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

p. 95


[79] Again this Deity's Chief Empress, 1 Her Augustness the Forward-Princess, was very jealous. So the Deity her husband, being distressed, was about to go up from Idzumo to the Land of Yamato; and as he stood attired, with one august hand on the saddle of his august horse and one august foot in the august stirrup, he sang, saying:

"When I take and attire myself so carefully in my august garments black as the true jewels of the moor, and, like the birds of the offing, look at my breast,—though I raise my fins, [I say that] these are not good, and cast them off on the waves on the beach. When I take and attire myself so carefully in my august garments green as the kingfisher, and, like the birds of the oiling, look at my breast.—though I raise my fins, [I say that] these, too, are not good, and cast them off on the waves on the beach. When I take and attire myself so carefully in my raiment dyed in the sap of the dye-tree, the pounded madder sought in the mountain fields, and. like the birds of the offing. look at my breast,—though I raise my fins, [I say that] they are good. My dear young sister. Thine Augustness! Though thou say that thou wilt not weep,—if like the flocking birds, I flock and depart, if, like the led birds, I am led away and depart, thou wilt hang down thy head like p. 96 a single eulalia upon the mountain and thy weeping shall indeed rise as the mist of [80] the morning shower. Thine Augustness [my] spouse like the young herbs! The tradition of the thing, too, this!" 2

Then his Empress, taking a great august liquor-cup, and drawing near and offering it to him, sang, saying:—

"Oh! Thine Augustness the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears! [Thou], my [dear] Master-of-the-Great-Land indeed, being a man, probably hast on the various island-headlands [81] that thou seest, and on every beach headland that thou lookest on, a wife like the young herbs. But as for me alas! being a woman, I have no man except thee; I have no spouse except thee. Beneath the fluttering of the ornamented fence, beneath the softness of the warm coverlet, beneath the rustling of the cloth coverlet, [thine] arms white as rope of paper-mulberry bark softly patting [my] breast soft as the melting snow, and patting [each other] interlaced, stretching out and pillowing [our selves] on [each others arms],—true jewel arms, and with outstretched legs, will we sleep. Lift up the luxuriant august liquor!" 3

She having thus sung, they at once pledged [each other] by the cup with [their hands] on [each other's] necks, 4 and are at rest till the present time. These are called divine words. 5

p. 97


95:1 p. 97 I.e., chief wife.

96:2 The meaning of this poem is:—"I start for Yamato, there to search for a better wife, and I carefully array myself for the journey. Black,—the colour of mourning,—is not fair enough, and red is more beautiful than green; so it is on my red garments that my choice rests. And thou, jealous and imperious woman! for all that thou sayest that thou wilt not heed my going, thou wilt weep when I depart with my retainers as departs a flock of birds, and thou wilt bury thy head in thy hands, and thy tears shall be as the misty drops of the morning shower."—The words hata tagi (rendered in accordance with Motowori's view by "raise my fins") are supposed to signify "raise my sleeve." If the last syllable were found in any text written with a character not requiring the use of the nigori in the Japanese transcription, we should get the more satisfactory reading ha tataki, i.e. "beat my wings;" but the syllable in question does not seem to be anywhere so written;—The "madder" is in the original akane, here written (but doubtless only through the error of some copyist) atane. The words rendered "sought in the mountain fields" might also be translated "sown in the mountain fields," magashi, "sought," and makishi, "sowed" being thought to be convertible.—The words "my beloved" represent the Japanese itokoya no, whose meaning is obscure and much disputed.—The words "when I am led away" must be understood as if they were Active instead of Passive, signifying as they do "when I lead away my retinue of followers."—The eulalia (Eulalia Japonica) is a long king of grass very often alluded to in the later classical poetry.—The words "on the mountain" represent the Japanese words yama-to no, in accordance with Motowori's and Hirata's view of the meaning of the latter ( or ). Th. primá facie interpretation of "in the province of Yamato," which Keichiyu adopts, will not bear investigation.—It is not quite clear whether "the mist of the morning shower" means mist separate from the rain, or is simply a phrase for the rain-drops themselves. Motowori adopts the former opinion.—"Young herbs:" waka-kusa, is the Pillow-Word for "spouse,"—newly married youths and maidens being likened to the fresh-grown grass. The refrain is an abbreviated form of that found in the two previous poems.

96:3 The import of this poem needs little explanation:—The goddess says to her husband, "Come back and live with me, and quaff this goblet as a sign of reconciliation; for though thou, as a man, mayest have a wife on every shore, I shall be left solitary if thou depart."—p. 98 The "ornamented fence" is supposed to mean "a curtain round the sleeping place."—The latter part to the poem (excepting the concluding phrase) is a repetition of lines that have already occurred in the last one of Sect. XXIV (note 7). The word tate-matsurase (here rendered "lift up") occasions some difficulty. It properly signifies "present to a superior;" but here it must be taken to mean "partake of," as the goddess is speaking to her spouse himself, unless indeed we suppose the final words of the song to be a command addressed to one of her attendants to present the cup to their common lord and master.

96:4 This is the probable and generally accepted meaning of the original of this clause, which is written phonetically.

96:5 Explained by Moribe to mean, with reference to the whole story, "conversation about divine events." Motowori proposes to supplement the character , "song," to the two ( ) in the text, and to take the three together as designating the nature of the preceding songs, in accordance with the usage in other cases,—"Rustic Songs," "Courtier's Songs," etc. If this view were adopted, we should have to translate by "Divine Converse Songs."

Next: Section XXVI.—The Deities the August Descendants of the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land