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

p. 63


So thereupon the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity, terrified at the sight, closed [behind her] the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling, 1 made it fast, 2 and retired. Then the whole Plain of High Heaven was obscured and all the Central Land of Reed-Plains darkened. Owing to this, eternal 3 night prevailed. Hereupon the voices of the myriad 4 Deities were like unto the flies in the fifth moon as they swarmed, and a myriad portents of woe all arose. Therefore did the eight hundred myriad 5 Deities assemble in a divine assembly in the bed 6 of the Tranquil River of Heaven, and bid the Deity Thought-Includer, 7 child of the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity think of a plan, assembling the long-singing birds of eternal night 8 and making them sing, taking the hard rocks of Heaven from the river-bed of the Tranquil River of Heaven, and taking the iron 9 from [55] the Heavenly Metal-Mountains, 10 calling in the smith Ama-tsu-ma-ra, 11 charging Her Augustness I-shi-ko-ri-do-me 12

p. 64

to make a mirror, and charging His Augustness jewel-Ancestor 13 to make an augustly complete [string] of curved jewels eight feet [long],—of five hundred jewels, 14—and summoning His Augustness Heavenly-Beckoning-Ancestor-Lord 15 [56] and His Augustness Great-Jewel, 16 and causing them to pull out with a complete pulling the shoulder [-blade] of a true 17 stag from the Heavenly Mount Kagu, 18 and take cherrybark 19 from the Heavenly Mount Kagu, and perform divination, 20 and pulling up by pulling its roots a true cleyera japonica 21 with five hundred [branches] from the Heavenly Mount Kagu, and taking and putting upon its upper branches the augustly complete [string] of curved jewels eight feet [57] [long],—of five hundred jewels,—and taking and tying to the middle branches 22 the mirror eight feet [long], 23 and taking and hanging upon its lower branches the white pacificatory offerings 24 and the blue pacificatory offerings, His Augustness Grand-jewel taking these divers things and holding them together with the grand august Offerings, 25 and His Augustness Heavenly-Beckoning-Ancestor-Lord prayerfully reciting grand liturgies, 26 and the Heavenly Hand-Strength-Male-Deity 27 standing hidden beside the door, and Her Augustness Heavenly-Alarming Female 28 hanging [round her] the heavenly clubmoss of the Heavenly Mount Kagu as a sash, 29 and making the heavenly spindle-tree her head-dress, 30 and binding the [58] leaves of the bamboo-grass of the Heavenly Mount Kagu in a posy for her hands, and laying a soundingboard 31 before the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling, and stamping till she made it resound and doing as if possessed by a Deity, 32 and pulling out the nipples of her breasts, pushing down her skirt-string usque ad privates

p. 65

partes. 33 Then the Plain of High Heaven shook, and the eight hundred myriad Deities laughed together. Hereupon the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity was amazed, and, slightly opening the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling, spoke thus from the inside: "Methought that owing to my retirement the Plain of Heaven would be dark, and likewise the Central Land of Reed-Plains would all be dark: how then is it that the Heavenly-Alarming-Female makes merry, and that likewise the eight hundred myriad Deities all laugh?" Then the Heavenly-Alarming-Female spoke saying: "We rejoice and are glad because there is a Deity more illustrious than Thine Augustness." While she was thus speaking, His Augustness Heavenly-Beckoning-Ancestor-Lord and His Augustness Grand-jewel pushed forward the mirror and respectfully showed it to the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity, whereupon the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity, more and more astonished, gradually came forth from the door and gazed upon it, whereupon the Heavenly-Hand-Strength-Male-Deity, who was standing hidden, took her august hand and drew her out, and then His Augustness Grand-jewel drew the bottom-tied rope 34 [59] along at her august back, and spoke, saying: "Thou must not go back further in than this!" So when the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity had come forth, both the Plain of High Heaven and the Central-Land-of-Reed-Plains of course again became light. 35

p. 66 p. 67 p. 68 p. 69


63:1 p. 65 Motowori says that the word "rock" need not here be taken literally. But it is always (and the translator thinks rightly) so understood, and the compound considered to mean a cave in the rocks, which is also the expression found in the "Chronicles" ( ).

63:2 The word sasu, which is here used, implies that the goddess p. 66 made the door fast either by sticking something against it or by bolting it,—perhaps with one of the metal hooks of which mentioned is made in Sect. LXV (Note 7).

63:3 Toko-yo, here properly written , and a few lines lower down semi-phonetically .

63:4 Motowori supposes "myriad" to be a copyist's error for "evil." This clause is a repetition of one in Sect. XII.

63:5 The parallel passage in the "Chronicles" has "eighty myriads."

63:6 The Japanese word kohara, translated "bed," is thus defined in Dr, Hepburn's Dictionary, 2nd Edit. s v. Kawara: "That part of the stony bed of a river which is dry except in high water."

63:7 Omohi-kane-no-kami, "He included in his single mind the thoughts and contrivances of many," says Motowori.

63:8 I.e., as is generally believed, the barndoor fowl.

63:9 The text has the character , "iron," which Hirata. reads ma-gane, lit. "true metal," the common Japanese term being kuro-gane, lit, "black metal," Motowori prefers to read simply kane, "metal" in general, The main text of the parallel passage in the "Chronicles" omits to mention the metal of which the mirror was made; but "One account" has the character , "metal" in general, often in Chinese, but rarely if ever in old Japanese, with the specific sense of "gold." The "Chronicles of Old Matters" alone, which are of very doubtful authenticity, say that the mirror was made of copper. (Copper was not discovered in Japan till the eighth century of the Christian era, a few years before the discovery of gold). The best and most obvious course is to adhere to the character in the text, which is, as above stated, "iron."

63:10 I.e., the mines. The original expression is Ame no kana-yama.

63:11 Ama-tsu signifies "of Heaven," but the rest of this name is not to be explained. Motowori adopts from the "Chronicles" the reading, Ama-tsu-ma-ura, where the character used for ma signifies "true," and that for ura signifies "sea-shore." (It should be remarked that the forging of a spear by this personage is referred by the author of the "Chronicles," not to the "Divine Age" but to the reign of the Emperor Sui-zei.) Motowori also proposes to supplement after the name the words "to make a spear." Hirata identifies this god with Ama-no-ma-hito-tsu-no-mikoto, His Augustness Heavenly-One-Eye, who is however not mentioned. in the "Records." Obvius hujus nominis sensus foret "Coelestis Penis," sed nullius commentatoris auctoritate commendatur.

63:12 This name is written in the "Chronicles" with characters signifying Stone-Coagulating-Old-Woman, which however seem to be as p. 67 merely phonetic as those in the present text ( ). Motowori proposes the interpretation of "Again-Forging-Old-Woman" ( , I-shikiri-tome) which is supported by a tradition preserved in the "Gleanings of the Ancient Story," where it is related that the mirror, not having given satisfaction at first, was forged a second time. There is a long note on the subjects of this name in Hirata's "Exposition of the Ancient Histories," Vol. IX, p. 56, where that author propounds the novel opinion that I-shi-ko-ri-do-me was not a goddess at all, but a god.

64:13 Tama-noya-no-mikoto. The "Chronicles" write this name with characters signifying "Jewel-House," but such a reading seems less good.

64:14 See Sect. XIII, Note 5.

64:15 Ame-no-ko-ya-ne-no-mikoto, also reads Ame-no etc. and Ama tsu etc. The signification of the syllables ko-ya, rendered "beckoning ancestor" in accordance with Motowori's view connecting the name with the share taken by the god who bore it in the legend here narrated, is obscure. Mr. Satow thinks that Koya may be the name of a place (see these "Transactions" Vol. VII, Pt. IV. p. 400).

64:16 Futo-tama-no-mikoto. The name is here rendered in accordance with the import of the Chinese characters with which it is written. Motowori, however, emits a plausible opinion when he proposes to consider tama as an abbreviation of tamuke, "holding in the hands as an offering," in connection with what we are told below about this deity and Ame-no-ko-ya-ne holding the symbolic offerings.

64:17 The word "true" (ma) here and below is not much more than an Honorific.

64:18 We might also, though less well, translate by "Mount Kagu in Heaven." This would suit the view of Motowori, who is naturally averse to the identification of this Mount Kagu with the well-known mountain of that name in Yamato (see Sect. VII, Note 12). But of course an European scholar cannot allow of such a distinction being drawn.

64:19 Or perhaps the bark of the common birch is intended. The word in the original is haha-ka.

64:20 See Mr. Satow's already quoted note in Vol. VII, Pt. II, p. 425 et seq, and more especially pp. 430-432, of these "Transactions."

64:21 In Japanese saka-ki. It is commonly planted in the precincts of Shintō temples.

64:22 We might also translate in the Singular "to a middle branch," in order to conform to the rigid distinction which our language draws between Singular and Plural.

64:23 p. 68 A note to the edition of 1687 proposes to substitute the characters for and a note in the original tells us to read them not ya-ta, but ya-ata. Hereupon Motowori founds his derivation of ya-ta, from ya-atama, "eight heads," and supposes the mirror to have been, not eight feet in length, but octangular, while Moribe, who in the case of the jewels accepts the obvious interpretation "eight feet [long]," thinks that the mirror had "an eightfold flowery pattern" (yaha-na-gata) round its border. But both these etymologies are unsupported by the other cases in which the word ya-ta occurs, and are rendered specially untenable by the fact of the mirror and curved beads being spoken of together further on as the (Sect. XXXIII, Note 20).

64:24 In rendering the original word nigi-te (here written phonetically, but elsewhere with the characters ), the explanation given by Tanigaha Shisei, and indeed suggested by the characters, has been followed. Motowori's view does not materially differ, but he considers "pacificatory" or "softening" to be equivalent to "soft" applied to the offerings themselves, which consisted of soft cloth, the syllable te of nigi-te being believed to be a contraction of tahe which signifies cloth. The white cloth in ancient times was made of the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera), and the blue of hemp.

64:25 The original word is written with the same character as the te of nigi-te translated "offerings" above.

64:26 Or in the Singular "a grand liturgy," or "ritual."

64:27 Ame-no-ta-jikara-wo-no-kami.

64:28 Ame-no-uzume-no-mikoto. The translator has followed the best authorities in rendering the obscure syllable uzu by the word "alarming." Another interpretation quoted in Tanigaha Shisei's "Perpetual Commentary on the Chronicles of Japan" and adopted by Moribe in his "Idzu no Chi-waki," is that uzu means head-dress, and that the goddess took her name from the head-dress of spindle-tree leaves which she wore. The character , with which the syllables in question (here written phonetically) are rendered ideographically in the "Chronicles," signifies "metal head-gear," "flowers of gold or silver."

64:29 Tasuki, "a cord or sash passed over the shoulders, round the back of the neck, and attached to the wrists, to strengthen the hands for the support of weights, whence the name, which means 'hand-helper.' It was thus different both in form and use from the modern tasuki, a cord with its two ends joined which is worn behind the neck, under the p. 69 arms and round the back, to keep the modern loose sleeves out of the way when household duties are being performed." (E. Satow).

64:30 I.e., making for herself a head-dress of spindle-tree leaves.

64:31 The original of these words, uke fusete, is written phonetically, and the exact meaning of uke, here rendered "sounding-board," is open to doubt. The parallel passage in the "Chronicles" has the character, , which signifies a "trough," "manger" or "tub," and the commentators seem therefore right in supposing that the meaning intended to be conveyed in both histories is that of some kind of improvised wooden structure used for the purpose of amplifying sound.

64:32 Neither the text nor Motowori's Commentary (which Hirata adopts word for word) is absolutely explicit, but the imitation and not the reality of divine possession appears to be here intended. In the parallel passage of the "Chronicles," on the other hand, we seem to be reading of genuine possession.

65:33 The subject of the Verb is not clear in many of the clauses of this immensely long sentence, which does not properly hang together. Some clauses read as if the different deities who take a part in the action did so of their own free will; but the intention of the author must have been to let a Causative sense be understood throughout, as he begins by telling us that a plan was devised by the deity Thought-Includer, which plan must have influenced all the subsequent details.

65:34 Shiri-kume-naha, i.e., rope made of straw drawn up by the roots, which stick out from the end of the rope. Straw-ropes thus manufactured are still used in certain ceremonies and are called shime-naha, a corruption of the Archaic term, Motowori's explanation shows that this is more likely to be the proper signification of the word than "back-limiting-rope" (shiri-ho-kagiri-me-naha), which had been previously suggested by Mabuchi with reference to its supposed origin at the time of the event narrated in this legend.

65:35 Motowori plausibly conjectures the character in the concluding words of this passage to be a copyist's error for , and the translator has accordingly rendered it by the English word "again." As it stands, the clause , though making sense, does not read like the composition of a Japanese.

Next: Section XVII.—The August Expulsion of His-Impetuous-Male-Augustness