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Then Wodate, Chief of the Mountain Clan 1b when appointed governor of the land of Harima, arrived just at

p. 410

[paragraph continues] [328] [the time of] a rejoicing for the new cave of an inhabitant called Shizhimu. 2 Hereupon, when the feasting and the drinking were at their height, they all danced in turn. So two young children 3 [employed] to light the fire sat beside the furnace. 4 These young children were made to dance. Then one of the young children said: "Do thou the elder brother dance first." The elder brother likewise said: "Do thou the younger brother dance first." When they thus yielded to each other, the people who were met together laughed at their manner of yielding to each other. 5 So at last the elder brother danced, [and when he had] finished, the younger when about to dance chanted, saying:

"On the bamboos on the mountain-slopes, behind which are hidden as soon as they appear my warrior-mate's sword, on whose hilt red earth was daubed, for whose cord red cloth was cut, and his red flags that were set up!:—Beggarly descendants of King Ichinobe-no-oshiha, august child of the Heavenly Sovereign Izaho-wake, who ruled the Empire as it were cutting the [bamboos'] roots and bending down their extremities, and like playing on an eight-stringed lute!" 6

[329] Then forthwith Chief Wodate, starting at the sound [of these words], and rolling off his couch, 7 drove away the people of the cave; and having set the two 8 princes [one] on his left knee and [the other] on his right and wept and lamented, he collected the people together, and having built a temporary palace, and set [the two princes]

p. 411

to dwell in that temporary palace, he sent a courier up [to the capital]. Thereupon their aunt, Queen Ihi-toyo, delighted to hear [the news], made them come up to the palace.


409:1b Yama-be no murazhiwodate. Yama-be has already appeared. Wo-date signifies "small shield."

410:2 For this name see Sect. CXLIX, Note 5. A similar festival at the inauguration of a new cave is mentioned in Sect. LXXX.

410:3 Motowori's vain attempts to reconcile the dates with this statement of Princes Ohoke and Woke being "young children "at this time, after an interval of two reigns since the death of their father, will be found in Vol. XLIII, pp. 10-11, of his Commentary.

410:4 I.e., as the commentators suppose, a place or vessel holding a light with which to kindle other lights for the feast. The word can scarcely here have its common signification of a "kitchen-range."

410:5 I.e., at the fact of their being so courteous to each other.

410:6 This so-called "chant,"—it is not a Song, because not in metre, and is accordingly not transcribed syllabically,—is at first sight so difficult as to seem to defy translation, and to make the student apply to the whole of his interpretation Motowori's closing remark on his exegesis of one of phrases contained in it,—"this is mere guess-work, and the text demands further consideration." A little inspection shows, however, that the drift of the words is by no means so inscrutable as its partly ideographic and partly phonetic transcription makes it appear. The first part down to the colon and dash is a "Preface" to the second, the "Pivot" joining the two parts in the original Japanese being the word "bamboos." The laws of English construction unfortunately do not admit of the force of the original, which entirely depends on the position of the words, being rendered into our language. The appropriateness of the Preface to the body of the chant rests on the consideration that the bright articles mentioned in it, viz., the sword painted and decorated with red streamers (or perhaps tied on with a red sash) and also the red banners are easily hidden behind the thick leaves of a bamboo-grove, just as the Imperial origin of the two young Princes was hidden beneath the vile office which they filled in Shizhimu's household. The clause "cutting the [bamboos'] roots and bending down their extremities" forms the chief difficulty. Indeed the word "roots" is supplied by Motowori, and his interpretation of the phrase is merely tentative. We may, p. 412 however, until some better explanation is offered, see in it a reference to the energetic manner in which the Empire was ruled by the young princes grandfather, the Emperor Izaho-wake (i-chiū), or else perhaps by their father Ichinobe-no-Oshiha. This latter view is preferred by Motowori, though according to the history Ichinobe-no-oshiha never actually ascended the throne. The position of the Verb "ruled" in the Japanese text permits of either interpretation. The comparison of the government of the Empire to playing on a lute is poetical and appropriate. It should be noticed that in the Japanese text the construction of the sentence forming the main body of the chant is the reverse of what it is made to appear to be in the translation. The words "beggarly descendants," by which, as a climax, the singer reveals his own and his brother's illustrious descent, therefore come last of all and produce on Wodate the startling effect which we read of in the next sentence.

410:7 Or, "seat." In ancient times each person in a room sat on a special mat, and it is that small mat which is here meant.

410:8 The Numeral is accompanied by the Auxiliary hashira, properly used for gods and goddesses.

Next: Section CLXV.—Emperor Sei-nei (Part III.—The Grandee Shibi)