Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697/Book XII

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Pub. for the Society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, pages 301–311




The Emperor Iza-ho-wake was the eldest son of the Emperor Ohosazaki. His mother's name was Iha no hime no Mikoto. She was the daughter of Katsuraki no Sotsuhiko. He was made Prince Imperial in Spring, the 1st month of the 31st year of the reign of the Emperor Ohosazaki. He was then fifteen years of age. The Emperor Ohosazaki died in Spring, the 1st month of the 87th year of his reign.

After the period of mourning, and in the interval before he assumed the exalted Dignity, he wished to take Kurohime,[2] the daughter of the Hata no Yashiro no Sukune, to him as concubine. The wedding presents[3] having been already given, he sent the Imperial Prince Nakatsu of Suminoye to give notice of the lucky day. Now Prince Nakatsu having assumed the elder Prince's name, by this means seduced Kurohime. On this night the Imperial Prince Nakatsu[4] came away, having forgotten his wrist-bells in Kurohime's house. On the following night, the Heir to the Throne, not knowing that the Imperial Prince Nakatsu had himself seduced her, went there. He entered the chamber, drew aside the curtain, and sat down upon the jewel-couch. Then there was a sound of bells at the (XII. 2.) head of the couch. The Heir wondering at this, inquired of Kurohime, saying:—"What bells are these?" She answered and said:—"Are they not the bells which thou didst bring last night? Wherefore dost thou ask thy handmaiden any more about them?" The Heir naturally concluded that the Imperial Prince Nakatsu had assumed his name and by this means seduced Kurohime, so he retired in silence.

Now the Imperial Prince Nakatsu, fearing that trouble would come of this, was about to kill the Heir to the Throne, and secretly raising a force, surrounded his Palace. Then Heguri no Tsuka no Sukune, Mononobe no Ohomahe no Sukune, and Achi no Omi, the ancestor of the Aya no Atahe, these three men, gave information to the Heir, but he would not believe them.

One version says:—"The Heir was drunk and would not get up."

Therefore the three men assisted the Heir, and making him mount on horseback, caused him to escape.

One account says:—"Ohomahe no Sukune took the Heir to the Throne in his arms and mounted him on a horse."

The Imperial Prince Nakatsu, not knowing that he was absent, set fire to his Palace. The fire lasted all night without being extinguished. When the Heir arrived at the Hanifu Hill in the Province of Kahachi he became sober, and looking back to Naniha, he saw the blaze of fire. He was greatly alarmed, and fled hastily by way of Ohosaka in the direction of Yamato. (XII. 3.) When he got as far as Mount Asuka, he met a girl at the entrance of the mountain, of whom he inquired, saying:—"Are there any men on this mountain?" She answered and said:—"This mountain is full of many armed men. Thou hadst better go round and cross over by the Tagima road." Hereupon the Heir thought to himself:—"By listening to the words of this girl I have been enabled to escape calamity." So he made a song, saying:—

At Ohosaka,
The girl that I met—
When I asked her the way,
She said not, "right on,"
She said, "Tagima way."

So he turned aside again, and having raised the troops of that district, made them follow him, and crossed over by way of Mount Tatsuta. At this time several tens of armed men came in pursuit of him. The Heir, looking at them from a distance, said:—"Who are those men who are coming? And why is their pace so hurried? Can they be an enemy?" Accordingly they hid themselves on the mountain, and waited. When they approached, one man was sent to inquire of them, saying:—"What men are ye, and whither go ye?" They (XII. 4.) answered and said:—"We are fishermen of Nojima in Ahaji. Hamako, the Muraji of Adzumi,[5] on behalf of the Imperial Prince Nakatsu [One account says Sato-tomo, Muraji of Adzumi], has sent us in pursuit of the Heir to the Throne." Hereupon he brought out the troops which were in ambush, and surrounding them, captured[6] them every one. At this time Akoko, the Atahe of Yamato, who from the first had loved Prince Nakatsu, and was privy to his conspiracy, secretly assembled choice troops to the number of several hundred at Kurusu in Kakibami, and on behalf of Prince Nakatsu withstood the Heir. Now the Heir, not knowing that he was beset with troops, went out for several ri from the mountain. He was stopped by a large force of armed men, and was unable to advance. So he sent a messenger and inquired of them, saying:—"What men are ye?" They answered and said:—"Akoko, Atahe of Yamato." And in their turn they questioned the messenger, saying:—"Who has sent thee?" He said:—"The Prince Imperial has sent me." Then Akoko, fearing lest there might be a numerous army there, said to the messenger:—"Information has reached me that something unusual has happened to the Prince Imperial, and in order to assist him I am waiting upon him with this force that I have prepared." The Heir, however, doubted his intentions, and tried to kill him. Whereupon Akoko was afraid, and offering as a present his own younger sister Hinohime,[7] through her begged that his capital offence might be pardoned. He was pardoned accordingly. It was prolably at this time that the custom began of the Atahe of Yamato sending tribute of ladies of the Palace.[8]

The Heir took up his abode in the shrine of Furu no Iso no Kami. Hereupon the Imperial Prince Midzuha wake, discovering the absence of the Heir, sought him out and followed him. The Heir, however, suspected the intentions of the Prince, his younger brother, and would not send for him. Then the Imperial Prince Midzuha wake sent a message to the Heir, saying:—"Thy servant has not a black heart. Only, distressed at the absence of the Heir, he has come hither." Hereupon, the Heir sent a message to the Prince, his younger brother, saying:—"I have escaped hither alone in fear of the rebellion (XII. 5.) of Prince Nakatsu. Why should I not suspect thee? So long as the Imperial Prince Nakatsu lives his sole endeavour will still be to do me a mischief, and I wish sooner or later to get rid of him. Therefore, if thou hast really not a black heart, return again to Naniha, and kill the Imperial Prince Nakatsu. After that I will see thee." The Imperial Prince Midzuha wake represented to the Heir, saying:—"Is not the Great Man's[9] anxiety excessive? At present the Imperial Prince Nakatsu's unprincipled conduct is detested by the officials and the people alike. His own household, moreover, are against him, and think him a brigand. He stands alone, and there is nobody whom he can consult. I knew of his rebellion, but I had not received the commands of the Heir, and was therefore merely indignant at it. Now that I have received an order, why should I make any difficulty about killing the Imperial Prince Nakatsu? All that I fear is that when I have killed him thou mayest still suspect thy servant.[10] I pray that a trusty person may be selected, and I desire that he should make clear my loyalty." Accordingly the Heir joined to him Dzuku no Sukune and so despatched him. Hereupon the Imperial Prince Midzuha wake made lament, saying:—"The Heir and the Imperial Prince Nakatsu are both my elder brothers: which shall I obey? Which shall I oppose? If, however, I destroy the unprincipled and adhere to the righteous, who can suspect me?" So he went to Naniha and observed the state of things with the Imperial Prince Nakatsu. The Imperial Prince Nakatsu, thinking that the Heir had fled away and disappeared, had made no preparation. Now he had a Hayato[11] named Sashihire. Prince Midzuha wake sent for Sashihire secretly and tampered with him, saying:—"If thou wilt kill the Imperial Prince for me, then will I surely reward thee liberally." So he took off his coat and trousers of brocade and gave them to him. Sashihire, relying on his words of allurement, all by himself took his spear, and watching the time when the Imperial Prince Nakatsu went into the privy, stabbed him to death, and entered the service of Prince Midzuha wake. Hereupon Dsuku no Tsukune made representation to the Imperial Prince Midzuha wake, saying:—"Sashihire has killed his own lord for the sake of another, and although for us he has done a great service, yet towards his own lord his conduct has been heartless in the extreme. Shall he be allowed to live?" (XII. 6.) So he killed Sashihire.

That same day the Prince proceeded towards Yamato, and at midnight arrived at Iso no Kami, and made his report. Hereupon the Heir summoned to him the Prince his younger brother, and was liberal of his favour to him, granting him the Mura-ahase official granaries. On this day Hamako, Muraji of Adzumi, was arrested.

A.D. 400. 1st year, 2nd month, 1st day. The Prince Imperial assumed the Dignity in the Palace of Waka-zakura at Ihare.

Summer, 4th month, 17th day. The Emperor summoned before him Hamako, Muraji of Adzumi, and commanded him, saying:—"Thou didst plot rebellion with the Imperial Prince Nakatsu in order to overturn the State, and thy offence is deserving of death. I will, however, exercise great bounty, and remitting the penalty of death, sentence thee to be branded."[12] The same day he was branded near the eye. Accordingly the men of that time spoke of the "Adzumi eye." The fishermen of Nojima who had been Hamako's followers were also pardoned their offence, and employed as labourers at the official granaries of Komoshiro in Yamato.

Autumn, 7th month, 4th day. Kurohime, daughter of Hata no Sukune, was appointed Imperial concubine. She was the mother of the Imperial Prince Oshiha of Ichinobe in Ihazaka, (XII. 7.) of the Imperial Prince Mima, and of the Imperial Princess Awomi.

One account says:—"The Imperial Princess Ihi-toyo."

His next concubine, the Imperial Princess Hatahi, was the mother of the Imperial Princess Nakashi.

This year was the year Kanoye Ne (37th) of the Cycle.

A.D. 401. 2nd year, Spring, 1st month, 4th day. The Imperial Prince Midzuha wake was appointed Heir[13] to the Throne.

Winter, 10th month. The capital was established at Ihare. At this time Heguri no Dsuku no Sukune, Soga no Manchi no Sukune, Mononobe no Ikofutsu no Ohomuraji, and Tsubura no Oho-omi together administered the affairs of the country.

11th month. The Ihare pond was made.

A.D. 402. 3rd year, Winter, 11th month, 6th day. The Emperor launched the two-forked boat[14] on the pond of Ichishi at Ihare, and went on board with the Imperial concubine, each separately, and feasted.[15] The Lord Steward[16] Areshi set sake before the Emperor. At this time a cherry flower fell into the Emperor's cup. The Emperor wondered at this, and sending for Mononobe no Nagamake no Muraji, commanded him, saying:—"This flower has come out of season. Whence does it come? Do thou thyself seek." Hereupon Nagamake no Muraji went himself and sought for the flowers. He found (XII. 8.) them on Mount Wakikamunomuro and presented them to the Emperor. The Emperor was delighted to get such a rare thing, and so made them the name of the Palace. Therefore it was called the Palace of Ihare no Wakazakura.[17] This was the origin of the name.

In this month the original title of "Nagamake no Muraji" was altered to "Wakazakura Be no Miyakko," and the Lord Steward, Areshi, was styled Wakazakura Be no Omi.

A.D. 403. 4th year,[18] Autumn, 8th month, 8th day. Local Recorders were appointed for the first time in the various provinces, who noted down statements, and communicated the writings of the four quarters.

Winter, 10th month. The Iso no kami conduit was excavated.

A.D. 404. 5th year, Spring, 3rd month, 1st day. The three Deities[19] who dwell in Tsukushi appeared within the palace and said:—"Why are we robbed of our people? We will now disgrace thee." Hereupon the Emperor prayed, but his prayer was not answered.

Autumn, 9th month, 18th day. The Emperor went a-hunting to the Island of Ahaji. On this day the Kahachi Horse-keepers' Be were in attendance on the Emperor, and held the bit. Before this the (XII. 9.) Horse-keepers' Be had been branded,[20] on the face, and none of their wounds had yet healed. Now the God Izanagi, who dwells in the island, spoke by the mouth of a hafuri, saying:—"I cannot endure the stench of blood." Accordingly divination was made, and the answer was, "The God dislikes the smell of the branding of the Horse-keepers' Be." Therefore from that time forward the branding of the Horse-keepers' Be was utterly discontinued.

19th day. There was a sound as of a blast of wind which cried aloud in the Great Void, saying:—"O thou Prince, inheritor of The Sword!"[21] Again there was a voice which said:—"Thy younger sister[22] of bird-frequented Hata has gone to be buried at Hasa. [Another version is:—"Sanakita no Komotsu[23] no Mikoto has gone to be buried at Hasa."] Suddenly a messenger arrived in haste, who said:—"The Imperial concubine is dead." The Emperor was greatly shocked, and straightway ordering his carriage,[24] returned.

22nd day. The Emperor arrived from Ahaji.

Winter, 10th month, 11th day. The Imperial concubine was buried. After this the Emperor, vexed with himself that he had not appeased the divine curse, and had so caused the death of the Imperial concubine, again sought to ascertain where the fault lay. Some one said:—"The Kimi of the Cart-keepers[25] went to the Land of Tsukushi, where he held a review of all the (XII. 10.) Cart-keepers' Be, and he took along with them the men allotted to the service of the Deities. This must surely be the offence." The Emperor straightway summoned to him the Kimi of the Cart-keepers and questioned him. The facts having been ascertained, the Emperor enumerated his offences, saying:—"Thou, although only Kimi of the Cart-keepers, hast arbitrarily appropriated the subjects of the Son of Heaven.[26] This is one offence. Thou didst wrongfully take them, comprising them in the Cart-keepers' Be after they had been allotted to the service of the Gods of Heaven and Earth. This is a second offence." So he imposed on him the expiation of evil and the expiation of good,[27] and sent him away to Cape Nagasa, there to perform the rites of expiation. After he had done so, the Emperor commanded him, saying:—"Henceforward thou mayest not have charge of the Cart-keepers' Be of Tsukushi." So he confiscated them all, and allotted them anew, giving them to the three Deities.

A.D. 405. 6th year, Spring, 1st month, 6th day. The Imperial Princess Hatahi of Kusaka was appointed Empress.[28]

9th day. A Treasury was instituted and a Treasury[29] Be established.

2nd month, 1st day. The Emperor sent for Futohime no Iratsume and Takatsuru no Iratsume, daughters of Prince Funashi wake, and having bestowed them in the Empress's (XII. 11.) palace,[30] made them both his concubines.[31] Upon this the two concubines lamented continually, saying:—"Alas! Whither has the Prince, our elder brother, gone?" The Emperor heard their lamentation, and inquired of them, saying:—"Why do ye lament?" They answered and said:—"Thy handmaidens' elder brother, Prince Washizumi, is strong and nimble. Alone he has taken a running leap over an eight-fathom house, and gone away. Many days have passed that we have not spoken to him face to face. Therefore do we lament." The Emperor was pleased to hear of his great strength, and sent for him. But he would not come. Again messenger after messenger was sent to summon him, but still he would not come, and continued to reside in the village of Suminoye. After this the Emperor ceased to demand his presence. He was the first ancestor of the two houses of the Miyakko of Sanuki and the Wake of Ashikuhi in Aha.

3rd month, 15th day. The Emperor's precious body became ill at ease, and, the elements of water and earth being inharmonious, he died in the Palace of Waka-zakura, at the age of seventy.[32]

Winter, 10th month, 4th day. The Emperor was buried in the misasagi on the Plain of Mozu no Mimi.





The Emperor Midzuhawake was a younger brother by the same mother of the Emperor Izaho-wake. He was appointed Prince Imperial in the second year of the Emperor Izaho-wake. The Emperor was born in the Palace of Ahaji. At his birth his teeth were like one bone,[35] and his appearance was beautiful. Now there was a well called Midzu no wi (the beautiful well) from which water was drawn to wash the Heir[36] to the Throne. A tajihi[37] flower had fallen into this well and it was accordingly made the name of the Heir to the Throne. The tajihi flower is what is now the itadori flower. Therefore he was styled the Emperor Tajihi[38] no Midzuha-wake.

The Emperor Izaho-wake died in Spring, the 3rd month of the 6th year of his reign.

A.D. 406. 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 2nd day. The Heir Apparent assumed the Imperial Dignity.

Autumn, 8th month, 6th day. Tsuno hime, daughter of (XII. 13.) Kogoto, ancestor of the Omi of Ohoyake, was appointed Imperial concubine.[39] She was the mother of the Imperial Princess Kahihime, and of the Imperial Princess Tsubura. Moreover, he took to him the Imperial concubine's younger sister Otohime, who bore to him the Imperial Princess Takara and the Imperial Prince Takabe.

Winter, 10th month. The capital was established at Tajihi[40] in Kahachi. It was called the Palace of Shibagaki.

At this time the rain and wind were seasonable, and the five kinds of grain reached maturity; the people enjoyed abundance, and the Empire was at peace.

This year was the year Hinoye Mŭma (43rd) of the Cycle.

A.D. 410. 6th[41] year, Spring, 1st month, 29th day. The Emperor died[42] in the chief sleeping-chamber.

  1. That is, "He who treads in the middle" (the right path).
  2. Black lady.
  3. Probably a trait of Chinese manners.
  4. Nakatsu means "of the middle," tsu in this and similar words being the genitive particle.
  5. See above, p. 256, where his ancestor was made prefect of the fishermen.
  6. As usual, "captured" stands for "slew."
  7. The Princess of the Sun.
  8. Uneme.
  9. A Chinese honorific for "you."
  10. Ch. K, p. 289.
  11. See above, p. 100. In this passage it seems used as a general name for retainer. Chamberlain renders it "man-at-arms" in the corresponding passage of the "Kojiki."
  12. Literally "inked." The branding consisted in tattooing a mark on the face or other part of the person. Until quite recently criminals were branded on the arm with ink, each prison having its own special mark. Branding was originally one of the "five punishments" of China.
  13. Note that the brother was made heir, though there were children.
  14. See above, p. 297.
  15. i.e. one in one fork of the boat, the other in the other.
  16. Kashihade no Omi. The context shows that this is here an official designation, and not a mere title, much less a surname.
  17. i.e. young cherry. This cannot be correct. See above, 3rd year of Jingō Kōgu, whose capital was also at Ihare, and was called Wakazakura.
  18. We have not yet got down to times of accurate chronology. Wani's arrival was in 405, and it is not likely that recorders were appointed till a good many years later. Examples of these "statements" occur frequently below. Most of them fall under the description of folk-lore.
  19. Probably the three children of the Sun-Goddess mentioned at p. 37.
  20. The branding here is not a criminal punishment, but only a distinctive mark.
  21. The sword was one of the Regalia.
  22. Kurohime, the Imperial concubine, is meant.
  23. Apparently another name for Princess Hata.
  24. The word carriage is not to be taken too literally. The kana interlinear gloss has Ohon mŭma ni tatematsurite, which means "mounted his horse."
  25. Kuruma-mochi.
  26. The Emperor.
  27. i.e. a fine of the articles required in the ceremony of purgation or expiation. See above, p. 48.
  28. She was the Emperor's half-sister.
  29. The Treasury means the office, the Be the staff. The "Kogo-jui" says:—"Until the reign of the latter Ihare no Waka-zakura (i.e. Richiu Tennō) the three Han failed not to send tribute for many generations. Beside the Sacred Treasury, there was erected an Inner Treasury, where the official property was classified and deposited. Achi no Omi and Wang-in (or Wani), the learned men of Pèkché, were made to record the ingoings and outcomings. A Treasury Be was first established." If we allow for the error of two cycles, this year, A.D. 405, is the very year in which Wang-in arrived. But the "Nihongi" chronology cannot yet be depended on.

    The "Shoku-in-rei" says:—"The Interior Treasury Department has one Chief, who has control of gold and silver, jewels, precious utensils, brocade and satin, sarsnet, rugs and mattresses, and the rare objects sent as tribute by the various barbarians."

  30. Women's apartments.
  31. The character used implies a subordinate rank.
  32. Other calculations make him sixty-four, seventy-seven, eighty-five, and eighty-seven. It is obvious that none of them can be relied on.
  33. Midzu ha means beautiful teeth.
  34. This is explained to mean "the Emperor who turned matters into the right path," han meaning turn, and sei or shō "right."
  35. In the Bamboo Books ("Legge's Chinese Classics"), p. 143, there is mention of an ancient Chinese king whose teeth were one piece of bone. The "Kojiki" says (Ch. K., p. 292):—"The length of his august teeth was one inch, and their breadth two lines, and the upper and lower [row] corresponded exactly, like jewels strung [together]."
  36. He was not Heir at this time.
  37. The Polygonum Cuspidatum. Hepburn.
  38. The "Seishi roku" states that in consequence of this incident Tajihi Be were established in all the provinces to be the villages for the hot baths of the Imperial Princes.
  39. The word for concubine here is 夫人. We have now had three ranks of concubines mentioned, showing that Chinese customs were coming in. In the older reigns the only distinction made is that of the Empress and other consorts.
  40. This is hardly consistent with the story of the tajihi flower on the previous page.
  41. The original reading is 6th. The "Shukai" editor would correct it into 5th from the "Kiujiki." It signifies extremely little which reading we take, as no reliance can yet be placed on any of the dates given.
  42. The age of this Emperor is not stated here. The "Kojiki" says sixty.