from Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697, Vol. 1

Nihongi[1]: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697, Vol. 1 

Translated by William George Aston (1896)

BOOK I[2].


Part I.

Of old, Heaven and Earth were not yet separated, and the In and Yō[3] not yet divided. They formed a chaotic mass like an egg which was of obscurely defined limits and contained germs.

The purer and clearer part was thinly drawn out, and formed Heaven, while the heavier and grosser element settled down and became Earth.

The finer element easily became a united body, but the consolidation of the heavy and gross element was accomplished with difficulty.

Heaven was therefore formed first, and Earth was established subsequently.

Thereafter Divine Beings were produced between them.[4]

Hence[5] it is said that when the world began to be created, the soil of which lands were composed floated about in a manner which might be compared to the floating of a fish sporting on the surface of the water.

At this time a certain thing was produced between Heaven and Earth. It was in form like a reed-shoot. Now this became transformed into a God, and was called Kuni-toko-tachi no Mikoto.[7]

[The character 尊 is used owing to the extreme dignity of this Deity. For the others the character 命 is used. Both are read Mikoto. This rule is followed below.[8]]

Next there was Kuni no sa-tsuchi no Mikoto,[9] and next Toyo-kumu-nu no Mikoto,[10] in all three deities.[11]

These were pure males spontaneously developed by the operation of the principle of Heaven.[12]

In one writing it is said:[13]—”When Heaven and Earth began, a thing existed in the midst of the Void.[14] Its shape may not be described. Within it a Deity was spontaneously produced, whose name was Kuni-toko-tachi no Mikoto, also called Kuni-soko-tachi[15] no Mikoto. Next there was Kuni no sa-tsuchi no Mikoto, also called Kuni no sa-tachi[16] no Mikoto. Next there was Toyo-kuni-nushi[17] no Mikoto, also called Toyo-kumu-nu[18] no Mikoto, Toyo-ka-fushi-no[19] no Mikoto, Uki-fu-no-toyo-kahi[20] no Mikoto, Toyo-kuni-no[21] no Mikoto, Toyo-kuhi-no[22] no Mikoto, Ha-ko-kuni-no[23] no Mikoto, or Mi-no[24] no Mikoto.”

In one writing it is said:—”Of old, when the land was young and the earth young, it floated about, as it were floating oil. At this time a thing was produced within the land, in shape like a reed-shoot when it sprouts forth. From this there was a Deity developed, whose name was Umashi-ashi-kabi-hiko-ji[25] no Mikoto. Next there was Kuni no toko-tachi no Mikoto, and next Kuni no sa-tsuchi no Mikoto.”

In one writing it is said:—”When Heaven and Earth were in a state of chaos, there was first of all a deity,[26] whose name was Umashi-ashi-kabi-hiko-ji no Mikoto. Next there was Kuni-soko-tachi no Mikoto.”

In one writing it is said:—”When Heaven and Earth began, there were Deities produced together, whose names were, first, Kuni-no-toko-tachi no Mikoto, and next Kuni no sa-tsuchi no Mikoto.” It is further stated:—”The names of the Gods which were produced in the Plain of High Heaven were Ama no mi-naka-nushi[27] no Mikoto, next Taka-mi-musubi[28] no Mikoto, next Kami-mi-musubi[29] no Mikoto.”

In one writing it is said:—”Before Heaven and Earth were produced, there was something which might be compared to a cloud floating over the sea. It had no place of attachment for its root. In the midst of this a thing was generated which resembled a reed-shoot when it is first produced in the mud. This became straightway transformed into human[30] shape and was called Kuni no toko-tachi no Mikoto.”

In one writing it is said:—”When Heaven and Earth began, a thing was produced in the midst of the Void, which resembled a reed-shoot. This became changed into a God, who was called Ama no toko-tachi[31] no Mikoto. There was next Umashi-ashi-kabi-hiko-ji no Mikoto.” It is further stated:—”There was a thing produced in the midst of the Void like floating oil, from which a God was developed, called Kuni toko-tachi no Mikoto.”

The next Deities who came into being were Uhiji-ni[32] no Mikoto and Suhiji-ni no Mikoto, also called Uhiji-ne no Mikoto and Suhiji-ne no Mikoto.

The next Deities which came into being were Oho-to nochi no Mikoto and Oho-to mahe no Mikoto.

One authority says Oho-to no he no Mikoto, otherwise called Oho-to-ma-hiko no Mikoto and Oho-to-ma-hime no Mikoto. Another says Oho-tomu-chi no Mikoto and Oho-tomu-he no Mikoto.[33]

The next Gods which came into being were Omo-taru no Mikoto and Kashiko-ne no Mikoto, also called Aya-kashiko-ne no Mikoto, Imi kashiki no Mikoto, or Awo-kashiki-ne no Mikoto, or Aya-kashiki no Mikoto.[34]

The next Deities which came into being were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto.[35]

One writing says:—”These two Deities were the children of Awo-kashiki-ne no Mikoto.”

One writing says:—”Kuni no toko-tachi no Mikoto produced Ame kagami no Mikoto, Ame kagami no Mikoto produced Ame yorodzu no Mikoto, Ame yorodzu no Mikoto produced Aha-nagi no Mikoto, and Aha nagi no Mikoto produced Izanagi no Mikoto.”[36]

These make eight Deities in all. Being formed by the mutual action of the Heavenly and Earthly principles, they were made male and female.[37] From Kuni no toko-tachi no Mikoto to Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto are called the seven generations of the age of the Gods.[38]

In one writing it is said:—”The gods that were produced in pairs, male and female, were first of all Uhiji ni no Mikoto and Suhiji ni no Mikoto. Next there were Tsuno-guhi no Mikoto and Iku-guhi no Mikoto, next

Omo-taru no Mikoto and Kashiko-ne no Mikoto, and next Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto.”

Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto stood on the floating bridge of Heaven, and held counsel together, saying: “Is there not a country beneath?”

Thereupon they thrust down the jewel-spear of Heaven[39] and groping about therewith found the ocean. The brine which dripped from the point of the spear coagulated and became an island which received the name of Ono-goro-jima.[40]

The two Deities thereupon descended and dwelt in this island. Accordingly they wished to become husband and wife together, and to produce countries.

So they made Ono-goro-jima the pillar of the centre of the land.[41]

Now the male deity turning by the left, and the female[42] deity by the right, they went round the pillar of the land separately. When they met together on one side, the female deity spoke first and said:—”How delightful! I have met with a lovely youth.” The male deity was displeased, and said:—”I am a man, and by right should have spoken first. How is it that on the contrary thou, a woman, shouldst have been the first to speak? This was unlucky. Let us go round again.” Upon this the two deities went back, and having met anew, this time the male deity spoke first, and said:—”How delightful! I have met a lovely maiden.”

Then he inquired of the female deity, saying:—”In thy body is there aught formed?” She answered, and said:—”In my body there is a place which is the source of femineity.” The male deity said:—”In my body again there is a place which is the source of masculinity. I wish to unite this sourceplace of my body to the sourceplace of thy body.” Hereupon the male and female first became united as husband and wife.

Now when the time of birth arrived, first of all the island of Ahaji was reckoned as the placenta, and their minds took no pleasure in it. Therefore it received the name of Ahaji no Shima.[43]

Next there was produced the island of Oho-yamato no Toyo-aki-tsu-shima.[44]

Here and elsewhere 日本 (Nippon) is to be read Yamato.[45]


Next they produced the island of Iyo no futa-na,[46] and next the island of Tsukushi.[47] Next the islands of Oki and Sado were born as twins. This is the prototype of the twin-births which sometimes take place among mankind.

Next was born the island of Koshi,[48] then the island of Oho-shima, then the island of Kibi no Ko.[49]

Hence first arose the designation of the Oho-ya-shima[50] country.

Then the islands of Tsushima and Iki, with the small islands in various parts, were produced by the coagulation of the foam of the salt-water.

It is also stated that they were produced by the coagulation of the foam of fresh water.

In one writing it is said:—”The Gods of Heaven addressed Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, saying: ‘There is the country Toyo-ashi-hara-chi-i-wo-aki no midzu-ho.[51] ‘Do ye proceed and bring it into order.’ They then gave them the jewel-spear of Heaven. Hereupon the two Gods stood on the floating bridge of Heaven, and plunging down the spear, sought for land. Then upon stirring the ocean with it, and bringing it up again, the brine which dripped from the spear-point coagulated and became an island, which was called Ono-goro-jima. The two gods descended, dwelt in this island, and erected there an eight-fathom palace.[52] They also set up the pillar of Heaven.”

Then the male Deity asked the female Deity, saying:—”Is there anything formed in thy body?” She answered and said:—”My body has a place completely formed, and called the source of femineity.” The male god said:—”My body again has a place completely formed, and called the source of masculinity. I desire to unite my source of masculinity to thy source of femineity.” Having thus spoken, they prepared to go round the pillar of Heaven, and made a promise, saying:—”Do thou, my younger sister, go round from the left, while I will go round from the right.” Having done so, they went round separately and met, when the female Deity spoke first, and said:—”How pretty! a lovely youth!” The male Deity then answered and said:—”How pretty! a lovely maiden!” Finally they became husband and wife.

Their first child was the leech, whom they straightway placed in a reed-boat and sent adrift.[53] Their next was the Island of Ahaji. This also was not included in the number of their children. Wherefore they returned up again to Heaven, and fully reported the circumstances. Then the Heavenly Gods divined this by the greater divination. Upon which they instructed them, saying:—”It was by reason of the woman’s having spoken first; ye had best return thither again.” Thereupon having divined a time, they went down. The two deities accordingly went again round the pillar, the male Deity from the left,[54] and the female Deity from the right. When they met, the male Deity spoke first and said:—”How pretty! a lovely maiden!” The female Deity next answered and said:—”How pretty! a lovely youth!” Thereafter they dwelt together in the same palace and had children, whose names were Oho-yamato no Toyo-aki-tsu-shima, next the island of Ahaji, next the island of Iyo no futa-na, next the island of Tsukushi, next the triplet islands of Oki, next the island of Sado, next the island of Koshi, next the island of Kibi-no-ko. The country was accordingly called the “Great-Eight-Island Country.”

In one writing it is said:—”The two Deities Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto stood in the midst of the mist of Heaven, and said:—’We wish to find a country.’ So they thrust down the jewel-spear of Heaven, and groped about till they found the island of Ono-goro. Then they drew back the spear and rejoiced, saying:—’Good! there is a country!'”

In one writing it is said:—”The two Deities Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto sat in the Plain of High Heaven, and said:—’There must surely be a country.’ So with the jewel spear of Heaven they scraped together the island of Ono-goro.”

In one writing it is said:—”The two Deities Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto spoke to one another, saying: — ‘There is something resembling floating oil. In the midst of this there is perhaps a country.’ So they took the jewel-spear of Heaven and groping about formed with it an island which was called Ono-goro.”

In one writing it is said:—”The female Deity spoke first and said:—’How pretty! a handsome youth!’ Now it was considered unlucky that the female Deity should have spoken first. Accordingly they went round again, when the male Deity spoke first and said:—”How pretty! a lovely maiden!” Postemo cupiebant coire, sed artis nescii erant. Tum erat motacilla[55] quae advolavit, atque concussit suum caput et suam caudam. Quod cum vidissent duo Dei, imitati sunt eam, et in hoc modo artem coeundi potiti sunt.

In one writing it is said:—”The two Deities were united and became husband and wife. First of all, the islands of Ahaji and Aha being considered the placenta,[56] they produced the island of Oho-yamato no Toyo-aki-tsu-shima, next the island of Iyo, next the island of Tsukushi, next, as twins, the islands of Oki and Sado, next the island of Koshi, next Oho-shima, and next Kojima.”

In one writing it is said:—”First there was born the island of Ahaji, next the island of Oho-yamato no Toyo-aki-tsu-shima, next the island of Iyo no futa-na, next the island of Oki, next the island of Sado, next the island of Tsukushi, next the island of Iki, and next the island of Tsushima.”

In one writing it is said:—”The island of Ono-goro being considered the placenta, there was born the island of Ahaji, next the island of Oho-yamato no Toyo-aki-tsu, next the island of Iyo no futa-na, next the island of Tsu-kushi, next the island of Kibi no ko, next, as twins, the islands of Oki and Sado, and next the island of Koshi.”

In one writing it is said:—”The island of Ahaji being considered the placenta, there was born the island of Oho-yamato Toyo-aki-tsu, next the island of Aha, next the island of Iyo no futana, next the triplet islands of Oki, next the island of Sado, next the island of Tsukushi, next the island of Kibi no ko, and next Oho-shima.”

In one writing it is said:—”The female Deity spoke first and said:—’How pretty! a lovely youth!’ She forthwith took the hand of the male Deity, and they at length became husband and wife. There was born to them the island of Ahaji, and next the leech-child.”

They next produced the sea, then the rivers, and then the mountains. Then they produced Ku-ku-no-chi, the ancestor of the trees, and next the ancestor of herbs, Kaya no hime.[57] Also called Nudzuchi.

After this Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto consulted together, saying:—”We have now produced the Great-eight-island country, with the mountains, rivers, herbs, and trees. Why should we not produce someone who shall be lord of the universe?[58] They then together produced the Sun-Goddess, who was called Oho-hiru-me no muchi.[59]

Called in one writing Ama-terasu no Oho kami.[60]

In one writing she is called Ama-terasu-oho-hiru-me no Mikoto.[61]

The resplendent lustre of this child shone throughout all the six quarters.[62] Therefore the two Deities rejoiced, saying:—”We have had many children, but none of them have been equal to this wondrous infant. She ought not to be kept long in this land, but we ought of our own accord to send her at once to Heaven, and entrust to her the affairs of Heaven.”

At this time Heaven and Earth were still not far separated,[63] and therefore they sent her up to Heaven by the ladder of Heaven.

They next produced the Moon-god.

Called in one writing Tsuki-yumi[64] no Mikoto, or Tsuki-yomi no Mikoto.

His radiance was next to that of the Sun in splendour. This God was to be the consort of the Sun-Goddess, and to share in her government. They therefore sent him also to Heaven.

Next they produced the leech-child, which even at the age of three years could not stand upright. They therefore placed it in the rock-camphor-wood boat of Heaven, and abandoned it to the winds.

Their next child was Sosa no wo no Mikoto.[65]

Called in one writing Kami Sosa no wo no Mikoto or Haya Sosa no wo no Mikoto.[66]

This God had a fierce temper and was given to cruel acts. Moreover he made a practice of continually weeping and wailing. So he brought many of the people of the land to an untimely end. Again he caused green mountains to become withered. Therefore the two Gods, his parents, addressed[67] Sosa no wo no Mikoto, saying:—”Thou art exceedingly wicked, and it is not meet that thou shouldst reign over the world. Certainly thou must depart far away to the Nether Land.”[68] So they at length expelled him.

In one writing it is said:—”Izanagi no Mikoto said: ‘I wish to procreate the precious child who is to rule the world.’ He therefore took in his left hand a white-copper mirror,[69] upon which a Deity was produced from it called Oho-hiru-me no Mikoto. In his right hand he took a white-copper mirror, and forthwith there was produced from it a God who was named Tsuki-yumi no Mikoto. Again, while turning his head and looking askance, a God was produced who was named Sosa no wo no Mikoto. Now Oho-hirume no Mikoto and Tsuki-yumi no Mikoto were both of a bright and beautiful nature, and were therefore made to shine down upon Heaven and Earth. But Sosa no wo’s character was to love destruction, and he was accordingly sent down to rule the Nether Land.”

In one writing it is said:—”After the sun and moon, the next child which was born was the leech-child. When this child had completed his third year, he was nevertheless still unable to stand upright. The reason why the leech-child was born was that in the beginning, when Izajiagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto went round the pillar, the female Deity was the first to utter an exclamation of pleasure, and the law of male and female was therefore broken. They next procreated Sosa no wo no Mikoto. This God was of a wicked nature, and was always fond of wailing and wrath. Many of the people of the land died, and the green mountains withered. Therefore his parents addressed him, saying: ‘Supposing that thou wert to rule this country, much destruction of life would surely ensue. Thou must govern the far-distant Nether Land.’ Their next child was the bird-rock-cam-phor-wood boat of Heaven. They forthwith took this boat and, placing the leech-child in it, abandoned it to the current. Their next child was Kagu tsuchi.”[70]

Now Izanami no Mikoto was burnt by Kagu tsuchi, so that she died.[71] When she was lying down to die, she gave birth to the Earth-Goddess, Hani-yama-hime,[72] and the Water-Goddess, Midzu-ha-no-me. Upon this Kagu tsuchi took to wife Hani-yama-hime, and they had a child named Waka-musubi.[73] On the crown of this Deity’s head were produced the silkworm and the mulberry tree, and in her navel the five kinds of grain.[74]

In one writing it is said:—”When Izanami no Mikoto gave birth to Ho-no-musubi,[75] she was burnt by the child, and died.[76] When she was about to die, she brought forth the Water-Goddess, Midzu-ha-no-me, and the Earth-Goddess, Hani-yama-hime. She also brought forth the gourd[77] of Heaven.”

In one writing it is said:—”When about to give birth to the Fire-God, Kagu tsuchi, Izanami no Mikoto became feverish and ill. In consequence she vomited, and the vomit became changed into a God, who was called Kana-yama-hiko.[78] Next her urine became changed into a Goddess, who was called Midzu-ha-no-me. Next her excrement was changed into a Goddess, who was called Hani-yama-hime.

In one writing it is said:—”When Izanami no Mikoto gave birth to the Fire-God, she was burnt, and died. She was, therefore, buried at the village of Arima in Kumano, in the province of Kii. In the time of flowers, the inhabitants worship the spirit of this Goddess by offerings of flowers. They also worship her with drums, flutes, flags, singing and dancing.”

In one writing it is said:—”Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, having together procreated the Great-eight-island Land, Izanagi no Mikoto said: ‘Over the country which we have produced there is naught but morning mists which shed a perfume everywhere!’ So he puffed them away with a breath, which became changed into a God, named Shina tohe no Mikoto. He is also called Shina[79] tsu hiko no Mikoto. This is the God of the Wind. Moreover, the child which they procreated when they were hungry was called Uka no mi-tama[80] no Mikoto. Again they produced the Sea-Gods, who were called Wata[81] tsu mi no Mikoto, and the Mountain-Gods, who were called Yama tsu mi, the Gods of the River-mouths, who were called Haya-aki[82]-tsubi no Mikoto, the Tree-Gods, who were called Ku-ku no chi, and the Earth-Goddess, who was called Hani-yasu[83] no Kami. Thereafter they produced all manner of things whatsoever. When the time came for the Fire-God Kagu tsuchi to be born, his mother Izanami no Mikoto was burnt, and suffered change and departed.[84] Then Izanagi no Mikoto was wroth, and said: ‘Oh, that I should have given my beloved younger sister[85] in exchange for a single child! So while he crawled at her head, and crawled at her feet, weeping and lamenting, the tears which he shed fell down and became a Deity. It is this Deity who dwells at Unewo no Konomoto, and who is called Naki-saha-me[86] no Mikoto. At length he drew the ten-span sword with which he was girt, and cut Kagu tsuchi into three pieces, each of which became changed into a God. Moreover, the blood which dripped from the edge of the sword[87] became the multitudinous[88] rocks which are in the bed of the Easy-River[89] of Heaven. This God was the father of Futsu-nushi no Kami. Moreover, the blood which dripped from the hilt-ring of the sword spurted out and became deities, whose names were Mika no Haya-hi[90] no Kami and next Hi no Haya-hi no[91] Kami. This Mika no Haya-hi no Kami was the parent of Take-mika-suchi[92] no Kami.”

Another version is:—”Mika no haya-hi no Mikoto, next Hi no haya-hi no Mikoto, and next Take-mika-tsuchi no Kami.”

“Moreover, the blood which dripped from the point of the sword spurted out and became deities, who were called Iha-saku[93] no Kami, after him Ne-saku no Kami,[94] and next Iha-tsutsu-wo[95] no Mikoto. This Iha-saku no Kami was the father of Futsu-nushi[96] no Kami.”

One account says:—”Iha-tsutsu-wo no Mikoto, and next Iha-tsutsu-me no Mikoto.”

“Moreover, the blood which dripped from the head of the sword spurted out and became deities, who were called Kura o Kami no Kami,[97] next Kura-yamatsumi no Kami,[98] and next Kura-midzu-ha no Kami.[99]

Thereafter, Izanagi no Mikoto went after Izanami no Mikoto, and entered the land of Yomi.[100] When he reached her they conversed together, and Izanami no Mikoto said: ‘My lord and husband, why is thy coming so late? I have already eaten of the cooking-furnace of Yomi.[101] Nevertheless, I am about to lie down to rest. I pray thee, do not thou look on me.’ Izanami no Mikoto did not give ear to her, but secretly took his many-toothed comb and, breaking off its end tooth,[102] made of it a torch, and looked at her. Putrefying matter had gushed up, and maggots swarmed. This is why people at the present day avoid using a single light at night, and also avoid throwing away a comb[103] at night. Izanagi no Mikoto was greatly shocked, and said: ‘Nay! I have come unawares to a hideous and polluted land.’ So he speedily ran away back again. Then Izanami no Mikoto was angry, and said: ‘Why didst thou not observe that which I charged thee? Now am I put to shame.’ So she sent the eight Ugly Females of Yomi[104] (Shikome, called by some: Hisame) to pursue and stay him. Izanagi no Mikoto therefore drew his sword, and, flourishing it behind him, ran away. Then he took his black head-dress and flung it down. It became changed into grapes, which the Ugly Females seeing, took and ate. When they had finished eating them, they again pursued Izanagi no Mikoto. Then he flung down his many-toothed comb, which forthwith became changed into bamboo-shoots. The Ugly Females pulled them up and ate them, and when they had done eating them, again gave chase. Afterwards, Izanami no Mikoto came herself and pursued him.[105] By this time Izanagi no Mikoto had reached the Even Pass of Yomi.”

According to one account, Izanagi no Mikoto made water against a large tree, which water at once turned into a great river. While the Ugly Females of Yomi were preparing to cross this river, Izanagi no Mikoto had already reached the Even Pass of Yomi. So he took a thousand-men-pull-rock, and having blocked up the path with it, stood face to face with Izanami no Mikoto, and at last pronounced the formula of divorce. Upon this, Izanami no Mikoto said: “My dear Lord and husband, if thou sayest so, I will strangle to death the people of the country which thou dost govern, a thousand in one day.” Then Izanagi no Mikoto replied, saying, “My beloved younger sister, if thou sayest so, I will in one day cause to be born fifteen hundred.” Then he said, “Come no further,” and threw down his staff, which was called Funado[106] no Kami. Moreover, he threw down his girdle, which was called Naga-chi-ha[107] no Kami. Moreover, he threw down his upper garment, which was called Wadzurahi[108] no Kami. Moreover, he threw down his trowsers, which were called Aki-gui[109] no Kami. Moreover, he threw down his shoes, which were called Chi-shiki[110] no Kami.

Some say that the Even Pass of Yomi is not any place in particular, but means only the space of time when the breath fails on the approach of death.[111]

Now the rock with which the Even Pass of Yomi was blocked is called Yomi-do ni fusagaru Oho-kami[112]. Another name for it is Chi-gayeshi[113] no Oho-kami.

When Izanagi no Mikoto had returned, he was seized with regret, and said, “Having gone to Nay! a hideous and filthy place, it is meet that I should cleanse my body from its pollutions.” He accordingly went to the plain of Ahagi at Tachibana in Wodo in Hiuga of Tsukushi, and purified himself. When at length he was about to wash away the impurities[114] of his body, he lifted up his voice and said, “The upper stream is too rapid and the lower stream is too sluggish, I will wash in the middle stream.” The God which was thereby produced was called Ya-so-maga-tsu-bi[115] no Kami, and then to remedy these evils there were produced Deities named Kami-nawo-bi no Kami, and after him Oho-nawo-bi[116] no Kami.

Moreover, the Deities which were produced by his plunging down and washing in the bottom of the sea were called Soko-tsu-wata-tsu-mi[117] no Mikoto and Soko-tsutsu-wo no Mikoto. Moreover, when he plunged and washed in the mid-tide, there were Gods produced who were called Naka[118] tsu wata-dzu-mi no Mikoto, and next Naka-tsutsu-wo no Mikoto.[119] Moreover, when he washed floating on the surface of the water, Gods were produced, who were called Uha-tsu-wata-dzu-mi no Mikoto and next Uha[120]-tsutsu-wo no Mikoto. There were in all nine Gods. The Gods Soko-tsutsu-wo no Mikoto, Naka-tsutsu-wo no Mikoto, and Soko-tsutsu-wo no Mikoto are the three great Gods of Suminoye. The Gods Soko-tsu-wata-dzu-mi no Mikoto, Naka-tsu-wata-dzu-mi no Mikoto, and Uha-tsu-wata-dzu-mi no Mikoto are the Gods worshipped[121] by the Muraji of Adzumi.[122]

Thereafter, a Deity was produced by his washing his left eye, which was called Ama-terasu-no-oho-Kami.[123] Then he washed his right eye, producing thereby a Deity who was called Tsuki-yomi no Mikoto.[124] Then he washed his nose, producing thereby a God who was called Sosa no wo no Mikoto. In all there were three Deities. Then Izanagi no Mikoto gave charge to his three children, saying, “Do thou, Amaterasu no Oho-kami, rule the plain of High Heaven: do thou, Tsuki-yomi no Mikoto, rule the eight-hundred-fold tides of the ocean plain: do thou, Sosa no wo no Mikoto, rule the world.” At this time, Sosa no wo no Mikoto was already of full age. He had, moreover, grown a beard eight spans long. Nevertheless, he neglected to rule the world, and was always weeping, wailing, and fuming with rage. Therefore Izanagi no Mikoto inquired of him, saying, “Why dost thou continually weep in this way?” He answered and said, “I wish to follow my mother to the Nether Land, and it is simply for that reason that I weep.” Then Izanagi no Mikoto was filled with detestation of him, and said, “Go, even as thy heart bids thee.” So he forthwith drove him away.

In one writing it is said: “Izanagi no Mikoto drew his sword and cut Kagutsuchi into three pieces. One of these became Ikadzuchi no Kami,[125] one became Oho-yama-tsu-mi[126] no Kami, and one became Taka-wo-Kami.[127] Moreover, it is said: “When he slew Kagutsuchi, the blood gushed out and stained the five hundred[128] rocks which are in the midst of the eighty rivers of Heaven, forming thereby Gods who were called Iha-saku[129] no Kami; next Ne-saku[130] no Kami’s child, Ihatsutsu-wo[131] no Kami; and next, Iha-tsutsu-me no Kami’s child, Futsu-nushi no Kami.”

In one writing it is said: “Izanagi no Mikoto cut Kagutsuchi no Mikoto into five pieces, which were each changed, and became the five Mountain-Gods. The first piece, viz., the head, became Oho-yama-tsu-mi;[132] the second, viz. the trunk, became Naka[133]-yama-tsu-mi; the third, viz. the hands, became Ha[134]-yama-tsu mi; the fourth, viz. the loins, became Masa-katsu-yama-tsu-mi;[135] and the fifth, viz. the feet, became Shiki[136]-yama-tsu-mi.

At this time the blood from the wounds spurted out and stained the rocks, trees and herbage. This is the reason that herbs, trees, and pebbles naturally contain the element of fire.”

In one writing it is said: “Izanagi no Mikoto, wishing to see his younger sister, went to the temporary burial-place. At this time, Izanami no Mikoto being still as she was when alive came forth to meet him, and they talked together. She spoke to Izanagi no Mikoto and said, ‘My august Lord and husband, I beseech thee not to look at me.’ When she had done speaking, she suddenly became invisible. It was then dark, so Izanagi no Mikoto lit a single light, and looked at her. Izanami no Mikoto was then swollen and festering, and eight kinds of Thunder-Gods rested on her. Izanagi no Mikoto was shocked, and ran away. Then the thunders all arose and pursued him. Now by the roadside there grew a large peach tree,[137] at the foot of which Izanagi no Mikoto concealed himself. He accordingly took its fruit and flung it to the thunders, upon which the thunders all ran away. This was the origin of the practice of keeping off evil spirits by means of peaches. Then Izanagi flung down his staff, saying: ‘The thunders may not come beyond this.’ It (the staff) was called Funado no Kami, and was originally called Kunado no Ohoji.[138]

Of the so-called Eight Thunders, that which was on her head was called the Great Thunder; that which was on her breast was called the Fire-Thunder; that which was on her belly was called the Earth-Thunder; that which was on her back was called the Young-Thunder; that which was on her posteriors was called the Black-Thunder; that which was on her hand was called the Mountain-Thunder; that which was on her foot was called the Moor-Thunder; and that which was on her genitals was called the Cleaving-Thunder.”

In one writing it is said: “Izanagi no Mikoto followed after Izanami no Mikoto, and, arriving at the place where she was, spoke to her and said: ‘I have come because I sorrowed for thee.’ She answered and said, ‘We are relations.[139] Do not thou look upon me.’ Izanagi no Mikoto would not obey, but continued to look on her. Wherefore Izanami no Mikoto was ashamed and angry, and said, ‘Thou hast seen my nakedness. Now I will in turn see thine.’ Then Izanagi no Mikoto was ashamed, and prepared to depart. He did not, however, merely go away in silence, but said solemnly, ‘Our relationship is severed.’[140] Again he said, ‘I will not submit to be beaten by a relation.’[141] And the God of the Spittle[142] which he thereupon spat out was called Haya-tama no wo.[143] Next the God of his purification was called Yomo-tsu-koto-saka no wo;[144] two gods in all. And when he came to contend with his younger sister at the Even Pass of Yomi, Izanagi no Mikoto said, ‘It was weak of me at first to sorrow and mourn on account of a relation.’

Then said the Road-wardens of Yomi, ‘We have a message for thee, as follows: ‘I and thou have produced countries. Why should we seek to produce more? I shall stay in this land, and will not depart along with thee.’ At this time Kukuri[145]-hime no Kami said something which Izanagi no Mikoto heard and approved, and she then vanished away.

But, having visited in person the Land of Yomi, he had brought on himself ill-luck. In order, therefore, to wash away the defilement, he visited the Aha gate[146] and the Haya-sufu-na[147] gate. But the tide in these two gates was exceeding strong. So he returned and took his way towards Wodo[148] in Tachibana. There he did his ablutions. At this time, entering the water, he blew out and produced Iha-tsu-tsu[149] no Mikoto; coming out of the water, he blew forth and produced Oho-nawo-bi[150] no Kami. Entering a second time, he blew out and produced Soko-tsutsu[151] no Mikoto; coming out he blew forth and produced Oho-aya-tsu-bi[152] no Kami. Entering again, he blew forth and produced Aka-tsutsu[153] no Mikoto, and coming out he blew out and produced the various deities of Heaven and Earth, and of the Sea-plain.”

In one writing it is said:—”Izanagi no Mikoto charged his three children, saying, ‘Do thou, Ama-terasu no Oho-kami, rule over the plain of High Heaven; do thou, Tsuki-yomi no Mikoto, be associated with her in the charge of Heavenly matters; do thou, Sosa no wo no Mikoto, govern the plain of Ocean.’

Now when Ama-terasu no Oho-kami was already in Heaven, she said:—’I hear that in the Central country of reed-plains there is the Deity Uke-mochi no Kami.[154] Do thou, Tsuki-yomi no Mikoto, go and wait upon her.’ Tsuki-yomi no Mikoto, on receiving this command, descended and went to the place where Uke-mochi no Kami was. Thereupon Uke-mochi no Kami turned her head towards the land, and forthwith from her mouth there came boiled rice: she faced the sea, and again there came from her mouth things broad of fin and things narrow of fin. She faced the mountains and again there came from her mouth things rough of hair and things soft of hair. These things were all prepared and set out on one hundred tables for his entertainment. Then Tsuki-yomi no Mikoto became flushed with anger, and said:—’Filthy! Nasty! That thou shouldst dare to feed me with things disgorged from thy mouth.’ So he drew his sword and slew her, and then returned and made his report, relating all the circumstances. Upon this Ama-terasu no Oho-kami was exceedingly angry, and said:—’Thou art a wicked Deity. I must not see thee face to face.’ So they were separated by one day and one night, and dwelt apart.

After this Ama-terasu no Oho-kami sent a second time Ame-kuma-bito[155] to go and see her. At this time Uke-mochi no Kami was truly dead already. But on the crown of her head there had been produced the ox and the horse; on the top of her forehead there had been produced millet; over her eyebrows there had been produced the silkworm; within her eyes there had been produced panic; in her belly there had been produced rice; in her genitals there had been produced wheat, large beans[156] and small beans.[157]

Ame-kuma-bito carried all these things and delivered them to Ama-terasu no Oho-kami, who was rejoiced, and said:—’These are the things which the race of visible[158] men will eat and live.’ So she made the millet, the panic, the wheat, and the beans the seed for the dry fields, and the rice she made the seed for the water-fields. Therefore she appointed a Mura-gimi[159] of Heaven, and forthwith sowed for the first time the rice seed in the narrow fields and in the long fields of Heaven. That autumn, drooping ears bent down, eight span long, and were exceedingly pleasant to look on.

Moreover she took the silkworms in her mouth, and succeeded in reeling thread from them. From this began the art of silkworm rearing.”[160]

Upon this Sosa no wo no Mikoto made petition, saying:—”I will now obey thy instructions and proceed to the Nether Land. Therefore I wish for a short time to go to the Plain of High Heaven and meet with my elder sister, after which I will go away for ever.” Permission was granted him, and he therefore ascended to Heaven.

After this, Izanagi no Mikoto, his divine task having been accomplished, and his spirit-career about to suffer a change, built himself an abode of gloom in the island of Ahaji, where he dwelt for ever in silence and concealment.

Another account says:—”Izanagi no Mikoto, his task having been accomplished, and his power great, ascended to Heaven and made report of his mission. There he dwelt in the smaller palace of the Sun.” (By smaller palace is meant the palace of a prince.)

Now at first when Sosa no wo no Mikoto went up to Heaven, by reason of the fierceness of his divine nature there was a commotion in the sea, and the hills and mountains groaned aloud. Ama-terasu no Oho-kami, knowing the violence and wickedness of this Deity, was startled and changed countenance, when she heard the manner of his coming. She said (to herself):—”Is my younger brother coming with good intentions? I think it must be his purpose to rob me of my kingdom. By the charge which our parents gave to their children, each of us has his own allotted limits. Why, therefore, does he reject the kingdom to which he should proceed, and make bold to come spying here?” So she bound up her hair into knots[161] and tied up her skirts into the form of trowsers. Then she took an august string of five hundred Yasaka[162] jewels, which she entwined around her hair and wrists. Moreover, on her back she slung a thousand-arrow quiver and a five-hundred-arrow quiver. On her lower arm she drew a dread loud-sounding elbow-pad.[163] Brandishing her bow end upwards,[164] she firmly grasped her sword-hilt, and stamping on the hard earth of the courtyard, sank her thighs into it as if it had been foam-snow,[165] and kicked it in all directions. Having thus put forth her dread manly valour, she uttered a mighty cry of defiance, and questioned him in a straightforward manner. Sosa no wo no Mikoto answered and said:—”From the beginning my heart has no been black. But as in obedience to the stern behest of our parents, I am about to proceed for ever to the Nether Land, how could I bear to depart without having seen face to face thee my elder sister? It is for this reason that I have traversed on foot the clouds and mists and have come hither from afar. I am surprised that my elder sister should, on the contrary, put on so stern a countenance.”

Then Ama-terasu no Oho-kami again asked him, paying:—”If this be so, how wilt thou make evident the redness of thy heart?”[166] He answered and said:—”Let us, I pray thee, make an oath together. While bound by this oath, we shall surely produce children. If the children which I produce are females, then it may be taken that I have an impure heart. But if the children are males, then it must be considered that my heart is pure.”

Upon this Ama-terasu no Oho-kami asked for Sosa no wo no Mikoto’s ten-span sword, which she broke into three pieces, and rinsed in the true-well of Heaven. Then chewing them with a crunching noise, she blew them away, and from the true-mist of her breath Gods were born. The first was named Ta-gori-bime, the next Tagi-tsu-bime, and the next Ichiki-shima-bime,[167] three daughters in all.

After this Sosa no wo no Mikoto begged from Ama-terasu no Oho-kami the august string of 500 Yasaka jewels which was entwined in her hair and round her wrists, and rinsed it in the true-well of Heaven. Then chewing it with a crunching noise, he blew it away, and from the true-mist of his breath there were Gods produced. The first was called Masa-ya-a-katsu-kachi-hayabi-ama no oshi-ho-mimi no Mikoto[168] and the next Ama no ho-hi no Mikoto.[169] This is the ancestor of the Idzumo no Omi, and of the Hashi no Muraji.[170] The next was Ama-tsu hiko-ne no Mikoto.[171] He was the ancestor of the Ohoshi-kafuchi no Atahe, and of the Yamashiro no Atahe.[172] The next was Iku-tsu-hiko-ne no Mikoto,[173] and the next Kumano no kusu-bi[174] no Mikoto—in all five males.[175]

Then Ama-terasu no Oho-kami said:—”Their seed was in the beginning the august necklace of 500 Yasaka jewels which belonged to me. Therefore these five male Deities are all my children.” So she took these children and brought them up. Moreover she said:—”The ten-span sword belonged to thee, Sosa no wo no Mikoto. Therefore these three female Deities are all thy children.” So she delivered them to Sosa no wo no Mikoto. These are the deities which are worshipped by the Munagata no Kimi of Tsukushi.

In one writing it is said:—”The Sun-Goddess, aware from the beginning of the fierce and relentless purpose of Sosa no wo no Mikoto, said (to herself) when he ascended: ‘The coming of my younger brother is not for a good object. He surely means to rob me of my Plain of Heaven.’ So she made manly warlike preparation, girding upon her a ten-span sword, a nine-span sword, and an eight-span sword. Moreover, on her back she slung a quiver, and on her fore-arm drew a dread loud-sounding elbow-pad. In her hand she took a bow and arrow, and going forth to meet him in person, stood on her defence. Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto declared to her, saying:—’From the beginning I have had no evil intentions. All that I wished was to see thee, my elder sister, face to face. It is only for a brief space that I have come.’ Thereupon the Sun-Goddess, standing opposite to Sosa no wo no Mikoto, swore an oath, saying:—’If thy heart is pure, and thou hast no purpose of relentless robbery, the children born to thee will surely be males.’ When she had finished speaking, she ate first the ten-span sword which she had girded on, and produced a child which was called Oki-tsu-shima-bime.[176] Moreover she ate the nine-span sword, and produced a child which was called Tagi-tsu-hime. Moreover she ate the eight-span sword, and produced a child which was called Tagori-hime—in all three female Deities. After this Sosa no wo no Mikoto took the august five-hundred string of jewels which hung upon his neck, and having rinsed them in the Nuna[177] well of Heaven, another name for which is the true-well of Isa, and ate them. So he produced a child, which was called Masa-ya-a-katsu-kachi-haya-bi-ame no oshi-ho-ne no Mikoto. Next he produced Ama-tsu-hiko-ne no Mikoto, next Iku-tsu-hiko-ne no Mikoto, next Ama no ho-hi no Mikoto, and next Kumano no oshi homi no Mikoto—in all five male Deities, Therefore as Sosa no wo no Mikoto had thus acquired proof of his victory, the Sun-Goddess learnt exactly that his intentions were wholly free from guilt. The three female Deities which the Sun-Goddess had produced were accordingly sent down to the Land of Tsukushi. She therefore instructed them, saying:—’Do ye, three Deities, go down and dwell in the centre of the province, where you will assist the descendants of Heaven,[178] and receive worship from them.'”

In one writing it is said:—”When Sosa no wo no Mikoto was about to ascend to Heaven, there was a Deity whose name was Ha-akaru-tama.[179] This Deity came to meet him and presented to him beautiful maga-tama[180] of Yasaka jewels. So Sosa no wo no Mikoto took these gems and went up to Heaven. At this time Ama-terasu no Oho-kami, suspecting that the intentions of her younger brother were evil, prepared war and questioned him. Sosa no wo no Mikoto answered and said:—’Truly the sole reason of my coming is that I wished to see my elder sister face to face, and moreover to present to her these beautiful curved jewels of Yasaka gem. I dare not have any other purpose.’ Then Ama-terasu no Oho-kami asked him again, saying:—’Wherewithal wilt thou prove to me whether thy words are true or false?’ He answered and said:—’Let thee and me bind ourselves by an oath. If while we are bound by this oath, the children produced are females, my heart is to be accounted black, but if they are males, it is to be thought red.’ So they dug three true-wells of Heaven and stood opposite to one another. Then Ama-terasu no Oho-kami spoke to Sosa no wo no Mikoto and said:—’I am now about to give thee the sword which is in my girdle; do thou give me the curved jewels of Yasaka gem which thou hast.’ Having thus covenanted they made a mutual exchange. Then Ama-terasu no Oho-kami took the curved jewels of Yasaka gem, and having made them float on the true-well of Heaven, bit off the heads of the jewels and blew them away. The Deity which was produced from amidst her breath was called Ichiki-shima-hime no Mikoto. This is the Goddess who dwells in Oki-tsu miya. Again, a Deity was produced from amidst her breath when she bit through and blew away the middle parts of the jewels. This Deity was called Ta-gori-hime no Mikoto. It is she who dwells in Naka-tsu miya. Again a Deity was produced from amidst her breath when she bit through and blew away the tails of the jewels. This Deity was called Tagi-tsu-hime no Mikoto. It is she who dwells in He-tsu miya.[181] In all there were three female Deities.

Upon this Sosa no wo no Mikoto, taking the sword which he held, and having made it to float on the surface of the True-Well of Heaven, bit off the end of the sword and blew it away. The Deities which were produced from amidst his breath were called Ama no ho-hi no Mikoto, next Masa-ya-a katsu-katsu-no-haya-hi-ama-no oshi-ho-ne no Mikoto, next Ama-tsu hiko-ne no Mikoto, next Iku-tsu hiko-ne no Mikoto, and next Kumano no kusu-hi no Mikoto. In all there were five male Deities. Such is the story.”

In one writing it is said:—”The Sun-Goddess stood opposite to Sosa no wo no Mikoto, separated from him by the Tranquil River of Heaven,[182] and established a covenant with him, saying, ‘If thou hast not a traitorous heart, the children which thou wilt produce will surely be males, and if they are males, I will consider them my children, and will cause them to govern the Plain of Heaven.’ Hereupon the Sun-Goddess first ate her ten-span sword, which became converted into a child, the Goddess Oki-tsu-shima hime no Mikoto, also called Ichiki-shima hime no Mikoto. Next she ate her nine-span sword, which became converted into a child, the Goddess Tagi-tsu hime no Mikoto. Again she ate her eight-span sword, which became converted into a child, the Goddess Ta-giri hime no Mikoto. Upon this, Sosa no wo no Mikoto took in his mouth the string of 500 jewels which was entwined in the left knot of his hair, and placed it on the palm of his left hand, whereupon it became converted into a male child. He then said:—’Truly I have won.’ And the child was therefore called Katsu no haya-hi ama no oshi-ho-mimi no Mikoto. After that he took in his mouth the jewels of the right knot of his hair, and placed them on the palm of his right hand, when they became changed and produced the God Ama no ho-hi no Mikoto. After that he took in his mouth the jewels which hung round his neck and laid them on his left fore-arm, when they became changed and produced the God Ama-tsu hiko-ne no Mikoto. Moreover, from his right fore-arm there was produced the God Iku-tsu hiko-ne no Mikoto. Again from his left foot was produced the God Hi no haya-hi no Mikoto. Again from his right leg was produced Kumano no oshi-homi-no Mikoto, also called Kumano no oshi-sumi no Mikoto. The children produced by Sosa no wo no Mikoto were all male children. Therefore the Sun-Goddess knew exactly that Sosa no wo no Mikoto’s intentions had been from the first honest. So these six male children were taken and made the children of the Sun-Goddess, and were caused to govern the Plain of Heaven. The three female Deities born of the Sun-Goddess were made to descend and dwell at Usa-shima in the Reed-plain Central Land.[183] They are now in the middle of the Northern Sea province, and are styled the Michi-nushi no Muchi.[184] These are the Deities which are worshipped by the Kimi of Minuma in Tsukushi.”

After this Sosa no wo no Mikoto’s behaviour was exceedingly rude. In what way? Ama-terasu no Oho-kami had made august rice-fields of Heavenly narrow rice-fields and Heavenly long rice-fields. Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto, when the seed was sown in spring, broke down the divisions between the plots of rice, and in autumn let loose the Heavenly piebald colts,[185] and made them lie down in the midst of the rice-fields. Again, when he saw that Ama-terasu no Oho-kami was about to celebrate the feast of first-fruits, he secretly voided excrement in the New[186] Palace. Moreover, when he saw that Ama-terasu no Oho-kami was in her sacred[187] weaving hall, engaged in weaving the garments of the Gods, he flayed a piebald colt of Heaven, and breaking a hole in the roof-tiles of the hall, flung it in. Then Ama-terasu no Oho-kami started with alarm, and wounded herself with the shuttle. Indignant at this, she straightway entered the Rock-cave of Heaven, and having fastened the Rock-door, dwelt there in seclusion. Therefore constant darkness prevailed on all sides, and the alternation of night and day was unknown.[188]

Then the eighty myriads of Gods met on the bank of the Tranquil River of Heaven, and considered in what manner they should supplicate her. Accordingly Omohi-kane[189] no Kami, with profound device and far-reaching thought, at length gathered long-singing birds[190] of the Eternal Land and made them utter their prolonged cry to one another. Moreover he made Ta-jikara-wo[191] no Kami to stand beside the Rock-door. Then Ame no Koyane[192] no Mikoto, ancestor of the Nakatomi no Muraji,[193] and Futo-dama no Mikoto,[194] ancestor of the Imibe[195] no Obito, dug up a five-hundred branched True Sakaki[196] tree of the Heavenly Mt. Kagu.[197] On its upper branches they hung an august five-hundred string of Yasaka jewels. On the middle branches they hung an eight-hand[198] mirror.

One writing says Ma-futsu no Kagami.

On its lower branches they hung blue soft offerings and white soft offerings.[199] Then they recited their liturgy together.

Moreover Ama no Uzume[200] no Mikoto, ancestress of the Sarume[201] no Kimi, took in her hand a spear wreathed with Eulalia grass, and standing before the door of the Rock-cave of Heaven, skilfully performed a mimic dance.[202] She took, moreover, the true Sakaki tree of the Heavenly Mount Kagu, and made of it a head-dress, she took club-moss and made of it braces,[203] she kindled fires,[204] she placed a tub bottom upwards,[205] and gave forth a divinely-inspired utterance.[206]

Now Ama-terasu no Oho-kami heard this, and said:—”Since I have shut myself up in the Rock-cave, there ought surely to be continual night in the Central Land of fertile reed-plains. How then can Ama no Uzume no Mikoto be so jolly?” So with her august hand, she opened for a narrow space the Rock-door and peeped out. Then Ta-jikara-wo no Kami forthwith took Ama-terasu no Oho-kami by the hand, and led her out. Upon this the Gods Nakatomi no Kami and Imibe no Kami[207] at once drew a limit by means of a bottom-tied rope[208] (also called a left-hand rope) and begged her not to return again (into the cave).

After this all the Gods put the blame on Sosa no wo no Mikoto, and imposed on him a fine of one thousand tables,[209] and so at length chastised him. They also had his hair plucked out, and made him therewith expiate his guilt.

Another version is:—They made him expiate it by plucking out the nails of his hands and feet.

When this was done, they at last banished him downwards.

In one writing it is said:—”After this Waka-hiru-me[210] no Mikoto was in the sacred weaving-hall, weaving the garments of the Deities. Sosa no wo no Mikoto saw this, and forthwith fiaying a piebald colt with a backward flaying, flung it into the interior of the hall. Then Waka-hiru-me no Mikoto was startled, and fell down from the loom, wounding herself with the shuttle which she held in her hand, and divinely departed.[211] Therefore Ama-terasu no Oho-kami spoke to Sosa no wo no Mikoto and said:—’Thou hast still evil intentions.[212] I do not wish to see thee face to face.’ So she entered the Rock-cave of Heaven and shut the Rock-door. Hereupon all under Heaven was in continual darkness, and there was no difference of day and night. Therefore the eighty myriads of Gods met in the High-market-place of Heaven and made inquiry. Now was Omohi-kane no Kami, son of Taka-mi-musubi no Mikoto, who had a talent for devising plans. He accordingly considered the matter, and spoke, saying, ‘Let there be made an image of this Goddess, and let prayer be addressed to it.’ They therefore proceeded to appoint Ishi-kori-dome[213] as artisan, who, taking copper of the Mt. Kagu of Heaven, made therefrom a Sun-spear. Moreover, he stripped off in one piece the hide of a true stag, and made of it Heavenly bellows. The Goddess which he fashioned by this means is the Goddess Hi no mahe no Kami, who dwells in the province of Kii.”

In one writing it is said:—”The august Sun Goddess took an enclosed rice-field and made it her Imperial rice-field. Now Sosa no wo no Mikoto, in spring, filled up the channels and broke down the divisions, and in autumn, when the grain was formed, he forthwith stretched round them division ropes.[214] Again when the Sun-Goddess was in her Weaving-Hall, he flayed alive a piebald colt and flung it into the Hall. In all these various matters his conduct was rude in the highest degree. Nevertheless, the Sun-Goddess, out of her friendship for him, was not indignant or resentful, but took everything calmly and with forbearance.

When the time came for the Sun-Goddess to celebrate the feast of first-fruits, Sosa no wo no Mikoto secretly voided excrement under her august seat in the New Palace.[215] The Sun-Goddess, not knowing this, went straight there and took her seat. Accordingly the Sun-Goddess drew herself up, and was sickened. She therefore was enraged, and straightway took up her abode in the Rock-cave of Heaven, and fastened its Rock-door.

Then all the Gods were grieved at this, and forthwith caused Ama no nuka-do no Kami, the ancestor of the Be of mirror-makers, to make a mirror, Futo-dama, the ancestor of the Imibe, to make offerings,[216] and Toyo-tama,[217] the ancestor of the Be of jewel-makers, to make jewels. They also caused Yama-tsuchi[218] to procure eighty precious combs of the five-hundred-branched true sakaki tree, and Nu-dzuchi[219] to procure eighty precious combs of the five-hundred-branched suzuki grass. When all these various objects were collected, Ama no Koyane no Mikoto, the ancestor of the Nakatomi, recited a liturgy in honour of the Deity. Then the Sun-Goddess opened the Rock-door and came out. At this time, when the mirror was put into the Rock-cave, it struck against the door and received a slight flaw, which remains until this day. This is the great Deity worshipped at Ise. After this Sosa no wo no Mikoto was convicted, and fined in the articles required for the ceremony of purification. Hereupon these were the things abhorrent of luck of the tips of his fingers, and the things abhorrent of calamity of the tips of his toes.[220] Again, of his spittle he made white soft offerings, and of his nose-mucus he made blue soft offerings, with which the purification service was performed. Finally he was banished according to the law of Divine banishment.”

In one writing it is said:—”After this the Sun-Goddess had three rice-fields, which were called the Easy[221] Rice-field of Heaven, the Level Rice-field of Heaven, and the Village-join[222] Rice-field of Heaven. All these were good rice-fields, and never suffered even after continuous rain or drought. Now Sosa no wo no Mikoto had also three rice-fields, which were called the Pile-field of Heaven,[223] the River-border[224] Field of Heaven, and the Mouth-Sharp[225] Field of Heaven. All these were barren places. In the rains, the soil was swept away, and in droughts it was parched up. Therefore, Sosa no wo no Mikoto was jealous and destroyed his elder sister’s rice-fields. In spring, he knocked away the pipes and troughs, filled up the channels and broke down the divisions. He also sowed seed over again. In autumn, he set up combs,[226] and made horses lie down in the rice-fields. Notwithstanding all these wicked doings, which went on incessantly, the Sun-Goddess was not indignant, but treated him always with calmness and forbearance, etc., etc.

When the Sun-Goddess came to shut herself up in the Rock-cave of Heaven, all the Gods sent the child of Kogoto Musubi, Ama no Koyane no Mikoto, the ancestor of the Nakatomi no Muraji, and made him recite a liturgy. Hereupon Ama no Koyane no Mikoto rooted up a true Sakaki tree of the Heavenly Mount Kagu and hung upon its upper branches a mirror of eight hands, made by the ancestor of the mirror-makers, Ono-kori-dome, a child of Ama no Nukado; on the middle branches he hung curved[227] jewels of Yasaka gem made by the ancestor of the jewel-makers, Area no Akaru-dama, a child of Izanagi no Mikoto. On the lower branches he hung tree-fibre[228] made by Ama-no Hi-washi, the ancestor of the Imbe of the province of Aha. Futo-dama no Mikoto, ancestor of the Imbe no Obito, was thereupon made to take these things in his hand, and, with lavish and earnest words of praise, to recite a liturgy.

When the Sun-Goddess heard this, she said:—’Though of late many prayers have been addressed to me, of none has the language been so beautiful as this.’ So she opened a little the Rock-door and peeped out. Thereupon the God Ama no Tajikara-wo no Kami, who was waiting beside the Rock-door, forthwith pulled it open, and the radiance of the Sun-Goddess filled the universe. Therefore all the Gods rejoiced greatly, and imposed on Sosa no wo no Mikoto a fine of a thousand tables of (articles of) purification.[229] Of the nails of his hands they made things abhorrent of luck, and of the nails of his feet they made things abhorrent of calamity. Then they caused Ama no Koyane no Mikoto to take charge of his Great Purification Liturgy, and made him recite it. This is the reason why the people of the world are careful in the disposal, of their own nails.[230]

After this, all the Gods upbraided Sosa no wo no Mikoto, saying:—’Thy conduct has been in the highest degree improper. Thou must, therefore, not dwell in Heaven. Nor must thou dwell in the Central Reed-Plain Land. Thou must go speedily to the Bottom Nether Land.’[231] So together they drove him away downwards. Now this was at the time of continuous rains. Sosa no wo no Mikoto bound together green grass, and made of it a broad hat and rain-coat, and in this garb asked a lodging of the assembled Gods. They said:—’Thy behaviour has been filthy and wicked, and therefore thou hast been banished. How canst thou ask of us a lodging?’ In the end they unanimously repulsed him. Therefore, although the wind and rain were very violent, he was unable to find a resting-place, and went downwards, suffering bitterly. Ever since that time all the world has avoided entering the house of another wearing a broad hat and a grass rain-coat, or bearing a bundle of grass on the back, For a breach of these rules an expiatory fine is certainly imposed. This is an institution which has come down to us from remote antiquity.

After this, Sosa no wo no Mikoto said:—’All the Gods have banished me, and I am now about to depart for ever. Why should I not see my elder sister face to face; and why take it on me of my own accord to depart without more ado?’ So he again ascended to Heaven, disturbing Heaven and disturbing Earth. Now Ame no Uzume, seeing this, reported it to the Sun-Goddess. The Sun-Goddess said:—’My younger brother has no good purpose in coming up. It is surely because he wishes to rob me of my kingdom. Though I am a woman, why should I shrink?’ So she arrayed herself in martial garb, etc., etc.

Thereupon Sosa no wo no Mikoto swore to her, and said:—’If I have come up again cherishing evil feelings, the children which I shall now produce by chewing jewels will certainly be females, and in that case they must be sent down to the Central Land of Reed-Plains. But if my intentions are pure, then I shall produce male children, and in that case they must be made to rule the Heavens. The same oath will also hold good as to the children produced by my elder sister.’ In this way the Sun-Goddess first of all chewed her ten-span sword, etc., etc.

Sosa no wo no Mikoto straightway unwound, coil after coil, the complete string of five hundred jewels entwined in the right knot of his hair. The jewels chinked as he rinsed them on the surface of the true well of Heaven. Then he chewed their ends, and laid them on his left palm, thus producing a child, who was called Masa-ya-a-katsu-katsu-haya-hi-ama-no-oshi-ho-ne no Mikoto. After this he chewed the left jewels, and placing them on his right palm, produced a child, who was called Ama-no-ho-hi no Mikoto. He is the ancestor of the Idzumo no Omi, of the Musashi no Miyakko,[232] and of the Hashi no Muraji. There was next produced Ama tsu hikone no Mikoto, the ancestor of the Mubaraki[233] no Miyakko and of the Nukada Be no Muraji. Next was produced Iku-me tsu hikone no Mikoto, and next Kumano no Oho-sumi no Mikoto—in all six male Deities. Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto spoke to the Sun-Goddess, and said:—’The reason why I came up a second time was that, having been condemned by the assembled Gods to banishment to the Nether Land, and being about to take my departure thither, I could never bear to become separated from my elder sister without having seen her face to face. Therefore it is truly with a pure heart, and not otherwise, that I came up again. Now that our interview is over, I must return hence for ever to the Nether Land, in obedience to the Divine behest of the assembled Deities. I pray that my elder sister may illuminate the Land of Heaven, and that it may spontaneously enjoy tranquillity. Moreover, I deliver to my elder sister the children which, with a pure heart, I have produced.’ Having done so, he returned downwards.”

Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto descended from Heaven and proceeded to the head-waters of the River Hi, in the province of Idzumo. At this time he heard a sound of weeping at the head-waters of the river, and he therefore went in search of the sound. He found there an old man and an old woman. Between them was set a young girl, whom they were caressing and lamenting over. Sosa no wo no Mikoto asked them, saying:—”Who are ye, and why do ye lament thus?” The answer was:—”I am an Earthly Deity, and my name is Ashi-nadzuchi.[234] My wife’s name is Te-nadzuchi.[235] This girl is our daughter, and her name is Kushi-nada-hime.[236] The reason of our weeping is that formerly we had eight children, daughters. But they have been devoured year after year by an eight[237]-forked serpent, and now the time approaches for this girl to be devoured. There is no means of escape for her, and therefore do we grieve.” Sosa no wo no Mikoto said:—”If that is so, wilt thou give me thy daughter?” He replied, and said:—”I will comply with thy behest and give her to thee.” Therefore Sosa no wo no Mikoto on the spot changed Kushi-nada-hime into a many-toothed close-comb, which he stuck in the august knot of his hair. Then he made Ashi-nadzuchi and Te-nadzuchi to brew eight-fold sake, to make eight cupboards, in each of them to set a tub filled with sake,[238] and so to await its coming. When the time came, the serpent actually appeared. It had an eight-forked head and an eight-forked tail; its eyes were red, like the winter-cherry;[239] and on its back firs and cypresses were growing. As it crawled it extended over a space of eight hills and eight valleys. Now when it came and found the sake, each head drank up one tub, and it became drunken and fell asleep. Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto drew the ten-span sword which he wore, and chopped the serpent into small pieces. When he came to the tail, the edge of his sword was slightly notched, and he therefore split open the tail and examined it. In the inside there was a sword. This is the sword which is called Kusa-nagi no tsurugi.[240]

In one writing it is said:—”Its original name was Ama no Mura-kumo no tsurugi.”[241]

[It perhaps received this name from the clouds constantly gathering over the place where the serpent was. In the time of the Imperial Prince Yamato-dake its name was changed to Kusa-nagi no tsuntgi.]

Sosa no wo no Mikoto said:—”This is a divine sword. How can I presume to appropriate it to myself?” So he gave it up to the Gods of Heaven.[242]

After this he went in search of a place where he might celebrate his marriage, and at length came to Suga, in the province of Idzumo. Then he spoke, and said:—”My heart is refreshed.” Therefore that place is now called Suga.[243] There he built a palace.

One version says:—”Now Take[244] Sosa no wo no Mikoto composed a verse of poetry, saying:—

Many clouds arise,

On all sides a manifold fence,

To receive within it the spouses,


They form a manifold fence—

Ah! that manifold fence!”[245]

Thereupon they had intercourse together,[246] and a child was born named Oho-na-muchi[247] no Kami.

He (Sosa no wo) accordingly spake, and said:—”The masters of my son’s Palace[248] are Ashi-nadzuchi and Te-nadzuchi. I therefore grant to these two Deities the designation of Inada no Miya-nushi[249] no Kami.”

Having done so, Sosa no wo no Mikoto at length proceeded to the Nether Land.

In one writing it is said:—”Sosa no wo no Mikoto, having descended from Heaven, came to the head-waters of the river Hi, in Idzumo. There he saw Inada-hime, the daughter of Susa no yatsu-mimi,[250] Master of the Shrine of Inada. He had connubial relations with her, and a child was born, styled Suga no yu-yama-nushi[251] Mitsu-na-saro-hiko-yama-shino.”[252]

One version has Suga no Kake-na Saka-karu-hiko-ya-shima[253] no Mikoto.

Another has:—”Suga no yu-yama-nushi Mitsu-na-saro-hiko ya-shima-no.[254] The descendant of this God in the fifth generation was Oho-kuni-nushi no Kami.”[255]

In one writing it is said:—”At this time Sosa no wo no Mikoto went down and came to the head-waters of the River Ye, in the province of Aki. There was there a God whose name was Ashi-nadzu-te-nadzu.[256] His wife’s name was Inada no Miya-nushi Susa no yatsu-mimi. This Deity was just then pregnant, and the husband and wife sorrowed together. So they informed Sosa no wo no Mikoto, saying:—’Though we have had born to us many children, whenever one is born, an eight-forked serpent comes and devours it, and we have not been able to save one. We are now about to have another, and we fear that it also will be devoured. Therefore do we grieve.’ Sosa no wo no Mikoto forthwith instructed them, saying:—’You must take fruit of all kinds, and brew from it eight jars of sake, and I will kill the serpent for you.’ The two Gods, in accordance with his instructions, prepared sake. When the time came for the child to be born, the serpent came indeed to the door, and was about to devour the child. But Sosa no wo no Mikoto addressed the serpent, and said:—’Thou art an Awful Deity. Can I dare to neglect to feast thee?’ So he took the eight jars of sake, and poured one into each of its mouths. The serpent drank it up and fell asleep. Sosa no wo no Mikoto drew his sword and slew it. When he came to sever its tail, the edge of his sword was slightly notched. He split the tail open and examined it, when he found that inside it there was a sword. This sword is called Kusa-nagi no tsurugi. It is now in the village of Ayuchi, in the province of Ohari. It is this Deity which is in the charge of the Hafuri[257] of Atsuta. The sword which slew the serpent is called Worochi no Ara-masa.[258] It is now at Isonokami.[259]

Afterwards the child who was born of Inada no Miya-nushi Susa no yatsu-mimi, namely Ina-gami Furu-kushi-nada-hime,[260] was removed to the upper waters of the river Hi, in the province of ldzumo, and brought up there. After this Sosa no wo no Mikoto made her his consort, and had by her a child, whose descendant in the sixth generation was Oho-na-muchi no Mikoto.”

In one writing it is said:—”Sosa no wo no Mikoto wished to favour[261] Kushi-nada-hime, and asked her of Ashinadzuchi and Tenadzuchi,[262] who replied, saying:—’We pray thee first to slay the serpent, and thereafter it will be good that thou shouldst favour her. This serpent has rock-firs growing on each of its heads; on each of its sides there is a mountain; it is a very fearful beast. How wilt thou set about to slay it?’ Sosa no wo no Mikoto thereupon devised a plan. He brewed a poisonous sake, which he gave it to drink. The serpent became drunk, and fell asleep. Sosa no wo no Mikoto forthwith took his sword, called Worochi no Kara-sabi,[263] and severed its head and severed its belly. When he severed its tail, the edge of the sword was slightly notched, so he split the tail open and made examination. He found there another sword, which he called Kusa-nagi no Tsurugi. This sword was formerly with Sosa no wo no Mikoto. It is now in the province of Ohari. The sword with which Sosa no wo no Mikoto slew the serpent is now with the Kambe[264] of Kibi. The place where the serpent was slain is the mountain at the upper waters of the river Hi in Idzumo.”

In one writing it is said:—”Sosa no wo no Mikoto’s behaviour was unmannerly. A fine was therefore imposed on him by all the Gods of a thousand tables, and he was driven into banishment. At this time, Sosa no wo no Mikoto, accompanied by his son Iso-takeru[265] no Kami, descended to the Land of Silla,[266] where he dwelt at Soshi-mori.[267] There he lifted up his voice and said:—’I will not dwell in this land.’ He at length took clay and made of it a boat, in which he embarked, and crossed over eastwards until he arrived at Mount Tori-kamu no Take, which is by the upper waters of the river Hi in Idzumo. Now there was in this place a serpent which devoured men. Sosa no wo no Mikoto accordingly took his sword, called Ama no Haye-kiri,[268] and slew this serpent. Now when he cut the serpent’s tail, the edge of his sword was notched. Thereupon he split open the tail, and on examination, found within it a divine sword. Sosa no wo no Mikoto said:—’I must not take this for my private use.’ So he sent Ama no Fuki-ne no Kami, his descendant in the fifth generation, to deliver it up to Heaven. This is the sword now called Kusa-nagi.

Before this, when Iso-takeru no Kami descended from Heaven, he took down with him the seeds of trees in great quantity. However, he did not plant them in the land of Han,[269] but brought them all back again, and finally sowed them every one throughout the Great Eight-island-country, beginning with Tsukushi. Thus green mountains were produced. For this reason Iso-takeru no Mikoto was styled Isaoshi no Kami[270] He is the Great Deity who dwells in the Land of Kiï.”[271]

In one writing it is stated:—”Sosa no wo no Mikoto said:—’In the region[272] of the Land of Han there is gold and silver. It will not be well if the country ruled by my son should not possess floating riches. So he plucked out his beard and scattered it. Thereupon Cryptomerias were produced. Moreover, he plucked out the hairs of his breast, which became Thuyas.[273] The hairs of his buttocks became Podocarpi.[274] The hairs of his eye-brows became Camphor-trees. Having done so, he determined their uses. These two trees, viz. the Cryptomeria and the Camphor-tree, were to be made into floating riches;[275] the Thuya was to be used as timber for building fair palaces;[276] the Podocarpus was to form receptacles in which the visible race of man was to be laid in secluded burial-places. For their food he well sowed and made to grow all the eighty kinds of fruit.

Now the children of Sosa no wo no Mikoto were named Iso-takeru no Mikoto, with Oho-ya[277] tsu hime, his younger sister, and next Tsuma[278]-tsu-hime no Mikoto. All these three Deities also dispersed well the seeds of trees, and forthwith crossed over to the Land of Kiï.

Thereafter Sosa no wo no Mikoto dwelt on the Peak of Kuma-nari,[279] and eventually entered the Nether Land.”

In one writing it is said:—”Oho-kuni-nushi[280] no Kami is also called Oho-mono-nushi no Kami,[281] or else Kuni-dzukuri Oho-na-mocha[282] no Mikoto, or again Ashi-hara no Shiko-wo,[283] or Ya-chi-hoko[284] no Kami, or Oho-kuni-dama[285] no Kami, or Utsushi-kuni-dama[286] no Kami. His children were in all one hundred and eighty-one Deities.

Now Oho-na-mochi no Mikoto and Sukuna-bikona no Mikoto, with united strength and one heart, constructed this sub-celestial world. Then, for the sake of the visible race of man as well as for beasts, they determined the method of healing diseases. They also, in order to do away with the calamities of birds, beasts, and creeping things, established means for their prevention and control.[287] The people enjoy the protection of these universally until the present day.

Before this Oho-na-mochi no Mikoto spake to Sukuna-bikona no Mikoto, and said:—’May we not say that the country which we have made is well made?’ Sukuna-bikona no Mikoto answered and said:—’In some parts it is complete and in others it is incomplete.’ This conversation had doubtless a mysterious purport.

Thereafter Sukuna-bikona no Mikoto went to Cape Kumano,[288] and eventually proceeded to the Everlasting Land.[289]

Another version is that he went to the island of Aha, where he climbed up a millet-stalk, and was thereupon jerked off, and went to the Everlasting Land.

After this, wherever there was in the land a part which was imperfect, Oho-na-mochi no Kami visited it by himself, and succeeded in repairing it. Coming at last to the province of Idzumo, he spake, and said:—’This Central Land of Reed-plains had been always waste and wild. The very rocks, trees and herbs were all given to violence. But I have now reduced them to submission, and there is none that is not compliant.’ Therefore he said finally:—’It is I, and I alone, who now govern this Land. Is there perchance any one who could join with me in governing the world?’ Upon this a Divine radiance illuminated the sea, and of a sudden there was something which floated towards him and said:—’Were I not here, how couldst thou subdue this Land? It is because I am here that thou hast been enabled to accomplish this mighty undertaking.’ Then Oho-na-mochi no Kami inquired, saying:—’Then who art thou?’ It replied and said:—’I am thy guardian spirit, the wondrous spirit.’ Then said Oho-na-mochi no Kami:—’True, I know therefore that thou art my guardian spirit, the wondrous spirit. Where dost thou now wish to dwell?’ The spirit answered and said:—’I wish to dwell on Mount Mimoro, in the province of Yamato.’ Accordingly he built a shrine in that place and made the spirit to go and dwell there. This is the God of Oho-miwa.

The children of this Deity were the Kimi of Kamo and of Oho-miwa,[290] and also Hime-tatara[291] I-suzu-hime no Mikoto.

Another version is that Koto-shiro-nushi no Kami, having become transformed into an eight-fathom bear-sea-monster,[292] had intercourse with Mizo-kuhi[293] hime of the island of Mishima (some call her Tama-kushi-hime), and had by her a child named Hime-tatara I-suzu-hime no Mikoto, who became the Empress of the Emperor Kami-Yamato Ihare-biko Hohodemi.[294]

Before this time, when Oho-na-mochi no Kami was pacifying the land, he went to Wobama in Isasa, in the province of Idzumo. He was just having some food and drink, when of a sudden there was heard a human voice from the surface of the sea. He was astonished, but on seeking for it there was nothing at all to be seen. After a while a dwarf appeared, who had made a boat of the rind of a kagami[295] and clothing of the feathers of a wren.[296] He came floating towards him on the tide, and Oho-na-mochi no Mikoto taking him up, placed him on the palm of his hand. He was playing with him, when the dwarf leaped up, and bit him on the cheek. He wondered at his appearance, and sent a messenger to report the matter to the Gods of Heaven. Now when Taka-mi-musubi no Mikoto heard this, he said:—’The children whom I have produced number in all one thousand and five hundred. Amongst them one was very wicked, and would not yield compliance to my instructions. He slipped through between my fingers and fell. This must be that child, let him be loved and nurtured.’ This was no other than Sukuna-bikona no Mikoto.”[297]




  1. Nihon, otherwise Nippon, the Niphon of our older maps, where it is wrongly limited to the main island of Japan. Japan is merely a Chinese pronunciation of this word, modified in the mouths of Europeans. Nihon, in Chinese 日本 means sun-origin, i.e. sunrise. The country received this name from its position to the east of the Asiatic continent. China being the Great Central Land, other countries were given names with reference to it. Corea, for example, is the Tong-Kuk or East-Country. These Chinese characters are sometimes used to represent Yamato, the true old Japanese name of the country, as in the name of the first Emperor, Kamu-yamato-ihare-biko-hoho-demi, better known as Jimmu Tennō. I have little doubt that Nihon, as a name for Japan, was first used by the Corean scholars who came over in numbers during the early part of the seventh century. Perhaps the earliest genuine use of this term occurs in the lament for the death of Shōtoku Daishi by a Corean Buddhist priest in A.D. 620. In 670 it was formally notified to one of the Corean kingdoms that this would be the name of the country in future, and from about the same time the Chinese also began to use it officially. There are several cases of its being used retrospectively in places where it has no business, as in a supposed letter from the King of Koryö to the Emperor of Japan quoted in the “Nihongi” under 297 A.D. “Nihongi,” or the Chronicles of Japan, is the proper and original name of this work. But later editors and writers have introduced the syllable sho, writing, styling it the Nihon-shoki, which is its most usual literary designation at the present time. It is also spoken of as the “Shoki.”
  1. The first two books of the “Nihongi” contain the myths which form the basis of the Shinto religion. For the further study of this subject, Chamberlain’s admirably faithful translation of the Kojiki, and Satow’s contributions to the “J.A.S.T.” will be found indispensable. Griffis’s “Religions of Japan” may also be consulted with advantage.
  2. The Yin and Yang, or female and male principles of Chinese philosophy. See “Mayer’s Chinese Manual,” p. 293.
  3. These opening sentences of the “Nihongi” have been justly condemned by modern Shinto scholars such as Motowori and Hirata as an essay of the Chinese rationalistic type, which has been awkwardly prefixed to the genuine Japanese traditions. Hirata mentions two Chinese works named 淮南子 and 三五曆記, as among the originals from which the author of the “Nihongi” borrowed these ideas. See Satow’s “Revival of Pure Shinto,” pp. 19 and 51 (reprint), “Japan Asiatic Society’s Transactions,” 1875, Appendix. I take this opportunity of referring the reader to this treatise, which is much the most instructive and accurate work that has yet appeared on the ancient Japanese religion and mythology. No serious student of this subject can afford to neglect it. The corresponding passage of the “Kiujiki” (vide Index) is as follows:—”Of old, the original essence was a chaotic mass. Heaven and Earth had not yet been separated, but were like an egg, of ill-defined limits and containing germs. Thereafter, the pure essence, ascending by degrees, became thinly spread out, and formed Heaven. The floating grosser essence sank heavily, and, settling down, became Earth. What we call countries were produced by the opening, splitting up, and dividing of the earth as it floated along. It might be compared to the floating of a fish which sports on the surface of the water. Now Heaven was produced first, and Earth afterwards.”
  1. Motowori points out that hence has no meaning here. It is inserted clumsily to make it appear as if there were some connection between the Chinese essay which precedes and the Japanese tradition which follows. The author is fond of this word and frequently brings it in without much meaning.
  2. [There are marginal references in] the Shukai edition of the original.
  3. Land-eternal-stand-of-august-thing.
  4. This distinction is, of course, an invention of the persons who committed the myths to writing, and it is by no means consistently adhered to even in the “Nihongi.” The passage in italics is from what is called the “Original Commentary,” for which see introduction.
  1. Land-of-right-soil-of-augustness, i.e. his augustness the true soil of the land. Sa, which I have rendered “right,” is a mere honorific. Tsuchi is written with a Chinese character which means “mallet,” but it must be taken here as put phonetically for tsuchi, land or soil.
  2. Rich-form-plain-of-augustness. The meaning of many of the names of the gods is obscure, and these renderings must be accepted with caution. Compare the notes to Chamberlain’s “Kojiki,” where much attention has been given to this subject. It may be remarked that there is great and inextricable confusion as to the early deities between the various ancient authorities, the “Kojiki,” the “Kiujiki,” the “Kogojiui,” the various documents quoted in the “Nihongi,” and the “Nihongi” itself.
  3. The Chinese 三神 means simply three deities. But the interlinear Kana has mi-bashira no Kami, i.e. Deities, three pillars, hashira or bashira being the usual auxiliary numeral (like our head of cattle, sail of ships, etc.) for gods in the ancient literature. Historical Shinto has no idols, but does not this use of the word hashira suggest a time when the gods of Japan were wooden posts carved at the top into a rude semblance of the human countenance, such as are seen at this day in many savage lands? In Corea, closely related to Japan, there are gods of this kind. The mile-posts there have their upper part fashioned into the shape of an idol, to which some pompous title is given, and at a village not far from Söul, on the Wönsan road, I have seen a group of a dozen or more of these pillar gods, set up, I was told, as guardians to the inhabitants during an epidemic of small-pox. The word Kami, deity, has a very wide application in Japanese. It means primarily upper, and hence nobles, the sovereign, gods, and generally any wonderful or mysterious thing. The leopard and wolf are Kami, the peach with which Izanagi put to flight the thunders which pursued him in the land of Yomi, etc. See Hirata’s interesting remarks translated by Satow in “Revival of Pure Shinto,” “J.A.S.T.,” p. 42 (reprint). The Aino ideas regarding Kamui are very similar. See Batchelor in “J.A.S.T.,” XVI., Pt. I., p. 17.
  1. The principle of Heaven is the same thing as the Yō or male principle of Chinese philosophy. This again is no part of the old tradition.
  2. These quotations are usually referred to as part of the “Nihongi.” They were, in my opinion, added at a somewhat (but not much) later date. They afford some indication of the mass of written literature which existed on this subject.
  3. In Japanese sora, to be distinguished from ame or ama, the heaven or firmament, which was regarded as a plain, as in the expression takama no hara, the plain of high heaven.
  4. Soko means bottom.
  5. Tachi means stand.
  6. Rich-country-master.
  7. Rich form-moor.
  8. Rich-perfume-joint-plain.
  9. Float-pass-plain-rich-buy.
  10. Rich-land-plain.
  11. Rich-bite (?) plain.
  12. Leaf-tree-land-plain.
  13. Mino is written with characters which suggest the derivation see-plain. But mi is more probably a honorific, to be rendered “august.”
  14. Sweet-reed-shoot-prince-elder. There is some doubt about the precise signification of the word ii here rendered elder. It is the same root which we have in chichi father; wo-ji, uncle; orochi, serpent, and tsutsu or tsuchi, which is found in many names of gods. It is probably little more than a mere honorific.
  15. Lit. a Divine man.
  16. Hcaven-of-august-centre-master. The Pole-star god, according to O’Neill, Vide “Night of the Gods,” pp. 535, 536.
  17. High-august-growth. “Personifications of highly abstract ideas are not unknown in myths of savages. The South Sea islanders have personified ‘the very beginning,’ and ‘space.'” Lang’s “Myth, Religion, and Ritual,” Vol. I, p. 196. It is not quite clear whether this is the same as the Musubi or Musubu no Kami, a god who unites lovers, and to whom the rags hung on trees by the roadside are offered.
  18. Divine-august-growth. This corresponds nearly with the Kojiki myth.
  19. The Chinese character is 人, which the interlinear Kana coolly renders by Kami, deity.
  20. Heaven-of-eternal-stand.
  21. The names of these two Deities are of doubtful meaning. According to the Chinese characters Uhiji should mean mud-earth, and Suhiji sand-earth. Ni or ne is a honorific particle. Vide Chamberlain’s “Kojiki,” p. 17.
  22. These names are somewhat obscure. Oho-to means great door or house; nochi, after, and mahe, before. He, is place; toma, a coarse kind of mat; tomu, wealthy; and chi, ground. The other elements of these names have occurred above.
  23. Omo-taru means face-pleasing, and Kashiko, awful. Ne is a honorific suffix; aya, an interjection like our ah! Imi means avoidance, religious, abstinence, taboo. Kashiki is probably only another form of Kashiko, awful. A wo is green.
  24. Izana is the root of a verb izanafu, to invite; gi, a masculine, and mi, a feminine termination. These two names may therefore be rendered male-who-invites and female-who-invites. But it may be suspected that this is, after all, merely a volks-etymologie, and that Iza or Isa is simply the name of a place, na being another form of no, the genitive particle. Isa is known to Japanese myth. We shall find an Isa well in Heaven spoken of below. There are two places called Isa in Hitachi, and an Isa no Jinja in Idzumo.
  25. Ame-kagami, heaven-mirror; Ame-yorodzu, heaven-myriad; Aha-nagi, foam-calm.
  26. This sentence is obviously from the pen of a student of Chinese philosophy.
  27. The eight Gods specially worshipped by the Jingikwan, or Department of the Shinto Religion in the Yengi period—901-922—were Takami-musubi no Kami, Kamimi-musubi no Kami, Tama-tsume musubi no Kami, Iku musubi no Kami, Taru musubi no Kami, Oho-miya no me no Kami, Mi Ketsu Kami, and Koto-shiro-nushi no Kami. For the sake of comparison the Kiujiki scheme of the generations of early Deities is herewith added. It will still further exemplify the confusion of these traditions. “Therefore a God was developed in the Plain of High Heaven whose name was Ame-yudzuru-hi-ame no sa-giri kuni-yudzuru-tsuki kuni no heaven transfer sun heaven right mist land transfer moon land of sa-giri no Mikoto, who was produced alone. After him, were born two right mist generations of companion Gods and five generations of mated Deities. These make up what is called the seven generations of the Gods.

Genealogy of the Age of the Gods.

The Heavenly parent, Ame yudzuru hi ame no sa-giri kuni yudzuru tsuki kuni no sa-giri no Mikoto.

1st Generation.

Companion-born heavenly Gods.

Ame no mi-naka-nushi no Mikoto.

(heaven middle master)

Umashi – ashi-kabi hikoji no Mikoto.

(sweet reed-shoot prince elder)

2nd Generation.

Companion-born heavenly Gods.

Kuni no toko tachi no Mikoto.

(land eternal stand)

Toyo-kuni-nushi no Mikoto.

(rich land master)

A Branch.

Ame – ya – kudari no Mikoto.

(heaven eight descend)

3rd Generation.

Heavenly Gods born as mates.

Tsuno – gui no Mikoto.

(horn stake (name of place?))

Iku – gui no Mikoto, his younger sister of wife.

(live stake)

A Branch.

Ame mi kudari no Mikoto.

(heaven three descend)

4th Generation.

Heavenly Gods born as mates.

Uhiji – ni no Mikoto.

(mud earth (honorific affix))

Suhiji – ni no Mikoto, his younger sister or wife.

(sand earth)

A Branch.

Ama – ahi no Mikoto.

(heaven meet)

5th Generation.

Heavenly Gods born as mates.

Oho-toma-hiko no Mikoto.

(great mat prince)

Oho – toma – he no Mikoto, his younger sister or wife.

(great mat place)

A Branch.

Ame ya – wo – hi no Mikoto.

(heaven eight hundred days)

6th Generation.

Heavenly Gods born as mates.

A wo – kashiki ne no Mikoto.

(green awful (honorific))

Aya-kashiki ne no Mikoto, his younger sister or wife.

(ah! Awful)

A Branch.

Ame no ya-so-yorodzu-dama no Mikoto.

(eighty myriads spirits)

7th Generation.

Heavenly Gods born as mates.

Izanagi no Mikoto.

Izanami no Mikoto, his younger sister or wife.

A Branch.

Taka mi – musubi no Mikoto.

(high august growth)


Ama no omohi-game: no Mikoto.

(heaven thought-compriser)

Ama no futo-dama no Mikoto.

(big jewel)

Ama no woshi – hi no Mikoto.

(endure sun)

Ama no kamu-dachi no Mikoto.

(god stand)

Next there was—

Kamu mi musubi no Mikoto.

(above growth)


Ame no mi ke mochi no Mikoto.

(august food hold)

Ame no michi ne no Mikoto.

(road (honorific))

Ame no kami-dama no Mikoto.

(god jewel)

Iku-dama no Mikoto.

(live jewel)

Next there was—

Tsu-haya-dama no Mikoto.

(port quick jewel)


Ichi – chi – dama no Mikoto.

(market thousand jewel)

Kogoto-dama no Mikoto.


Ama no ko-yane no Mikoto.


Takechi – nokori no Mikoto.

(brave milk remnant)

Next there was—

Furu-dama no Mikoto.

(shake jewel)


Saki-dama no Mikoto.

(first jewel)

Ama no woshi – dachi no Mikoto.

(endure stand)

Next there was—

Yorodzu-dama no Mikoto.

(myriad jewel)


Anna no koha-kaha no Mikoto.”

(hard river)

A number of these Deities are staled to be the ancestors of noble Japanese families. The explanation of the meaning of these names is often very conjectural. Some are probably names of places. Possibly some of the obscurer names are Corean. The “Seishiroku” speaks of a Corean Sagiri no Mikoto, and other known Corean Deities were worshipped in Japan. The reader will do well to consult here Satow’s “Japanese Rituals” in “J.A.S.T.,” Vol. VI., Pt. II., p. 120, where he makes the pregnant suggestion that the sun was the earliest among the powers of nature to be deified, and that the long series of gods who precede her in the cosmogony of the “Kojiki” and “Nihongi,” most of whom are shown by their names to have been mere abstractions, were invented to give her a genealogy.

  1. Hirata conjectures that the jewel-spear (nu-boko or tama-boko) of Heaven was in form like a wo-bashira. Wo-bashira means literally male-pillar. This word is usually applied to the end-posts or pillars of a railing or balustrade, no doubt on account of the shape of the top, which ends in a sort of a ball (the nu or tama), supposed to resemble the glans. That by wo-bashira Hirata means a phallus is clear from his quoting as its equivalent the Chinese expression 玉莖, i.e. jewel-stalk, an ornate word for the penis. A Japanese word for this is wo-hashi, or wo-bashi, which contains nearly the same etymological elements as wo-bashira. A writer quoted in the Tsū-shō commentary on the “Nihongi,” says that the Tama-boko (or nu-boko) is the root of coition. The late Mr. J. O’Neill, in his “Night of the Gods” (pp. 31, 37, 67), proposed the theory that this spear and other spears of myth “are but symbols of the Earth-axis and its prolongation,” an idea which is worked out with much ingenuity and learning in that remarkable work. At p. 88 he argues that this view is not inconsistent with the phallic interpretation. There are other indications in the “Nihongi” and “Kojiki” of phallic worship in Ancient Japan, although, probably owing to the influence of Chinese ideas of literary propriety, there are fewer than might have been expected, Vide Index—Phallic worship. All travellers in Japan, especially before the Revolution of 1868, must have observed numerous evidences of a phallic cult. The Government have of recent years done their best to suppress this very gross form of nature worship, but it still exists in out-of-the-way places, as has been shown in an interesting Essay by Dr. Edmund Buckley, of the University of Chicago, who has collected numerous facts relating to this subject. Dr. Griffis, in his “Religions of Japan,” has also noticed several evidences of it. Travelling from Utsunomiya to Nikko, in 1871, I found the road lined at intervals with groups of phalli, connected, no doubt, with the worship of the Sacred Mountain Nan-tai (male-form), which was visited every summer by hundreds of pilgrims of the male sex, access to females being at that time rigorously prohibited. A cave at Kamakura formerly contained scores of phalli carved in stone. I once witnessed a phallic procession in a town some miles north of Tokio. A phallus several feet high, and painted a bright vermilion colour, was being carried on a sort of a bier by a crowd of shouting, laughing coolies with flushed faces, who zig-zagged along with sudden rushes from one side of the street to another. It was a veritable Bacchic rout. The Dionysia, it will be remembered, had their phalli. A procession of this kind invaded the quiet thoroughfares of the Kobe foreign settlement in 1868, much to the amazement of the European residents. That there are domestic shrines in the lupanars where these objects of worship are propitiated by having a small lamp kept constantly burning before them is, perhaps, not to be wondered at. Is it a mere coincidence that wo-bashira, male pillar, should contain the element hashira which is used as a numeral for deities? See above, p. 5. Some of the Rai-tsui, or thunder-clubs, figured in Kanda’s “Ancient Stone Implements,” Plate VII., are probably phalli. Their size precludes the view that they were used as weapons. It may be, however, that both the Earth-axis and the phallic interpretations of the nu-boko are too subtle. The Hoko may after all be a spear and nothing more, and the nu or jewel merely an ornate epithet, as indeed Hirata suggests.
  1. Spontaneously-congeal-island. Cf. Ch. “Kojiki,” p. 19. Identified with a small island near Ahaji.
  2. The “Kiujiki” mentions a tradition according to which the two gods made the jewel-spear the central pillar of their house.
  3. The words for male and female are in the original Yō and In. It greatly excites the indignation of the Motowori and Hirata school to have these Chinese philosophical terms applied to Japanese deities. I cannot help thinking that some early marriage ceremony is adumbrated by this circumambulation. We have the ceremony of divorce further on. The erection of a house is not merely for practical reasons. It appears from several passages that a special building was a necessary preliminary to the consummation of a marriage in proper form.
  4. “The island which will not meet,” i.e. is unsatisfactory. Ahaji may also be interpreted as “my shame.” The characters with which this name is written in the text mean “foam-road.” Perhaps the true derivation is “millet-land.” Cf. Ch. “Kojiki,” p. 21.
  5. Rich-harvest (or autumn)-of- island.
  6. Yamato means probably mountain-gate. It is the genuine ancient name for the province which contained Nara and many of the other capitals of Japan for centuries, and it was also used for the whole country. Several of Mikados called themselves Yamato-neko. It is mentioned by the historian of the Later Han dynasty of China (A.D. 25-220) as the seat of rule in Japan at that time. (See above, p. 1.)
  7. Now called Shikoku.
  8. Now called Kiushiu.
  9. Koshi is not an island. It comprises the present provinces of Ettchiu, Echigo, and Echizen.
  10. These two are not clear. Kibi is now Bingo, Bizen, and Bittchiu. Ko, “child or small,” perhaps refers to the small islands of the Inland Sea.
  11. Great-eight-island.
  12. Abundant-reed-plain, thousand-five-hundrcd-harvest (or autumn) fair-ears.
  13. The “Kiujiki” makes the nu-boko or jewel-spear the central pillar of the house which they erected. Eight-fathom is simply a poetical expression for large. There is no special sacredness attached to the number eight.
  14. The leech was identified in after times with the God Yebisu. See Anderson’s Catalogue of Paintings in the Brilish Museum, p. 36. Hirata attempts to show that he was the same as Sukuna-bikona, but is not convincing. The reed boat recalls the Accadian legend of Sargon and his ark of rushes, the Biblical story of Moses as an infant and many more, for which the curious reader may consult the late John O’Neill’s “Night of Ihe Gods,” p. 410.
  15. Hirata says that as the left is superior to the right, and the man to the woman, it is proper that the man should go round from the left, and the woman from the right. He strongly condemns the Kojiki version of the story which reverses this order. The notion of the superiority of the left is really Chinese.
  16. Anglice, wagtail.
  17. The Japanese word for placenta is ye or yena. Ye is also Japanese for elder brother. The Kiujiki has in the corresponding passage 兄 or elder brother.
  18. Ku-ku is evidently for ki-ki, trees. Chi is the same root which we have in the modern chichi, father, and kaya is the name of a kind of rush used for thatching. Nu-dzu-chi, moor-of-father.
  19. Universe. In the original, tenka, i.e. that which is under Heaven, subsequently the usual word for the Empire.
  20. Oho-hiru-me no muchi. Great-noon-female-of- possessor.
  21. Heaven-illumine-of-great-deity.
  22. Heaven-illumine-great-noon-fcmale-of- augustness.
  23. North, South, East, West, Above, Below.
  24. “In the beginning the Heaven, Rangi, and the Earth, Papa, were the father and mother of all things. In those days the Heaven lay upon the Earth, and all was darkness. They had never been separated.” Maori myth, quoted by Lang, “Custom and Myth,” p. 45.
  25. Yumi means bow, yomi darkness. Neither is inappropriate as applied to the moon.
  26. This name is written indifferently Sosa no wo and Susa no wo. The accepted derivation refers Susa to Susamu, a verb which means “to be impetuous.” Hence the “Impetuous Male” of Chamberlain’s and Satow’s translations. I am disposed to prefer a derivation suggested by the “Idzumo Fudoki,” a very old book, which states:— “Village of Susa. Nineteen ri due west of the Town-house of the district. Kamu Susa no wo no Mikoto said:—’This is only a small country, but it is a Kuni-dokoro (local capital?). Therefore my name shall not be affixed to wood or stone.’ This was accordingly the place where he allowed his august spirit to repose. There were, therefore, established by him the Greater Susa rice-lands and the Lesser Susa rice-lands.” Susa no wo is therefore simply the “male of Susa.” It will be remembered that by one Japanese tradition, Idzumo is the home of the Gods, and that several of the legends respecting them relate to this locality. It is, however, probable that the older derivation is really a volks-etymologie, which has given colour to the stories told of this deity. Idzumo is a chief home of the worship of Susa no wo at the present day. His wife’s mother was called Susa no Yatsu-mimi, but it has not occurred to anybody to make her an “impetuous female.” Hirata rejects the modern identification of this God with Godzu Tennō.
  1. Kami, deity; haya, quick.
  2. The character used is that appropriate to a sovereign addressing his subjects.
  3. Ne no kuni, lit. the root-country, by which Hades or Yomi is no doubt meant.
  4. See Index—Copper.
  5. Kagu tsuchi was the God of Fire. Tsu is here probably the genitive particle, and chi the same honorific word as appears in several other names of Gods. He was worshipped at Nagusa in Kii.
  6. Lit. ended.
  7. Clay-mountain-lady.
  8. Young-growth.
  9. Hemp, millet, rice, corn, pulse. This is a Chinese form of speech, and with the mention of the silkworm betrays a recent origin of this tradition.
  10. Fire-growth.
  11. Lit. retired.
  12. The gourd was to hold water to subdue the Fire-God with when he became violent.
  13. Metal-mountain prince. This legend indicates an acquaintance with mining.
  14. Shina is said to be derived from shi, wind or breath, and na, a short form of naga, long. See Chamberlain’s “Kojiki,” p. 27. The worship of this God is frequently referred to in the last two books of the Nihongi. See also Satow’s “Ancient Japanese Rituals,” where a prayer to him is given. Tohe means chief.
  15. Food august-spirit. The Chinese characters transliterated Uka mean storehouse rice.
  16. Wata is an old word for sea; mi is probably “body.”
  17. Haya-aki means swift-autumn; tsu, of, and bi (or mi) perhaps person or body.
  18. Clay-easy.
  19. i.e. died.
  20. The ancient Japanese word for younger sister was imo, which is also applied to a wife. It may be doubted whether this justifies any adverse inference as to the morals of the Japanese in early times. “Sister” is used as an endearing epithet in the Song of Solomon where the relation is certainly not that of brother and sister. It is true, however, that marriages were allowed between brothers and sisters when of different mothers.
  21. Weep-abundant-female.
  22. Cf. Ch. “Kojiki,” p. 32.
  23. Literally, five hundred.
  24. i.e. The Milky Way. Yasu, easy, is probably in error for ya-so, eighty, i.e. manifold, having many reaches.
  25. Jar-swift-sun. So written, but mika is probably a word meaning very or mighty.
  26. Fire-swift-sun. See Ch. “Kojiki,” p. 32.
  27. Brave-jar-father.
  28. Rock-splitting-god.
  29. Root-splitting-god.
  30. Rock-elder-male-god.
  31. Futsu is interpreted as “a snapping sound”; nushi is master.
  32. Dark-god.
  33. Dark-mountain-body-god.
  34. Dark-water-goddess.
  35. The original has “yellow springs,” a Chinese expression. Yomi or Yomo is Hades. It is no doubt connected with yo or yoru, night.
  36. This is a feature of many old-world and savage myths. In the legend of the rape of Proserpine by Pluto, as told by Ovid, Jupiter replies to Ceres, who demanded back her daughter—

“. . . Repetat Proserpina caelum,

Lege tamen certâ: si nullos contiget illic

Ore cibos.”

But Proserpine already—

“Puniceum curvâ decerpserat arbore pomum

umta que pallenti septem de cortice grana

Presserat ore suo.”

Compare also the story of Nachikėtas from the Taittiriya Brāhmana, and the Katha Upanishad:—

“Three nights within his (Yama’s) mansion stay,

But taste not, though a guest, his food.”

⁠Muir’s Sanskrit texts, Vol. V., p. 329.

The resemblance of the name Yama of the Indian God of the Lower World to the Japanese Yomi has been noted, and also some points of similarity in the myth of Yami and Yama to that of Izanagi and Izanami. See Lang, “Custom and Myth,” p. 171.

  1. End-tooth is in Japanese wo-bashira, i e. male-pillar, for which see above, note to p. 11.
  2. The “Adzuma Kagami” mentions a superstition that any one who picks up a comb which has been thrown away is transformed into another person.
  3. The “Wamiōsho” mentions a statement that these were used as bogeys to frighten children with under the name of Gogo-me.
  4. The student of folk-lore will at once recognize this pursuit. Cf. Lang’s “Custom and Myth,” pp. 88 and 92: “A common incident is the throwing behind of a comb, which turns into a thicket.”
  5. Or Kunado, come-not-place. Cf. Ch. “Kojiki,” p. 39. This was the God of roads.
  6. Long-road-rock.
  7. Disease or trouble.
  8. This might mean open-bite, but the derivation is very doubtful.
  9. Road-spread-out.
  10. Motoöri treats this suggestion with supreme contempt. He prefers to accept the identification of the “Kojiki” (Ch. K. p. 39) with a place in Idzumo. Other parts of the world also, boast entrances to the lower regions. The Chinese have one at Têng-chow, and the Roman and Greek legends need not be more particularly referred to.
  11. Yomi-gate-block-great-God.
  12. Road-turn-back.
  13. Izanagi’s ablutions are typical of the ceremonial lustration required after contact with death. A Chinese traveller to Japan in the early centuries of the Christian era noted that “when the funeral is over the whole family go into the water and wash.” Ovid makes Juno undergo lustration after a visit to the lower regions, and Dante is washed in Lethe when he passes out of Purgatory. For lustration as a widespread practice, consult Dr. Tyler’s “Primitive Culture.” Vol. II., p. 435, et seqq.
  14. Eighty-evils-of-body. Cf Ch. “Kojiki,” p. 41.
  15. Nawo is the root of a verb nawosu, to remedy.
  16. Bottom-sea-of-body.
  17. Middle-sea-god.
  18. Middle-elder-male.
  19. Uha means upper.
  20. As appears from the parallel passage of the “Kojiki,” this is a case of ancestor worship, not, it will be observed, of the immediate ancestors, as in China, but of a remote mythical ancestor who is a Deity, as his name indicates.
  21. Adzumi no Muraji is a title corresponding exactly to such English titles as “Duke of Wellington,” Adzumi being the name of a place and Muraji a title of honour. It is derived from mura, a village or assemblage, and ushi, master. These titles, called Uji or Kabane, though Kabane is properly the second or honorary element, were in their origin simply official designations, and in the “Nihongi” we frequently meet with cases where the office and the title are united in the same person. They were, however, hereditary, and by degrees the mere honorary element prevailed. It too, ultimately vanished, these titles becoming simply surnames to which no particular distinction was attached. Japanese writers, the author of the “Nihongi” with the rest, have, for want of a more appropriate character, identified them with the Chinese 姓 or surname, which is only true of a period later than the time covered by the “Nihongi.” There was also a personal name (na), but the ancient Japanese seem to have had no proper surnames, although the Uji answered the same purpose in a rough way.
  22. The Sun-Goddess.
  23. The Moon-God. Compare with this the Chinese myth of P’an-ku: “P’an-ku came into being in the Great Waste, his beginning is unknown. In dying, he gave birth to the existing material universe. His breath was transmuted into the wind and clouds, his voice into thunder, his left eye into the sun, and his right into the moon: his four limbs and five extremities into the four quarters of the globe and the five great mountains, his blood into the rivers, his muscles and veins into the strata of the earth, his flesh into the soil etc.”—Mayer’s “Chinese Manual,” p. 174. Note here that the Japanese myth gives precedence to the left over the right. This is a Chinese characteristic. Hirata rejects any identification of the two myths, pointing out that the sun is masculine in China and feminine in Japan. This is not conclusive. Such closely related nations as the English and Germans differ as to the sex which they ascribe to the sun, and Lang in his “Myth, Ritual, and Religion,” points out that among the Australians, different tribes of the same race have different views of the sex of the sun and moon.
  24. The Thunder-God.
  25. Great-mountain-of-person.
  26. High male-God.
  27. The numbers 500, 80, 8, 180, 10,000 are often put vaguely for a large number.
  28. Rock-split.
  29. Root-split.
  30. Rock-elder-male.
  31. Great-mountain-of-person.
  32. Middle.
  33. Spur, vide Ch. K., p. 33.
  34. True-conquer or excel.
  35. Foundation.
  36. Chinese legend also ascribes magical properties to the peach. Si Wang Mu, a fabulous being of the female sex, possessed a peach tree whose fruit conferred the gift of immortality. It has also the virtue of driving off the demons of disease. Staves and bows of peach-tree wood were used in the ceremony of oni-yarahi (sending away demons), performed on the last day of the year.
  37. Come-not-place-great-elder (or ancestor).
  38. Relations. The interlinear kana has ugara, i.e. the same uji or house.
  39. From the “Kiujiki” it would appear that this was the formula of divorce.
  40. Referring to the threat of slaying 1000 people in one day, and the counter-threat of making 1500 children to be born in one day.
  41. A Japanese authority says that at the present time spitting is (Essential in the purification ceremony. Another says, “This is the reason why at the present day people spit when they see anything impure.” Cf. Tylor’s “Primitive Culture,” Vol. I., p. 103; Vol. II., p. 441.
  42. Quick-jewel-male.
  43. Yomi-of-thing-divide-male.
  44. Hirata derives this from hiki, hear, and iri, enter, the meaning being that of mediation.
  45. Now known as the Naruto passage, a strait famous for its rapid tides.
  46. Quick suck-name. In the Bungo Channel.
  47. Little-gate.
  48. Rock-of-elder.
  49. Great-remedy-person.
  50. Bottom-elder.
  51. Great-pattern-of-person.
  52. Red-elder.
  53. The Goddess of food.
  54. Written “Heaven-bear-man.” The real meaning is supposed to be Heaven-cloud (kumo)-man, the clouds being regarded as messengers of the Gods.
  55. Soja hispida. Hepburn.
  56. Phaseolus radiatus. Hepburn. Compare with this the Chinese myth of P’an-ku quoted above. There are Indian and Iranian myths of a similar character. See “T.R.A.S.,” Jan., 1895, p. 202. “Creation from the fragments of a fabulous anthropomorphic being is common to Chaldaeans, Iroquois, Egyptians, Greeks, Tinnehs, Mangaians, and Aryan Indians.” Lang, “Myth, Religion, Ritual,” I. 246.
  57. As opposed to the unseen gods.
  58. Village-chief.
  59. The “Kojiki” makes Susa no wo to slay Uke-mochi no Mikoto, but the “Kiujiki” agrees with the version just given, which is more likely to be the original form of the story as it is an explanation of the reason why the sun and moon are not seen together, and has parallels in myths of other countries. Ama-terasu no Oho-kami (now called Ten-shō-dai-jin) and Ukemochi no Kami are the two principal Deities worshipped at Ise. See Satow’s “Handbook of Japan,” pp. 175, 176.
  60. In male fashion.
  61. This word has given much difficulty to the commentators. It is written with characters which mean “eight feet,” and this is accepted by some as the true derivation. Hirata makes it ya, very, sa, a honorific, and aka, bright. Perhaps the best interpretation is simply that which makes it the name of the place where the jewels, or rather beads, were made. Ya-saka would then mean eight-slopes. A place of this name is mentioned more than once in the “Nihongi.” See Ch. “Kojiki,” p. 46, and Satow’s “Rituals.”
  62. In Japanese, tomo. This was partly for the protection of the arm against the recoil of the bow-string, and partly in order to produce a terrifying sound when struck by it. Its shape (like a comma) is familiar to us from the well-known tomoye, the symbol so constantly met with in Japanese art, in which two or three tomo are joined together. There it represents the in and yō, or the in, yō and taiki.
  63. In the position for shooting.
  64. i. e. snow of as little consistence as foam.
  65. i. e. The purity of thine intentions.
  66. The first two of these three names are of doubtful meaning. The third is the name of a sacred island in the Inland Sea, near Hiroshima, better known as Miya-jima. Cf. Ch. K., p. 48.
  67. Truly-I-conquer-conquer-swiftness-heaven-of-great-great-august-person. Cf. Ch. K., p. 48. I take mimi to be composed of mi the honorific, and mi, body, person, which is also the termination of abstract nouns, as fukami, depth, and in this meaning frequently becomes bi, as in several names of Deities.
  68. Heaven-great-sun?
  69. Idzumo no Omi. Omi is a title of rank, probably derived from o, for oho, great, and mi, person. The Chinese character with which it is written means minister or vassal. Hashi no Muraji. Muraji is explained above, p. 27. Hashi, which is also read Hanishi, Hase, or Haji, means clay-worker. For the origin of this title see below, reign of Suinin, 32nd year.
  70. Heaven prince—honorific particle.
  71. Atahe is a title of nobility, like Omi, Muraji, etc., but lower.
  72. Live-of-prince—honorific particle.
  73. Name of place-of-wondrous-ness.
  74. These five, with the three female children mentioned above, are now worshipped under the name of Hachi-ō-ji, or the Eight Princes.
  75. Lady of the island of the offing.
  76. Nuna-wi,—perhaps for mana-wi, i.e. true well.
  77. i.e. the Emperors.
  78. Feather-bright-gem.
  79. Maga-tama, curved jewels, are the comma-shaped gems of cornelian or other stones frequently seen in museums in Japan.
  80. Oki-tsu miya means the “shrine of the offing;” Naka-tsu miya, the “middle shrine;” He-tsu miya, the “shrine of the shore.” Ichiki-shima is the same as Itsuku shima, the sacred island near Hiroshima in the Inland Sea.
  81. The Milky Way.
  82. Ashihara no Naka tsu kuni, i.e. Japan. The phrase Central Land is suspiciously like Chinese.
  83. Province-master—honoured ones or possessors.
  84. Indian myth has a piebald or spotted deer or cow among celestial objects. The idea is probably suggested by the appearance of the stars. It is doubtful whether colt should be singular or plural.
  85. For the sake of greater purity in celebrating the festival.
  86. The Chinese character here translated sacred is 齋, the primary meaning of which is abstinence, fasting. In the “Nihongi,” however, it represents the Japanese word ihahi (pronounced iwai). According to Hirata this contains the same root as imi, avoidance, especially religious avoidance of impurity, and had originally the same meaning. The yu of yu-niha, or sacred plot of ground where rice for the festival of first-fruits was grown, is the same root. But as a strict observance of conditions of ceremonial purity was a chief feature of the Shinto senvices, this word came to be put for religious rites generally, and the Chinese character is even used, if we may believe the interlinear gloss which renders it by ogami, for Buddhist celebrations. The usual modern meaning of ihahi is blessing, well-wishing, congratulation, where we have got a long way from the original sense of tabu, avoidance. Ritual purity is of the very essence of Shinto. It applies to food, clothing, and language. There was in later times a special set of terms for certain Buddhist objects and ideas. It was probably to avoid contamination to the ordinary dwelling that special huts were erected for the consummation of marriage, and for childbirth. Death contaminated a house, and therefore a new one had to be erected on the decease of the owner, a practice which was long continued in the case of hnperial Palaces.
  1. Ama-terasu no Oho-kami is throughout the greater part of this narrative an anthropomorphic Deity, with little that is specially characteristic of her solar functions. Here, however, it is plainly the sun itself which withholds its light and leaves the world to darkness. This inconsistency, which has greatly exercised the native theologians (see Satow’s “Revival of Pure Shinto,” p. 50, reprint), is not peculiar to Japanese myth. Muir, in the introduction to Vol. V. of his “Sanskrit Texts,” says:—”The same visible object was at different times regarded diversely as being either a portion of the inanimate universe, or an animated being and a cosmical power. Thus in the Vedic hymns, the sun, the sky, and the earth are severally considered, sometimes as natural objects governed by particular gods, and sometimes as themselves gods who generate and control other beings.” But this difficulty is inherent in all mythologies.
  2. Thought-combining or thought-including.
  3. The cock is meant.
  4. Hand-strength-male.
  5. Ko-yane is written with two characters which mean child and roof. Hirata (” Koshiden,” Vol. XIII., p. 1) identifies this Deity with Omohi-kane no Mikoto, and endeavours to show that ko is for kokoro, heart. Ya, he thinks, is many, and ne a honorific. See also Ch. K., p. 56. I agree with Ch. that the meaning is obscure.
  6. Hirata and Motowori have written many pages on the derivation of Nakatomi. The former takes it to be for Naka-tori-mochi, which would give the meaning mediator, these officials being regarded as go-betweens for the Kimi, or sovereign, in his intercourse with the Kami. Perhaps it is safest to follow the Chinese characters which mean “middle-minister,” in Japanese Naka-tsu-omi, tsu being a genitive particle. The Nakatomi would then be the ministers of middle rank, as opposed to Prime Ministers on the one hand, and underlings on the other. In historical times their duties were of a priestly character. Worship and government were closely associated in ancient times in more countries than Japan. Matsurigoto, government, is derived from matsuri, worship. It was they who recited the Harahi or purification rituals.
  7. Futo-dama, big-jewel.
  8. Imi-be or imbe is derived from imi, root of imu, to avoid, to shun, to pract{se religious abstinence, and be, a hereditary corporation. The original function of the Imibe will be understood from the following extract from a Chinese book written not long after the Christian Epoch:—”They (i.e. the Japanese) appoint a man whom they call an ‘abstainer.’ He is not allowed to comb his hair, to wash, to eat meat, or to approach women. When they are fortunate they make him presents, but if they fall ill, or meet with disaster, they set it down to the ‘abstainer’s’ failure to keep his vows, and together they put him tO death.” Compare with this the following paragraph from a recent American newspaper.


Big Bob was a prominent member of the tribe, and claimed to be a “tenanimous” man, which, translated from the Chinook, means an Indian doctor. By Indian superstition a “tenanimous” man is held responsible if any general calamity befalls the tribe. Things had not been going well with the Swinomish Indians for some time. There was much sickness among them, and Big Bob was regarded as responsible for it. So at a meeting of the tribe four Indians were appointed to execute him. The day upon which the murder took place Big Bob was waylaid by four assassins, who seized him, held him, and cut his throat from ear to ear. The red men were arrested and bound over for murder by the Justice of the Peace of Laconner.”

In the “Nihongi” times the Imibe occupied a subordinate position in performing the ceremonies of Shinto, and at a still later period this term became a mere surname. Vide Satow, “Ancient Rituals,” in “J.A.S.T.,” Vol. VII., Pt. II., p. 126. The Be, or heredilary corporations, were a peculiar institution of Old Japan. This term has been rather inadequately rendered by clan, tribe, or guild. But they differed from clans, as it was not even supposed that there was any tie of blood-relationship between the various classes of members. And if we call them guilds we lose sight of their hereditary character, and of the fact that they were essentially branches of the Government. Perhaps if we imagine the staff of one of our dockyards in which the director and officials should be drawn from the governing class, the artisans being serfs, and the whole having a more or less hereditary character, we shall have a tolerable idea of a Be. The origin of some, as of the Imibe, is lost in antiquity, but many were instituted in historical times, and for all manner of objects. There were Be of weavers (Oribe), of figured-stuff weavers (Ayabe), of executioners (Osakabe), of fishers (Amabe), of farmers (Tanabe), of clay-workers (Hasebe or Hashibe), and many more. The sole function of some was to perpetuate the name of a childless Emperor or Empress. The local habitation of these corporations was also called Be, just as our word admiralty may mean either a body of officials or the building where they discharge their duties. This accounts for the frequency with which this termination occurs in names of places. A familiar example is Kobe, the open port in the Inland Sea. Kobe is for Kami-be, and meant originally the group of peasants allotted to the service of a Deity (of Ikuta?), and hence the village where they lived. A good number of Japanese surnames contain the same termination. O-bito is a title of nobility, perhaps for Oho-bito, great man. It is represented by a Chinese character which means head or chief.

  1. The Sakaki or Cleyera Japonica, is the sacred tree of the Shinto religion. It is used in Shinto religious ceremonies at the present day.
  2. Mt. Kagu is the name of a mountain in Yamato. It is here supposed to have a counterpart in Heaven.
  3. In Japanese yata-kagami, which is literally “eight-hand mirror.” The word ta (for te, hand) may here be a measure of length, an explanation which is favoured by the Chinese character used for it in the “Nihongi.” The hand is a hand’s length, not a hand’s breadth, as with us. The yata-kagami would therefore be “a mirror of large size.” There are ancient mirrors in Japan with a number of suzu or bells projecting round them, or of an octagonal shape, and I am disposed to think that the epithet yata has reference to this peculiarity, the corners or projections being taken for handles. Compare the analogous word Yatagarasu (Index).It is said to be this mirror which is worshipped at Ise as an emblem of the Sun-Goddess. See Satow’s “Handbook,” second edit., p. 176.
  1. The blue were of hempen cloth, and the white of the paper-mulberry cloth. By blue probably the colour of undyed hempen stuff is meant. The Japanese word awo, blue, is used very loosely. Some take soft in the metaphorical sense of “propitiatory.” These offerings are the originals of the Gohei, or strips of paper wreathed round a wand, which are now seen set up in every Shinto shrine.
  2. Terrible female of Heaven.
  3. Monkey-female.
  4. This is said to be the origin of the Kagura or pantomimic dance now performed at Shinto festivals.
  5. The braces or shoulder straps were to support a tray for carrying things, and so assist the arms. The Japanese word is tasuki, which means assistance.
  6. A prototype of the nihabi (courtyard fires) of later Shinto worship.
  7. The “Nihongi” strangely omits to say that, as we learn from the “Kojiki,” she danced on this and made it give out a sound.
  8. In Hirata’s version of the ancient mythical narrative, he introduces here an incantation said in the “Kiujiki” to have been taught by the Sun-Goddess to Ninigi no Mikoto, but stated in the “Ko-go-jiui” to have come down originally from Uzume no Mikoto. It consists of the syllables Hito-futa-mi-yo-itsu-mu-nana-ya-kokono-tari, which Hirata has tried hard to extract some meaning out of. Hito, he says, is man, futa, the lid, i.e. the door of the rock-cave, miyo is the imperative of miru, to see, this phrase meaning “Look! ye Gods at the door!” and so on. That these words are now simply the numerals from one to ten cannot be denied, but this, he argues, is a later application. The “Kojiki” gives other details of the conduct of this Goddess which the “Nihongi” draws a veil over.
  9. ‘These Gods’ names were properly Koyane no Mikoto and Futo-dama no Mikoto (see above), but here the names of their human descendants are substituted.
  10. Shiri-kume-naha, now called shime-naha, a rope made of straw of rice which has been pulled up by the roots. See Ch. K., p. 59.
  11. By tables are meant tables of offerings, as in the illustrations.
  12. Young-Sun-female, a younger sister of the Sun-Goddess.
  13. i.e. died.
  14. Lit. a black heart.
  15. The meaning is doubtful, as also whether this Deity is a God or a Goddess.
  16. i.e. ropes drawn along the divisions of the rice-fields in token of ownership.
  17. See above, p. 41.
  18. Of cloth.
  19. Rich-jewel.
  20. Mountain-god.
  21. Moor-god.
  22. No very satisfactory explanation is given by the commentators of this sentence. Hirata understands the things abhonrent of luck, etc., to be things required for the purification service.
  23. Easy to cultivate, says the “Shukai” editor.
  24. Mura-ahase, a term of doubtful meaning. Motowori suggests that for ahase weshould read yori. The meaning then would be rice-fields adjoining the village. Accommodation land, as we should say.
  25. Obstructed with stumps of wood.
  26. Exposed to inundation.
  27. Exposed to drought?
  28. The “Shiki” explains that combs were stuck up in the rice-field with words of incantation, so that if anyone wrongly claimed the fields he might be destroyed. “The present custom of setting up combs in rice-fields whose ownership is disputed arose perhaps from this.”
  29. The curved jewels are the well-known maga-tama, numbers of which have been preserved. They are made of chalcedony, jasper, nephrite, chrysophrase, serpentine, steatite, crystal, etc. Some of these materials are not found in Japan.
  30. Made of the bark of the paper-mulberry.
  31. The word harahi or harahe not only means purification, but an indemnity or “damages” paid by an offender. “Expiatory fine” would, perhaps, be a good rendering here. See Index—Purgation.
  32. Referring to a superstition, not confined to Japan, as to cutting the nails on particular days and burying the parings.
  33. Yomi, or Hades.
  34. Or Miya-tsu-ko, originally provincial governors, afterwards hereditary local nobles.
  35. In Hitachi.
  36. Foot-stroke-elder.
  37. Hand-stroke-elder. These names refer to the caressing of the young girl by her parents.
  38. Kushi-nada-hime. Wondrous Inada-princess.
  39. Eight — in Japanese yatsu. This word is here used as a numeral. But in many places in the old Japanese literature it must be taken in what I regard as its primary sense of “many,” “several,” as in the word yatagarasu—the many-handed crow — which had really only three claws. In Corean the word yörö, which means many, is, I think, the same root that we have in yöl, ten — words which are probably identical with the Japanese yatsu. The Japanese word yorodzu, myriad, belongs to the same group.
  40. Sake is an intoxicating liquor brewed from rice.
  41. Hirata thinks that the akakagachi, here translated, on the authority of the “Original Commentary,” by “red winter-cherry,” was really a kind of snake.
  42. The grass-mower. See Index—Kusa-nagi.
  43. The sword of the gathering clouds of Heaven.
  44. It is hardly necessary to point out the resemblance of this story to that of Perseus and Andromeda, and many others.
  45. Suga means pure, fresh.
  46. Fierce.
  47. In the original—

Ya-kumo tatsu

ldzu-mo ya-he-gaki:

Tsuma-gome ni

Ya-he-gaki tsukuru—

Sono ya-he-gaki wo!

This poem is also given in the “Kojiki” (Ch. K. p. 64), with the slight variant of tsuma-gomi for tsuma-gome in the third line, which makes it intransitive instead of transitive. Idzumo is written with two characters which mean “issuing clouds,” as if it were idzuru kumo. The poem no doubt alludes to this meaning and also to the name of the province, but it seems probable that the primary signification of idzumo here is that given in the translation. The true derivation of ldzumo, as the name of the province, is probably idzu, sacred, and mo, quarter. Idzu-mo is for idzure-mo, as so-mo is for sore-mo. It has the same meaning, I think, in a poem given below (“Reign of Kenzō,” xv. II). This verse of poetry is undoubtedly old, but the regularity of the metre which is a tanka (short poetry) of thirty-one syllables, and its allusive character, point to a somewhat later date than many of the other poems contained in the “Nihongi.” The fact that it is here relegated to a note is some corroboration of this view. The poems in this work are translated so that a line of the English version corresponds to a line of Japanese, but it has not always been possible to preserve the original order of the lines.

  1. The interlinear version has kumi-do ni mito no makuai shite. Kumi-do is no doubt the special nuptial hut above referred to. Mito is “august-place” according to Hirata, and is another word for the kumi-do. This phrase, which is taken from the “Kojiki,” probably denotes legitimate nuptial, as opposed to casual intercourse. But the Chinese original has nothing of the sort. It has been already observed that the erection of a special building for the consummation of the marriage had a ceremonial as well as a practical significance.
  1. Or Oho-na-muji, or Oho-na-mochi, Great-name-possessor. This Deity, one of the most prominent of the Japanese Pantheon, has numerous names (Hirata mentions seven). The derivation is not quite clear. See Ch. K., p. 67.
  2. The same word (miya) means also shrine.
  3. Shrine/Palace Master.
  4. Susa, name of place; yatsu, eight or many; mi, august; mi, body or abstract termination.
  5. Master of the hot-spring mountain of Suga.
  6. Three name-monkey (?) prince-mountain-bamboo-grass.
  7. Suga-of-attach-name-pass-light-prince-eight-island.
  8. Eight-island-moor.
  9. Great-country-master-god. Identified by Hirata with Oho-na-muji, also with one of the ichi-fuku-jin, or Seven Gods of Happiness, named Dai-koku-sama.
  10. Foot-stroke-hand-stroke.
  11. Shintō priests. Atsuta is near Nagoya.
  12. Worochi means serpent; ara, rough; masa, true.
  13. In Bizen.
  14. True-hair-touch-wondrous-Inada-princess.
  15. I.e. to take to wife.
  16. Note that the mother as well as the father was consulted.
  17. Serpent’s Kara-blade. Kara is that part of the present province of Kyöng-syang-do in Corea which lies S.W. of the Naktong River. But the word is used loosely for all Corea, and in modern times even for China. See Early Japanese History in “J.A.S.T.,” Vol. XVI. Pt. I., p. 43. It was called Mimana by the Japanese.
  18. The Kambe or Kami-be were the group of peasants charged with the care of a Shintō shrine.
  19. Fifty-courageous.
  20. The eastern of the three kingdoms into which Corea was formerly divided.
  21. This is the traditional Kana pronunciation. It is not clear whether this is the name of a person or a place. Mori may be the Corean moi, mountain.
  22. Fly-cutter.
  23. Corea.
  24. The meritorious God.
  25. Kiï or Ki means tree.
  26. Shima usually means island, but in this and other places must be rendered “region.”
  27. A kind of pine.
  28. Maki, a kind of pine.
  29. Ships.
  30. Or Shintō shrines.
  31. Great-house.
  32. Written with a Chinese character which means nail or hoof.
  33. Probably Mount Kumano in Idzumo. It adjoins the Suga mentioned above as the residence of Sosa no wo. See Index—Kuma-nari.
  34. Great-country-master.
  35. Great-thing-master.
  36. Country-make great-name-possessor.
  37. The ugly male of the reed-plain.
  38. Eight thousand spears.
  39. Great-country-jewel.
  40. Apparent-country-jewel.
  41. Calamities (wazahahi) are defined by Hirata as injuries which come to us from the unseen world. By beasts wild beasts are meant. In addition to the real injuries caused by them, we must remember that in Japan all manner of imaginary effects are attributed to the enchantments of foxes and badgers. One of the Norito (rituals) mentions calamities of birds flying in by the smoke-hole in the roof — perhaps because their droppings polluted the food which was being cooked. The term hafu mushi (creeping things) includes both insects and reptiles. The stings of wasps, centipedes, and vipers are doubtless meant. The ancient Japanese houses, slight structures often built in pits, would be especially obnoxious to such calamities. Possibly also the injury to the crops and to domestic animals by insects and snakes may be referred to. It should be remembered, too, that the Japanese suppose many ailments, such as toothache and children’s convulsions, to be owing to mushi, and these are no doubt to be included in the hafu mushi no wazahahi. Hirata remarks that it is the opinion of the men of the Western Ocean that by examining ringworm (called in Japanese ta-mushi, i.e. rice-field insect), itch and other diseases under a microscope, it would appear that they are due to the presence of exceedingly small insects. It would also appear, he says, from a work recently published, that the human body is full of such animalcules. The words “prevention and control” are rendered in the interlinear kana by Majinahi, i.e. witchcraft, including incantations, etc. Possibly the author had in mind the Oho-harahi, which deprecates “calamities of creeping things” and of “high birds.” Here is a modern majinahi directed against hafu mushi. If you wish to keep your house free from ants, all you have to do is to put up a notice at the place where they come in, “Admittance, one cash each person.” The economical ant goes no further. Yamada in his dictionary defines majinahi as “the keeping off of calamity by the aid of the supernatural power of Gods and Buddhas.”
  1. In Idzumo.
  2. Toko-yo no kuni. The Japanese scholar Arawi identifies this with a province in the East of Japan, now called Hitachi.
  3. Descendants are here meant. Kimi is simply Lord.
  4. Tatara is said to be the name of a plant. Isuzu (fifty bells) is the name of the site of the Inner Shrine at Ise.
  5. Sea-monster is in Japanese wani. It is written with a Chinese character which means, properly, crocodile, but that meaning is inadmissible in these old legends, as the Japanese who originated them can have known nothing of this animal. The wani, too, inhabits the sea and not rivers, and is plainly a mythical creature. Satow and Anderson have noted that the wani is usually represented in art as a dragon, and Toyo-tama-hime (see Index), who in one version of the legend changes into a wani, as her true form, at the moment of child-birth, according to another changes into a dragon. Now Toyo-tama-hime was the daughter of the God of the Sea. This suggests that the latter is one of the Dragon-Kings familiar to Chinese (see Mayers’ Manual, p. 142) and Corean fable who inhabit splendid palaces at the bottom of the sea. It is unnecessary here to follow the Dragon-Kings into Indian myth, where they appear under the form of the Nàga Râdja or Cobra-Kings. The reader who wishes to do so should consult Anderson’s British Museum Catalogue, p. 50. Chamberlain has remarked that “the whole story of the Sea-God’s palace has a Chinese ting about it, and the cassia-tree mentioned in it is certainly Chinese.” Is it possible that wani is for the Corean wang-i, i.e. “the King,” i being the Corean definite particle, as in zeni, fumi, yagi, and other Chinese words which reached Japan viâ Corea? We have the same change of ng into n in the name of the Corean who taught Chinese to the Japanese Prince Imperial in Ojin Tennō’s reign. It is Wang-in in Corean, but was pronounced Wani by the Japanese. Wani occurs several times as a proper name in the “Nihongi.” Bear (in Japanese kuma) is no doubt an epithet indicating size, as in kuma-bachi, bear-bee or bear-wasp, i.e. a hornet; kuma-gera, a large kind of wood-pecker, etc.
  1. Mizo-kuhi means water-channel pile. Tama-kushi is jewel-comb.
  2. Otherwise called Jimmu Tennō. See below, beginning of Book III.
  3. Some plant, very likely having gourd-shaped fruit. Vide Ch. K., p. 85.
  4. The “Kojiki” says goose skins. The wren was no doubt substituted as more in accordance with the dwarfish stature of Sukuna-bikona. Dr. Schlegel in his “Problèmes Géographiques” mentions a Chinese notice of a Han-ming-kuo, the inhabitants of which sew together skins of birds for clothing. He identifies this country with the Kuriles, where modern travellers have found this to be the custom. The bird whose skins are thus used is the Procellaria gracilis (petrel).
  1. Sukuna-bikona is a popular God at the present day. Hirata has devoted two volumes (the “Shidzu no ihaya”) to a glorification of him as the inventor of medicine and of the art of brewing sake under the name of Kushi no Kami. The “Kojiki” relates his legend somewhat differently. See Ch. K., p. 85. Sukuna means small (in modern Japanese few) and bikona is honorific. Hirata identifies Sukuna-bikona with Yebisu and Oho-na-mochi with Daikoku. See Anderson’s B. M. Catalogue, p. 36. All these identifications, of which Hirata is profuse, are somewhat problematical.



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