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



After the decease of the Heavenly Sovereign, it was settled that King Karu of Ki-nashi should rule the Sun's succession. 1b But in the interval before his accession, he debauched his younger sister the Great Lady of Karu, and sang, saying:

"Making rice-fields on the mountain, making hidden conduits run on account of the mountain's height:—to-day indeed [my] body easily touches the younger sister whom I wooed with a hidden wooing, the spouse for whom I wept with a hidden weeping." 2

This is a Hind-Lifting Song. 3 Again he sang, saying:

"The rattle-rattle of the hail against the bamboo-grass:—After I shall have certainly slept, what though I be plotted against by people! When I shall have slept delightfully, if there is the disorder of the cut Hydropyrum latifolium, let there be disorder,—when I shall have slept a good [297] sleep!" 4

This is a Rustic Lifting Song. 5

p. 370


369:1b p. 370 See Sect. XXXII. Note 27. The wording of this sentence would make it appear that it was only after the Emperor In-giyo's death that King Karu was chosen to succeed him. But probably King Karu had been appointed Heir Apparent ( ) during his Father's life time, as is indeed expressly stated in the "Chronicles," and is implied in later passages of this work; and what our author meant to say was: "It was settled that King Karu should rule the "Empire after the former Sovereign's decease." etc.

369:2 The meaning of the Song is: "The sister, the mistress, whom I wooed with such difficulty, is now easily mine."—The first phrase, down to "mountain's height," is but a "Preface "to the poem properly so called, serving to introduce by a jeu-de-mots the word shita-dohi, which means not only "hidden conduit," but "hidden wooing." At the same time the implied comparison of the poet's secret love of one so difficult to obtain as his own sister, to the course of the water in hidden conduits which is carried up the mountain's side to irrigate a field perched in a spot almost inaccessible, is by no means devoid of aptness. The word "mountain" (yama) is in the original preceded by the Pillow-Word ashihiki (or askiki) no, whose signification is obscure and much disputed.

369:3 Shirage-uta (written phonetically). The interpretation of the term here adopted is that which has the sanction of Motowori and Moribe. They explain it to signify that the voice rose gradually toward the latter part of the Song.

369:4 As in the case of the preceding Song, the first phrase is but a Preface, which plays on the coincidence in sound between the words tashi-dashi, "rattling," and tashika, "certainly," i.e. "undisturbedly." The signification of the Song proper is: "If I shall but have gratified my passion, what care I however men may plot against me? If I can but press my beloved to my bosom, let all things go to rack and ruin, like the Hydropyrum latifolium, a grass which, when cut, falls into disorder!"—Of the sentiment of the Song, the less said the better; but viewed simply from a literary point of view, it is certainly one of the most fascinating little productions of the early Japanese muse, and the literal rendering of it into English does it woful injustice. Moribe rightly rejects Motowori's proposal to divide the poem in two after the words hito hakayu to mo, "plotted against by people." Kari-komo no, "of the Hydropyrum latifolium," is a Pillow-Word.

369:5 Hinaburi no ageuta. The commentators have nothing more precise to tell us concerning the expression "Lifting-Song "than that "it refers to the lifting of the voice in singing."

Next: Section CXLII.—Emperor In-giyō (Part VI.—War Between Prince Karu and Prince Anaho)