" is an old way of saying “出てこなかった,” meaning “It didn’t come out.”

  • Thanks! One question about your translation, 張り立て means the making of guns, right, not their storage? Mar 25, 2016 at 1:28
  • @Espen Nielsen. In fact, I'm not sure. I checked both 新明解国語辞典 and 広辞苑, both of which doesn't carry 張りたて as a heading. I assume it's either a production or storage. I took the latter, but it can be production either. Mar 25, 2016 at 2:04
  • 1
    Eirikr Ultendir. Thank you for your editing to make my answer easier to read. However, there’s one shortcoming in your take. Bodhisattva isn’t an avatar of Buddha. A bodhisattva is one who strive to become a Buddha – 覚者, an awaken man to the truth of universe. Buddha and Bodhisattva are not on the same stage spiritual enlightenment. Mar 25, 2016 at 7:34
  • @YoichiOishi, yes, I agree about bodhisattva vs. buddha. I understood your post (and references) to mean that 権現 = 1) a bodhisattva, 2) an avatar of the Buddha, or 3) a Japanese kami as a manifestation of a buddha. Was that your intention? If not, I apologize for my confusion and ask for further clarification. Mar 26, 2016 at 7:17
  • Erikr Utlendi. I rechecked 新明解国語辞典. It says 権現 means the appearance of Budda and Bodhisattvas in transformed form of (one of )Japanese God(s). So it can be a metamorphosis of either Buddha or a Boddhisattva. In other word, 德川家康 was believed to have become "a god" after his death by populace in Edo era. By the way, it's Shintoisms' theory that everyone becomes "a god" after his / her death. See millions gods enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine. Mar 26, 2016 at 9:00

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