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

p. 233


At this time the Empress 1 was pregnant. Thereupon the Heavenly Sovereign could not restrain [his pity for] the Empress, who was pregnant and whom he had loved for now three years. So he turned his army aside, and did not hasten the attack. During this delay, the august child that she had conceived was born. So having put out the august child and set it outside the rice-castle. she caused [these words( to be said to the Heavenly Sovereign: "If this august child be considered to be [189] the Heavenly Sovereign's august child, let him 2 deign to undertake it." Hereupon the Heavenly Sovereign said: 3 "Although detesting the elder brother, I yet cannot repress my love for the Empress," and forthwith planned to secure the Empress. Wherefore, choosing from among his warriors a band of the strongest and deftest, he charged [them, saying]: "When ye take the august child, likewise abduct the queen its mother. Whether by the hair or by the hands, or wherever ye may best lay hold of her, clutch her and drag her out." Then the Empress, knowing his intention beforehand, shaved off all her hair and covered her head with her hair, and likewise made her jewel-string rotten and wound it thrice round her arm, and moreover made her august garments rotten by means of rice-liquor and put on the garments as if they were whole. Having made these preparations, she took the august child in her arms and pushed it outside the castle. Then the strong men, taking the august child, forthwith clutched at the august parent. Then, on their clutching her august hair, the august hair

p. 234

fell off of itself; on their clutching her august arms, the jewel-string likewise snapped; on their clutching her august garments, the august garments at once tore. Therefore they obtained the august child, but did not get the august parent. So the warriors came back [to the Sovereign], and reported, saying: "On account of her august hair falling off of itself, of her august garments easily tearing, and moreover of the jewel-string which was wound round her august hand at once snapping, we have not got the august parent; but we have obtained the august child." Then the Heavenly Sovereign, sorry and angry, hated the people who made the jewels, [190] and deprived them all of their lands. 4 So the proverb says: "Landless jewels-makers." 5 Again did the Heavenly Sovereign cause 6 the Empress to be told, saying: "A child's name must be given by the mother; by what august name shall this child be called?" Then she replied, saying: "As he was born now at the time of the castle being burnt with fire and in the midst of the fire, it were proper to call him by the august name of Prince 7 Homu-chi-wake." 8 And again he caused her to be asked: "How shall he be reared?" 9 She replied, saying: "He must be reared by taking an august mother 10 and fixing on old bathing-women and young bathing-women." 11 So he was respectfully reared in accordance with the Empress's instructions. Again he asked the Empress, saying: "Who shall loosen the fresh small pendant 12 which thou elitist make fast?" She replied, [191] saying: "It were proper that Ye-hime and Oto-hime, 13 daughters of King Tatasu-michi-no-ushi 14 prince of Taniha, should serve thee, for these two queens are of unsullied parentage." 15 So at last [the Heavenly Sovereign] slew King Saho-biko, and his younger sister followed him. 16

p. 235 p. 236


233:1 p. 235 I.e., Her Augustness Saho-bime, who was the subject of the preceding sentence.

233:2 I.e., the Sovereign. The import of this passage is, according to Motowori, that the Empress imagined that her own conduct might perhaps influence the Emperor to refuse to give the child' she bore him its proper rank,—not from doubts as to its legitimacy, but as having a rebel mother. By "undertaking "the child is of course meant undertaking the care and education of it.

233:3 Motowori supposes the Chinese character rendered "said" to be an error, and prefers to consider this clause as containing not the words, but the thought of the Monarch. It would certainly be more convenient to adopt this view, if it were sanctioned by any text.

234:4 Or, as Motowori prefers to read, "deprived them of all their lands."

234:5 There is nowhere else any reference to this saying. Motowori supposes it to point to those who, hoping for reward, get punishment instead, these jewellers having doubtless rotted the, string on which the beads were strung by special desire of the Empress, whereas they ended by getting nothing but confiscation for their pains.

234:6 Motowori (following Mabuchi) is evidently correct in supposing the character in this place, and again a little further on, to be a copyist's error for , "caused," and the translator has rendered it accordingly,

234:7 "Prince "is here written .

234:8 This name may also be read Ho-muchi-wake, and is in the "Chronicles" given as Ho-muchi-wake while it appears as Homuchi-wake at the commencement of Sect. LXIX. The first two elements apparently signify "fire-possessing;" while wake is the frequently recurring Honorific signifying either "lord "or "young and flourishing."

234:9 Lit., "his days be reverently prolonged." The same expression is repeated thrice below.

234:10 I.e., foster-mother.

234:11 The characters used in the original of this passage would, if they stood alone, be of difficult interpretation. But a comparison with the passage in "One account" of "Chronicles," which relates the nursing of Fuki-ahezu-no-mikoto, the father of the first "Earthly Emperor "Jim-mu, leaves no doubt that the author intended to speak of bathing-women attached to the service of the Imperial infant.

234:12 The words midzu no wo-himo, literally rendered "fresh small pendant," call for some explanation. Midzu, which includes in a single p. 236 term the ideas of youth, freshness, and beauty, is here used as an Honorific. The "small pendant "is interpreted by Mabuchi and Motowori to signify the "inner, girdle" which held together the under-garment of either sex. The old literature of Japan teems with allusions to the custom of lovers or spouses making fast each other's inner girdle, which might not be untied till they met again, and the poets perpetually make a lover ask some such question as "When I am far from thee, who shall loosen my girdle?" The translator cannot refrain from here quoting, for the benefit of the lover of Japanese verse (though he will not attempt to translate them), the two most graceful of the many stanzas from the "Collection of a Myriad Leaves" brought together by Motowori to illustrate this passage:

Wagimoko ga
     Yuhiteshi himo wo
Tokame ye mo:
     Toyeba tayu to mo
     Tada ni afu made ni,
Unabara wo
     Tohoku watarite
Toshi-fu to-mo
     Ko-ra ga musuberu
     Himo toku na yume.

Tanigaha Shisei also appropriately quotes the following:

Futari shite
     Musubiski himo wo
     Hitori shite
Ware ha toki-mizhi
     Tada ni afu made ha.

a literal rendering of which would run thus: "I will not, till we meet face to face, loosen alone the girdle which we two tied together."

234:13 I.e., the "Elder Princess and the Younger Princess."

234:14 Motowori is probably right in explaining tatasu as the Honorific Causative of tatsu, "to stand" and michi no ushi as michi-nushi or kuni-nushi, i.e., "owner of the province," "ruler."

234:15 Lit., "are pure subjects."

234:16 I.e., was slain with him.

Next: Section LXXII.—Emperor Sui-nin (Part IV.—The Dumb Prince Homu-chi-wake)