Vala und Iwato: The Myth of the Hidden Sun in India, Japan and beyond

  • Michael Witzel (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


In this paper two fundamental myths and the related rituals from archaic India and old Japan are compared. Exploring their close mutual relationship offers the chance of taking another look at comparative mythology in a wholly new way. This is not done in the old Frazerian way, certainly not in the manner of the diffusionists such as Frobenius and Baumann, nor with the Indo-European-centered method of Dumézil, not to mention the various psychological approaches of Jung, Campbell, and others, or the structuralism of Lévy-Strauss and his followers. Instead, the approach proposed here reminds of the 19th century historical and comparative approach. The present proposal and methodology has recently, but unwittingly, been called "essentially romantic" as it looks for, and points toward, a common source, that certainly "may no longer exist," as W. Jones put it with regard to the Indo-European parent language.