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

p. 139 [114]


Now when this Deity Prince of Saruta dwelt at Azaka, 1 he went out fishing, and had his hand caught by a hirabu shell-fish, 2 and was drowned in the brine of the sea. So the name by which he was called when he sank to the bottom was the Bottom-Touching-August-Spirit; 3 the name by which he was called when the sea-water gurgled up was the Gurgling-up-August-Spirit; 4 the name by which he was called when the bubbles formed was the Bubble-Bursting-August-Spirit. 5 Thereupon [Her Augustness the Heavenly-Alarming-Female], having escorted [back] the Deity Prince of Saruta, came back, 6 and at once drove together all the things broad of fin and the things narrow of fin, 7 and asked them, saying: "Will ye respectfully serve the august son of the "Heavenly Deities? "—upon which all the fishes declared that they would respectfully serve him. Only the bèche-de-mer said nothing. Then Her Augustness the Heavenly-Alarming-Female spoke to the bèche-de-mer, saying: "Ah! this mouth is a mouth that gives no reply!"—and [with these words] slit the mouth with her stiletto. 8 So at the present day the [115] bèche-de-mer has a slit mouth. Wherefore [from august reign to] august reign, when the offerings of the first-fruits of Shima 9 are presented [to the Emperor], a portion of them is granted to the Duchesses of Saru.


139:1 p. 139 Etymology unknown.

139:2 What species was denoted by this ancient name is not clear; but one of Motowori's suggestion, to the effect that it may have been identical with the modern sarubo-yahi (a shell of a family Arcadæ, probably Arca subcrenata), the origin of whose name would thus be traced up to the mythological age, is at least ingenious.

139:3 p. 140 Soko-daku-mi-tama.

139:4 Tsubu-tatsu-mi-tama.

139:5 Aka-saku-mi-tama. Saku might be translated by "opening," "forming," etc. It is the same word as that used to express the blossoming of a flower.

139:6 The characters rendered "came back "are . Motowori and Hirata believe to be put erroneously for , which would give the sense of "arrived there," and would thus enable us to locate the episode of the fishes at Ise instead of in Hiuga, which would better suit the concluding clause of this Section narrating the participation of the Duchesses of Sara in the' first-fruits of the province of Shims. If the word Shima however here means, not the province of that name, but simply "islands" in general, there is nothing to be gained by the pro-posed emendation, which has moreover no sanction from any text; and it may be added that no notice is to be found in any history of the custom here said to have existed.

139:7 I.e. all the fishes both great and small.

139:8 Literally, "small string-sword," supposed to have been so called from its having been carried inside the garments, attached to the under-belt.

139:9 The smallest of the Japanese provinces, situated to the East of Ise. The name signifies "island," and it is possible that it ought here to be taken in that sense as a common noun.

Next: Section XXXVII.—The Curse of the Deity Great-Mountain-Possessor