Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697/Book VIII
THE EMPEROR TARASHI-NAKATSU-HIKO.
The Emperor Tarashi-nakatsu-hiko was the second child of Yamato-dake no Mikoto. The Empress his mother was called Futachi-iri-hime no Mikoto. She was the daughter of the Emperor Ikume-iri-hiko isachi. The Emperor's countenance was of perfect beauty, and his stature was ten feet. He was appointed Prince Imperial in the forty-eighth year of the Emperor Waka-tarashi-hiko, being at this time thirty-one years of age. The Emperor Waka-tarashi-hiko having no male offspring, appointed him as his successor. In the sixtieth year of his reign the Emperor died, and in the following year, Autumn, the 9th month, 6th day, was buried in the Tatanami misasagi in Saki, in the province of Yamato.
(A.D. 192.) 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 11th day. The Prince Imperial assumed the Imperial Dignity.
Autumn, 9th month, 1st day. The Empress-mother was granted the honorary title of Grand Empress.
Winter, 11th month, 1st day. The Emperor commanded his Ministers, saying:—"The Prince, Our father, died before We reached the status of a youth. His divine spirit became changed (VIII. 2.) into a white bird and ascended to Heaven. Our longing regard for him knows not a day's intermission. Therefore it is Our wish to procure white birds and to keep them in the pond within the precincts of the misasagi, so that, looking on these birds, we may comfort our feelings of longing." Orders were therefore sent to the various provinces to send tribute of white birds.
Intercalary 11th month, 4th day. The province of Koshi sent tribute of four white birds. Now the messengers who were sent with the birds stayed for the night on the bank of the river Uji. Then Prince Gama-mi-wake, of Ashigami, seeing the white birds, made inquiry, saying:—"Whither are you taking these white birds?" The men of Koshi answered and said:—"The Emperor, out of his longing for the Prince, his father, intends to keep them as pets. Therefore do we bring them as tribute." Prince Gama-mi-wake spake to the men of Koshi, saying:—"These may be white birds, but when they are roasted they will become black birds." So he forcibly seized the white birds and carried them away. Hereupon the men of Koshi came and reported to the Emperor, who was indignant at the affront offered by Prince Gama-mi-wake to the late Prince, and sending troops, put him to death.
Prince Gama-mi-Wake was the younger brother of the Emperor by a different mother. The people of that time said:—"A father is Heaven, an elder brother is a Lord; how can he escape execution who is wanting in respect to Heaven, and who thwarts his Lord?"
This year was the year Midzunoye Saru (9th) of the Cycle.
(A.D. 193.) 2nd year, Spring, 1st month, 11th day. Oki-naga-tarashi-hime was appointed Empress. Before this the Emperor had taken to him as consort Oho-nakatsu-hime, daughter of his uncle Hiko-bito Ohine. She bore to him the Imperial Prince (VIII. 3.) Kakosaka and the Imperial Prince Oshikuma. Next he took to him as consort Oto-hime, daughter of Oho-saka-nushi, the ancestor of the Miyakko of Kukumada. She bore to him the Imperial Prince Homuya wake.
2nd month, 6th day. The Emperor made a progress to Tsunoga, where he erected a temporary palace and dwelt in it. This was called the Palace of Kehi. In the same month the granary of Ahaji was established.
3rd month, I5th day. The Emperor made a tour of inspection to the Southern provinces. Hereupon he left behind the Empress and the functionaries, and with two or three High officials and several hundred officers in attendance, he proceeded, thus lightly equipped, as far as the land of Kiï, where he dwelt in the Palace of Tokorotsu. At this time the Kumaso rebelled and did not bring tribute. The Emperor thereupon prepared to smite the Land of Kumaso, and starting from Tokorotsu, borne over the sea, he made a progress to Anato. On the same day he sent messengers to Tsunoga and commanded the Empress, saying:—"Set out straightway from that harbour and meet me at Anato."
Summer, 6th month, 10th day. The Emperor anchored in the harbour of Toyora, while the Empress, who had set out from Tsunoga on her way there, arrived at the Strait of Nuta, and partook of food on board her ship. A great many tahi assembled beside the ship. The Empress (VIII. 4.) sprinkled sake upon the tahi, which forthwith became drunk and floated to the surface. Then the fishermen, having caught numbers of these tahi, were delighted, and said:—"They are the fish given us by our wise sovereign." Therefore the fish of that place, when the sixth month comes, are in the habit of floating belly upwards as if they were drunk. This was the origin of it.
Autumn, 7th month, 5th day. The Empress anchored in the harbour of Toyora. On this day the Empress found in the sea a Nyoi pearl.
9th month. The Emperor erected a Palace in Anato, and dwelt in it. It was called the Palace of Toyora in Anato.
(A.D. 199.) 8th year, Spring, 1st month, 4th day. The Emperor proceeded to Tsukushi. At this time Kumawani, the ancestor of the Agata-nushi of Oka, hearing of the Emperor's arrival, pulled up beforehand a 500-branched Sakaki tree, which he set up on the bows of a nine-fathom ship. On the upper branches he hung a white-copper mirror, on the middle branches he hung a ten-span sword, and on the lower branches he hung Yasaka jewels. With these he went out to meet him at the Bay of (VIII. 5.) Saha in Suwo, and presented to him a fish-salt-place. In doing so, he addressed the Emperor, saying:—"Let the Great Ferry from Anato to Mukatsuno be its Eastern Gate and the Great Ferry of Nagoya be its Western Gate. Let the Islands of Motori and Abe and none else be the august baskets: let the Island of Shiba be divided and made the august pans: let the Sea of Sakami be the salt-place." He then acted as the Emperor's pilot. Going round Cape Yamaga, he entered the Bay of Oka. But in entering the harbour, the ship was unable to go forward. So he inquired of Kuma-wani, saying:—"We have heard that thou, Kuma-wani, hast come to us with an honest heart. Why does the ship not proceed?" Kuma-wani addressed the Emperor, saying:—"It is not the fault of thy servant that the august ship is unable to advance. At the entrance to this bay there are two Deities, one male and the other female. The male Deity is called Oho-kura-nushi, the female Deity is called Tsubura-hime. It must be owing to the wish of these Deities." The Emperor accordingly prayed to them, and caused them to be sacrificed to, appointing his steersman Iga-hiko, a man of Uda in the province of Yamato, as priest. So the ship was enabled to proceed. The Empress entered in a different ship by the Sea of Kuki. As the tide was out, she (VIII. 6.) was unable to go on. Then Kuma-wani went back and met the Empress by way of Kuki. Thereupon he saw that the august ship made no progress, and he was afraid. He hastily made a fish-pond and a bird-pond, into which he collected all the fishes and birds. When the Empress saw these fishes and birds sporting, her anger was gradually appeased, and with the flowing tide she straightway anchored in the harbour of Oka.
Moreover, Itote, the ancestor of the Agata-nushi of Ito in Tsukushi, hearing of the Emperor's coming, pulled up sakaki trees of 500 branches, which he set up in the bow and stern of his ship. On the upper branches he hung Yasaka jewels, on the middle branches white-copper mirrors, and on the lower branches ten-span swords, and coming to meet the Emperor at Hikejima in Anato, presented them to him. In doing so, he addressed the Emperor, saying:—"As to these things which thy servant dares to offer, mayst thou govern the universe with subtlety tortuous as the curvings of the Yasaka jewels; may thy glance survey mountain, stream and sea-plain bright as the mirror of white copper; mayst thou, wielding this ten-span sword, maintain peace in the Empire." Thereupon the Emperor commended Itote, and called him Isoshi. Wherefore the men of that time called the native place of Itote the Land of Iso. The present name Ito is a corruption of this.
(VIII. 7.) 22nd day. The Emperor arrived in the district of Naka. Here he dwelt in the palace of Kashihi.
Autumn, 9th month, 5th day. The Emperor addressed his Ministers, and consulted with them as to attacking the Kumaso. At this time a certain God inspired the Empress and instructed her, saying:—"Why should the Emperor be troubled because the Kumaso do not yield submission? It is a land wanting in backbone. Is it worth while raising an army to attack it? There is a better land than this, a land of treasure, which may be compared to the aspect of a beautiful woman—the land of Mukatsu, dazzling to the eyes. In that land there are gold and silver and bright colours in plenty. It is called the Land of Silla of the coverlets of paper-mulberry. If thou worshippest me aright, that land will assuredly yield submission freely, and the edge of thy sword shall not at all be stained with blood. Afterwards the Kumaso will surrender. In worshipping me, let these things be given as offerings, namely, the Emperor's august ship and the water-fields called Ohota, presented to him by Homutachi, the Atahe of Anato." When the Emperor heard the words of the God, his mind was filled with doubt, and straightway ascending a high hill, he looked away into the distance. But far and wide there was the ocean, and he saw no land. Hereupon the Emperor answered the God, and said:—"We have looked all around, and there is sea, and no land. Can there be a country in the Great Void? Who is the God who cheats Us with vain illusions? Moreover, all the Emperors Our ancestors have worshipped the Gods of Heaven and Earth without exception, and none has been omitted." Then the God again spake by the mouth of the Empress, saying:—"I see this country lie outstretched like a reflection from Heaven in the water. Why sayest thou that (VIII. 8.) there is no country, and dost disparage my words? But as thou, O King! hast spoken thus, and hast utterly refused to believe me, thou shalt not possess this land. The child with which the Empress has just become pregnant, he shall obtain it."
The Emperor, however, was still incredulous, and persisted in attacking the Kumaso. But he retreated without having gained a victory.
(A.D. 200.) 9th year, Spring, 2nd month, 5th day. The Emperor took suddenly ill, and died on the following day, at the age of 52.
One version says:—"The Emperor having gone in person to smite the Kumaso, was hit by an enemy's arrow, and slain."
Thereupon the Empress and the Prime Minister Takechi no Sukune suppressed the mourning for the Emperor, and did not allow it to be known to the Empire.
Accordingly the Empress commanded the Prime Minister, the Nakatomi Ikatsu no Muraji, Oho-miwa no Ohotomo-nushi no Kimi, Mononobe no Ikuhi no Muraji, and Ohotomo (VIII. 9.) no Takemotsu no Muraji, saying:—"The Empire is still ignorant of the Emperor's decease. If the people were to know of it, there would be negligence." So she instructed the four high officials to cause the functionaries to keep watch within the Palace while the body of the Emperor was secretly taken up and entrusted to Takechi no Sukune. He removed it by sea to Anato, and buried it temporarily in the Palace of Toyora, giving it a fireless temporary burial.
22nd day. The Prime Minister, Takechi no Sukune, returned from Anato, and made his report to the Empress. This year, owing to the expedition against Silla, it was impossible to bury the Emperor.
- Chiu means the middle one of three sons; ai, to be sad, to grieve.
- She was not Empress.
- The misasagi are surrounded with a moat.
- These phrases are Chinese, and therefore an anachronism in a history of this period.
- The Nyoi (如意) is a sort of sceptre seen in the hands of Buddhist idols. It contains the Mani, one of the Sapta ratna, a fabulous pearl which
is ever bright and luminous, and therefore a symbol of Buddha and of his doctrines.
A Buddhist term is of course an anachronism in this narrative.
- Bear (i.e. enormous), sea-monster, a fit name for a personage of a legendary narrative. See p. 61, note 3.
- A salt-pan.
- Near Karatsu. It was from Nagoya that Hideyoshi's expedition sailed for Corea. By the salt-place is evidently meant the whole northern coast of Kiushiu. Salt is still made here, though the chief seat of this manufacture is now the shores of the Inland Sea. See Wileman in "T.A.S.J." XVII. 1.
- This place is mentioned by a Chinese traveller to Japan in the third century of our era. "There are" (he says) "hereditary kings in Ito, who all owe allegiance to the Queen country."
- No doubt Maga-tama are meant.
- Taku-fusuma in Japanese. This is a pillow-word, prefixed to Silla, not in the least because coverlets of cloth woven from the inner bark of the paper-mulberry were in use in that country, but because Silla (in Japanese Shiraki) suggests Shira, white, and textiles of paper-mulberry were white. By "bright colours" is probably meant dyed textile goods.
- i.e., rice lands.
- Great fields.
- The sky. Corea is visible from the Japanese island of Tsushima, and must have been well known to the Japanese at this time. There has already been frequent mention of it in the "Nihongi" itself.
- Probably here used in its original signification of Middle Minister.
- The commentators say that for the sake of secrecy there were no lights used.
- An army of labourers was needed to build one of the enormous tumuli which were the fashion at this time.