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

p. 360


Thereupon his younger brother His Augustness Midzu-ha-wake came, and sent [to ask for] an audience. 1 Then the Heavenly Sovereign caused him to be told [these words]: As I am in doubt whether perhaps Thine Augustness may [not] be of like mind 2 with King Sumi-no-ye-no-naka-tsu, I will not meet and speak with thee." [His Augustness Midzu-ha-wake] replied, saying: "I have no evil intent. I am not of like mind with King Sumi-no-ye-no-naka-tsu." [The Heavenly Sovereign] again caused him to be told [these words]: "If that be so, [do thou] now return down, and slay King Sumi-no-ye-no-naka-tsu, and come up [again hither]. At that time I will surely meet and speak with thee." So he forthwith returned down to Naniha, and deceived [a man] named Sobakari, 3 a man-at-arms 4 in the personal service of 5 King Sumi-no-ye-no-naka-tsu, saying: "If thou wilt obey my words, I shall become Heavenly Sovereign, and will make thee prime Minister, to rule the Empire. 6 How [would this be]?" Sobakari replied, saying "" [I [290] will do] according to thy command." Then plenteously endowing that man-at-arms, he said: "If that be so,

p. 361

slay the King." Thereupon Sobakari watched for the time when his King went into the privy, and thrust him to death with a spear. So when [His Augustness Midzu-ha-wake] was making his progress to Yamato taking Sobakari with him, he, on reaching the entrance of the Ohosaka mountain, thought [thus]: "Although Sobakari deserves very well of me, he has truly 7 slain his lord. This is unrighteous. Nevertheless if I reward not his deed, I may be called untruthful; and if I quite carry out my promise, his intentions are on the contrary to be feared. So, though recompensing his deed, I will destroy his actual person." Therefore he said to Sobakari: "I will halt here to-day and bestow on thee the rank of Prime Minister, and to-morrow will [continue my] progress up." So a halt was made at the entrance to the mountain, a temporary palace forthwith built, a copious feast 8 suddenly held, the rank of Prime Minister forthwith bestowed on the man-at-arms, and all the officials 9 made to do obeisance [to him]. The man-at-arms, delighted, thought that he had accomplished his design. Then [His Augustness Midzu-ha-wake] said to the man-at-arms: "To-day I will drink liquor from the same cup as the Prime Minister." And when they drank together, a bowls large [enough] to hide the face was filled with the liquor presented. 10 Hereupon the King's child drank first, and the man-at-arms drank afterwards. So when the man-at-arms was drinking, the great cup covered his face. Then [His Augustness Midzu-ha-wake] drew forth a sabre which he had laid under the matting, and cut off the head of the man-at-arms. Forthwith on the morrow he made his progress up. So the place was called by the name of Chika-tsu-Asuka. 11

p. 362

[paragraph continues] [291] Going up and reaching Yamato, he said: "I will halt here to-day and, having purified myself, will go forth to-morrow and worship at the temple of the Deity." 12 So that place is called by the name of Toho-tsu-Asuka. 13 So going forth to the temple of the Deity of Iso-no-kami 14, he sent to report to the Heavenly Sovereign that he had come up to serve him after accomplishing the work [with which he had been entrusted]. 15 So [the Heavenly Sovereign] sent for, and met, and spoke with him.


360:1 p. 362 The original of this clause is very elliptical, consisting only of the two characters . The old reading joins thereto the characters , which according to Motowori form the commencement of the next sentence. The meaning is not affected by the change.

360:2 Literally, "heart." Similarly below, where the word "intent" is used in the translation.

360:3 The signification of this name is quite obscure.

360:4 Hayabito. The reader should compare Section XXXVIII. Note 11.

360:5 Literally, "closely accustomed to."

360:6 The original leaves it uncertain whether the words "to rule the Empire "should be applied to the speaker, to Sobakari, or to both; and the ambiguous application has therefore been preserved in the translation.

361:7 Literally, "already."

361:8 See Sect. CVII, Note 7.

361:9 Literally, "the hundred officials," a Chinese phrase, which has been met with before.

361:10 The character used in the text implies by its radical that the bowl was of metal. It is an unauthorized form of or .

361:11 Scil. by the prince to the man-at-arms.

362:12 I.e., Nearer Asuka. The name is written . The student should consult Motowori's note on this passage in Vol. XXXVIII, pp. 38-39 of his Commentary, to see what can be done towards reconciling the name, the characters it is written with, and the origin ascribed to it, all of which are so apparently incongruous.

362:13 p. 363 , i.e., Further Asuka. Conf. Note.

362:14 Scil. of Isonokami. This deity was the sword forming the subject of the legend narrated in Sect. XLV.

362:15 This is the gist of the original phrase, which will not bear literal translation into English: .

Next: Section CXXXIV.—Emperor Ri-chiu (Part IV.—Various Deeds)