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


His Augustness Woke-no-ihasu-wake dwelt at the palace of Chika-tsu-Asuka, 1 and ruled the Empire for

p. 417

eight years. The Heavenly Sovereign wedded the Queen of Naniha, 2 daughter of the King of Ihaki. 3 He had no children. At the time when this Heavenly Sovereign was searching for the august bones of the King his father, King Ichinobe, 4 there came out from the land of Afumi [to the palace] a poor old woman, who said: "The place where the prince's august bones are buried is specially well known to me, 5 and moreover [his skeleton] can be known by his august teeth." (His august teeth were teeth uneven like a lily.) Then people were set 6 to dig the [334] ground and search for the august bones; and the bones having been forthwith obtained, an august mausoleum was made on the mountain east of the Moor of Kaya, 7 and they were interred, and the children of Kara-fukuro 8 were made to guard the august mausoleum. Afterwards the august bones were brought up [to the Capital]. So having returned up [to the Capital, the Heavenly Sovereign] sent for the old woman, praised her for having, without forgetting, kept the place in mind, and conferred upon her the name of the Old Woman Oki-me: 9 thus did he send for her into the palace, and deign to treat her with deep and wide kindness. So he built a house for the old woman to dwell in dose to the palace, and always sent for her every day. So he hung a bell by the door of the great hall, and always rang it when he wished to call the old woman. So he composed an august Song. That Song said:

"Oh! the far-distant bell tinkles when she has past the moor with its low eulalias and the little valley. Oh! Oki-me must be coming!" 10

Hereupon the old woman said: "I am very aged, [335]

p. 418

and would fain depart to my native land." So when the Heavenly Sovereign let her depart according to her request, he saw her off and sang, saying:

"Ah Okime! Okime from Afumi! from to-morrow [onwards] wilt [thou] be hidden behind the deep mountains, and alas! not seen!" 11


p. 418


416:1 p. 418 See Sect. CXXXIII, Note 11.

417:2 Naniha no miko. For Naniha see Sect. XLIV, Note 26

417:3 Ihaki no miko.

417:4 Who had been treacherously slain by the Emperor Yū-riyaku (see Sect. CXLVIII).

417:5 I.e., says Motowori, "it is known to me, and to none besides."

417:6 The character used is , which is more applicable to the raising of troops than to the setting to work of peasants. It seems however here to be used in the latter sense; or perhaps we should consider it to mean that people were got together.

417:7 See Sect. CXLVIII, Note 3. Possibly the "mountain east" should be a Proper Name,—Eastern Mountain,—but it is not taken as such by Motowori.

417:8 See Sect. CXLVIII, Note 1.

417:9 I.e., "keeping an eye." q.d., on the place of burial of the Emperor's father. Grammar would lead us to expect the order of the words forming the name to be reversed thus, Mo-oki; but see Motowori's remarks in Vol. XLIII, p. 56.

417:10 This Song is not comprehensible except by reference to the text of the "Chronicles," whose author gives a somewhat varying version of the story. He tells us that, as a support to the infirm old lady, the Emperor had a string or rope stretched as a sort of hand-rest along the way she was obliged to pass in order to reach the Imperial apartments, and that at the end of the rope was a bell whose tinkling notified the Emperor of her approach. The conjectural exclamation which closes the little poem has therefore an obvious sense, which would be wanting if the bell were at the other end, as in the version here given; for the Emperor would not give expression to surprise at her approach, if he had himself just rung for her to come.—"Far-distant" is an imperfect attempt to represent the Pillow-Word momo-dzutafu, which here alludes to the stages p. 419 along which the old woman may be supposed to be travelling. The valley and the moor overgrown with short grass form an allusion to the way,—long and arduous for her,—which Oki-me had to traverse to reach the Imperial. apartments, and they contain possibly a further allusion to her original journey to the capital.

417:11 The meaning of this Song is quite clear.—The second time the name Oki-me occurs, it might, instead of being as here taken as an exclamation, be made the subject of the sentence, thus: "Oki-me from Afumi will by to-morrow, etc." The words "wilt [thou]," which represent ka of the original Japanese may be taken either as an exclamation properly so-called, or as a sort of rhetorical interrogation whose force is simply exclamatory. The meaning comes to the same in either case, and is literally rendered by the same English words; but according to the latter view, we should have to replace the point of exclamation by a point of interrogation.

Next: Section CLXVIII.—Emperor Ken-zō (Part II.—He Slays The Boar-Herd)