Sacred Texts  Shinto  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 247 [200]


This Heavenly Sovereign's august years were one hundred and fifty-three. His august mausoleum is in the middle of the moor of Mitachi at Sugahara. 1 Again in the time of the Great Empress Her Augustness Princess Hibasu, 2 the Stone-Coffin-Makers 3 were established, and also the Earthenware-Masters' Clan 4 was established. This Empress was buried in the mausoleum of Terama near Saki. 5


247:1 Both the locality and the etymology of Mitachi are obscure. Sugahara ("sedge-moor") is known to be in the province of Yamato.

247:2 I.e., at the time of the burial of the great Empress, etc.

247:3 The character , ("to pray") in the text is indubitably a copyist's error for " , coffin." These stone coffins are described by Mr. Henry von Siebold in his "Note on Japanese Archaeology" p.5. It must be understood that, from being the name of an office, Stone-Coffin-Maker (Ishi-ki-tsukuri) became a "gentile name."

247:4 Hanishi-be. The meaning of this expression becomes clear by reference to the parallel passage of the "Chronicles," which it may be worth while to quote at length from Mr. Satow's translation in pp. 229-330 of Vol. VIII, Pt. III, of these Transactions: "In the autumn of 32nd year, on the tsuchi no to u day of the moon, which rose on the ki no ye inu day, the empress Hi ba su hime no Mikoto (in another source called Hi-ba-su ne no Mikoto) died, and they were several days going to bury her. The Mikado commanded all his high officers, saying: "We knew p. 248 before that the practice of following the dead is not good. In the case of the present burying what shall be done? Thereupon Nomi no Sukune advanced and said: "It is not good to bury living men standing at the sepulchre of a prince, and this cannot be handed down to posterity. I pray leave now to propose a convenient plan. and to lay this before the sovereign." And he sent messengers to summon up a hundred of the clay-workers' tribe of the country of Izumo, and he himself directed the men of the clay-workers' tribe in taking clay and forming shapes of men, horses and various things, and presented them to the Mikado, saying: 'From now and henceforward let it be the law for posterity to exchange things of clay for living men, and set them up at sepulchres.' Thereupon the Mikado rejoiced, and commanded Nomi no Sukune, saying: 'Thy expedient plan has truly pleased Our heart; and the things of clay were for the first time set up at the tomb of Hi-ba-su hime no Mikoto. Wherefore these things were haniwa (a circle of clay). Then he seat down an order, saying: 'From now and henceforward, be sure to sit up these things of clay at sepulchres, and let not men be slain.' Mikado bountifully praised Nomi no Sukune, bestowed on him a kneading-place, and appointed him to the charge of the clay-workers' tribe."

247:5 In the province of Yamato. In the old poetry there are many plays or, this word Saki, which is homonymous with the Verb "to blossom." But whether that be its real derivation, it were hard to say. Terama appears to signify "Buddhist temple-space," an etymology which is embarrassing to the Shinto commentators who, accepting every word of our text as authentic history, are hard-driven to explain how Buddhist temples could have existed in Japan before the date assigned for the introduction of Buddhism.

Next: Section LXXVI.—Empress Kei-ko (Part I,—Genealogies)