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

p. 344


The Heavenly Sovereign, having heard that the Empress had made a progress up by Yamashiro, made a person,—a retainer called by the name of Toriyama, 1—give an august Song, 2 which said:

"Reach [her] in Yamashiro, Toriyama! Reach [her]! reach [her]! Ah! wilt thou reach and meet my beloved spouse?" 3

Again he continued by despatching Kuchiko, Grandee of Wani, 4 and sang, saying: [277]

"Wilt thou be without thinking even of the Heart that is in the moor of Ohowiko, the moor of Ohowiko, that is by Takaki at Mimoro?" 5

Again he sang, saying:

"If indeed I had pillowed [my head] on the white arm like the whiteness of the roots, the great roots, that were beaten with wooden hoes by the women of Yamashiro where the seedlings grow in succession, [then] mightest thou say, 'I know [thee] not'." 6

p. 345

So when the Grandee of Kuchiko was repeating this [278] august Song [to the Empress,] it was raining heavily. Then upon his, without avoiding the rain, coming and prostrating himself at the front door of the palace, 7 she on the contrary went out at the back door; and on his coming and prostrating himself at the back door of the palace, she on the contrary went out at the front door. Then, as he crept backwards and forwards on his knees in the middle of the court, the streams of water 8 reached to his loins. Owing to the grandee being clad in a garment dyed 9 green and with a red cord, the streams of water brushed against the red cord, and the green all changed to red colour. Now the Grandee of Kuchiko's younger sister Princess Kuchi 10 was in the service of the Empress. 11 So Princess Kuchi sang saying:

"Oh! how tearful is my lord-elder brother, saying things in the palace of Tsutsuki in Yamashiro!" 12

Then when the Empress asked the reason, 13 she replied, saying: "He is my brother the Grandee of Kuchiko." Thereupon the Grandee of Kuchiko and also his younger sister Princess Kuchi and likewise Nurinomi [all] three took counsel [together,] and sent to report to the Heavenly [279] Sovereign, saying: "The reason of the Empress's progress is that there are [some] insects reared by Nurinomi,—strange insects changing in three ways, 14 once becoming creeping insects, once becoming cocoons, 15 and once becoming flying birds 16—and it is only to go and look at them that she has entered into [Nurinomi's house.] She has no strange intentions." 17 When they had thus reported, the Heavenly Sovereign said: "That being so, I want to go and see [these insects,] as

p. 346

[paragraph continues] I think [they must be] strange; [and with these words] he made a progress up from the great palace. When he entered into Nurinomi's house, Nurinomi, had already presented to the Empress the three-fold insects reared by him. Then the Heavenly Sovereign augustly stood at the door of the palace where the Empress-dwelt, and sang, saying:

"Pure as the great roots that were beaten with their wooden hoes by the women of Yamashiro where the seedings grow in succession:—it is because thou spokest tumultuously that I come in here [with my retainers numerous] as the more and more flourishing trees that I look across at." 18

[280] These six Songs by the Heavenly Sovereign and by the Empress are Changing Songs which are Quiet Songs. 19

p. 347 p. 348


344:1 p. 346 This name signifies "bird-mountain." The commentators presume that it contains an allusion to the fact of its bearer being an Imperial courier.

344:2 This is the actual sense conveyed by the original , and we naturally infer that Toriyama was made the bearer to the Empress of the following Song. The Song itself, however, is addressed not to her, but to Toriyama on his departure. On the other hand, the two poems which follow are evidently for the Empress, and it is impossible to suppose that the first messenger was not likewise intended to convey to her some poetic missive. All that we can do is to render the text as it stands, and to suppose it corrupt.

344:3 The meaning of this Song is: "O Toriyama! pursue her into Yamashiro! I tremble at the thought of the possibility of thy not finding her."

344:4 Wani no omi Kuchiko (further on he is mentioned as Kuchiko no omi, i.e., "the Grandee (of) Kuchiko.") Kuchi-ko may be interpreted p. 347 to mean "mouth child" and Moribe thinks that this personage was so called on account of the verbal messages of which he was made the bearer. The translator would prefer to consider ko as an abbreviation of hiko, "prince," especially as the sister's name is Kuchi-hime, where the word hime must mean "princess."

344:5 This Song is so obscure that Motowori and Moribe differ completely as to its interpretation. The translator has followed Moribe, though by no means persuaded that the latter has hit on the proper signification. According to this view, the Emperor makes a pun on the word "heart," which is supposed to have been the name of a pool situated on the moor of Ohowiko near Takaki at Mimoro,—all names of places with which the Empress was familiar,—and reproaches her for having no thought of his heart which beats so lovingly for her. Motowori, on the other hand, thinks that the poem proper consists only of its last two lines (in the English translation they necessarily I come first): "Wilt thou be without thinking even of the heart?"—and that all the rest is a "Preface "to the Pillow-Word kimo-mukafu by which the word kokoro, "heart," is preceded. As for oho-wi-ko and takaki, they are taken, not as names of places, but as common Nouns. According to this view of the structure of the Song, it ceases (with the exception of its last two lines) to have any rational signification, and it is needless to attempt to translate it for the English reader. Persons familiar with Japanese are therefore referred to Motowori's Commentary, Vol. XXXVI, pp. 34-36.

344:6 The meaning of this Song is: "If thou and I had not so long been spouses, then indeed mightest thou break with me, and declare that thou knowest me not. But how canst thou so far forget our wedded life as to desert me now?"-"The "great root," oho-ne, is the modern dai-kon (Raphanus sativus), a kind of radish which is a favourite vegetable with the Japanese and is distinguished by its brilliantly white appearance. "Beaten" here signifies "dug up." The use of the Past Tense is curious. Ko-guha, here in accordance with Motowori's view rendered "wooden hoes," is interpreted by Moribe to mean "little hoes." "Where the seedlings grow in succession "is the English rendering of tsugi-ne fu, the Pillow-Word for Yamashiro (see Sect. CXXIII Note 11).

345:7 The Empress was lodging with a private individual, but her presence warrants the application of the term "palace "to his house.

345:8 It was raining too hard for the water to stop on the surface in the shape of puddles, so it streamed off in little rivulets.

345:9 Literally, "rubbed." See Introduction p. xxx. Instead of "'green," p. 348 we might equally well translate by "blue." The garment intended must be the upper garment or coat.

345:10 Kuchi-hime.

345:11 Literally, "respectfully served the Empress."

345:12 The meaning of these lines, which can only be called poetry because they are in metre, is plain: in them the speaker draws the Empress's attention to the pitiful condition of the messenger who is doing his best to deliver to her the Emperor's message. Probably the reading in our text has been corrupted; for that in the "Chronicles," which may be translated thus; "Oh! how tearful am I when I see my lord elder brother," etc. is much preferable.

345:13 Scil. of her attendant thus taking the messenger's part.

345:14 Literally, "colours."

345:15 This is Motowori's conjectural restoration of the reading of this word, which in all the texts is hopelessly corrupt.

345:16 According to another reading, "flying insects."

345:17 I.e., "she is not meditating any evil conduct."

346:18 The Song consists of two divisions, the first of which is but a Preface for the second, the pivot being formed by the word sawa-sawa-ni, which has the meaning of "pure" "cool," or "refreshing," with reference to what precedes it, and the meaning of "tumultuously" (sawasawa nisawagaskiku) when taken together with what follows. The difficulties which present themselves in the first division have all been explained in Note 11 to the last and Note 6 to the present Section. The general sense of the second division is plain enough; but the precise application of the comparison to the "more and more flourishing tree" is obscure. Motowori's view has been adopted by the translator, and the words in brackets supplemented accordingly. Moribe prefers to consider that the reference is to the repeated visits first of the Emperor's messengers and afterwards of the Emperor himself The words "look across at" must be explained by supposing that the trees were in the neighbourhood of Nurinomi's house; they were shoots springing up from roots that had been cut down close to the ground.

346:19 The commentators thus explain these obscure expressions: "A Quiet Song is one which is sung to a tranquil tune. A Changing Song is one temporarily sung while the tone (mode?) is changing." The six Songs in question must be supposed to have combined both characteristics.

Next: Section CXXV.—Emperor Nin-toku (Part VIII.—He Loves Yata-no-waki-iratsume)