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

p. 103


So when the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land dwelt at the august cape of Miho 1 in Idzumo, there came riding on the crest 2 of the waves in a boat of heavenly Kagami 3 a Deity dressed in skins of geese 4 flayed with a complete [85] flaying, who, when asked his name, replied not; moreover the Deities who accompanied him, though asked, all said that they knew not. Then the toad 5 spoke, saying: "As for this, the Crumbling Prince 6 will surely know it." Thereupon [the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land] summoned and asked the Crumbling-Prince, who replied. saying: "This is the Little-Prince-the-Renowned-Deity. 7 the august child of the Deity-Producing-Wondrous-Deity." 8 So on their then respectfully informing 9 His Augustness the Deity-Producing-Wondrous-August-Ancestor, he replied, saying: "This is truly my child. He among my children is the child who dipped between the fork of my hand. 10 So do he and thou become [87] brethren, and make and consolidate this land." 11 So from that time forward the two Deities the Great-Name-Possessor and the Little-Prince-the-Renowned-Deity made and consolidated this land conjointly. But afterwards the Little-Prince-the-Renowned-Deity crossed over to the Eternal Land. 12 So [the Deity here] called the Crumbling Prince, who revealed the Little-Prince-the-Renowned-Deity, is what is now [called] the scarecrow in the mountain fields. This Deity, though his legs do not walk, is a Deity who knows everything in the Empire. 13

p. 104 p. 105


103:1 p. 103 Not to be confounded with the better known Miho in Suruga. Derivation of the name seems uncertain.

103:2 p. 104 The character used is , which properly denotes an ear of rice or other grain.

103:3 What plant the author intends by this name is not quite certain. The characters and are variously used to write it in the native work of reference, where also we learn that it probably corresponds to the plant known in different provinces of modern Japan as chichi-gusa, tombo-no-chichi, kagarahi and gaga-imo. We may best understand the Ampelopsis serianæfolia to have been intended, as the plant is described as having a berry three or four inches long shaped like a towel-gourd, (hechima), so that, if scooped out, it would fairly resemble a boat in miniature.

103:4 All the authorities are agreed in considering the character , "goose," to be a copyist's error; but there is no agreement as to the character which should be substituted for it. Hirata reads , "wren," changing the phonetic. "Wren" also is the reading in "One account" of the "Chronicles," and Moribe, commenting thereon in his "Idzu no Chi-Waki," thinks that "wren" must have been the bird originally intended by the framers of the tradition. Motowori, following a suggestion of the editor of 1687, prefers to consider the radical for "bird" to have been put by mistake for the radical for "insect," and reads which signifies "moth," especially the "silkworm moth." Motowori, however, proceeds to give to the character in question the Japanese reading of hi mushi (lit. "fire-insect," i.e. "ephemera"), which is not warranted. The proper Japanese reading is hihiru. The best would seem to be to adopt the reading "moth."

103:5 The original word is tani-guku. Its derivation and the name of the species which it denoted are alike unknown. Indeed we might equally well translate by "frog."

103:6 Kuye-biko. The interpretation of the name here adopted is Motowori's. Tominobu takes Kuye to be the name of a place, and the parsonage in question to have been the inventor of scarecrows, whence the tradition connected with his name.

103:7 Sukuna-biko-na-no-kami, or without the nigori, Sukuna-hiko-na-no-kami. The interpretation of the name here followed is that proposed by Motowori, but not followed by Hirata and Moribe, who prefer to consider it antithetical to that of Oho-na-muji, "the Great-name-Possess or."

103:8 First mentioned in Sect. I, Note 6. Immediately below, his name is given in the lengthened form.

103:9 Motowori (who, strange to say, is followed by Hirata,—conf. Sect. XVIII, Note 18) interprets the two characters (here in accordance p. 105 with general usage taken to signify "respectfully informed") as "informed and took up," thus making it appear that the diminutive deity was personally taken up to Heaven. Surely a recollection of the parallel passage in the "Chronicles," which says that "a messenger was sent up to inform the Heavenly Deities," should have preserved the commentators from thus offending against both grammar and common sense.

103:10 I.e., "slipped away between my fingers." In the legend as given in the "Chronicles," the father explains more particularly that the Little-Prince-the-Renowned-Deity had been a bad boy who ran away.

103:11 For an explanation of this expression see Sect. XXIII. Note 26.

103:12 Toko-yo-no-kuai ( ). Some kind of Paradise or Hades is meant, as is proved by innumerable references in the early literature of Japan: and we may suppose the idea to have been borrowed from the Chinese or through them from Buddhism, and to have been afterwards vaguely located in some distant country. In Sect. LXXIV we are told of the orange having been brought from the "Eternal Land" by Tajima-mori, who is said to have been of Korean extraction. Korea, which is to the west of Japan, and the Buddhist paradise in the west might well he confounded by tradition, though it is equally open to discussion whether Southern China or even the Loochoo Islands might not have been thus vaguely designated. In any case it was a distant place, imperfectly known, though specifically named. In the "Chronicles," Tajima-mori is made to say that it is "the retreat of Gods and Fairies, and not to be reached by common men."—Motowori's immense note on this word (see Vol. XXI, pp. 10-13 of his Commentary) is a specimen of the specious arguments by which he endeavours to ward off from the Early Japanese the imputation of ever having borrowed any ideas from their neighbours. He would have us believe that Toko-yo is derived from soko yori, "thence" (!) and that the name simply denotes foreign countries in general. This is on a par with the opinion emitted by Arawi Hakuseki in his "Ko-shi Tsū," to the effect that the "Eternal Land" was simply a place in the province of Hitachi. The latter good old commentator apparently founded himself on no better reasons than his general rejection of supernatural or otherwise perplexing details, and the fact that one of the characters with which the name of the province in question written is , which also forms part of the name of Toko-yo-no-kuni.

103:13 Literally "everything beneath Heaven." "Beneath Heaven" ( ), i.e. "all that is beneath the Heavens," is a common Chinese phrase for the Chinese Empire, which was in ancient days not unnaturally p. 106 supposed by its inhabitants to form the whole civilized world. The expression was borrowed by the Japanese to designate their own country, But its use by them had not the same plea of ignorance of other civilized lands, as they were acquainted with China and Korea, and had hence obtained nearly all the arts of life.

Next: Section XXVIII.—The August-Luck-Spirit-the-August-Wondrous-Spirit