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



When forthwith he made a progress to the Moor of Akidzu, 1 and augustly hunted, the Heavenly Sovereign sat on an august throne. Then a horse-fly bit his august arm, and forthwith a dragon-fly came and ate up 2b the horse-fly, and flew [away]. Thereupon he composed an august Song. That Song said:

"Who is it tells in the great presence that game is lying on the peak of Womuro at Mi-yeshinu? Our Great Lord, who tranquilly carries on the government, being p. 397 seated on the throne to await the game, a horse-fly alights on and stings the fleshy part of his arm fully clad in a sleeve of white stuff, and a dragon-fly quickly eats up that horse-fly. That it might properly bear its name, the land of Yamato was called the Island of the Dragon-Fly." 3

So from that time that moor was called by the name [318] of Akidzu-nu. 4


396:1 p. 397 Akidzu-nu. See Note 4 to this section.

396:2b Or, "bit."

397:3 The signification of the greater portion of this Song is clear enough, and is sufficiently explained by the context. The word "who" however admits of two interpretations, Motowori taking it to signify some one," whereas Moribe, keeping the literal meaning of "who?" sees in it an angry exclamation of the monarch's at having been brought out to the hunt under exaggerated promises of game. Womuro means "little cave," but is here a proper name. Mi-yeshinu is a form of the word Yoshino which is frequently met with in poetry, the syllable mi being probably, as Mabuchi tells us in his "Commentary on the Collection of a Myriad Leaves," equivalent to ma, and therefore simply an '"Ornamental Prefix." The phrase "tranquilly carries on the government" represents the Japanese yasumishishi, the Pillow-Word for wa go oho-kimi, "our Great Lord," which latter phrase descriptive of the Sovereign is here put into the Sovereign's own mouth. "Of white stuff, shiro-tahe no, is another Pillow-Word. The only real difficulty in this Song meets us is the interpretation of its concluding sentence. The meaning apparently intended to be conveyed is that it was in order to prove itself worthy of its name that the dragon-fly performed the loyal deed which forms the subject of the tale. But it so, the author forgets that it was not the dragon-fly that was called after Japan, but Japan that was called after the dragon-fly (Akidzushima, "Dragon-fly-Island," from akidzu, "dragon-fly"). What should be the point of the whole poem therefore fails of application. The name "Island of the Dragon-Fly" has already appeared in Sect. V (Note 26).

397:4 I.e., Dragon-Fly Moor. See Motowori's remarks in his "Examination of the Synonyms for Japan," p. 26.

Next: Section CLVII.—Emperor Yu-riyaku (Part VII.—Adventure with a Wild Boar)