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

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Pub. for the Society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, pages 312–332




The Emperor Wo-Asa-tsuma wakugo no Sukune was a younger brother by the same mother of the Emperor Midzuha wake.

From infancy to puberty,[3] the Emperor was kind and unassuming. When he attained to manhood, he became very ill and lost the free use of his limbs.

The Emperor Midzuha wake died in Spring, the 1st month of the 5th year of his reign. Hereupon the Ministers held counsel, saying:—"There are at the present time the Imperial Princes Wo-Asa-tsuma wakugo no Sukune and Oho-Kusaka, children of the Emperor Oho-sazaki. The Imperial Prince Wo-Asa-tsuma wakugo no Sukune, however, is the elder, and of an affectionate, dutiful disposition." So they chose a lucky day, and kneeling down, offered him the Imperial signet. The Imperial Prince Wo-Asa-tsuma wakugo no Sukune declined it, saying:—"I am an unlucky man, long afflicted with a grievous disease, which I cannot shake off. I am unable to walk. Of myself, without informing the Emperor, I have secretly treated (XIII. 2.) my disease by self-mutilation,[4] in the hope of getting rid of it, but still I am not healed. Therefore the former Emperor chid me, saying:—'What greater extreme of unfilialness can there be than this conduct of thine, in wantonly mutilating thy body because thou sufferest from disease? However long thou mayst live, thou must never succeed to the throne.' Moreover, the two Emperors, my elder brothers, despised me and thought me a fool, as is known to all the Ministers. Now the Empire is a great organization: the Imperial Dignity is a vast institution: and to be the father and mother of the people is the office of a sage. How can such a charge be given to a fool? Make another choice of some wise Prince, and let him be established as Emperor. I, the unworthy one, may not presume to fill the office." The Ministers bowed down twice, and said:—"The Imperial Dignity should not be long vacant; the command of Heaven should not be modestly refused. We, thy servants, fear that if thou, the Great Prince, dost delay the time, and in opposition to the general desire dost refuse to rectify the name and dignity, the nation's hopes will be disappointed. We pray therefore that the Great Prince, notwithstanding his sufferings, will yet assume the Imperial Dignity." The Imperial Prince Wo-Asa-tsuma wakugo no Sukune said:—"It is a weighty matter to take charge of the ancestral temples and the temples of the earth and of grain.[5] I, the unworthy one, am grievously ill, and am incompetent to fill this office worthily." He continued to decline it, and would not give his consent. Hereupon all the Ministers persisted in their petition, (XIII. 3.) saying:—"In the humble opinion of thy servants, thou, the Great Prince, art eminently worthy to take over charge of the Temples of thy Imperial Ancestors. Even the myriad people of the Empire all deem thee fit. We pray thee, O Great Prince, to give thy consent."

A.D. 412. 1st year, Winter, 12th month. The Prince's concubine, Osaka no Oho-nakatsu hime no Mikoto, was grieved at the mutterings of vexation of the Ministers, and taking in her own person water for washing the hands, came before the Imperial Prince and addressed him, saying:—"Thou, O Great Prince, having declined to assume the Dignity, it has remained vacant for years and months. The Ministers and functionaries are grieved, and know not what to do. I pray thee, O Great Prince, comply with the general wish, and, however reluctantly, assume the Imperial Dignity." The Imperial Prince, however, was loath to consent, and turning his back upon her, sat without saying a word. Hereupon Oho-nakatsu hime no Mikoto was afraid, and not knowing how to retire, remained in attendance on the Prince for four or five half-hours. It was then the 12th month, and the wind was blowing fierce and chill. The water in the basin which Oho-nakatsu hime had brought overflowed and became frozen on her arm. Unable to endure the cold, she was almost dying. The Imperial Prince looked round, and was shocked. He helped her to her feet, and said to her:—"The succession to the Dignity is so weighty a matter that I could not abruptly assume it. Therefore I have not complied up to the present. Now, however, the request of the Ministers is manifestly just. Why should I persist in my refusal?" Hereupon Oho-nakatsu hime looked up delighted, and told all the Ministers, saying:—"The Imperial Prince is about to give ear to the request of the Ministers. Now is the time to offer him the Imperial signet." Thereupon the (XIII. 4.) Ministers were much rejoiced, and on that same day delivered up to him the Imperial signet with repeated obeisances. The Imperial Prince said:—"Ye Ministers have, on behalf of the Empire, made a joint request of unworthy me. How can I presume to persist in refusing it?" So he assumed the Imperial Dignity.

This year was the year Midzunoye Ne (49th) of the Cycle.

A.D. 413. 2nd year, Spring, 2nd month, 14th day. Osaka no Oho-nakatsu hime was appointed Empress. On this day there was established on behalf of the Empress the Osaka Be.[6]

The Empress was the mother of the Imperial Prince Kinashi Karu, of the Imperial Princess Nagata no Oho-iratsume, of the Imperial Prince Sakahi no Kuro-hiko, of the Emperor Anaho, of the Imperial Princess Karu no Oho-iratsume, of the Imperial Prince Yatsuri no Shiro-hiko, of the Emperor Oho-hatsuse Waka-take, of the Imperial Princess Tajima no Tachibana no Oho-iratsume, and of the Imperial Princess Sakami.

At an earlier period, when the Empress was at home with her mother, she was walking alone in the garden, when the Miyakko of the Land of Tsuke passed along the road which was beside the garden. He was on horseback, and looking over the hedge, he addressed the Empress, and said mockingly:—"What an excellent gardener thou art." He also said:—"Pray, madam, let me have one of those orchids." The (XIII. 5.) Empress accordingly plucked an orchid root, and gave it to the man on horseback, asking him for what purpose he wanted the orchid. The man on horseback answered and said:—"I am going to the mountain, and it is to brush away the midges." Then the Empress reflected on this within her mind, and recognized the want of respect in the words of the man on horseback. So she addressed him, saying:—"Sir,[7] I shall not forget this."

Afterwards, in the year in which the Empress attained the felicitous rank, she sought out the man on horseback who had asked her for an orchid, and having stated his former offence, wished to have him put to death. Hereupon the man who had asked for the orchid knocked his forehead on the ground, and making a deep obeisance,[8] said:—"Truly thy servant's guilt is deserving of ten thousand deaths. At that time, however, I did not know that thou wert of high rank." Hereupon the Empress remitted the penalty of death, but deprived him of his title and called him Inaki.[9]

A.D. 414. 3rd year, Spring, 1st month, 1st day. An envoy was sent to Silla to procure a good physician.

Autumn, 8th month. The physician arrived from Silla, and was forthwith made to treat the Emperor's disease. No long time after, he was healed of his disease. The Emperor was rejoiced, and having rewarded the physician liberally, sent him back to his own country.

(XIII. 6.) A.D. 415. 4th year, Autumn, 9th month, 9th day. The Emperor made a decree, saying:—"In the most ancient times, good government consisted in the subjects having each one his proper place, and in names[10] being correct. It is now four years since We entered on the auspicious office. Superiors and inferiors dispute with one another: the hundred surnames[11] are not at peace. Some by mischance lose their proper surnames; others purposely lay claim to high family. This is perhaps the reason why good government is not attained to. Deficient in wisdom although We are, how can We omit to rectify these irregularities? Let the Ministers take counsel, and inform me of their determination." All the Ministers said:—"If Your Majesty, restoring that which is lost and correcting that which is perverted, will thus determine Houses and surnames, your servants will stake their lives in recommending the adoption of such a measure."

28th day. The Emperor made a decree, saying:—"The ministers, functionaries, and the Miyakko of the various provinces each and all describe themselves, some as descendants of Emperors, others attributing to their race a miraculous origin, and saying that their ancestors came down from Heaven.[12] However, since the three Powers of Nature[13] assumed distinct forms,[14] many tens of thousands of years have elapsed, so that single Houses[15] have multiplied and have formed anew ten thousand surnames of doubtful authenticity. Therefore let the people of the various Houses and surnames wash themselves and practise abstinence, and let them, each one calling the (XIII. 7.) Gods to witness, plunge their hands in boiling water." The caldrons of the ordeal by boiling water were therefore placed on the "Evil Door of Words" spur of the Amagashi Hill. Everybody was told to go thither, saying:—"He who tells the truth will be uninjured; he who is false will assuredly suffer harm."

This is called Kuka-tachi. Sometimes mud was put into a caldron and made to boil up. Then the arms were bared, and the boiling mud stirred with them. Sometimes an axe was heated red-hot and placed on the palm of the hand.

Hereupon every one put on straps of tree-fibre, and coming to the caldrons, plunged their hands in the boiling water, when those who were true remained naturally uninjured, and all those who were false were harmed. Therefore those who had falsified (their titles) were afraid, and slipping away beforehand, did not come forward. From this time forward the Houses and surnames were spontaneously ordered, and there was no longer any one who falsified them.[16]

A.D. 416. 5th year, 7th month, 14th day. There was an earthquake. Before this time Tamada no Sukune, grandson[17] of Katsuraki no Sotsuhiko, had been commanded to superintend the temporary burial of the Emperor Midzu-ha-wake. On the evening after the earthquake, Aso, Ohari no Muraji, was sent to examine the condition of the shrine of temporary burial. Now all the men (XIII. 8.) assembled, and none were absent except Tamada no Sukune, who was not present. Aso reported to the Emperor, saying:—"Tamada no Sukune, the High Officer of the Shrine of temporary interment, was not to be seen at the temporary place of interment." Accordingly, Aso was sent again to Katsuraki to see Tamada no Sukune. On this day it so happened that Tamada no Sukune had gathered together men and women and was holding revel. Aso made a statement of all the circumstances to Tamada no Sukune. Tamada no Sukune was afraid that trouble might ensue, and gave Aso a horse as a present. However, he secretly waylaid Aso and killed him on the road. Therefore he ran away and concealed himself within the precinct of the tomb of Takechi no Sukune. When the Emperor heard this, he sent for Tamada no Sukune. Tamada no Sukune was suspicious, and put on armour under his clothing and so presented himself. The border of the armour projected from within his garment. The Emperor, in order to ascertain clearly how this was, made an Uneme, named Woharida, present sake to Tamada no Sukune. Now the Uneme observing distinctly that there was armour underneath his clothing, reported this particularly to the Emperor. The Emperor got ready soldiers and was about to kill Tamada no Sukune, when he secretly ran away and hid in his house. The Emperor again despatched soldiers, who surrounded Tamada's house, took him, and put him to death.

Winter, 11th month, 11th day. The Emperor Midzu-ha-wake was buried in the Mimihara Misasagi.

A.D. 418. (XIII. 9.) 7th year, Winter, 12th month, 1st day. There was a banquet in the new Palace.[18] The Emperor in person played on the lute,[19] and the Empress stood up and danced. When the dance was ended, she did not repeat the compliment. At that time it was the custom at a banquet for the dancer, when the dance was ended, to turn to the person who occupied the highest place, and say, "I offer thee a woman." Now the Emperor said to the Empress:—"Why hast thou failed to say the usual compliment?" The Empress was afraid. She stood up again and danced, and when the dance was over, she said:—"I offer thee a woman." The Emperor forthwith inquired of the Empress, saying:—"Who is the woman whom thou offerest me? I wish to know her name." The Empress could not help herself, and addressed the Emperor, saying:—"It is thy handmaiden's younger sister, whose name is Otohime."[20] Otohime's countenance was of surpassing and peerless beauty. Her brilliant colour shone out through her raiment, so that the men of that time gave her the designation of Sotohori Iratsume.[21] The Emperor's wishes had dwelt upon Sotohori Iratsume, and therefore it was that he insisted on the Empress's offering her to him, while the Empress, knowing this, was reluctant to make the compliment. Now the Emperor was delighted, and the very next day he despatched a messenger to summon Otohime. At this time Otohime dwelt with her mother at Sakata in the land of Afumi. But she feared the feelings of the Empress and therefore refused to come. Again seven times she was sent for, and yet she obstinately refused and did not come. Upon this the Emperor was displeased, and again gave command to one of the Toneri, a Nakatomi named Ikatsu[22] no Omi, saying:—"The damsel Otohime, who was given to me by the Empress, has not come although sent for. Do thou go thyself and bring Otohime here with thee, and I will surely reward thee liberally." Hereupon Ikatsu no Omi, having received the Imperial command, withdrew, and having concealed a stock of provisions in his clothing, went to Sakata, where he prostrated himself in Otohime's courtyard, and said:—"By command of the Emperor, I summon thee." Otohime answered and said:—"Far be it from me not to fear the Emperor's command. But I am unwilling to hurt the (XIII. 10.) Empress's feelings. Thy handmaiden will not come, though it should cost her her life to refuse." Then Ikatsu no Omi answered and said:—"As thy servant has received the Emperor's commands, I must bring thee back with me. If I bring thee not back, I shall surely incur punishment. Therefore it is better to die lying prostrate in this courtyard than to return and undergo the extreme penalty." So for seven days he lay prostrate in the courtyard, and although food and drink were offered to him, he refused to taste them, but secretly ate the provisions in his bosom. Hereupon Otohime said:—"By reason of the Empress's jealousy, thy handmaiden has already disobeyed the Emperor's commands. To be the ruin of my Lord, who art his faithful servant, would be another crime on my part." Accordingly she came along with Ikatsu no Omi. When they reached Kasuga in Yamato they had food by the well of Ichihi. Otohime herself gave sake to the Omi, and soothed his spirit. The Omi that same day arrived at the capital, and having lodged Otohime at the house of Akoko, the Atahe of Yamato, made his report to the Emperor. The Emperor was greatly rejoiced. He commended Ikatsu no Omi, and showed him liberal favour. The Empress, however, showed her vexation, and Otohime could therefore not approach the interior of the Palace. Accordingly, a separate building was erected for her at Fujihara, and she dwelt there.[23] On the night that the Empress gave birth to the Emperor Oho-hatsuse, the Emperor for the first time went to the Fujihara Palace. The Empress hearing this, was angry, and said:—"Many years have passed since I first bound up my hair and became thy companion in the hinder palace. It is too cruel of thee, O Emperor. Wherefore, just on this night when I am in childbirth and hanging between life and death, must thou go to Fujihara?" So she went out, set fire to the parturition house, and was about to kill herself. The Emperor, hearing this, was greatly shocked, and said:—"We are wrong." So with explanations he soothed the mind of the Empress.

A.D. 419. 8th year, Spring, 2nd month. The Emperor went to Fujihara and secretly observed how matters were with Sotohori (XIII. 11.) Iratsume. That night Sotohori Iratsume was sitting alone, thinking fondly of the Emperor. Unaware of his approach, she made a song, saying:—

This is the night
My husband will come.
The little crab—
The spider's action
To-night is manifest.[24]

The Emperor, when he heard this song, was touched by it, and made a song, saying:—

Loosening and removing
The brocade sash
Of small pattern,
Not often have I slept—
But one night only.

The next morning, the Emperor looked at the cherry flowers beside the well, and made a song, saying:—

As one loves the cherry
Sweet of blossom,
Did I love another,
Then her I should not love—
The girl whom I love.

This came to the Empress's ear, and she was very wroth. Hereupon Sotohori Iratsume addressed the Emperor, saying:—"Thy handmaiden desires to be always near the Royal Palace, and night and day without ceasing to view the glory of Your Majesty. But the Empress, being thy handmaiden's elder sister, is, on her account, continually resentful towards Your Majesty, and is also vexed because of thy handmaiden. I pray therefore that I may be removed far from the Royal dwelling, and I wish to live at a distance. This might perhaps cause (XIII. 12.) the Empress's jealousy somewhat to abate." The Emperor forthwith built anew a palace in Chinu in Kahachi, and made Sotohori Iratsume to dwell there. And for this reason he frequently went a-hunting to the moor of Hine.

A.D. 420. 9th year, Spring, 2nd month. The Emperor made a progress to the Palace of Chinu.

Autumn, 8th month. The Emperor made a progress to Chinu.

Winter, 10th month. The Emperor made a progress to Chinu.

A.D. 421. 10th year, Spring, 1st month. The Emperor made a progress to Chinu. Hereupon the Empress addressed him, saying:—"Thy handmaiden is not a whit jealous of her younger sister. Only she fears that the people may be distressed by Your Majesty's frequent progresses to Chinu. I humbly pray thee to diminish the number of thy visits." Thereafter his excursions thither were infrequent.

A.D. 422. 11th year, Spring, 3rd month, 4th day. The Emperor made a progress to the Palace of Chinu. Sotohori Iratsume made a song, saying:—

For ever and ever,
Oh! that I might meet my Lord!
As often as drift beachward
The weeds of the shore of ocean
(Where whales are caught).

Then the Emperor spake to Sotohori Iratsume, saying:—"No other person must hear this song. For if the Empress heard it, she would surely be greatly wroth." Therefore the men of that time gave a name to the shore-weed and called it Na-nori-ahi-mo.[25]

(XIII. 13.) Before this time, when Sotohori Iratsume dwelt in the Palace of Fujihara, the Emperor commanded Ohotomo Muruya no Muraji, saying:—"Of late we have gotten a beautiful woman, the younger sister of the Empress by the same mother.[26] In Our heart we dearly love her, and it is Our desire that her name should be handed down to after ages. How can this be done?" In accordance with the Imperial command, Muruya no Muraji proposed a plan for the Emperor's approval. Consequently the Miyakko of the various provinces were charged to establish Fujihara Be on behalf of Sotohori hime.

A.D. 425. 14th year, Autumn, 9th month, 12th day. The Emperor hunted in the island of Ahaji. Now the deer, monkeys, and wild boar, like dust-clouds, confusedly, filled the mountains and valleys. They sprang up like flames of fire, they were dispersed like flies. And yet all day long not a single beast was caught. Herewith the hunt was suspended, and divination was made anew. Then the God of the Island[27] gave an oracular utterance, saying:—"It was by my intent that no beast was caught. In the bottom of the sea of Akashi there is a pearl. If this pearl is sacrificed to me, ye shall be able to catch all the beasts." Hereupon they proceeded to assemble the fishermen of the various places, and made them search the bottom of the sea of Akashi. When they dived into the sea, however, they were unable to (XIII. 14.) reach the bottom. But there was one fisherman named Wosashi, a fisher of Naga-zato in the province of Aha, who excelled all the fishers. He tied a rope to his loins, and went down to the bottom of the sea. After some time he came forth, and said:—"In the bottom of the sea there is a great sea-ear,[28] and this place is shining." Everybody said:—"Probably the pearl which the God of the Island has asked for is in this sea-ear's belly." Again he went in and searched for it. Hereupon Wosashi came to the surface with the great sea-ear in his arms, but his breath had ceased, and he died on the surface of the waves. Afterwards a rope was let down and the bottom of the sea was measured. The depth was found to be sixty fathoms. When the sea-ear was split open, a true pearl was found in its belly, in size like a peach. This was offered to the God of the Island, and a hunt being made, they caught many beasts. But they grieved that Wosashi had met his death by entering the sea, and made a tomb, in which they reverently interred him. That tomb exists at the present day.

A.D. 434. 23rd year, Spring, 3rd month, 7th day. The Imperial Prince Kinashi Karu was made Heir to the Throne. He was fair to look upon, and those who saw him spontaneously loved him. His sister by the same mother,[29] the Imperial Princess Karu no Oho-iratsume, was also beautiful. The Heir Apparent's thoughts were constantly bent on becoming united to the Imperial Princess Oho-iratsume, but he dreaded the guilt,[30] and was silent. But his passion had become so violent that he was well-nigh on the point of death. Hereupon he thought to himself, "I will not die for nothing. It may be a crime, but how can I endure?" At last he became secretly united to her, and so his desperate passion became somewhat abated. Accordingly he made a song, saying:—

On the foot-dragging mountain,
Rice-fields are made;
So high is the mountain,
The water pipes are run beneath—
Like them the hidden tears
That I wept for my spouse,
The unshared tears
(XIII. 15.) That I wept for my spouse,
But to-day, this very day,
Freely our bodies touch.[31]

A.D. 435. 24th year, Summer, 6th month. The soup for the Emperor's meal froze, and became ice. The Emperor wondered, and had divination made in order to learn the meaning of it. The diviner said:—"There is domestic disorder,[32] perhaps the illicit intercourse of near relations with one another." Then some one said:—"The Heir Apparent, Kinashi Karu, has seduced his younger sister by the same mother, the Imperial Princess Karu no Iratsume." So examination was made, and it was found that these words were true. The Heir Apparent being the successor to the Throne, it was impossible to punish him, so the Imperial Princess Karu no Iratsume was banished to Iyo.[33] At this time the Heir Apparent made a song, saying:—

I, the Great Lord,
To an island am banished:
Remaining behind in the ship,
(XIII. 16.) I will certainly come back again.
Let my bed be respected—
(In words indeed
I shall call it my bed)
Let my spouse be respected.[34]

Again he made a song, saying:—

The maiden of Karu
(The Heaven-soaring),
If she wept violently,
Men would know of it—
Like the doves of Mount Hasa,
She weeps with a suppressed weeping.[35]

A.D. 453. 42nd year, Spring, 1st month, 14th day. The Emperor died. His years were many.[36]

Now the King of Silla, when he heard that the Emperor had died, was shocked and grieved, and sent up eighty tribute ships with eighty musicians of all kinds. They anchored at Tsushima, and made great wail. When they arrived in Tsukushi they again made great wail. Anchoring in the harbour of Naniha, they all put on plain white garments, and bringing all the articles of tribute, and stringing their musical instruments of all kinds, they proceeded from Naniha to the capital.[37] Sometimes they wept and wailed, sometimes they sang and danced, until at length they assembled at the Shrine of temporary interment.

Winter, 10th month, 10th day. The Emperor was buried in the misasagi of Naga-no no hara in Kahachi.

(XIII. 17.) 11th month. The Silla messengers of condolence, when the funeral ceremonies were concluded, returned home.

Now the men of Silla had always loved Mount Miminashi and Mount Unebi, which are hard by the capital city. Accordingly, when they arrived at the Kotobiki Hill, they looked back, and said:—"Uneme haya! Mimi haya!" This was simply because they were unpractised in the common speech, and therefore corrupted Mount Unebi, calling it Uneme, and corrupted Mount Miminashi, calling it Mimi. Now the Yamato no Mŭma-kahi[38] Be, who were in attendance on the men of Silla, heard these words, and conceived a suspicion that the Silla men had had intercourse with the Uneme. So they made them go back, and gave information to the Imperial Prince Ohohatsuse. The Imperial Prince straightway threw the Silla messengers every one into prison, and put them to an examination. Then the Silla messengers made a statement, saying:—"We have done the Uneme no harm. Our words were simply expressive of our love for the two mountains close to the capital." Upon this it was recognized that the charge was groundless, and they were all released. But the people of Silla resented it greatly, and further reduced the kinds of articles sent as tribute and the number of ships.
Misasagi of Ingiō Tennō.

Misasagi of Ingiō Tennō.



The Emperor Anaho was the second child of the Emperor Wo-asa-tsuma waku-go no Sukune.

One account says:—"The third child."

(XIII. 18.) His mother's name was Osaka no Oho-nakatsu-hime no Mikoto. She was the daughter of the Imperial Prince Waka-nuke-futa-mata.[40]

The Emperor died in the 42nd year of his reign, Spring, the 1st month. In Winter, the 10th month, the funeral ceremonies were completed. At this time the Heir Apparent was guilty of a barbarous outrage in debauching a woman. The nation censured him, and the Ministers would not follow him, but all without exception gave their allegiance to the Imperial Prince Anaho. Hereupon the Heir Apparent wished to attack the Imperial Prince Anaho, and to that end secretly got ready an army. The Imperial Prince Anaho also raised a force, and prepared to give battle. It was at this time that the terms "Anaho arrow-notch" and "Karu arrow-notch"[41] began. Now the Heir Apparent, knowing that the Ministers would not follow him, and that the people were uncompliant, went away and hid in the house of the Mononobe, Ohomahe no Sukune. The Imperial Prince Anaho, hearing this, forthwith surrounded it. Ohomahe no Sukune came forth from the gate to meet him, upon which the Imperial Prince Anaho made a song, saying:—

To Oho-mahe
Wo-mahe[42] Sukune's
Metal-gate's shelter,
Thus let us repair,
And wait till the ram stops.

Ohomahe no Sukune made a song in answer, saying:—

(XIII. 19.) Because the courtier's
Has fallen off,
The courtiers make a noise:
Ye country-folks also beware! (of making a noise)[43]

So he addressed the Imperial Prince, saying:—"I beseech thee, harm not the Heir Apparent. Thy servant will advise with him." Accordingly the Heir Apparent died by his own hand in the house of Ohomahe no Sukune.

One account says that he was banished to the Land of Iyo.[44]

12th month, 14th day. The Imperial Prince Anaho assumed the Imperial Dignity, and the Empress was honoured with the title of "Grand Empress." The capital was forthwith removed to Isonokami.[45] It was called the Palace of Anaho.

At this time the Imperial Prince Ohohatsuse wished to betroth to him the daughters of the Emperor Midzuha-wake.[46]

[The names of these daughters are not found in any of the records.]

Hereupon the Imperial Princesses answered and said:—"Thou, my Lord, art much given to violence, and to sudden fits of anger, so that he who sees thee in the morning is slain in the evening, and he who sees thee in the evening is slain in the morning. Now, thy handmaidens' countenances are not distinguished for beauty, nor their minds for cleverness. If in manners and speech we should be no whit agreeable to the princely expectation, how shouldst thou receive us to thy intimacy? For this reason we are unable to obey thy commands." To the last they kept out of his way, and would not give ear to him.[47]

A.D. 454. 1st year, Spring, 2nd month, 1st day. On behalf of the Imperial Prince Ohohatsuse the Emperor desired to betroth to (XIII. 20.) him the Imperial Princess Hata-hi, a younger sister of the Imperial Prince Ohokusaka,[48] and for this purpose sent Ne no Omi, ancestor of the Omi of Sakamoto, to request her of the Imperial Prince Ohokusaka, saying:—"I beseech thee let me have the Imperial Princess Hata-hi, whom I desire to espouse unto the Imperial Prince Ohohatsuse." Hereupon the Imperial Prince Ohokusaka answered and said:—"Thy servant has for some time suffered from a severe illness, which cannot be healed. He may be compared to a ship which has taken in its cargo and is waiting for the tide. Death, however, is our destiny; and there is no sufficient reason for regret. Only I cannot die in peace because my younger sister, the Imperial Princess Hata-hi, will be left alone and unprotected. If now Your Majesty will not loathe her for her ugliness, and will allow her to complete the number of the duckweed flowers,[49] it will be a matter for the deepest gratitude. How should I decline the favour of thy commands? In order, therefore, to show my sincerity, I offer thee my private treasure, called the Oshiki[50] jewel head-dress [others say 'standing head-dress,' and others, again, Ihaki (rock-tree) head-dress], which I make so bold as to present to thee by the hand of Ne no Omi, the minister whom thou didst send to me. I beg thee to accept of it, although it is an object of no value, as a token of my good faith."

Hereupon Ne no Omi, when he saw the Oshiki jewel head-dress, was struck with its beauty, and the thought occurred to him of stealing it and making it his own treasure. So he falsely represented to the Emperor, saying:—"The Imperial Prince Ohokusaka refused to obey thy orders, and spake to thy (XIII. 21.) servant, saying:—'Shall he, though of the same house, have my younger sister to wife?' " Having done so, he retained the jewel head-dress, and did not present it to the Emperor, but made it his own.

Hereupon the Emperor believed Ne no Omi's slanderous words, and was greatly wroth. He raised an armed force, with which he surrounded the house of the Imperial Prince Ohokusaka and slew him.

At this time the Hikakas, Kishi of Naniha, father and sons, were all in the service of the Imperial Prince Ohokusaka, and they were all grieved that their lord should die without a crime. Accordingly the father took in his arms the Prince's head and the two sons took up each one of the Prince's legs and cried aloud, saying:—"Alas! Our Lord has died without a crime. Were we three, father and sons, who served him in life, not to follow him in death, we should be no true retainers." So they cut their throats, and died beside the Imperial corpse. The army, to a man, all wept tears. Upon this the Emperor took Nakashi hime,[51] the Imperial Prince Ohokusaka's wife, and bestowing her within the Palace, made her his concubine. Ultimately he sent for the Imperial Princess Hata-hi and gave her to the Imperial Prince Ohohatsuse to wife.

This year was the year Kinoye Mŭma (31st) of the Cycle.

A.D. 455. 2nd year, Spring, 1st month, 17th day. Nakashi hime no Mikoto was appointed Empress. The Emperor loved her exceedingly.

Before this time Nakashi hime no Mikoto bore Prince Mayuwa to the Imperial Prince Ohokusaka. On his mother's account he escaped punishment, and was always brought up within the Palace.

A.D. 456. 3rd year, Autumn, 8th month, 9th day. The Emperor was (XIII. 22.) assassinated by Prince Mayuwa [a detailed account is given in the history of the Emperor Ohohatsuse's reign]. After three years he was buried in the misasagi of Fushimi at Sugahara.

  1. Wo, male; Asa-tsuma (morning-wife) is the name of a place; wakugo, young child; Sukune, name of dignity.
  2. Ingiō is from the "Shooking," the Canon of Yaou, § 1, where Legge translates "sincerely courteous."
  3. The words translated infancy and puberty are in the original descriptive of the mode of dressing the hair at these periods of life in China.
  4. The precise meaning is doubtful.
  5. i.e. "the state."
  6. The "Kojiki" says that the Osaka Be was established as the Empress's na-shiro, which Chamberlain renders by "proxy." I would prefer to call it "name-sake." The object was to perpetuate the name of the Empress—at least, if this account is correct. But there was an Osaka Be already in existence. It is mentioned in the 39th year of Suinin's reign. Besides, the Osaka Be were the executioners, a circumstance with which it is difficult to reconcile the statement in the text. It is true, however, that the Empress's full name was Osaka no Oho-nakatsu hime, Osaka being the name of her residence.
  7. The Chinese character translated "sir" means literally head or chief. The Japanese word intended is probably Obito or Obuto, which, I take it, is an abbreviation of Oho-bito, great man. In Chinese Tajen (in Corean Tain), i.e. great man, is used as a personal pronoun in addressing men of rank. Our own word "master" (magister, magnus) has a somewhat similar history.
  8. Kowtow in Chinese.
  9. Inaki was a lower title than Miyakko.
  10. Literally surnames and personal names. What is really meant is titles. There were no proper surnames at this time. See above, p. 27.
  11. The word for "hundred surnames" is 百姓, which is also used for the nation generally, and in later times in Japan for the peasantry. Here its original meaning must be kept in view.
  12. The "Sei-shi-roku" contains numerous instances of this.
  13. Heaven, Earth, and Man. Vide Mayers, p. 302.
  14. Since the creation, as we would say.
  15. Uji.
  16. This measure can only have been applicable to a dominant caste. The nation cannot have all been subjected to the ordeal at Amagashi. Doubtless, then as now, the bulk of the people cared little for genealogies, and indeed had none but personal names.
  17. Below, XIV. 20, he is the son of Sotsuhiko.
  18. The interlinear kana has miya, palace, for , oftener rendered muro. But nihi-muro, new muro, is probably the word really meant.
  19. Koto.
  20. Otohime means simply "the younger lady."
  21. Clothing-pass-maiden. The "Kojiki" makes her the Emperor's daughter. Cf. Shelley's—

    "Child of Light! thy limbs are burning,
    Through the vest which seems to hide them."

  22. As he was Toneri, the Ikatsu no Omi is clearly a mere title, like the no Kami's of recent times.
  23. Hence perhaps the name Soto-wori-hime, or the Lady who lives without, as opposed to Oho-nakatsu hime, the dame of the Great Interior.
  24. It was considered that when a spider clung to one's garments, it was a sign that an intimate friend would arrive. Little crab is another name for spider. Sotohori hime was in after times looked on as the "Muse of poetry." This poem is a regular Tanka, as are the others in this passage.
  25. Na-nori-ahi means "mutually to tell one's name," and mo is the general word for seaweed. There is a seaweed so called, but what this circumstance has to do with the story is not clear.
  26. The traditional kana has haha-hara-kara. As hara-kara by its derivation means "of the same womb," it is needless to prefix haha, mother. But this shows that when these kana glosses were written, hara-kara had come to mean simply brother or sister, as it does at present.
  27. Izanagi.
  28. The ahabi or Haliotis tuberculata.
  29. The prominence given to brotherhood and sisterhood by the same mother in the "Nihongi," as in Homer, has not, it appears to me, the significance attributed to it by McLennan's theory, which would trace back such terms to a time when the mother was the only parent as to whom there could be no doubt. It seems to me that the father's parentage is here taken for granted, the phrase really meaning brother or sister by the mother's side as well as by the father's, and that such phrases are merely indications of polygamous customs, not necessarily of promiscuity or polyandry.
  30. See Ch. K., Introd., p. xxxviii. I do not feel sure that Chamberlain is right in attributing to Chinese influence the stigma attached to unions of brothers and sisters of the full blood. See a paper on "The Family and Relationships in Ancient Japan," in the "Transactions of the Japan Society," 1892–93.
  31. A somewhat different version of this poem is given in the "Kojiki." See Ch. K., p. 296. I have adopted one or two of Motowori's emendations. See "Kojikiden," xxxix. 23. "Foot-dragging" is a makura-kotoba or conventional epithet of mountain, used because in ascending a mountain we drag one foot painfully after the other. At least, that is the common interpretation. The metre is somewhat irregular naga-uta.
  32. i.e. incest.
  33. The "Kojiki" makes the Prince to be banished and Motowori thinks with some reason that this must be the true version of the story. For one thing (he says), women have always been more lightly punished in Japan than men for the same offence, and the particular character of the fault in this case makes such a discrimination all the more reasonable. Moreover, it is hardly possible to construe the poem which follows otherwise than as composed by Prince Karu when about to be banished. An ancient note to the "Nihongi" (see below) speaks of the Prince as having died by his own hand in Iyo.
  34. The word for bed is tatami, now applied to the thick mats used to cover the floor of a Japanese house. At this time the tatami only covered the sleeping-place. There was a superstition forbidding people to meddle with the bed of an absent person, as to do so would bring down calamity on him. The word translated "respect" is yume, taboo, religious abstinence. The third line of this poem is literally "a ship-remainder," by which is understood "one who remains behind in a ship after the other passengers have landed." There are, however, other explanations. See Ch. K., p. 300.
  35. The metre of this poem is irregular. "Heaven soaring" is a conventional epithet applied to Karu, which is the name of a place, because Kari means "a wild goose"—hardly a sufficient reason to our Western minds.
  36. Seventy-eight, says the "Kojiki." Another authority says eighty. But his mother, the Empress Iha no hime, died A.D. 347, and she had ceased to cohabit with her husband A.D. 342 (see above, p. 285), so that he would be at least 110 at the time of his death.
  37. Anaho in Yamato.
  38. Horse-keepers.
  39. Ankō means peace.
  40. A son of Ōjin. See Ch. K., p. 242.
  41. The parallel passage of the "Kojiki" (Ch. K., p. 298) has "inside" for "notch," and an ancient note explains that in the case of Prince Karu's arrows, the "notch" or "inside" was of copper, whereas those of Prince Anaho were "like those of the present time," i.e. presumably of iron. Motowori thinks that the arrow-points are intended.
  42. It is a question whether Oho-mahe and Wo-mahe are one person or two brothers. The metre of this poem is imperfect Tanka.
  43. This is supposed to contain a remonstrance addressed to Prince Anaho's party for making a fuss about such a small matter as the escape of Prince Karu, which is compared to the loss of the grêlot of a courtier's garter.
  44. This is the "Kojiki" version.
  45. In Yamato.
  46. He died A.D. 411, at the age of 60, so these princesses were now (A.D. 453) not exactly young. They were his cousins by the father's side.
  47. This and many other stories in the "Nihongi" show that the position of women in these times was by no means one of abject dependence on their male relatives.
  48. They were children of the Emperor Nintoku, who died A.D. 399, aged 122. The "Shukai" suggests that the Prince and Princess here named were grandchildren, and not children of Nintoku, but the more obvious explanation of the difficulty is that the chronology is entirely untrustworthy.
  49. "An aquatic plant with peltate floating leaves, probably a Lemnanthemum, or marsh-flower." Williams. The allusion is to the opening stanzas of the first ode of the She-king, translated by Dr. Legge as follows:—

    Kwan, Kwan go the ospreys
    On the islet in the river.
    The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:—
    For our prince a good mate is she.

    Here long, there short, is the duckweed
    To the left, to the right, borne about by the current.
    The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:—
    Waking and sleeping he sought her.

  50. Oshiki means literally "push-wood" or "push-tree." Its application here is uncertain.
  51. The "Kojiki" gives here a different name.