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

p. 292 [235]


Hereupon, when Her Augustness Princess Okinaga-tarashi was returning up to Yamato, she, owing to doubts concerning the disposition 1 of the people, prepared a mourning-vessel, 2 set the august child in that mourning-vessel, and let a report ooze out that the august child was already dead. While she went up thus, King Kagosaka and King Oshikuma, 3 having heard [of the circumstance], thought to waylay 4 her, went forth to the moor of Toga, 5 and hunted for an omen. Then King Kagosaka climbed up an oak-tree, 6 and then 7 a large and angry boar came forth, dug up the oak-tree, and forthwith devoured King Kagosaka. His younger brother, King Oshikuma, undaunted by this circumstance, raised an army and lay in wait [for the Empress], to close with the mourning-vessel as being an empty 8 vessel. Then an army was landed from the mourning-vessel, 9 and joined in combat [with the opposing forces]. At this time King Oshikuma made the Noble Isahi, 10 ancestor of [236] the Kishi Clan of Naniha, 11 his generalissimo; 12 and on

p. 293

the august side of the Heir Apparent His Augustness Naniha-ne-ko-take-furu-kuma, 13 ancestor of the Grandees of Wani, 14 was made generalissimo. So when [the Empress's troops] had driven [King Oshikuma's troops] as far as Yamashiro, [the latter] turned and made a stand, and both [sides] fought together without retreating. Then His Augustness Take-furu-kuma planned, and caused it to be said that, as Her Augustness Okinaga-tarashi was already dead, there was no need for further fighting,—forthwith snapping his bowstrings and feigning submission. Therefore King Oshikuma's generalissimo, believing the falsehood, unbent his bows and put away his arms. Then [the Empress's troops] picked out of their topknots some prepared bowstrings (one name [of the bowstrings] was usa-yu-dzuru15) stretched [their bows] again, and pursued and smote [the enemy]. So [these] fled away to Afusaka, 16 rallied, and fought again. Then [the Empress's troops] pursued on, and defeated them, and cut to pieces that army at Sasanami. 17 Thereupon King Oshikuma, together with the Noble Isahi, being pursued and pressed, got on board a vessel and floated on the sea, and sang, saying:

"Come on, my lord! rather than be stricken [237] by Furu-kuma's hurtful hand, I will plunge like the grebe into the Sea of Afumi,—I will!" 18

Forthwith they plunged into the sea, and died together.

p. 294


292:1 p. 293 Literally, "the hearts."

292:2 I.e., a boat or junk containing a coffin. We might also (adopting the interpretation given by the older editors to the character in this passage) translate by "specially prepared a mourning-vessel."

292:3 These two princes, who are first mentioned at the end of Sect. p. 294 XCII (Notes 40 and 41), were. according to the story, elder sons of the late monarch Chiū-ai, and therefore step-sons of the Empress Jingō and half-brothers to the young Emperor Ō-jin.

292:4 Literally, "wait for and catch." This "catch" is always taken by Motowori to mean "slay."

292:5 Taga-nu. It was in the province of Settsu. The etymology of the name is obscure.

292:6 The species mentioned in the text the Quercus serrata.

292:7 Motowori's conjecture that the character , "then," is a copyist's error for , "saw "or "looked," seems hardly called for, and the translator has therefore not departed from the traditional reading.

292:8 I.e., defenceless, not filled with troops.

292:9 Which of course was in reality no mourning-vessel, but full of the soldiers who had just returned from conquering Korea.

292:10 Isahi no Sakune. Isahi or Isachi is supposed to mean "leading elder."

292:11 Naniha no Kishi be. Naniha is the old name of the sea and river-shore on which I now stands the town of Ohosaka. The name Kishi is said by Motowori to be properly a Korean official designation ( ), but it is one whose origin is to be sought in China.

292:12 , Shōgun. This is the earliest mention of this office, which, passing from the military to the political sphere, played such a great part in the mediaeval and modern history of Japan.

293:13 The signification of all the elements of this compound name is not clear, but it is partly Honorific and descriptive of the bravery of its bearer.

293:14 Wani no omi (see Sect. LXII, Note 11).

293:15 The text is here somewhat obscure, and the note in small print is of doubtful authenticity. If we retain it, we must understand it to mean that usa-yu-dzuru, a term whose derivation is by no means clear, was an alternative name of the make dzuru, i.e., "prepared bowstrings," such as they had brought with them concealed in their top-knots.

293:16 I.e., "the pass [or hill] of meeting." It was on the boundaries of the provinces of Yamashiro and Afumi. The modern pronunciation is Osaka (not to be confounded with the like-sounding name of a well-known town in Central Japan).

293:17 I.e., in Afumi. Mabuchi, in his "Dictionary of Pillow-Words," explains this name to mean "bamboo-grass bending." Motowori, following the Shim-puku-ji MS., alters the character before the word Sasanami to , but without sufficient warrant.

293:18 p. 295 The meaning of the poem is. "Rather than fall beneath the attacks of the enemy, let us drown ourselves in the Sea of Afumi'' (Lake Biwa).—For the expression "stricken by a hurtful hand "see Sect. XLIV, Note 33.

Next: Section CI.—Emperor Chiū-ai (Part VIII.—The Heir Apparent Exchanges Names with the Great Deity Izasa-Wake)