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

p. 220 [179]


Again in this august reign His Augustness Oho-biko 1 was sent to the circuit of Koshi, 2 and his son, His Augustness Take-nuna-kaha-wake, 3 was sent to the twelve circuits to the eastward to quiet the unsubmissive people. Again Hiko-imasu was sent to the land of Taniha 4 to slay Kugamimi-no-mikasa 5 (this is the name of a person). So when His Augustness Oho-biko was going away to the land of Koshi, a young girl wearing a loin-skirt 6 stood on the Pass of Hera 7 in Yamashiro, and sang, saying:

[180] "Now then! Oh Prince Mima-ki-iri! Oh Prince Mi-ma-ki-iri! Ignorant that they, to steal and slay one's life, cross backwards and forwards by the back-door, cross backwards and forwards by the front door and spy,—Oh, Prince Mima-ki-iri!" 8

p. 221

Hereupon His Augustness Oho-kiko, thinking it strange, turned his horse back, and asked the young girl, saying: "These words that thou speakest, what are they?" The young girl replied, saying: "I said nothing; I was only singing a song,"—and thereupon she suddenly vanished, none could see whither. So his Augustness Oho-biko returned up again [to the capital] and made a report [of the matter] to the Heavenly Sovereign, who replied and charged him [saying]: "Methinks this is a sign that my half-brother, King Take-hani-yasu, 9 who dwells in the land of Yamashiro, is planning some foul plot. 10 [Do thou,] uncle, raise an army, and go [after him]." When he forthwith sent him off, joining to him his Augustness Hiko-kuni-buku, 11 ancestor of the Grandees of Wani, 12 they set sacred jars on the Pass of Wani, 13 and went away. Thereupon, when they reached the River Wakara 14 [181] in Yamashiro, King Take-hani-yasu, who had raised an army, was waiting to intercept [their passage], and [the two hosts] stood confronting and challenging each other with the river between them. 15 So the place was called by the name of Idomi, 16—what is now called Idzumi. Then His Augustness Hiko-kuni-buku spoke, begging the other side 17 to let fly the first arrow. 18 Then King Take-hani-yasu shot, but could not strike. Thereupon, on his Augustness Kuni-buku shooting an arrow, it forthwith struck King Take-hani-yasu dead. So the whole army was routed, and fled in confusion. Then the [Imperial troops pursued] after the fugitive army as far as the ferry of Kusuba, when harassed by the pursuit, exterunt [hostium] excrementa, quae bracis adhaeserunt. Quare isti loco impositum est nomen Kusobakama. In prœsenti nominatur Kusu-ba. 19 Again, on

p. 222

being intercepted in their flight and cut down, [their bodies] floated like cormorants in the river. So the river was called by the name of U-kaha. 20 Again, because the warriors were cut to pieces, the place was called by the name of Hafuri-sono. 21 Having thus finished [the work of] pacification, they went up [to the capital] to make their report [to the Heavenly Sovereign].

p. 223


220:1 p. 222 See Sect. LXI, Note 5.

220:2 Literally, "to the Lord of Koshi," i.e., "to the land of Koshi;" which provinces are intended by the "twelve circuits to the eastward "mentioned immediately below is uncertain; but Motowori hazards the guess that we should understand Ise (including Iga and Shima), Wohari, Mikaha, Tohotafumi (pron. Tōtōmi), Suruga, Kahi, Idzu, Sagami Musashi, Fusa (the modern Kadzusa, Shimofusa, and Aha), Hitachi, and Michinoku (a vague name for the north-eastern portions of the Main Island of the whole east and north-east of the country. He likewise supposes the use of the word "road" for circuit or province to have had its origin in the "road" along which the Imperial officers despatched to the outlying provinces had to travel to reach their post, and remarks very pertinently in another passage of his commentary that the term "road "denotes a province more especially from the point of view of its subjugation or government. His explanation is, however, rendered untenable by the fact that the division of the country into such "roads" or "circuits" was an idea evidently borrowed from the neighbouring peninsula of Korea. At first, as in this passage, somewhat vaguely used in the sense of province," it settled down into the designation of "a set of adjacent provinces." Thus the Tō-kai-dō, or "Eastern Maritime Circuit," includes fifteen provinces, the Hoku-roku-dō or "Northern Land Circuit," includes seven provinces, and so on. Cont. Sect. LXII, Note 20.

220:3 I.e., "brave-lagoon-river-youth."

220:4 See Sect. LXII, Note 4.

220:5 Motowori is unable to help us to any understanding of this name.—or names,—for he suggests that the character , no, may be an error for mata ("also"), and that two individuals may be intended. The note in the original telling us that "this is the name of a person" might equally well be translated in the Plural,—" these are the names of persons."

220:6 p. 223 The nature of this garment is not known. One would suppose, from the way it is mentioned in the text, that there was perhaps some-thing contrary to custom in its use by a young girl. The parallel passage in the "Chronicles" does not mention it.

220:7 Or, "Hill of Hera, "—Hera-zaka. The "Chronicles" write this name with the characters Hira-zaka, i.e., "Even Pass" or "Hill."

220:8 The meaning of this poem, which must be considered as one pro-longed exclamation, is: "Oh my sovereign! Oh my sovereign! Heedless or ignorant of "the plots hatched against thy life near the very precincts of thy palace, thou "sendest away thy soldiers to fight in distant parts. Oh my sovereign!"—It will be remembered that Prince Mima-ki-ri was the (abbreviated) native name of the reigning monarch, commonly known to posterity by his "canonical name" of Sūjin. The word rendered "life" is literally "thread" and the Impersonal Pronoun "one's" used in the translation, must be understood to refer to the Emperor.

221:9 See Sect. LXI, Notes 12 and 10.

221:10 Literally, "foul heart."

221:11 I.e., probably. "prince land-pacifier." The first element of the compound is sometimes omitted.

221:12 Wani no omi. Wani ("crocodile") 13 the name of a place in the province of Yamato.

221:13 Wani-zaka. For the setting of jars conf. Sect LX, Note 20.

221:14 Wakara gaha. It is what is now called the Idzumi-gaha. Of Wakara we have nothing but an altogether untenable etymology given in the parallel passage of the "Chronicles."

221:15 More literally, "each having put the river in the middle, and mutually challenging."

221:16 I.e., "challenging." The more likely etymology of Idzumi, which is written with the character , is "source "or "spring."

221:17 The original has the very curious expressions , literally," people of the side-building," which was a great crux to the early editors, Motowori is probably right in interpreting it in the sense of "the other side," i.e., "the enemy."

221:18 ; literally "the arrow to be shunned, or avoided,"—but rather, in accordance with Archaic Japanese parlance, "the sacred arrow." Motowori says: "At the commencement of a battle it was the custom for each side to let fly an "initial arrow." Being the commencement of p. 224 the affair, the arrow was considered "specially important and was shot off reverently with prayers to the Gods,—" whence its name."

221:19 I.e., "excrements [fœdatæ] bracæ." But it is not at all probable that this is the correct etymology of the name. The stream is a small one in the eastern part of the province of Kahachi.

222:20 I.e., "cormorant-river."

222:21 I.e., "the garden of cutting-to-pieces."

Next: Section LXVII.—Emperor Sū-jin (Part V.—Peace Restored and Tribute Levied)