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

p. 374 [300]


So Prince Karu was banished to the hot waters of Iyo. 1 Again when about to be banished, he sang saying:

"The heaven-soaring birds, too, are indeed messengers. When thou hearest the voice of the crane, ask my name." 2

These three songs are of a Heaven-Soaring style. 3 Again he sang, saying:

"If they banish the Great Lord to an island, he will indeed make the remaining return voyage. Beware of my mat! Mat indeed in words,—beware of my spouse! 4

[301] This Song is of a Partly Lowered Rustic style. 5 Queen So-tohoshi presented a Song [to him]. That Song said:

"Let not thy feet tread on the oyster-shells of the shore of Ahine with its summer herbs! Pass there [after] having made clear!" 6

p. 375

So when afterwards again, being unable to restrain her love, she went after him, she sang, saying:

"Thy going has become long past. I will go, oh! to meet thee. Wait! I can not wait." (What is here called yama-tadzu is [what is] now [known by the name of] tatsuge.7

So when in her pursuit she reached [the place where Prince Karu was, he, who had been] pensively waiting, sang, saying:

"Alas! beloved spouse, who settledst the [302] whereabouts of our grave, setting up flags in the great vale, setting up flags in the little vale of Hatsuse the hidden castle! Alas! beloved spouse, whom I see after [our many troubles], prostrate like a tsuki bow, standing like an adzusa bow!" 8

Again he sang, saying:

"Driving sacred piles in the upper reach, driving true piles in the lower reach of the river of secluded Hatsuse, and hanging on 303 the sacrificial piles a mirror, bunging on the true piles true jewels:—if they said that the younger sister whom I love like a true jewel, that the spouse whom I love like a mirror were [there], I would go home, I would long for my country." 9

Having thus sung, they forthwith killed themselves together. 10 So these two songs are Reading Songs. 11

p. 376 p. 377


374:1 p. 375 For Iyo see Sect. V, Note 4. Its hot springs are often mentioned in early documents. Motowori identifies them with a place now called Dō-go ( ).

374:2 The meaning of this Song is: "I go where perchance no messengers will reach me. But thou must ask tidings of me from the birds."

374:3 p. 376 Ama-da-buri. The title seems to be derived from the initial Pillow-Word of these three Songs.

374:4 The meaning of this Song seems to the translator to be: "Even if they dare to banish me now, I shall some day return again. Respect my mat during my absence. Mat, indeed! It is my wife that must be respected." The commentators consider the concluding words to be a command addressed to the wife, and interpret the phrase to mean, "My spouse, beware! "But surely this makes less good sense, and moreover fails to suit the exactly parallel passage in the first Song of Sect. CXXV. By the words "Great Lord" the princely poet denotes himself,—perhaps with a touch of anger at the indignity to which he is subjected. The difficult expression funa-amari is here, in accordance with Moribe's view rendered by the words "remaining voyage," i.e., "the voyage homeward," which is that part of a voyage that may be said to remain over for an outward-bound vessel when she has reached her destination. Motowori's Commentary, Vol. XXXIX, pp. 50-51, should be consulted for older views of the meaning of the term. The expression "beware of my mat" reminds us that in early days the entire floor of a Japanese room was not matted according to the modern custom, but that each individual had his own mat on which to sit and sleep. Great care was always taken not to defile another's mat, Conf, an elegy from the "Collection of a Myriad Leaves "translated by the present writer in his "Classical Poetry of the Japanese," p. 79.

374:5 Hina-buri no kata-oroshi. Like most of the names of styles of Songs, this one is extremely obscure. The commentators suppose that one part was sung in a lower voice than the rest. But they are merely guessing.

374:6 The actual words of the Song signify: "Lacerate not thy feet by walking on the unseen oyster-shells of the shore of Ahine that is covered with the summer herbs; but walk there after dawn." (This is Keichiū's interpretation of the word akashite, "having made clear," and is the best in the present writer's opinion; the latter commentators see in it a recommendation to the exiled prince to clear the grass away on either side.) The word Ahine calls, however, for special explanation in order that the full import of the poem may be brought out. It properly signifies "sleeping together" or "lying on each other," and is therefore applicable either to the two spouses or to the summer grass. Indeed it is doubtful if it be the name of any real place at all. The word natsu-kusa may also be taken simply as a Pillow-Word for Ahine.—The total gist of the Song is in any case a warning from the maiden to her lover to guard himself against the perils of the journey.

375:7 p. 377 The meaning of this Song is: "It is too long since thy departure. I can wait no longer, but will go and meet thee."—The Verb "to meet" (mukahe) is in the original preceded by the Pillow-Word yama-tadzu, which forms the subject of the note appended to the poem by the compiler. The commentators are not agreed as to the precise nature of the instrument intended; but it seems to have been some kind of axe. The cause of its use as a Pillow-Word for "meeting "is equally disputed. It only occurs written phonetically. The term tatsu-ge, by which it is explained in the text, is there written , which does not help us much towards understanding what is meant to be designated.

375:8 So obscure is this Song in the original, that Motowori confesses himself unable to make any sense of it. The translator has adopted Mortise's interpretation, according to which the gist of it is this: "Alas! my dear wife, who wast so willing to be for ever united to me that thou didst even fix on the spot in the funereal vale of Hatsuse where we should one day be buried together! Alas for thee, whom at last I now see again "—In order to arrive at this meaning, Moribe is obliged to prove more less satisfactorily that the thrice repeated word wo signifies "vale "or "mountain-fold "the first two times that it occurs, and "grave" the third, and that komoriku no hatsuse, usually interpreted as secluded "Hatsuse," means "the hidden castle," the "final place," i.e., "the tomb, It is also necessary to suppose, without authority, that the flags mentioned by the poet are meant for funeral flags, and that the words "prostrate like a tsuki bow," etc., which, according to the laws of Japanese construction, precede instead of following the phrase "alas! beloved spouse," etc., are but a Preface for the latter.—It will be seen that the foundation on which Moribe's interpretation rests is slight, and that Motowori was scarcely to be blamed for pronouncing the Song incomprehensible. At the same time the translator has thought it better, by following Moribe, to give some translation of it than to leave the passage blank. With this warning, the student may search for other possible meanings if he pleases.—Hatsuse is a still existent and celebrated place among the mountains of Yamato. The etymology of the name, unless we accept Moribe's mentioned above, is obscure. It is now usually pronounced Hase. The tsuki is said to be almost indistinguishable from the keyaki tree (Zelkowa keaki). The adzusa seems to be the Catalpa kaempferi, but some believe it to be the cherry tree.

375:9 The first half of this Song down to the words "hanging on the true piles true jewels" is a Preface for what follows. The signification p. 378 of the rest is: "If my dearly loved sister-wife were still at Hatsuse in Yamato, I would fly to her either in thought or deed; but now that she has followed me into exile, the land of exile is good enough:"—Moribe, while allowing the first half of the Song to be a Preface for the rest, contends that it also should be credited with a signification bearing on the subject-matter of the main part of the Song. He supposes, namely, the religious ceremony, whatever it was, of driving piles into the bed or bank of the river and of decorating them with beads and a mirror, to have been one really performed by Princess So-tohoshi to compass her lover's, return. In the translator's opinion, it is more elegant and more in accordance with Archaic usage to consider the Preface as having no special significance or connection (otherwise than verbal) with the rest of the poem. The word i-kuhi or i-guhi, rendered "sacred piles," occasions some difficulty; for it is not certain whether Motowori is right in giving to the initial syllable i the meaning of "sacred." It may be simply what has been termed an "Ornamental Prefix," devoid of meaning. Motowori however points out that this usage of it is restricted to Verbs, and does not occur with Substantives. Komoriku no, the Pillow-Word for Hatsuse, is rendered by "secluded" in accordance with Mabuchi's usually accepted derivation from komori-kuni, "retired land." Moribe, notwithstanding what he has said in his exegesis of the preceding poem (Note 8), is willing to allow that, though perhaps not its original, this was its common, meaning even in ancient times.

375:10 I.e., committed suicide together.

375:11 This expression is interpreted to mean that these Songs were recited in monotone, as one would read a book or tell a tale.

Next: Section CXLIV.—Emperor An-kō (Part I.—He Slays King Oho-kusaka)