Nihongi: Endnotes

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  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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