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



Hereupon the Sea-Deity's daughter Her Augustness Luxuriant-Jewel-Princess herself waited on 1b [His Augustness Fire-Subside], and said: "I 2b am already with child, and the time for my delivery now approaches. But me-thought that the august child of an Heavenly Deity 3b ought not to be born in the Sea-Plain. 4 So I have waited on thee here." 5 Then forthwith on the limit of the waves upon the sea-shore she built a parturition-hall, 6 using

p. 155

cormorants' feathers for thatch. Hereupon, before the thatch was completed, 7 she was unable to restrain the urgency of her august womb. So she entered the parturition-hall. Then, when she was about to be delivered, she spoke to her husband 8 [saying]: "Whenever a foreigner is about to be delivered, she takes the shape of her native land to be delivered. 9 So I now will take my native shape to be delivered. Pray look not upon [127] me!" Hereupon [His Augustness Fire-Subside], thinking these words strange, stealthily peeped at the very moment of delivery, when she turned into a crocodile 10 eight fathoms [long], and crawled and writhed about; and he forthwith, terrified at the sight, fled away. Then Her Augustness Luxuriant-Jewel-Princess knew that he had peeped; and she felt ashamed, and, straightway leaving the august child which she had borne, she said: 'I had wished always to come and go across the sea-path. 11 But thy having peeped at my [real] shape [makes me] very shame-faced," 12—and she forthwith closed the sea-boundary, 13 and went down again. 14 Therefore the name by which the august child whom she had borne was called was his Augustness Heaven's-Sun-Height-Prince-Wave-limit-Brave-Cormorant-Thatch-Meeting-Incompletely. 15 Nevertheless afterwards, although angry at his having wished to peep, she could not restrain her loving heart, and she entrusted to her younger sister Jewel-Good-Princess, 16 on the occasion of her nursing the august child, 17 a Song to be presented [to His [128] Augustness Fire-Subside]. The Song said:

"As for red jewels, though even the string [they are strung on] shines, the aspect of [my] lord [who is] like unto white jewels is [more] illustrious." 18

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Then her husband replied by a Song, which said:

"As for my younger sister, whom I took to sleep [with me] on the island where light the wild-duck, the birds of the offing, I shall not forget her till the end of my life." 19

So His Augustness-Prince-Great-Rice-ears-Lord-Ears 20 dwelt in the palace of Takachiho for five hundred and eighty years 21 His august mausoleum 22 is likewise on the west of Mount Takachiho.

p. 157


154:1b p. 156 For "waited on "see Sect. XXXVIII, Note 1. The word "herself" ( midzukara) has no particular force or meaning in the Japanese original, where it is simply placed in imitation of the Chinese style.

154:2b See Sect. XXXVIII, Note 2.

154:3b Or "of the Heavenly Deity," i.e., "thyself." But it seems better to understand the speaker to intimate that it would be unfitting for one who properly belonged to Heaven to be born in the sea, which was another country or kingdom.

154:4 I.e., in the sea.

154:5 Literally "come out and arrived."

154:6 It has been noticed in the Introduction, p. xxviii, that in early Japan a parturient woman was expected to build for herself a special hut in which to give birth to her child.

155:7 Or, completely put on; literally, "thatched [so as] to meet."

155:8 The text here has "prince," literally "sun-child," and so the older editors understood the expression. The translator, however, prefers Motowori's view, according to which the character should be supplied, and the whole read phonetically as hikoi, "husband," a word which occurs again a few lines further on.

155:9 I.e., she assumes the shape proper to her in her native land.

155:10 According to the parallel passage of the "Chronicles," she turned into a dragon. "One account "however agrees with our text.

155:11 The original of this passage is rather confused; but the interpretation here adopted from the Old Printed Edition is more natural than Motowori's according to which the Verbs are to be taken in a Causative sense, to the following effect: "I had always wished to let people come p. 157 and go across the sea-path.'' Probably it was only in order to make this clause fit in better with the following sentence, in which we are told that the crocodile-princess "closed the sea-boundary," and with the fact that there is at present no path leading to the Sea-God's palace, that Motowori was induced to sanction such a view of the grammar of this passage.

155:12 This is Motowori's interpretation of the clause, he having emended , "action," "doing," which is found in the older editions, , "shame-faced." (The edition of 1687 mentions , "strange," as an alternative reading). If we followed the older reading, we should have to translate thus: "Thy having peeped at my [real] shape is an outrageous action."

155:13 I.e., the boundary dividing the dominions of the Sea-God from the world of men.

155:14 Viz., to the Sea-God's palace.

155:15 Ama-tsu-hi-daka-hiko-nagisa-take-u-gaya-fuki-ahesu no mikoto. The older editors read ahasezu for ahezu, i.e. "causing to meet," instead of "meeting." Moribe, in his Critique on Motowori's Commentary, would have us believe that the name comes from umi-ga kayohi fuki-ahezu ( ), i.e. "going and coming on sea and land and being unable to suckle"!

155:16 Tama yori-bime.

155:17 I.e., of Jewel-Good-Princess nursing the child, The mother did not return to the upper world, and so sent this poetic message by her sister, who had consented to act as the child's nurse.

155:18 "The meaning of the Song," says Motowori, "is this: Although red jewels are so charming that the very string [whereon they are strung] doth shine, the august aspect of my lord, who is like unto white jewels, is still more lovely. Thus does she express her loving feeling."—Moribe supposed the "red jewels" (or "jewel" in the Singular) to be meant for the child, than whom her husband is yet dearer to her heart. The word kimi, here etymologically rendered "[my] lord," is commonly used in the sense of "thou," especially in poetry.

156:19 I.e., "I shall never forget thee who wast my wife in the realm of the Sea-God. The "birds of the offing" are a description of the wild duck, used as a Pillow-Word for their name. In the same manner the whole phrase, "where light the wild-duck, the birds of the offing," may be taken simply as a "Preface" to the word "island." The Sea-God's dwelling is called an island because it is beyond the sea. The words p. 158 yo no koto-goto ni, here in deference to the views of the best commentators rendered by "till the end of my life," will also bear the interpretation of "night by night."

156:20 The alternative name of the deity Fire-Subside.

156:21 Probably the writer means us to understand that the total age reached by this deity was five hundred and eighty years. This is the first mention in these "Records "of anything approaching a date. The way in which it is recorded resembles that in which the chronicle of each Emperor's reign is brought to a close in the later volumes of the work.

156:22 The character might also be rendered by the simple word "grave." But neither it nor its Japanese reading misasaki are ever used except honorifically of the Imperial tombs, and "mausoleum "seems therefore a more suitable English equivalent.

Next: Section XLIII.—The August Children of His Augustness Cormorant-Thatch-Meeting-Incompletely