Sacred Texts  Shinto  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 389 [311]


In the beginning, when the Empress 1 dwelt at Kusaka, 2 [the Heavenly Sovereign] made a progress in Kafuchi by way of the Tadagoye 3 road at Kusaka. Then, on climbing to the top of the mountain and gazing on the interior of the country, [he perceived that] there was a house built with a raised roof-frame. 4 The Heavenly Sovereign sent to ask [concerning] that house, saying: "Whose roof with a raised frame is that?" The answer was: "It is the house of the great Departmental Lord of Shiki." 5 Then the Heavenly Sovereign said: "What! a slave builds his own house in imitation of the august abode of the Heavenly Sovereign!" . . . . and forthwith he sent men to burn the house [down], when the Great Departmental Lord, with trembling and dread, bowed his head, 6 saying: "Being a slave, I like a slave did not understand, and have built overmuch. I am in great dread." 7 So the thing that he presented as an august offering [in token] of his entreaty was a white dog [312] clothed in cloth 8 and with a bell hung [round its neck]; and he made a kinsman of his own, named Koshihaki, 9 lead it by a string and present it [to the Heavenly Sovereign]. So the Heavenly Sovereign ordered them to desist from burning [the house].


389:1 p. 389 I.e., Waka-kusaka-be.

389:2 See Sect. XLIV, Note 31. The Kusaka here mentioned is that in Kafuchi.

389:3 From tada, "straight "and koyuru "to cross," this being a short cut over the mountains.

389:4 The original of this clause is , which is read katsuwo wo agete ya wo tsukureru ihe ari. The katsuwo (properly p. 390 katsuwo-gi ) is the name of the uppermost portion of the roof in modern Shinto temples, and apparently in ancient times also in houses that were not devoted to religious purposes. The difficulty is not with the sense, but with the derivation of the word katsuwo-gi. Following the characters with which it is here and elsewhere written, Motowori sees in it a reference to the shape of the blocks of wood resembling "dried bonitoes," which is the modern signification of katsuwo. But Moribe, in his "Examination of Difficult Words," proposes a derivation which approves itself more to the present writer's mind, viz., kadzuku wo-gi ( ), "small timbers atop" (see "Examination of Difficult Words," s.v.). Motowori's Commentary, Vol. XLI, pp. 11-14, should be consulted for a discussion of the whole question of the use of these frames in ancient times, and for the special force to be attributed to the word "raised" ( ) in this passage.

389:5 Shiki no oho-agata-nushi. For Shiki see Sect. LXIII, Note 1.

389:6 i.e., did humble obeisance by prostrating himself on the ground.

389:7 Or, according to the older reading, "This i.e., thy command) [is to be received with] awe."

389:8 Or, "tied with [a string of] cloth." The translation follows Motowori's interpretation.

389:9 The name signifies "loin-girded," i.e., as may be presumed, "wearing a sword."

Next: Section CLIII.—Emperor Yū-riyaku (Part IV.—He Wooes Princess Waka-kusaka-be)