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

p. 114


Therefore the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity and the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity again asked all the Deities, saying. "The Deity Ame-no-ho-hi, whom we sent down to the Central Land of Reed-Plains, is long of bringing back a report. 1 Which Deity were it best to send on a fresh mission?" 2 Then the Deity Thought-Includer replied, saying: "The Heavenly-Young-Prince, 3 son of the Deity Heaven's-Earth-Spirit 4 should be sent." So they bestowed on him the Heavenly feathered arrows, 5 and sent him. Thereupon the Heavenly-Young-Prince, descending to that land, at once wedded Princess Under-Shining, 6 daughter of the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land, 7 and moreover, planning how he might gain [possession of] the land, for eight years brought back no [95] report. So then the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity and the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity again asked all the Deities, [saying]: "The Heavenly-Young-Prince is long of bringing back a report. 8 Which Deity shall we send on a fresh mission to enquire the cause of the Heavenly-Young-Prince's long tarrying?" Thereupon all the Deities and likewise the Deity Thought-Includer replied, saying: "The pheasant the Name-Crying-Female 9 should be sent," upon which [the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity and the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity] charged [the pheasant], saying: "What thou shalt go and ask the Heavenly-Young-Prince is this: 'The reason for which thou wast sent to the Central Land of Reed-Plains was to subdue and pacify the savage Deities of that land. Why for eight years bringest thou back no report?'" So then the Crying-Female,

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descending from Heaven, and perching on the multitudinous [-ly-branching] cassia-tree 10 at the Heavenly-Young-Prince's gate, told him everything according to the mandate of the Heavenly Deities. Then the Heavenly-Spying-Woman, 11 having heard the bird's words, spoke to the Heavenly-Young-Prince, saying: "The sound of this bird's cry is very bad. So thou shouldest shoot it to earth." On her [thus] urging him, the Heavenly-Young-Prince at once took the heavenly vegetable wax-tree [96] bow and the heavenly deer-arrows bestowed on him by the Heavenly Deities, and shot the pheasant to death. Then the arrow, being shot up upside down 12 through the pheasant's breast, reached the august place where the Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity and the High-Integrating-Deity 13 were sitting in the bed of the Tranquil River of Heaven. This "High-integrating-Deity" is another name for the High-August-Producing-Wondrous-Deity. So, on the High-Integrating-Deity taking up the arrow and looking at it [he saw that] there was blood adhering to the feathers of the arrow. Thereupon the High-Integrating-Deity, saying: "This arrow is the arrow that was bestowed on the Heavenly-Young-Prince," showed it to all the Deities, and said: "If this be an arrow shot at the evil Deities by the Heavenly-Young-Prince in obedience to our command, let it not hit him. If he has a foul heart, let the Heavenly-Young-Prince perish 14 by this arrow." With these words, the took the arrow and thrust it back down through the arrow's hole, 15 so that it hit the Heavenly-Young-Prince on the top of his breast 16 as he was sleeping on his couch, so that he died. (This is the origin of [the saying] Beware of a returning arrow. 17) Moreover the pheasant returned not. So this is the

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origin of the modern proverb which speaks of 'the pheasant as sole messenger.' 18 So the sound of the wailings of the Heavenly-Young-Prince's wife Princess Under-Shining, re-echoing in the wind, reached Heaven. So the Heavenly-Young-Prince's father, the Deity Heaven's-Earth-Spirit, and his wife and children 19 who were in heaven, hearing it, came down with cries and lamentations, and at once built a mourning-house there, 20 and made the wild goose of the river 21 the head-hanging bearer 22 the heron the broom-bearer, the kingfisher the person of the august food, the sparrow the pounding-woman, 23 [98] the pheasant the weeping woman; and, having thus arranged matters, they disported themselves 24 for eight days and eight nights, At this time the Deity Ajishiki-taka-hiko-ne 25 came and condoled on the mourning for the Heavenly-Young-Prince, whereupon the Heavenly-Young-Prince's father and wife who had come down from Heaven bewailed themselves, 26 saying: "My child is not dead, no! My lord is not dead, no!" and with these words clung to his hands and feet, and bewailed themselves and lamented. The cause of their mistake was that the two Deities closely resembled each other in countenance: so therefore they made the mistake. Thereupon the Deity Ajishi-ki-taka-hiko-ne was very angry, and said: "It was only because he was my dear friend that I came to condole. Why should I be likened to an unclean dead person?"—and with these words he drew the ten-grasp sabre 27 that was augustly girded on him, and cut down the mourning-house, and kicked away [the pieces] with his feet. This was on what is called Mount Mourning 28 at the source of the River Awimi 29 in the land of Minu. 30 The great sword with which he cut

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[paragraph continues] [the mourning-house to pieces] was called by the name of Great-Blade-Mower, 31 another name by which it was called being the Divine-Keen-Sabre. 32 So when the [99] Deity Aji-shiki-toba-hiko-ne flew away in his anger, his younger sister Her Augustness the High-Princess in order to reveal his august name, sang, saying:

"Oh! ’tis the Deity Aji-shiki-Taka-Hiko-Ne traversing two august valleys with the refulgence of august assembled hole-jewels, of the august assembled jewels worn round her neck by the Weaving Maiden in Heaven!" 33

This Song is of a Rustic Style. 34

p. 118 p. 119 p. 120


114:1 p. 117 Literally, "long brings back no report."

114:2 Literally, "to send again." The same expression occurs below.

114:3 Ame-waka-hiko. All the commentators agree that it is in order to express disapprobation of this god's wickedness that the title of Deity or Augustness is never coupled with his name.

114:4 Ame-tsu-kuni-tama-no-kami.

114:5 Ame-no-koko-yumi and ame-no-haha-ya. In Sect. XXXIV these weapons are mentioned under the slightly altered names of ama-no-hazhi-yumi ("heavenly vegetable wax-tree bow") and ama-no-kaku-ya ("heavenly deer-arrows.") A large bow made of vegetable wax-tree (Rhus succedanea) wood, and arrows with broad feathers, are supposed to be intended.

114:6 Shita-teru-hime. See Sect. XXVI, Note 4.

114:7 Oho-kuni-nushi-no-kami. See Sect. XX, Note 17.

114:8 Literally, "long brings back no report."

114:9 Na-naki-me. If the view here taken of the meaning of the Japanese expression be correct (it is that preferred by Motowori and Hirata), the pheasant would seem to have been supposed to cry out its own name,—in Archaic Japanese kigishi. The syllables na naki me, however, lend, themselves equally well to the interpretation of "nameless female," and are in the "Chronicles" found written with characters having that signification. Another reasonable opinion is that the name should be connected with the tradition mentioned further on of the p. 118 pheasant having been the mourner (lit. "crying female," naki-me) at the funeral of the Heavenly-Young-Prince. In this case the word na, "name," would have to be considered redundant, and it will be observed that the next time the name is mentioned, we find simply naki-me, "crying female," without the syllable in question.

115:10 Katsura no-ki, variously written , , , , and phonetically . Though it is not absolutely certain what tree is intended, the weight of authority and of probability is in favour of its being the cassia, which plays a part in Chinese mythology. In modern parlance the katsura is a tree whose Latin name is Cercidiphyllum japonicum.

115:11 Ama-no-sagu-me.

115:12 This expression, as Motowori explains, signifies only that, as the arrow was shot from below straight up at a pheasant perching on a branch overhead, the feathers, which are properly considered to form the top part of the arrow, were naturally underneath.

115:13 Taka-gi-no-kami. The name is written with the characters , which, taken ideographically, would give us in English "High-Tree-Deity." But the translator has little doubt but that Motowori is correct in considering to be here used phonetically, and the syllable gi, which it represents, to be a contraction of guhi (for kuhi), itself derived from kumu, and best rendered by the Verb "to integrate."

115:14 In Japanese magare, lit. "turn aside," "become crooked," i.e., "come to a bad end."

115:15 I.e., through the hole in the bottom of the sky through which the arrow had entered, or which the arrow had made for itself.

115:16 Literally "high breast-hill."

115:17 The sentence placed between brackets is supposed by Motowori to be an addition to the text made by some copyist who had in his mind the parallel passage of the "Chronicles." In the "Records of Ancient Matters Revised" the two characters answering to our word "beware" are omitted, and the resulting meaning is: "This was the origin of the practice of sending back arrows," i.e., of shooting an enemy with the arrow he had himself just used.

116:18 The import of the proverb seems to be that an embassy should always consist of more than one person. This is Motowori's view, based on his interpretation of the character as hita, which he identifies with hito, "one"; and it agrees well with the story in the text. Hirata, who, in his "Exposition of the Ancient Histories," following the version p. 119 of the legend given in the "Chronicles," narrates two pheasant embassies,—the male bird being sent first and (as it did not return) the female afterwards,—takes the character in the proper sense belonging to it in Chinese, and interprets the words of the proverb to mean "the pheasant's hurried embassy."

116:19 I.e., the wife and children of the Heavenly-Young-Prince, who had been left behind by him in Heaven when he went on his embassy to Idzumo.

116:20 I.e., in the place where he died. The "mourning house" was used to keep the corpse in till it was finally buried.

116:21 Some of the commentators believe this bird to be a separate species, and Moribe, who says that he saw one at the estuary near Kuhana in Ise, describes it as "rather slenderer than an ordinary wild goose, with longer legs and a higher back." If we accepted this, the better English translation would be "river wild goose."

116:22 The original of this expression (kisari-mochi) is very obscure even in the "Chronicles," by whose ideographic reading the translator has been guided, and being here written phonetically becomes more conjectural still. The most likely opinion is that it signifies one bearing on his head the food to be offered to the corpse, though if this view be adopted, the office of the mourner in question may seem to resemble too closely that of the kingfisher. The latter has however been supposed to have brought fish, while the goose may have brought rice. Another proposal is that the goose brought the food and the kingfisher cooked it, while the sparrow, as mentioned below, performed the intermediate operation of pounding the rice. (See Motowori's elaborate note on this word in Vol. XIII, pp. 47-48 of his Commentary).

116:23 Or simply, "the pounder."

116:24 The parallel passage of the "Chronicles" tells us that "they wept and wailed and sang for eight days and eight nights."

116:25 See Sect. XXVI, Note 2. He was brother to the Heavenly-Young-Prince's wife.

116:26 The author of the "Perpetual Commentary on the Chronicles of Japan" tells us that these tears were tears of joy, Doubtless such is the meaning of the text; yet the repetition of the words "bewailing" and "lamenting" is curious.

116:27 See Sect. VIII. Note 4.

116:28 Mo-yama. No such mountain is now known.

116:29 p. 120 Awimi-gaha. No such river is now known. According to the characters with which it is written the name signifies "Knot-grass-Seeing River."

116:30 Afterwards called Mino. This province probably received its name, as the author of the "Explanation of Japanese Names" suggests, from mi nu, i.e., "three moors," from the large moors of Kagami, Awo, and Seki-ga-hara which it contains. The modern commentators prefer to derive it from ma nu, "true moor."

117:31 Oho-ha-hari. The name might also be rendered "Great Leaf-Mower." The translator has followed Hirata in omitting the nigori from the syllable ka.

117:32 Kamudo-tsurugi.

117:33 The meaning of the Song is: "Oh! this is Aji-shihi-taka-hiko-ne, whose refulgence, similar to that of the jewels worn by the Weaving Maiden in Heaven, shines afar across hills and valleys."—The translator does not follow those commentators who emend ana-dama, "hole-jewels" to aka-dama, "red," i.e. "resplendent jewels," as the frequent reference in this and the other ancient books to the string on which beads were strung, and the presence in ancient tombs, etc. of numbers of such beads with holes drilled through them (they are now known by the name of kuda-dama, i.e. "tube-jewels")renders such an emendation unnecessary The "Weaving Maiden in Heaven" is evidently, notwithstanding Motowori's endeavour to disprove the fact, the Chinese Chih Nü, a personification of α Lyrae, to whom there are countless allusions in Chinese literature, and who also became a frequent theme of the later Japanese poets.

117:34 Or, "barbarous style" Motowori endeavours to explain away the various names of styles of Songs found in the early literature by asserting that they are simply derived from the initial words of the Song in question, and that, for instance, in the present case, the title of Rustic Song was bestowed on the poem only because in the "Chronicles" it is coupled with another which lends itself to such an interpretation. Moribe gives his sanction to this view; but, though it is difficult to explain many of the titles on any other theory, the translator thinks that it cannot be accepted as generally satisfactory in the face of the numerous cases which contradict it, and of which its supporters can give no satisfactory explanation. The whole subject of the titles, of the manner of singing, etc., of the ancient poems is indeed involved in obscurity.

Next: Section XXXII.—Abdication of the Deity Master-of-the-Great-Land