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The Kojiki, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain, [1919], at

p. 121 [100]


Hereupon the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity said: "Which Deity were it best to send on a fresh mission?" 1 Then the Deity Thought-Includer and likewise all the Deities said: "He who is named the Deity Majestic-Point-Blade-Extended 2 and dwells in the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling by the source of the Tranquil River of Heaven, is the one that should be sent: or if not this Deity, then this Deity's child, the Brave-Awful-Possessing-Male-Deity, 3 might be sent. Moreover, 4 owing to this Deity Heavenly-Point-Blade-Extended having blocked up and turned back the waters of the Tranquil River of Heaven, and to his dwelling with the road blocked up, other Deities cannot go [thither]. So the Heavenly-Deer-Deity 5 should be sent specially to ask him." So then the Heavenly-Deer-Deity was sent to ask the Deity Heaven-Point-Blade-Extended, who replied, saying: "I will obey, and will respectfully serve you. Nevertheless on this errand 6 ye should send my 7 child, the Brave-Awful-Possessing-Male-Deity," 8—[and with these words] immediately offered [his son to Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity]. So the Deity Heavenly-Bird-Boat 9 was attached to the Brave-Awful-Possessing-Male-Deity, and they were sent off. Therefore these two Deities, descending to the little shore 10 of Inasa 11 in the land of Idzumo, [101] drew their swords ten hand-breadths long, 12 stuck them upside down 13 on the crest of a wave, seated themselves cross-legged 14 on the points of the swords, and asked the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land, saying "The Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity and the High-Integrating-Deity

p. 122

have charged us and sent us to ask, [saying]: 'We have deigned to charge our august child with thy dominion, the Central Land of Reed-Plains, as the land which he should govern. So how is thy heart?'" 15 He replied, saying: "I 16 am unable to say. My child the Deity Eight-Fold-Thing-Sign-Master 17 will be the one to tell you; but he is gone to Cape Miho 18 to pursue birds and catch fish, and has not yet returned." So then the Deity Bird-Boat was sent to summon the Deity Eight-Fold-Thing-Sign-Master, who, on being graciously asked, spoke to the Great Deity his father, saying: "I will obey. [Do thou] 19 respectfully present this land to the august child of the Heavenly Deity;"—and thereupon he trod on [the edge of] his boat so as to capsize it, clapped his heavenly departing hands in the fence of green branches, and disappeared. 20 So then they asked [102] the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land, saying: "Thy son the Deity Thing-Sign-Master has now spoken thus. Hast thou other sons who should speak?" Hereupon he spoke again, saying: "There is my other son, the Deity Brave-August-Name-Firm. 21 There is none beside him." While he was thus speaking, the Deity Brave-August-Name-Firm came up, bearing on the tips of his fingers a thousand-draught rock, 22 and said: "Who is it that has come to our land, and thus secretly talks? If that be so, 23 I should like to have a trial of strength. So I should like to begin by taking thine august hand." So on his letting him take his august hand, his touch at once turned it into an icicle, and again his touch turned it into a sword-blade. 24 So then he was frightened and drew back. Then on the Brave-Awful-Possessing-Male-Deity wishing to take the hand of the Deity

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[paragraph continues] Brave-August-Name-Firm, and asking permission to take it in return, he grasped and crushed it as if it were taking a young reed, and cast it aside, upon which [the Deity Brave-August-Name-Firm] fled away. So when [the Brave-Awful-Possessing-Male-Deity] pursuing after him, came up with him at the Sea of Suha 25 in the land of Shinanu, 26 and was about to slay him, the Deity Brave-August-Name-Firm said: "I will obey. Slay me not. I will go to no other place but this, neither will I go against the command of my father the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land. I will not go against the words of the Deity Eight-Fold-Thing-Sign-Master. I Will yield up this Central Land of Reed-Plains according to the command of the august child of the Heavenly Deities." So they returned again, and asked the Deity Master-of-the Great-Land [saying]: "Thy children the two Deities the Deity Thing-Sign-Master and the Deity Brave-August-Name-Firm have said that they will follow and not go against the commands of the august child of the Heavenly Deities. So how is thy heart?" Then he replied, saying: According as the two Deities my children have said, I too will not go against them. In accordance with the [heavenly] command, I will at once yield up this Central Land of Reed-Plains. But as to my place of residence, if ye will make stout the temple pillars on the nethermost rock-bottom, and make high the cross-beams to the Plain of High Heaven like the rich and perfect august nest where the august child of the Heavenly Deities rules the succession of Heaven's sun, and will deign to establish me, I will hide in the eighty (less than a hundred) road-windings, and wait on him. Again, as for my children the hundred and eighty Deities, if the

p. 124

[paragraph continues] Deity Eight-Fold-Thing-Sign-Master will be the Deities, august rear and van and will respectfully serve them, [104] there will be no disobedient Deities." 27 Having thus spoken [he hid himself. 28 So in accordance with his word, 29] they built a heavenly august abode on the shore 30 of Tagishi 31 in the land of Idzumo; and the Deity Wondrous-Eight-Spirits, 32 grandson of the Deity Of Water-Gates, 33 was made butler to offer up the heavenly august banquet, when, 34 having said prayers, the Deity Wondrous-Eight-Spirits turned into a cormorant, went down to the bottom of the sea, took in his mouth red earth from the bottom, made eighty heavenly platters, and, cutting sea-weed 35 stalks, made a fire-drill mortar, and made a fire-drill pestle out of stalks of komo36 and drilled out fire, saying: "This fire which I have drilled [105] will I burn until, in the Plain of High Heaven, the soot on the heavenly new lattice of the gable of His Augustness the Wondrous-Divine-Producer-the-August-Ancestor 37 hang down eight hand-breadths; and as for what is below the earth, I will bake down to the nethermost rock-bottom, and,—the fishing sailors, who spread their thousand-fathom ropes of paper-mulberry and angle, having with many shouts drawn in and landed the large-mouthed small-finned perch,—I will offer up the heavenly true fish-food so that the split bamboos bend." 38 So the Brave-Awful-Possessing-Male-Deity re-ascended [to Heaven], and reported how he had subdued and pacified the Central Land of Reed-Plains.

p. 125 p. 126 p. 127


121:1 p. 124 Literally, "to send again."

121:2 Itsu-no-wo-ha-bari no kami. We have already seen (Sect. VIII, Note 15) this name (minus the title of Deity) as the appellation of the sword with which Izanagi ("the Male-Who-Invites") decapitated his son p. 125 Kagu-tsu-chi ("Shining Elder") for having by his birth caused the death of Izanami ("the Female-Who-Invites.") This sword's alternative name appears immediately below as the alternative name of this deity,—Ame-no-wo-ha-bari-no-kami, i.e., "the Deity Heavenly-Point-Blade-Extended." Motowori's gloss to the effect that the deity was the spirit of the sword has no warrant from the text.

121:3 Take-mika-dzu-chi-no-wo-no-kami. See Sect. VIII, Note 7.

121:4 Here, as in Sect. IX, (Note 6) the character , "moreover," occurs where some other Conjunction would seem more appropriate both in Japanese and in English. We may here understand it to be used for but."

121:5 Ame-no-kaku-no-kami. The interpretation of kaku as "deer" is Hirata's. See his "Exposition of the Ancient Histories," Vol. XXII, p. 6. and conf. the remarks on Mount Kagu in Sect. VII, Note 12 of this translation.

121:6 Literally, "in this road."

121:7 The First Personal Pronoun is here represented by the humble character , "servant"

121:8 See Sect. VIII, Note 7.

121:9 Tori-bune-no-kami. See Sect. VI, Note 24.

121:10 The word "little" is merely a sort of Honorific Expletive.

121:11 The true etymology of this word is doubtful; for Motowori's proposal to derive it from ina se, supposed to mean "no, or yes" ( ), in allusion to the question here put to the Deity Master-of-the-Great-land is a mere fancy, and does not provide for the alternative forms Itasa and Isasa, which occur in other documents.

121:12 See Sect. VIII, Note 1.

121:13 I.e., as Motowori explains, hilt downwards.

121:14 The "Chronicles" say that they "squatted."

122:15 I.e., "What sayest thou to this our decree?

122:16 Here and below the humble character , "servant," is used for the First Personal Pronoun.

122:17 Ya-he-koto-shiro-nu-shi-no-kami. For this difficult name see Sect. XXVI, Note 7.

122:18 See Sect. XXVII, Note 1.

122:19 Or, "We will."

122:20 I.e., He capsized his boat and himself into the sea,—the place being one where (as is still done in Japan) a large space of shallow water had been fenced in with posts, and stuck over with branches of p. 126 trees, a single opening being left for fish to enter by,—then clapped his hands in token of departure, and sank to the bottom.—This is Hirata's interpretation of the passage, which is a difficult one, and is differently understood by Motowori, whom Mr. Satow has followed in one of his notes to the Rituals (see Vol. VII, Pt. II, p. 122 of these "Transactions"), rendering it thus: "He then trod upon the edge of his boat so as to overturn it and with his hands crossed back to back (in token of consent), transformed his boat into a green fence of branches, and disappeared." A careful comparison of the remarks in Motowori's Commentary (Vol. XIV, pp. 16-19) with those in Hirata's "Exposition of the Ancient Histories" (Vol. XXII, pp. 50-55) and with the text itself, as also with the text of the parallel passage in the "Chronicles," has however left no doubt in the mind of the translator that Hirata's view is the correct one.

122:21 Take-mi-gata-no-kami. The interpretation of the name is that proposed by Motowori.

122:22 I.e., a rock which it would take a thousand men to lift.

122:23 This expression seems here, as Motowori says, to be used in the sense of "Come on!" It has survived in the modern word saraba, which sometimes has that meaning.

122:24 I.e., the Brave-Awful-Male-Deity's hand turned first into an icicle and next into a sword-blade on being touched by the Deity Brave-August-Name-Firm, to the alarm and hurt of the latter.

123:25 I.e., the Lake of Suha. No satisfactory etymology of the name is forthcoming.

123:26 In later times called Shinano. The usual derivation of the word is that which connects it with shina-zaka; "mountainous ascents,"—an appropriate enough name for the province in question. It is, however. more probably derived from shina, the name of a tree resembling the lime (Tilia cordata) and nu or no, "moor."

124:27 I.e. "If ye will build me a temple founded on the nethermost rocks and reaching up to Heaven like unto the august residence of the Heavenly Deity who is coming to replace me as sovereign upon earth, I will vanish to Hades, and serve him there; and as for the Gods my children, none of them will rebel against their new Lord, if the Deity Thing-Sign-Master be accepted as the protector of his escort."—Some of the expressions in the original stand in need of explanation. Su, here rendered "nest" in accordance with the character employed in writing it, may mean "lattice" ( ), and refer to the lattice-work over the hole p. 127 in the chimney of the roof. The "succession of Heaven's sun" (in Japanese ama-tsu-hi-tsugi) means the inheritance of the sovereignty of Japan, or of Idzumo. Momotaradzu ("less than a hundred") is the Pillow-Word for ya se, "eighty," and for some other words; it must he disregarded in making sense of any sentence in which it occurs. The "eighty road-windings" signify, says Motowori, "an immensely long way," and are here meant for the long road leading to Hades or for Hades itself (Conf. Sect. XCVI, Note 7). In rendering the last sentence of the passage (that commencing "Again, as for my children," etc.). which is particularly vague, the translator has been guided by Motowori's opinion, which seems the most satisfactory one. It must be understood that the deities whose rear and van the Deity Thing-Sign-Master is to become, are those who are about to escort the new sovereign down from heaven.

124:28 I.e., disappeared.

124:29 The passage placed within brackets is supplied by Motowori to fill up an evident omission in the text.

124:30 Literally "little shore." See Note 10 to this Section.

124:31 The derivation of Tagishi is doubtful; but conf. Sect. LXXIX, Note 2. Motowori remarks that we seem to have here the old name of the place now known only, on account of the temple which it contains, as Kidzuki no Oho-yashiro, i.e. "the pestle-hardened great shrine."

124:32 Kushi-ya-tama-no-kami. Motowori proposes to consider tama as a contraction of tamuke, "offering," and to take the name to signify "the Deity of Wondrous Increasing Offerings." Hirata's interpretation, which is followed in the translation, seems better, as the term "eight spirits" or "eight [fold] spirit" accords with the religious role attributed to this Deity without necessitating any hazardous philological conjectures. The actual character used to write the disputed word is , "jewel."

124:33 See Sect. VI, Note 9.

124:34 The word "when" must be understood presumptively, as signifying that the way in which he carried out his task was by turning into a cormorant, making platters, etc.

124:35 It is uncertain whether the word me ( ), here rendered seaweed, is a general designation or the name of the particular species.

124:36 Supposed to be the same as, or similar to the modern hondahara (Halochola macrantha).

124:37 Kamu-musu-bi-mi-oya-no-kami.

124:38 The translator has followed Moribe in the interpretation of the first part and Hirata in the interpretation of the latter part of this extremely difficult passage, which is a crux to all the commentators, but p. 128 whose general sense at least is this: "I will continue drilling fire for the God's kitchen, until the soot hangs down from the roof of the temple of the Ancestral Deity in Heaven above, and until the earth below is baked down to its nethermost rocks; and with the fire thus drilled will I cook for him the fish brought in by the fishermen, and present them to him in baskets woven of split bamboos which will bend beneath their weight."—Another plausible interpretation of the original expression rendered by these last two words is that they are simply the Pillow-Word for towowo-towowo ni, "bending." The rope with which the fishermen are supposed to have angled is described in detail by Hirata ("Exposition of the Ancient Histories," Vol. XXIV, p. 21) as a long rope from which other strings, each with a hook attached, depended, and is said by him to be still in use in the provinces of Shimofusa (Shimōsa) and Hitachi. The "lattice of the gable" must be understood to mean bamboo lattice covering a hole beneath the gable, which served as a chimney. Motowori's remarks on this passage will be found in Vol. XIV, pp. 39-42 of his Commentary, and Moribe's on the words to-daru ama no nihi-su (rendered "on the heavenly new lattice of the gable") in his "Examination of Difficult Words," Vol. II. pp. 26-29; the latter especially are well worth perusal by the student. Mr. Satow, in one of the notes to his translation of the Rituals, (See Vol. IX, Pt. II, p. 209 of these "Transactions"), gives a somewhat divergent rendering of this passage, following, as he does, the interpretation given by Motowori. It is as follows: "The fire which I have drilled will I burn until the soot of the rich and sufficing heavenly new nest of the PARENT Kami-musubi in heaven hangs down many hand-breadths long, and the earth below will I bake down to its bottom-most rocks, and stretching a thousand fathoms of paper-mulberry rope, will draw together and bring ashore the fisherman's large-mouthed small-finned suzuki, [and] will offer up the heavenly fish-food on bending split bamboos."

Next: Section XXXIII.—The August Descent from Heaven of His Augustness the August Grandchild