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

p. 38


Thereupon [His Augustness the Male Who-Invites], wishing to meet and see his younger sister Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites, followed after her to the Land of Hades. 1 So when from the palace she raised the [35] door and came out to meet him, 2 His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites spoke, saying: "Thine Augustness my lovely younger sister! the lands that I and thou made are not yet finished making; so come back!" Then Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites answered, saying:

p. 39

[paragraph continues] "Lamentable indeed that thou earnest not sooner! I have eaten of the furnace of Hades. 3 Nevertheless, as I reverence 4 the entry here of Thine Augustness my lovely elder brother, I wish to return. 5 Moreover 6 I will discuss it particularly with the Deities of Hades. 7 Look not at me!" Having thus spoken, she went back inside the palace; and as she tarried there very long, he could not wait. So having taken and broken off one of the end-teeth 8 of the multitudinous and close-toothed comb stuck in the august left bunch [of his hair], he lit one light 9 and went in and looked. Maggots were swarming. and [she was] rotting, and in her head dwelt the Great-Thunder, [36] in her breast dwelt the Fire-Thunder, in her left hand 10 dwelt the Young-Thunder, in her right hand 10 dwelt the Earth-Thunder, in her left foot 11 dwelt the Rumbling-Thunder, in her right foot 11 dwelt the Couchant-Thunder:—altogether eight Thunder-Deities had been born and dwelt there. 12 Hereupon His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites, overawed at the sight, fled back, whereupon his younger sister Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites said: "Thou hast put me to shame," and at once sent the Ugly-Female-of-Hades 13 to pursue him. So His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites took his black august head-dress 14 and cast it down, and it instantly turned into grapes. While she picked them up and ate them, he fled on; but as she still pursued him, he took and broke the multitudinous and close-toothed comb in the right bunch [of his hair] and cast it down, and it instantly turned into bamboo-sprouts. While she pulled them up and ate them, he fled on. Again later [his Younger sister] sent the eight Thunder-Deities with a thousand and five hundred warriors of Hades to pursue [37]

p. 40

him. So he, drawing the ten-grasp sabre that was augustly girded on him, fled forward brandishing it in his back hand; 15 and as they still pursued, he took, on reaching the base of the Even Pass of Hades, 16 three peaches that were growing at its base, and waited and smote [his pursuers therewith], so that they all fled back. Then His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites announced to the peaches: "Like as ye have helped me, so must ye help all living people 17 in the Central Land of Reed-Plains 18 when they shall fall into troublous circumstances and be harassed!"—and he gave [to the peaches] the designation of Their Augustnesses Great-Divine-Fruit. 19 Last of all his younger sister Her Augustness the Princess-Who-Invites came out herself in pursuit. So he drew a thousand-draught rock, 20 and [with it] blocked up the Even Pass of Hades, and placed the rock in the middle; and they stood opposite to one another and exchanged leave-takings; 21 and Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites said: "My lovely elder brother, thine Augustness! If thou do like this, I will in one day strangle to death a thousand of the folks of thy land." Then His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites replied: "My lovely younger sister, Thine Augustness! If thou do this, I will in one day set up a thousand and five hundred parturition-houses. 22 In this manner each day a thousand people would surely be born." So Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites is called the Great-Deity-of-Hades. 23 Again it is said that, owing to her having pursued and reached [her elder brother], she is called the Road-Reaching-Great-Deity. 24 Again the rock with which he blocked up the Pass of Hades is called the Great-Deity-of-the-Road-Turning-back, 25

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and again it is called the Blocking-Great-Deity-of-the-Door-of-Hades. 26 So what was called the Even-Pass-of-Hades is now called the Ifuya-Pass 27 in the Land of Idzumo.

p. 42 p. 43


38:1 p. 41 The characters in the original which are here rendered Hades are , lit. "Yellow Stream," a Chinese name for the Underworld to which a remark of Mencius and a story in the "Tso Chuan" appear to have given rise. They here represent the Japanese word Yomo or Yomi, which we find phonetically written with the characters in the name of Yomo-tsu-shiko-me a little further on, and which is defined by Motowori as "an underworld,.... the habitation of the dead,.... the land whither, when they die, go all men, whether noble or mean, virtuous or wicked." The orthodox Japanese derivation of Yomi is from Yoru, "night," which would give us for Yomo-tsu-kuni some such rendering as "the Land of Gloom." A suggestion quoted by Arawi Hakuseki ("Tōga," art. Idzumi) that the word may really be but a mispronunciation of Yama, the Sanscrit name of the Buddhist god of hell, is however worthy of consideration; but it seems best on the whole to translate Yomi or Yomo by "Hades," a term which is itself of uncertain derivation, and the signification attached to which closely resembles the Japanese Shintō notion of the world beyond, or rather beneath, the grave.

38:2 The original text seems to be corrupt, and Motowori, unable to make anything of leaves without any Japanese reading (see the remarks in his Commentary, Vol. VI. pp. 5-6). Mr. Aston, in the version of this passage given in the Chrestomathy appended to his "Grammar of the Japanese Written Language," follows Motowori in not translating , but does not allude to the difficulty.

39:3 I.e. "of the food of Hades." It would be more obvious (following the text) to translate "I have eaten in the doors [i.e. in the house] of Hades;—but the character in this place stands almost certainly for , "a place for cooking," "a furnace."

39:4 The word kashikoshi ( ), here translated "reverence," exactly corresponds to the modern polite idiom osore-iri-mashita, for which there is no precise equivalent in English, but which conveys some such sentiment as "I am overpowered by the honour you do me," "I am sorry you should have taken the trouble."

39:5 Q.d. "with thee to the land of the living."

39:6 p. 42The original here has the character which signifies "moreover" as in this translation, and Motowori's proposed emendation to has for it the authority of no manuscript or earlier printed edition. In his "Records of Ancient Matters with the Ancient Reading" he actually substitutes this very new reading, accompanying it in kana with the Japanese words ashita ni, "in the morning." But what is to become of the text if we are at liberty to alter it to suit our convenience,—for there is more than one other passage where is similarly used?

39:7 Yomo-tsu-kami. Both Motowori and Hirata take the word "Deities" in the Plural, and the translator therefore renders it in that number, though the Singular would be at least equally suitable to the text as it stands. Of the Deities of Hades little or nothing is known. Conf. Note 23 to this Section.

39:8 Literally "the male pillar," i.e. the large tooth of which there is one at each end of the comb.

39:9 The use of the expression "lit one light," where it would have been more natural to say simply "lit [a] light," is explained by a gloss in the "Chronicles," which informs us that "at the present day" the lighting of a single light is considered unlucky, as is also the throwing away of a comb at night-time. It is allowed that the gloss is a late addition, and its statement might perhaps be considered a mere invention made to account for the peculiar expression in the text. Motowori tells us however that "it is said by the natives" that these actions are still (latter part of 18th century) considered unlucky in the province of Ihami, and the same superstition also survives, as the translator is assured, in Yedo itself. It is to be understood that it was the large tooth broken off from the comb which the god lighted.

39:10 Or "arm."

39:11 Or "leg."

39:12 The Japanese names of the eight Thunder-Deities are: Oho-ikadzuchi, Ho-no-ikadzuchi, Kuro-ikadzuchi, Saka-ikadzuchi, Waki-ikadzuchi, Tsuchi-ikadzuchi, Naru-ikadzuchi, and Fushi-ikadzuchi. Moribe in his Critique on Motowori's Commentary, has some observation on the appropriateness of each of these names which the student will do well to consult if the work should be published.

39:13 Yomo-tsu-shiko-me.

39:14 We might perhaps with equal propriety render by "wreath" the word here translated head- dress,—leaves and flowers having been the earliest ornaments for the hair. In later time, however, it has been used p. 43 to designate any sort of head-dress, and that is also the dictionary meaning of the Chinese character with which it is written. The Japanese words for "head-dress" and "creeper" are homonymous, and indeed the former is probably but a specialised acceptation of the latter.

40:15 I.e., brandishing it behind him.

40:16 Or Flat Hill of Hades, Yomo-tsu-hira-saka, said by Motowori to form the frontier-line between Hades and the World of the Living. See also Note 27 to this Section.

40:17 The three characters here rendered "people" are evidently (Motowori notwithstanding) meant to be equivalent to the common Chinese expression , which has that signification. The word translated "living" means literally "present," "visible."

40:18 Ashi-hara-no-naka-tsu-kuni, a common periphrastic designation of Japan. It is better to translate the name thus than to render it by "the Land in the Middle of the Reed-Plains," a forced interpretation which Motowori and Hirata would only seem to adopt in order to veil the fact that one of the most ancient and revered names of their native land was imitated from that of China.—everything Chinese being an abomination in the sight of these ardent Shintoists. Yamazaki Suiga, as quoted by. Tanigaha Shisei, is more sensible when he remarks that each country naturally considers itself central and foreign countries barbarous and that Japan is not peculiar in being looked on by its inhabitants as the centre of the universe. This is also the view taken by the other earlier scholars.

40:19 Oho-kamu-dzumi-no-mikoto. The difference between Singular and Plural is not often present to the Japanese mind, and though there were three peaches, we might just as well render their name by the words "His Augustness, etc.," considering the three as forming together but one divinity. The interpretation of the name here adopted is the simple and natural one which Motowori borrowed from Tanigaha Shisei.

40:20 I.e., a rock which it would take a thousand men to lift.

40:21 That some kind of leave-taking and separation is intended seems certain; but the precise import of the characters in the text is not to be ascertained. Motowori's "Commentary, Vol. VI, pp. 29-30 and Vol. X, pp. 52-55, should be consulted for an elaborate discussion of the various interpretations which they may be made to bear. Moribe, in his Critique on this Commentary, argues that "divorced each other" is the proper signification of the words, and supports his opinion by the Parallel passage of the "Chronicles."

40:22 p. 44 I.e., "I will cause fifteen hundred women to bear children." For the custom of erecting a separate hut for a woman about to be delivered see Introduction, p. xxviii.)

40:23 Yomo-tsu-oho-kami. On this rather embarrassing statement Motowori is silent, and Hirata simply says: "It must be supposed that the 'Deities of Hades' previously mentioned had been its 'Great Deities' up to this time, a position which was henceforward assumed by Her Augustness Izana-mi (the Female-Who-Invites"). Conf. Note 7 to this Section.

40:24 Chi-shiki-no-oho-kami. [This is Motowori's reading. We might also read Michi-shiki-no-oho-kami]. Motowori conclusively proves that "reaching" is the signification of the word shiki which is here so translated. That it was already obscure at the time of the compilation of these "Records" is however shown by the fact that it is written syllabically in the first instance, and with a "borrowed character" (i.e., a homonymous word) in the second.

40:25 Because the goddess was turned back by it on the road where she was pursuing her brother-husband. The original is Chi-gaheshi [or Michi-gaheshi]-no-oho-kami.

41:26 Sayari-masu-yomi-do-no-oho-kami.

41:27 Ifuya-zaka. Moribe in his "Idzu-no-chi-waki" conjectures that Ifuya may be derived from Yufu-yami, "evening darkness," an etymology which has at least the merit of suiting the legend.

Next: Section X.—The Purification of the August Person