Sacred Texts  Shinto  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 159 [130]

VOL. II. 1


The two Deities His Augustness Kamu-yamato-ihare-biko 3 and his elder brother His Augustness Itsu-se, dwelling in the palace of Takachiho. 4 took counsel, saying: "By dwelling in what place shall we [most] quietly carry on the government of the Empire? 5 It were probably best to go east." Forthwith they left Himuka 6 on their progress 7 to Tsukushi. 8 So when they arrived at Usa 9 in the Land of Toyo, 10 two of the natives, whose names were Usa-tsu-hiko and Usa-tsu-hime 11 built a

p. 160

palace raised on one foot, 12 and offered them a great august banquet. Removing thence, they dwelt for one [131] year at the palace of Wokoda 13 in Tsukushi. Again making a progress up 14 from that land, they dwelt seven years at the palace of Takeri 15 in the land of Agi. 16 Again removing, and making a progress up from that land, they dwelt eight years at the palace of Takashima 17 in Kibi. 18 So when they made their progress up from that land, they met in the Hayasuhi 19 Channel a person riding towards them on the carapace of a tortoise, and raising his wings 20 as he angled. Then they called to him to approach, and asked him, saying: "Who art thou?" He replied, saying: "I 21 am an Earthly Deity. 22" Again they asked him, saying: "Knowest thou the sea-path?" He replied, saying: "I know it well." Again they asked him, saying: "Wilt thou follow and respectfully serve us?" He replied, saying: "I will respectfully serve you." So they pushed a pole 23 across to him, drew him into the august vessel, and forthwith conferred [132] on him the designation of Sawa-ne-tsu-hiko 24 (This is the ancestor of the Rulers of the land of Yamato.25 So when they went up from that land they passed the Namihaya 26 Crossing, and brought up at the haven of Shirakata. 27 At this time Nagasune-biko 28 of Tomi 29 raised an army, and waited to go out to fight [against them]. Then they took the shields that had been put in the august vessel, and disembarked. So they called that place by the name of Tate-dzu. 30 It is what is now called the Tadetsu of Kusaka. 31 Therefore when fighting with the Prince of Tomi, 32 His Augustness Itsu-se was pierced in his august hand by the Prince of Tomi's hurtful arrow. 33 So then he said: "It is not right for me, an august

p. 161

child of the Sun-Deity, to fight facing the sun. It is for this reason that I am stricken by the wretched villain's 34 hurtful hand. I will henceforward turn round, and smite him with my back to the sun." Having [thus] decided, he, on making a progress round from the southern side, reached the sea of Chinu, 35 and washed the blood on his august hand: so it is called the sea of Chinu. 36 Making a progress round from thence, and arriving at the river-mouth of Wo 37 in the land of Ki, 38 he said: "Ah! that I should die stricken by the wretched villain's hand!" and expired 39 as a valiant man. 40 So that river-mouth was called the river mouth of Wo. 41 The Mausoleum, too, is on Mount Kama 42 in the land of Ki.

p. 162 p. 163


159:1 p. 161 Literally, "Middle Volume," there being three in all. See Author's Preface, Note 1.

159:2 Jim-mu signifies "divine valour." It is the "canonical name" of the Emperor Kamu-yamato-ihare-biko (see Introduction, p. xiv).

159:3 In the preceding Section this name was rendered "Divine-Yamato-Ihare-Prince." But in the translation of Vols. II and III of this work, the Japanese proper names are not Englished, unless there be a special reason for so doing. (See Introduction, pp. xviii and xix.)

159:4 See Sect. XXXIV, Note 5.

159:5 See Sect. XXVII, Note 13.

159:6 See Sect. X, Note 4.

159:7 The Japanese expression here used is one which exclusively denotes an Imperial Progress, and not the movements of lesser people. It recurs perpetually in this and the following Volume.

159:8 See Sect. V, Note 14.

159:9 Etymology uncertain.

159:10 See Sect. V, Note 17.

159:11 I.e., Prince of Usa and Princess of Usa.

160:12 In the original, , read asks hito-tsu agari no miya. The parallel passage of the "Chronicles" has which is directed to be read in the same manner. (hashira) however means, not "foot," but "pillar "; and the commentators understand both passages to allude p. 162 to a single pillar, which supported the weight of the entire building,—either as being in the middle of it, or (as Motowori opines) by standing in the water, the edifice, according to this view, being built on a river-bank overhanging the stream.

160:13 This name signifies "hillock rice-field."

160:14 Q.d. towards Yamato, the province where the capital was eventually fixed. In Japanese, as in English, people are said to go of to the capital and down to the country.

160:15 Etymology uncertain.

160:16 Etymology uncertain. This name is better known (without the nigori of the second syllable) as Aki. Aki is one of the provinces on the northern shore of the Inland Sea.

160:17 This name signifies "high island."

160:18 Etymology uncertain. Kibi is the name of a province.

160:19 This name signifies "quick sucking."

160:20 I.e., as Motowori supposes, beckoning by waving his sleeve.

160:21 The First Personal Pronoun is represented by the humble character , "servant."

160:22 See Sect. I, Note 11. Motowori wishes us here to understand this expression to mean "I am a Deity (i.e. a person) of the country-side." But there is no sufficient reason for departing from the precedent of rendering the characters , which are constantly used antithetically to , by "Earthly Deity" (as opposed to "Heavenly Deity.") Motowori likewise proposes to append to this sentence the clause "and my name is Udzu-biko," which is found in the "Chronicles." The name may be taken to signify "precious prince."

160:23 The characters are evidently, as Motowori says, meant to represent the Japanese word sawo, "pole," though they do not properly convey that meaning. Probably they are corrupt.

160:24 I.e., if we suppress the syllable ne, which seems to be either Expletive or Honorific, the "prince of the pole."

160:25 Yamato no kuni no Miyadzuko.

160:26 This is the reading of the name preferred by Mabuchi and Motowori; but the usual form Naniha seems to be at least as well supported by early documentary evidence. The "Chronicles" tell us that the place was called Nani-haya , i.e. "wave swift," in allusion to the strong current which the Emperor Jim-mu here encountered; and at the present day it is still a dangerous place for navigation. The name properly denotes the water at the mouth of the River Yodo, on p. 163 which stands the modern town of Ohosaka (Ōzaka), for whose name Naniha is still often used as a poetical synonym. , "wave flowers," and , "dangerous waves," are alternative ways of writing it.

160:27 Motowori says that he cannot explain the etymology of this word; but "white sandbank" would seem a simple and obvious derivation. The Shirakata here mentioned is, according to Motowori, that situated in the province of Idzumo.

160:28 I.e., the Prince of Nagasune. A plausible interpretation of nagasune would be "long-shank," which would give us Prince Long-Shank as the name of the worthy here mentioned; but the "Chronicles" states that Nagasune was properly the name of a place. The characters with which it is written, moreover, signify not exactly "long shank," but "long marrow," a designation which would have no evident personal applicability.

160:29 A legend in the "Chronicles" connects the name of this place with the word tobi, "a kite," it being there related that a miraculous gold-coloured kite came and perched on the Emperor Jim-mu's bow, and helped him to the victory. Probably the legend grew out of the name of Tobi, which is obscure and may have had had nothing to do with a "kite "originally.

160:30 I.e., "shield-haven." But conf. next Note.

160:31 The real etymology of Tada-tsu seems to be "knot-grass-haven," and probably Taka-tsu (for Takatsu), which is mentioned in Sect. LXIX, Note 29, is but another form of the same name. Kusaka is a well-known name in the annals of early Japan. Its signification is obscure, and the characters ( ), with which it is written, are particularly curious. There were two Kusaka, one in the province of Kahachi and the other in Idzumi.

160:32 Viz., Nagasune-biko.

160:33 The wording of the original is very curious: Motowori reads it Tomi-bike ga ita-ya wo ohashite. Immediately below we have .

161:34 The character is , properly "slave."

161:35 The most likely derivation of this name is from chi-numa, "eulalia lagoon," the fact that it will also bear the interpretation of "blood-lagoon "being probably but a coincidence of which the mythopoeic faculty took advantage.

161:36 Here written with characters signifying "blood-lagoon."

161:37 p. 164 The characters rendered "river-mouth "are , literally "water. gate; but here, as elsewhere, "river-mouth "seems to be the signification meant to be conveyed. Rivers in Japan, even at the present day, do not bear one continuous name along their entire course, and there would be nothing unnatural in the fact of the water at the mouth of the river having a special designation. One of the significations of wo is "man," and the legendary etymology of the name given immediately below rests on the assumption that such is the meaning of wo in this place. Even Motowori, however, is not satisfied with it, and it is probably erroneous.

161:38 See Sect. XXII, Note 14.

161:39 The Chinese character , which is here used, is one that specially denotes the demise of an Emperor.

161:40 Probably the sense meant to be conveyed is that he expired with a gesture of anger and defiance.

161:41 Here written , "man." Conf. Note 37.

161:42 Kama-yama, i.e. furnace-mountain."

Next: Section XLV.—Emperor Jim-mu (Part II.—The Cross-Sword Sent Down From Heaven).