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

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Pub. for the Society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, pages 373–398




The Emperor Shiraga-take-hiro-kuni-oshi-waka-Yamato-neko was the third child of the Emperor Ohohatsuse-waka-take. His mother's name was Katsuraki no Kara-hime. The Emperor's hair was white[3] from his birth. When he grew up to manhood, he loved the people. The Emperor Ohohatsuse had a special admiration for him amongst all his children, and in the 22nd year of his reign appointed him Prince Imperial. The Emperor Ohohatsuse died in the 8th month of the 23rd year of his reign. Then Kibi no Waka-hime secretly addressed the Imperial Prince, the younger son Hoshikaha, saying:—"If thou dost desire to ascend to the Imperial rank, do thou first of all take the office of the Treasury." The eldest son, the Imperial Prince Ihaki, hearing this advice of the Lady his mother to her younger son, said:—"Although the Prince Imperial is my younger brother, why should he be betrayed? This thing should not be done." But Prince Hoshikaha would not give ear. He rashly followed the advice of the Lady his mother. Finally he took possession of the Treasury, (XV. 2.) and locked the outer door, therewith making provision against disaster. He exercised arbitrary authority, and squandered the official property. Hereupon Ohotomo no Muruya no Ohomuraji spake to Yamato no Aya no Tsuka no Atahe, saying:—"The time has now come when the dying injunctions of the Emperor Ohohatsuse are to be fulfilled. It is meet that we should comply with them and do service to the Prince Imperial." So they raised an armed force and besieged the Treasury. They blockaded it from without, and setting fire to it, roasted to death the Imperial Prince Hoshikaha. At this time Kibi no Waka-hime, the Imperial Prince Ihaki, Ani-kimi,[4] his elder brother by a different father, and Ki no Okazaki no Kume[5] were roasted to death along with him. Then Wone, the Agata-nushi of Mino in Kahachi, in trepidation and alarm, burst away from the fire and made his escape. He embraced the legs of Ayahiko, Kishi of Kusakabe, and through him begged his life of the Ohomuraji, Ohotomo no Muruya, saying:—"Thy slave Wone, the Agata-nushi, was the faithful servant of the Imperial Prince Hoshikaha, but yet he was not rebellious towards the Prince Imperial. He prays that a generous mercy be accorded him, and a human life spared." Accordingly Ayahiko represented this fully to Ohotomo, the Ohomuraji, on his behalf, and he was not entered in the rank of those who were executed. Wone thereupon made representation to the Ohomuraji through Ayahiko, saying:—"My Lord Ohotomo the Ohomuraji, owing to thy great mercy bestowed on me, my life, which was in imminent danger, has been continued and lengthened so that I can see the light of day." So he hastened to present to the Ohomuraji ten chō of (XV. 3.) rice-land at Ohowido in the village of Kume in Naniha. He also presented rice-land to Ayahiko as a return for the favour shown him.

In this month, the Omi of the upper province of Kibi, hearing of the disturbances at the Court, wished to aid their uterine brother, the Imperial Prince Hoshikaha, and came floating over the sea with a fleet of forty war vessels. When they arrived they heard of the roasting to death, and went away again without landing. The Emperor straightway sent messengers to call the Omi[6] of Upper Kibi to an account, and to deprive them of the mountain Be of which they had control.

Winter, 10th month, 4th day. The Ohomuraji, Ohotomo no Muruya, attended by the Omi and Muraji, delivered to the Prince Imperial the Seal.

A.D. 480. 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 15th day. The Emperor, by command to the officials, prepared an arena at Mikakuri in Ihare, and there assumed the Imperial Dignity. He at length established his Palace, and honoured Katsuraki no Kara-hime with the title of Grand Consort.[7] The Ohomuraji, Ohotomo no Muruya, was made Ohomuraji, and the Oho-omi of Matori in Heguri was made Oho-omi, so that both were continued in their former positions. The Omi, Muraji, and Tomo no Miyakko each took the rank belonking to their several offices.

Winter, 10th month, 9th day. The Emperor Ohohatsuse was buried in the misasagi on the Takawashi plain in Tajihi. At this time the Hayato lamented night and day beside the misasagi, and refused the food which was offered them. Seven days passed, and then they died. The officials constructed a mound to the north of the tumulus, where they were buried (XV. 4.) with due ceremony. This was the year Kanoye Saru (57th) of the Cycle.

A.D. 481. 2nd year, Spring, 2nd month. The Emperor, vexed that he had no children, sent the Ohomuraji, Ohotomo no Muruya, to the provinces, and established the Be of Shiraga no Toneri,[8] the Be of Shiraga no Kashihade,[9] and the Be of Shiraga no Yugehi,[10] in the hope of leaving a trace which might be seen of posterity.

Winter, 11th month. For the purpose of the offerings of the feast of first-fruits, Wodate, of the Be of Kume of Iyo, ancestor of the Yamabe no Muraji and Governor of Harima, was sent thither. In the new muro of Hosome, Miyakko of the Oshinomi Be and Obito of the granary of Shijimi in the district of Akashi, he saw Ohoke and Woke, sons of the Imperial Prince Oshiha of Ichinobe. He took them together reverently to his bosom, recognized them as his lords, and attended to their nurture with extreme care. From his own private income he arranged for the construction of a palace of brushwood, in which he lodged them temporarily, and (XV. 5.) mounting a swift steed, hastened to inform the Emperor. The Emperor was astonished, and after exclaiming for a good while, he said with emotion:—"Admirable! Delightful! Heaven in its bountiful love has bestowed on us two children." In this month he sent Wodate with a token of authority, and some of the Toneri in attendance on him, to Akashi to meet them (and escort them back).

The story[11] is given in the history of the Emperor Woke.

A.D. 482. 3rd year, 1st month, 1st day. Wodate and his companions arrived in the province of Settsu, escorting Ohoke and Woke. Then Omi and Muraji were sent, with emblems of authority and a royal green-canopied carriage,[12] to meet them and bring them into the Palace.

Summer, 4th month, 7th day. Prince Ohoke was appointed Prince Imperial, and Prince Woke was made an Imperial Prince.

Autumn, 7th month. Regina (princess) Ihitoyo primum coivit cum marito in Palatio Tsunuzashi. Dixit alicui:—"Nunc aliquantum cognovi viam feminarum. Quid habet mirum in se? Non sum cupida unquam rursus coëundi cum viro." [It is not clear that she had a husband at this time.]

9th month, 2nd day. The Omi and Muraji were sent on circuit to inspect the manners and customs.

Winter, 10th month, 4th day. An edict was made prohibiting dogs, horses, and playthings from being offered to the Emperor.[13]

(XV. 6.) 11th month, 18th day. The Omi and Muraji were feasted in the Great Court, and received presents of floss-silk. They were all allowed to take as much as they pleased themselves, and they went forth exerting their utmost strength.

In this month, the various outlying provinces beyond the sea all sent envoys with tribute.

A.D. 483. 4th year, Spring, 1st month, 7th day. The envoys of the various outlying provinces beyond the sea were feasted in the Audience Hall, and received presents of various values.

Summer, Intercalary 5th month. There was a national drinking festival, which lasted five days.[14]

Autumn, 8th month, 7th day. The Emperor personally held an inspection[15] of prisoners. On this day the Yemishi and Hayato together rendered homage.

9th month, 1st day. The Emperor was present in the Hall of Archery. He invited the functionaries and the envoys from beyond the sea to join in the shooting. Each received presents varying in value.

A.D. 484. 5th year, 1st month, 16th day. The Emperor died in the Palace. His years were many.[16]

Winter, 11th month, 9th day. He was buried in the misasagi on the Sakato plain in Kahachi.



The Emperor Woke (otherwise called Kume no Wakako) was the grandchild of the Emperor Ohoye[18] no Izaho-wake and son of the Imperial Prince Ichinobe no Oshiha. His mother's name was Hayehime.

In the 'Genealogy' it is said:—"The Imperial Prince Oshiha of Ichinobe took to wife Hayehime, daughter of Ari no Omi, and at length had by her three sons and two daughters. The first was named Winatsu hime, the second Prince Ohoke, also called Shima no Wakako, also called Ohoshi no Mikoto, the third was named Prince Woke, also called Kume no Wakako, the fourth was named Princess Ihitoyo, also called Princess Oshinomibe, and the fifth Prince Tachibana. In one book Princess Ihitoyo is ranked above Prince Ohoke. Ari no Omi was the son of Hada no Sukune."

The Emperor, having lived for a long time on the borders, was thoroughly acquainted with the miseries of the people, and whenever he saw them oppressed, he felt as if his own four members were plunged in a ditch. He dispensed virtuous influence, he bestowed blessings; the regulations of government were everywhere enforced; charity was shown to the poor, and the husbandless were supported. The Empire rendered him cordial allegiance.

In the 10th month of the 3rd year of the Emperor Anaho, the Emperor's father,[19] the Imperial Prince Ichinobe no Oshiha was slain, together with the Toneri, Saheki be no Nakachiko, (XV. 8.) by the Emperor Ohohatsuse on the moor of Kaya.[20] They were accordingly buried in the same grave. Thereupon the Emperor[21] and Prince Ohoke, hearing that their father had been shot to death, were afraid, and both escaped and hid themselves. The Toneri, Omi, Kusakabe no Muraji [Omi is the personal name of Kusakabe no Muraji], with his son Adahiko, secretly served the Emperor and Prince Woke, so that they avoided disaster by fleeing to the district of Yosa in the province of Tamba. Omi at length changed his name and called himself Tatoku, but being still afraid of being put to death, he fled from this place to a cave in Mount Shijimi in the province of Harima. There he strangled himself. The Emperor, being still ignorant whither Omi had gone, urged his elder brother, Prince Ohoke, to turn his steps towards the district of Akashi in the province of Harima. There they both changed their names to Tamba no Waraha,[22] and entered the service of the Obito of the Shijimi granaries.

The Obito of the Shijimi granaries was Hosome Oshinomi Be no Miyakko.

Adahiko at this time did not leave them, but remained constant to his duty as their vassal.

In Winter, the 11th month of the 2nd year of the reign of the Emperor Shiraga, the Governor of the province of Harima, Wodate Iyo no Kumebe, ancestor of the Yamabe no Muraji, went to the district of Akashi to make arrangements in person for the offerings of the festival of first-fruits.

One writing says:—"Went on a circuit to the kohori and agata[23] to collect the land tax."

(XV. 9.) It so happened that he arrived just when the Obito of the granaries of Shijimi was holding a house-warming for a new muro and was extending the day by adding to it the night. Hereupon the Emperor spake to his elder brother, Prince Ohoke, saying:—"Many years have passed since we fled hither to escape ruin. It belongs to this very evening to reveal our names and to disclose our high rank." Prince Ohoke exclaimed with pity:—"To make such an announcement ourselves would be fatal. Which of us could keep safe his person and avoid danger?" The Emperor said:—"We, the grandsons of the Emperor Izahowake, are a man's drudges, and feed his horses and kine. What better can we do than make known our names and be slain?" At length he and Prince Ohoke fell into each other's arms and wept, being unable to contain their emotion. Prince Ohoke said:—"In that case who else but thou, my younger brother, is capable of making a heroic effort, and is therefore fit to make this disclosure?" The Emperor refused firmly, saying:—"Thy servant has no ability. How can he make so bold as to display virtuous action?" Prince Ohoke said:—"There are here none to excel my younger brother in ability and wisdom." And in this way they mutually held back each in favour of the other for two or three times. It was ultimately arranged, with the Emperor's consent, (XV. 10.) that he should make the announcement. Together they went to the outside of the muro and sat down in the lowest place. The Obito of the granary ordered them to sit beside the cooking-place and hold lights to right and left. When the night had become profound, and the revel was at its height, and every one had danced in turn, the Obito of the granary addressed Wodate, saying:—"Thy servant observes that these light-holders honour others, and abase themselves; they put others before, and themselves behind. By their respectfulness they show their observance of just principles; by their retiring behaviour they illustrate courtesy. They are worthy of the name of gentlemen." Upon this Wodate played on the lute and gave orders to the light-holders, saying:—"Get up and dance." Then the elder and younger brothers declined in each other's favour for a good while and did not get up. Wodate urged them, saying:—"Wherefore all this delay? Get up quickly and dance." Prince Ohoke got up and danced. When he had done, the Emperor stood up in his turn, and having adjusted his dress and girdle, proposed a health for the Muro, saying:—

The Dolichos roots[24] of the new muro which he has upbuilt;
The pillars which he has upbuilt—
These are[25] the calm of the august heart of the master of the house:
The ridge-poles which he has raised aloft—
These are the grove[26] of the august heart of the master of the house:
The rafters which he has set—
These are the perfect order of the august heart of the master of the house:
The laths which he has placed—
These are the fairness of the august heart of the master of the house:

The Dolichos cords which he has tied—[27]
These are the endurance of the august life of the master of the house:
The reed-leaves it is thatched with—
(XV. 11.) These are the superabundance of the august wealth of the master of the house:

On all sides[28] (of it) there are fields of fresh culture:
With the ten-span rice-ears,
Of these fresh fields,
In a shallow pan
We have brewed sake.
With gusto let us drink it,
O my boys!
Whenever we dance
Uplifting the horns of a buck[29]
Of these secluded hills
(Weary to the foot)
Sweet sake from Yega market-town
Not buying with a price,
To the clear ring of hand-palms
Ye will revel,[30]
Oh! my immortal ones![31]

When he had ended proposing this health, he sang to the accompaniment of music, saying:—


The willow that grows by the river—

When the water has gone,
It raises up (its stem that was) bent down,
And its roots perish not.

Wodate addressed him, saying:—"Capital! Pray let us hear something more."

The Emperor at length made a special dance,

This is what was anciently called a Tatsutsu (stand out) dance. The manner of it was that it was danced while standing up and sitting down.

and striking an attitude, said:—

Of Yamato,
Soso chihara
The younger Prince am I.

(XV. 12.) Hereupon Wodate thought this profoundly strange, and asked him to say more. The Emperor, striking an attitude, said:—

The sacred cedar[34]
Of Furu in Isonokami—[35]
Its stem is severed,
Its branches are stripped off.
Of him who in the Palace of Ichinobe
Governed all under Heaven,[36]
The myriad Heavens,
The myriad lands—
Of Oshiha no Mikoto
The august children are we.[37]

Wodate was greatly astonished. He left his seat, and, vexed with himself,[38] made repeated obeisance to them. He undertook to provide for them, and brought his people to prostrate themselves reverently. Then he levied all the inhabitants of that district, and in a few days built a palace, in which the Princes were temporarily lodged. Going up to the capital, he asked that some one should be sent to meet the two Princes. The Emperor Shiraga was rejoiced to hear this, and exclaimed, saying:—"We have no children; we must make them our successors." Along with the Oho-omi and the Ohomuraji, he settled on a plan within the forbidden precinct.[39] So Kumebe no Wodate, the Governor of Harima, was sent with emblems of authority, and accompanied by personal attendants of the Emperor, to go to meet them at Akashi. In Spring, the 1st month of the third year of the Emperor Shiraga, the Emperor,[40] with Prince Ohoke, arrived at the province of Settsu, (XV. 13.) where Omi and Muraji were sent with emblems of authority and a Royal green-canopied carriage to meet them and bring them into the Palace. In Summer, the 4th month, Prince Ohoke was appointed Prince Imperial, and the Emperor was raised to the rank of Imperial Prince.

In Spring, the 1st month of the 5th year of his reign, the Emperor Shiraga died. In this month the Prince Imperial Ohoke and the Emperor ceded to each other the Dignity, and for a long time did not occupy it. Therefore the Emperor's elder sister,[41] the Imperial Princess Awo of Ihi-toyo, held a Court and carried on the Government in the Palace of Tsunuzashi in Oshinomi, styling herself Oshinomi no Ihitoyo no Awo no Mikoto. A poet of that day made a song, saying:—

In Yamato
What I long to see
Is the Tsunuzashi Palace
In this Takaki[42]
Of Oshinomi.

Winter, 11th month. Ihitoyo, Awo no Mikoto died. She was buried in the misasagi on the Hill of Haniguchi in Katsuraki.

12th month. There was a great assembly of the officials, at which the Prince Imperial Ohoke took the Imperial Seal, and placing it on the seat occupied by the Emperor, did him repeated obeisance. He then took his place among the Ministers, and said:—"This rank of Emperor should be occupied by a man possessed of merit. The disclosure of our rank, and our being sent for by the late Emperor, is all a result of the policy of my younger brother. I resign the Empire in his favour." The Emperor, on the other hand, resigned it on the grounds that as a younger brother he might not presume to assume the Dignity, and also because he was aware that the Emperor Shiraga had appointed his elder brother Prince Imperial with the previous purpose of transmitting it to him. (XV. 14.) For these two reasons he firmly declined, saying:—"When the sun and moon appear, is it not impossible that a candle should not give way before their radiance? When a seasonable rain falls, is it not superfluous trouble to go on watering from a pond?[43] The conduct which should be esteemed by him who is in the position of a younger brother is to serve his elder brother by devising methods of averting from him disaster, to illustrate virtue, and to unravel complications without putting himself forward. For if he puts himself forward, he will be wanting in the reverence which is due from a younger brother. Woke cannot bear to put himself forward.[44] It is an immutable law that the elder brother should be affectionate and the younger brother reverent. So I have heard from our elders. How can I of myself alone make light of it?" The Prince Imperial Ohoke said:—"The Emperor Shiraga, by reason of my being the elder brother, at first assigned to me all the affairs of the Empire. But I am ashamed to accept it. Now the great Prince's conduct is established in beneficial retirement,[45] so that those who hear him utter sighs of admiration. He has displayed the qualities of an Imperial scion, so that all who see him let fall tears. The pitiable gentry will rejoice to bear the gladness of sustaining the Heavens: the wretched black-haired people will be delighted to enjoy the happiness of treading the earth. Therewith the four corners of the earth will be made solid, so as to flourish perpetually to ten thousand (XV. 15.) ages. His meritorious work will approach that of creation; his honest policy will illuminate the age. How pre-eminent! How recondite! Words fail me to describe. How shall I, albeit his elder, put myself forward before him? If, having no merit, I should accept the throne, self-reproach would surely be the result. I have heard that the office of Emperor ought not to remain long vacant, and that the will of Heaven should not be evaded out of humility. Let the Great Prince make the Temples of the Earth and of Grain his thought, and let him make the people his heart." As he uttered these words, his earnest emotion led him to shed tears. Upon this the Emperor saw that if he persisted in his refusal to come forward, he would be[46] acting contrary to his elder brother's wishes, and gave his consent. But he would not take his place on the Imperial throne. The world was rejoiced to see how well they sincerely yielded in each other's favour, and said:—"Excellent! With such good feeling between elder and younger brother, the Empire will tend to virtue: with such love between relations, the people will stimulate benevolence."

A.D. 485. 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 1st day. The Oho-omi and the Ohomuraji made a representation to the Emperor, saying:—"The (XV. 16.) Prince Imperial Ohoke, out of the abundance of his wisdom, has delivered over the Empire. Your Majesty, in his rightful governance, ought to accept the vast inheritance, and thus becoming the Lord of the Temple of Heaven, to continue the infinite line of his ancestors, so as, above, to correspond to the mind of Heaven, and, below, to satisfy the hopes of the people. To refuse to enter upon the Dignity would be to cause the destruction of the hopes of all the Gold and Silver[47] frontier lands, and of all the functionaries both far and near. It belongs to you by the will of Heaven, and has been ceded to you by the Prince Imperial. Your wisdom is abundant, and your good fortune conspicuous. While young you were diligent, humble, respectful, affectionate and docile. May it please you to comply with the command of your elder brother, and take over the conduct of the great undertaking." The Emperor made an order, saying:—"Be it so." Accordingly he summoned the Ministers of State and the functionaries to the Yatsuri Palace in Hither Asuka, and there assumed the Imperial Dignity, and the functionaries entered upon office, to the great delight of all.

(XV. 17.) One book says the Emperor Woke had two palaces, one at Wono, the other at Ikeno. Another book says that he made his palace at Mikakuri.

In this month, Princess Wono of Naniha was appointed Empress, and a general amnesty was made.

Princess Wono of Naniha was the daughter of Prince Wakugo of Oka, grandson of Prince Ihaki, who was the great-grandson of the Emperor Wo-asatsuma-wakugo no Sukune.

2nd month, 5th day. The Emperor spoke, saying:—"The late Prince, having met with much misfortune, lost his life on a desert moor. We were then a child, and fled away and concealed Ourselves. Then, by a piece of undeserved good fortune, We were sought out and sent for, and were raised up to continue the Great Work. We have searched for his honoured bones far and wide, but there is no one who can tell where they are." Having finished speaking, the Emperor and the Prince Imperial Ohoke burst into tears of passionate emotion, which they could not control.

In this month the Emperor summoned together the old people, and in person made inquiry of them one after another. Now there was one old woman who came forward and said:—"Okime knows where the honoured bones were buried, and begs permission to point out the place to the Emperor."

Okime was the old woman's name. It is stated below that the younger sister of Yamato-bukuro no Sukune, ancestor of the Kimi of Mount Sasaki in the province of Ohomi, was called Okime.

Thereupon the Emperor and the Prince Imperial Ohoke, taking with them the old woman, made a progress to the moor of Kaya in Kutawata in the province of Ohomi, where they dug them up, and found that it was really as the old woman had said. Looking down into the grave, they made lament, and their words showed deep and passionate feeling. From (XV. 18.) antiquity until now never was there anything so cruel. The body of Nakachiko[48] lay across the honoured bones, and were mixed with them so that it was impossible to distinguish them from one another. Then there appeared the nurse of the Imperial Prince Ihazaka, who made representation to the Emperor, saying:—"The upper teeth of Nakachiko had fallen out, so that by this they can be distinguished." But although they were able, in accordance with the nurse's words, to distinguish the skulls, they never succeeded in separating the bones of the four members. Accordingly a pair of misasagi were erected on the moor of Kaya resembling each other, so that they seemed but one. The funeral rites also were alike. The Emperor ordered the old woman, Okime, to live in the neighbourhood of the palace, where he treated her with respect and showed her kindness, not allowing her to be in want.

In this month he made an order, saying:—"Old woman! thou art desolate and infirm, and walking is not convenient for thee. Let there be a rope stretched across to support thee when thou goest out and comest in. And let there be a bell attached to the end of the rope, so that there may be no need for any one to announce thee. When thou comest, ring this bell, and we shall know that thou art coming." Herewith the old woman, in obedience to the Imperial order, rang the bell before she came forward. The Emperor, hearing from afar the sound of the bell, made a song, saying:—

Past Wosone,
In Asajihara,
The far-extending
There the bell tinkles!
Okime must be coming![49]
3rd month, 1st day of the Serpent[50] (the 2nd). The Emperor went to the Park, and there held revel by the winding streams.

(XV. 19.) Summer, 4th month, 11th day. The Emperor made an order, saying:—"The means by which a sovereign encourages the people is no other than the granting of office: that by which a country is exalted is naught else but the granting of rewards for merit. Now the former Governor of Harima, Kumebe no Wodate [his other name was Ihadate], sought Us out, came to meet Us, and raised Us up. His merit is manifold. Let him not hesitate to express his wishes." Wodate thanked the Emperor, saying:—"The mountain office[51] has always been my desire." He was appointed to the mountain office, and a new title was granted him, viz. the House of the Yamabe no Muraji.[52] Kibi no Omi was associated with him, and the Yamamori Be were made their serfs. The Emperor praised his good qualities, made conspicuous his deserts, showed gratitude for his services, requited his kindness, and treated him with the utmost affection. His prosperity was unequalled.

5th month. Karabukuro no Sukune, Kimi of Mount Sasaki, who was implicated in the assassination of the Imperial Prince Oshiha, when about to be executed, bowed down his head to the ground, and his words expressed extreme sorrow. The Emperor could not bear to put him to death, so he added him to the misasagi guardians, making him at the same time mountain-warden,[53] and erasing his name from the census registers. He was then handed over to the jurisdiction of the Yamabe no Muraji.[54]

But Yamato-bukuro no Sukune, by reason of the good services of his younger sister, Okime, was granted his original title, namely, the House of the Kimi of Mount Sasaki.

(XV. 20.) 6th month. The Emperor visited the Hall of Avoidance of the heat, and had music there. The Ministers were assembled, and a banquet was prepared for them.

This year was the year Kinoto Ushi (2nd) of the Cycle.

A.D. 486. 2nd year, Spring, 3rd month, 1st day of the Serpent (2nd). The Emperor went to the Park, where he held revel by the winding streams. At this time he assembled in great numbers the Ministers, the High Officials, the Omi, the Muraji, the Kuni no Miyakko, and the Tomo no Miyakko, and made revel. The Ministers uttered reiterated cries of "Long live the Emperor."[55]

Autumn, 8th month, 1st day. The Emperor addressed the Prince Imperial Ohoke, saying:—"Our father the late Prince was, for no crime, slain with an arrow shot by the Emperor Oho-hatsuse, and his bones cast away on a moor. Even until now, I have been unable to get hold of him, and my bosom is filled with indignation. I lie down to weep, and as I walk abroad I cry aloud. It is my desire to wash away the disgrace cast on us by our enemy. Now, I have heard that no one should live under the same Heaven as his father's enemy, that no one should lay aside arms against the enemy of his brother, that no one should dwell in the same country with the enemy of his comrade. Even the son of a common man, rather than serve with the enemy of his parents, sleeps on a coarse mat, and making a pillow of his buckler, refuses office. He will not dwell in the same country as his enemy, but whenever he meets him, in market or in Court, will not lay aside his weapon until he has encountered him in combat. (XV. 21.) Much more I who, two years ago, was raised to the rank of Son of Heaven! It is my desire to demolish his misasagi, to crush his bones, and fling them broadcast. Would it not be a filial act to take revenge in this way?" The Prince Imperial Ohoke could hardly answer for sighing and sobbing. He remonstrated with the Emperor, saying:—"It is not well to do so. The Emperor Oho-hatsuse presided over the Empire as the rightful director of the myriad machinery of Government. Court and country looked up to him with joy. He was an Emperor, whereas the late Prince our father, although an Emperor's son, met with obstacles in his career, and never rose to the Imperial Dignity. Looking on the matter in this light, there is the difference of exalted and base. And if thou hadst the heart to demolish the misasagi, who would recognize as Lord and do service to the Soul of Heaven? This is one reason why the tomb should not be destroyed. Moreover, had it not been for the warm affection and special favour bestowed on the Emperor and Ohoke by the Emperor Shiraga, wouldst thou ever have attained to the precious Dignity? But the Emperor Oho-hatsuse was the father of the Emperor Shiraga. Ohoke has heard that it has been said by all the ancient sages, 'Without words there can be no response; without virtue there is no requital.'[56] If there is cause for gratitude, and no return is made, this is profoundly prejudicial to good morals. Your Majesty feasts the Country, and his virtuous conduct is felt far and wide over the Empire. But if he pulls down the misasagi, and shows himself in an opposite light to Court and Country, Ohoke fears that it will become impossible to govern the land and to bring up the people as (XV. 22.) his children. This is a second reason why it should not be destroyed." The Emperor said, "It is well," and countermanded the work.[57]

9th month. Okime, being decrepit from old age, asked leave to return to her home, saying:—"My vigour has decayed. I am old, infirm, and emaciated. Even with the help of the rope I am unable to walk. I pray thee let me return to my native place,[58] so that there I may spend my last days." When the Emperor heard this he was moved with pity. He gave her a present of a thousand pieces, and grieving in anticipation at the divergence of their paths, he repeatedly lamented that they could no longer meet. So he gave her a song, saying:—

Oh! Okime!
Okime of Afumi!
From to-morrow,
Hidden by the deep mountains,
Thou wilt no more be seen!

Winter, 10th month, 6th day. The Emperor entertained his Ministers. At this time the Empire was at peace; the people were not subjected to forced labour, the crops reached maturity, and the peasantry were prosperous. A measure of rice was sold for one piece of silver,[59] and horses and kine covered the moors.

A.D. 487.) 3rd year, Spring, 2nd month, 1st day. Kotoshiro Ahe no Omi, acting by Imperial command, went on a mission to Imna. (XV. 23.) Hereupon the Moon-God, by the mouth of a certain man, addressed him, saying:—"My ancestor Taka-mimusubi had the merit in conjunction (with other Deities) of creating Heaven and Earth. Let him be worshipped by dedicating to him people and land. I am the Moon-God, and I shall be pleased if an offering is made according to his desire." Kotoshiro accordingly returned to the capital, and reported these things fully to the Emperor. The Utaarasu rice-fields were dedicated to the God, and Oshimi no Sukune, the ancestor of the Agatanushi of Yuki, was appointed to attend upon his shrine.

3rd month, 1st day of the Serpent (8th). The Emperor went to the Park, where he held revel by the winding streams.

Summer, 4th month, 5th day. The Sun-Goddess, by the mouth of a certain man, addressed Kotoshiro, Ahe no Omi, saying:—"Let the Ihare rice-fields be dedicated to my ancestor Taka-mimusubi." Kotoshiro accordingly reported the matter to the Emperor, and in compliance with the Goddess's request, fourteen chō[60] of rice-land were dedicated to him. The Atahe of Shimo no agata in Tsushima was appointed to attend upon his shrine.

(XV. 24.) 13th day. The Saki-kusa Be[61] was established.

25th day. The Emperor died in the palace of Yatsuri.

In this year, Ki no Ohiha no Sukune, bestriding and making a base of Imna, held communication with Koryö. In order to rule the three Han on the west, he established a government, and styled himself a Deity. By means of a plan laid by Cha-ro-na-kwi and Tha-kap-syo of Imna he slew Mak-ni-kè, the heir to the throne of Pèkché, at Irin.[62] [This is a place in Koryö.] He built the castle of Tè-san,[63] and then stood on the defensive as regards the Eastern province, cutting off the harbour by which supplies were transported, and causing the army to suffer from famine. The King of Pèkché was greatly enraged, and despatched General Ko-ni-kè and an officer of the military store department, named Mak-ko-kè, in command of troops to Tè-san, to lay siege to it. Upon this, Ohiha no Sukune moved forward his army, and attacked them with continually growing valour. All that opposed him were put to the rout. But he was but one against a hundred. Suddenly his weapons ran short, and his power became exhausted. He saw that he could not bring matters to a conclusion, and returned from Imna. Consequently the Land of Pèkché slew Cha-ro-na-kwi, Tha-kap-syo, and their people—more than three hundred men.[64]



The Empdror Ohoke's personal name was Ohoshi.[67]

Otherwise Ohosu. This is the only instance of an Emperor's personal name[68] or designation being stated. It is taken from an old manuscript.

His designation was Shima no Iratsuko.[69] He was the elder brother by the same mother of the Emperor Woke. In his childhood he was intelligent, of quick parts and great attainments. When he grew to man's estate, he was kind, indulgent and gentle.

At the death of the Emperor Anaho, he took refuge in the district of Yosa in the province of Tamba. In the first year of the reign of the Emperor Shiraga, Winter, 11th month, Wodate, Yamabe no Muraji, Governor of Harima, went to the Capital and requested permission to go to fetch him. The Emperor Shiraga accordingly caused Wodate, provided with symbols of authority, and accompanied by his own personal attendants, to proceed to Akashi, and respectfully to go to meet him. Ultimately, in the third year of his reign, Summer, the 4th month, the Emperor Ohoke was appointed Prince Imperial.[70] In his fifth year, the Emperor Shiraga died, and the Emperor abdicated the Empire in favour of the Emperor Woke, becoming Prince Imperial as before. In the third year of his reign, Summer, the 4th month, the Emperor Woke died.

A.D. 488. 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 5th day. The Prince Imperial assumed the Imperial rank in the Palace of Hirotaka in Isonokami.

One book says:—"There were two palaces of the Emperor Ohoke, the first at Kahamura,[71] the second at Takano in Shijimi. The pillars of the Hall remain undecayed until this day."

(XV. 26.) 2nd month, 2nd day. His former consort, the Imperial Princess Kasuga no Oho-iratsume,[72] was appointed Empress.

The Princess Kasuga no Oho-iratsume was the daughter of the Emperor Oho-hatsuse by Woguna Kimi, daughter of Fukame, Wani no Omi.

She at length bore to him one son and six daughters. The first was called the Imperial Princess Takahashi no Oho-iratsume; the second was called the Imperial Princess Asatsuma; the third was called the Imperial Princess Tashiraga; the fourth was called the Imperial Princess Kusuhi; the fifth was called the Imperial Princess Tachibana; the sixth was called the Emperor Wo-hatsuse no Waka-sazaki. When he came to possess the Empire, he made his capital at Namiki in Hatsuse. The seventh was called the Imperial Princess Mawaka.[73]

One book has a different arrangement, the Imperial Princess Kusuhi taking the third place and the Imperial Princess Tashiraga the fourth.

Next there was Nuka-kimi no Iratsume, daughter of Hiuri, Wani no Omi, who bore one daughter who was made the Imperial Princess Kasuga no Yamada.

One book says:—"Ohonuka no Iratsume, daughter of Hifure, Wani no Omi, bore one daughter who was made the Imperial Princess Yamada no Oho-iratsume, also called the Imperial Princess Akami." Notwithstanding the trifling difference of the documents, the facts are the same.

Winter, 10th month, 3rd day. The Emperor Woke was buried in the misasagi on the hill of Ihatsuki at Kataoka.

This year was the year Tsuchinoye Tatsu (5th) of the Cycle.

A.D. 489. 2nd year, Autumn, 9th month. The Empress Naniha no Wono, fearful on account of her long-standing want of respect (XV. 27.) (for the Emperor), died by her own hand.

One authority says:—"In the time of the Emperor Woke, the Prince Imperial Ohoke was present at a banquet. He took up a melon to eat, but there was no knife. The Emperor Woke himself took a knife and commanded his wife Wono to carry it and present it to the Prince Imperial. She came before him, and, in a standing position, laid the knife on the melon tray. Moreover, on the same day, she poured out sake, and, in a standing position, gave it to the Prince Imperial to drink. In consequence of this disrespect, she feared to be put to death, and died by her own hand."

A.D. 490. 3rd year, Spring, 2nd month, 1st day. The Isonokami Be of palace attendants[74] was established.

A.D. 491. 4th year, Summer, 5th month. Kashima Ikuba no Omi and Hohe no Kimi, being guilty of crimes, were both thrown into prison, where they died.

A.D. 492. 5th year, Spring, 2nd month, 5th day. General search was made in the provinces and districts for the dispersed Saheki Be, and a descendant of Nakachiko of the Saheki Be was made Saheki no Miyakko.

Nakachiko of the Saheki Be is mentioned in the history of the reign of Woke Tennō.

A.D. 493. 6th year, Autumn, 9th month, 4th day. Hitaka no Kishi was sent to Corea to fetch skilled artizans. This autumn, after (XV. 28.) Hitaka no Kishi was despatched, there was a woman dwelling at Mitsu[75] in Naniha who made lament, saying:—

Woes me, my youthful[76] spouse!
For to me he is an elder brother,
And to my mother too an elder brother.

The sound of her lament was exceeding pathetic, even to the rending of men's bowels.[77] A man of the village of Hishiki, named Kaso, hearing it, came in front of her, and said:—"Why is thy lamentation so exceedingly sorrowful?" The woman answered and said:—"Think of the autumn garlic's ever clustering growth."[78] Kaso said:—"Thou art right. Now I understand what thou hast said." But a companion of his, not comprehending her meaning, inquired, saying:—"By what dost thou understand?" He answered and said:—"Funame (XV. 29.) of the Naniha Jewellers' Be was wedded to Karama no Hataye[79] and bore to him Nakume,[80] who was wedded to a man of Sumuchi named Yamaki and bore to him Akitame. Karama no Hataye and his daughter Nakume having both died, Yamaki, the man of Sumuchi, had illicit intercourse with Funame[81] of the Jewellers' Be, and had by her a son named Araki, who took to wife Akitame. Upon this Araki set out for Koryö in the suite of Hitaka no Kishi. Therefore his wife Akitame, restless and full of longing, has lost her wits and become distraught, and the sound of her lamentation is very touching, even to the rending of men's bowels."

Funame of the Jewellers' Be and Karama no Hataye became husband and wife, and had a daughter named Nakume. Yamaki, a man of Sumuchi, married Nakume, and had a daughter named Akitame. Yamaki's wife's father Karama no Hataye and the latter's child Nakume having both died, Yamaki, the man of Sumuchi, had an amour with his wife's mother, Funame of the Jewellers' Be, the fruit of which was Araki. Araki took to wife Akitame. One book says:—"Funame of the Jewellers' Be bore Nakume to her first husband Karama no Hataye; again to her second husband Yamaki, a man of Sumuchi, she bore Araki, so that Nakume and Araki were sister and brother by a different father. Consequently Nakume's daughter Akitame called Araki[82] her mother's elder brother. Nakume having married Yamaki, bore Akitame. Moreover, Yamaki having had illicit intercourse with Funame had by her Araki, so that Akitame and Araki were sister and brother by a different mother. Consequently Akitame called Araki her elder brother. In ancient times women called their brothers se[83] (elder brother), without distinction of age; while men called their sisters imo (younger sister). Hence the expression, 'To my mother an elder brother, to me an elder brother.'"[84]

In this year Hitaka no Kishi returned from Koryö, and delivered to the Emperor the artizans Sunyuki and Nonyuki.[85] They were the ancestors of the Koryö tanners of the village of Nukada in the district of Yamabe in the province of Yamato.

A.D. 494. (XV. 30.) 7th year, Spring, 1st month, 3rd day. Wo-hatsuse Waka-sazaki no Mikoto was appointed Prince Imperial.

A.D. 495. 8th year, Winter, 10th month. The people said:—"At this time there is peace throughout the land; the officials fill their offices worthily. Everywhere within the seas there is a movement towards good feeling; the subjects pursue peacefully their avocations." This year the five grains were produced in abundance, the silkworm and wheat afforded a rich harvest. Far and near there was purity and calm, and the population multiplied.

A.D. 498. 11th year, Autumn, 8th month, 8th day. The Emperor died in the Chief Bedchamber.

Winter, 10th month, 5th day. He was buried in the misasagi at the foot of the Hanifu acclivity.

  1. Shiraga means white hair. The "Kojiki" gives his name as Shiraga no oho-Yamato-neko.
  2. Seinei, pure and tranquil.
  3. The same thing is related of the Chinese philosopher Laotze and other Chinese worthies.
  4. Or Ye-kimi. This name means elder Lord.
  5. Probably for Kume no Muraji.
  6. No doubt the Yamamori Be or Mountain wardens mentioned in the reign of Ōjin.
  7. Kara-hime, not having been Empress, could not be appointed Grand Empress like other Imperial relicts.
  8. Attendants.
  9. Stewards.
  10. Lit. quiver-bearers, or archers, a part of the Imperial Guard. The "Kojiki" mentions only a Shiraga Be.
  11. See below, XV. 8, also Ch. K., p. 328.
  12. This is purely Chinese. Motowori says that no such vehicles were ever known in Japan.
  13. These same words are found in a History of the Chinese Sui Dynasty, under the year 581 A.D.
  14. The History of the Chinese Emperor Ming Ti (58–75 A.D.) has mention of a great drinking festival lasting five days.
  15. Williams says that in this phrase means "to release." No doubt the object was to release such as were deserving of pardon.
  16. His age is reckoned variously by other authorities at thirty-nine and forty-one.
  17. Illustrious ancestry.
  18. His name is not given elsewhere with the prefix Ohoye, which means "great elder brother."
  19. i.e. Emperor Woke's father.
  20. See above, p. 336.
  21. Woke is meant.
  22. The boys of Tamba.
  23. Districts.
  24. The Dolichos roots present a difficulty. They are better known for yielding a starchy food like arrowroot than as material for house-building. The stems are mentioned below. Another objection is that their introduction here spoils the symmetry of the composition, which though not exactly poetry, is something closely verging on it. I would prefer to omit the words "Katsura ne tsuki-tatsuru" of the original, so that the first two lines would become only one, viz.—

    "The pillars of the new muro which he has upbuilt."

  25. i.e. represent.
  26. Grove. The commentators say this means shigeki, thick, which in Japanese is a metaphor for cordial, hearty, kind.
  27. i.e. tied the laths (of sedge) to the uprights of the walls, which were then plastered with a mixture of mud and straw. The firmness with which they were tied represents the endurance of the master's life.
  28. In this passage, as in the well-known poem attributed to Susa no wo, I have ventured to render idzumo as equal to idzukumo, on all sides, although without native authority.
  29. Animal dances, in which the performer represented a deer, wild boar, butterfly, bird, etc., were common in ancient Japan. The Shishi mai, or lion-dance, danced by two boys, one of whom wears a grotesque mask supposed to represent a lion, and the other supports the body, made of cotton stuff, may still be seen in the streets.
  30. The word for "revel" is uchi-age, which means literally to strike up. But the uchi (strike) must also be taken with "hand-palms" in the sense of "clapping."
  31. A way of saying, "May you live for ever!" In this passage the author had in mind a speech in Japanese, the original language of which, although mainly expressed by Chinese ideographs, can be conjectured with some degree of certainty.
  32. The first line of this poem contains the single word Ina-mushiro, " sleeping-mat" (a rice straw mat), a conventional epithet or makura-kotoba of kaha, skin, perhaps because the Japanese used skins for sleeping on at one time. It has, properly speaking, nothing to do with kaha, river, but the unexpected conjunction is witty—from a Japanese point of view. The allusion to the position of the two Princes is plain.
  33. Chihara, or as it may be read Ashihara, means reed plain, a poetical term for Japan. So so is interpreted as an onomatope representing the rustling of reeds. Asa is shallow, and asachihara is said to be a plain on which the reeds grow short. The speech (or poem) is a (no doubt with intention) mysteriously worded announcement of Woke's rank as an Imperial Prince.
  34. The sugi or Cryptomeria Japonica.
  35. In Yamato.
  36. He never reigned. See above, p. 336.
  37. There is hardly any metre here. This passage is just on the border line between poetry and prose.
  38. For the neglect shown to the Princes.
  39. A Chinese term for the Palace.
  40. Viz. Woke.
  41. The "Kojiki" makes her his maternal aunt.
  42. Takaki means high castle, but is here the name of a place.
  43. From "When" to "pond" is taken from a Chinese book.
  44. From "The conduct" to "forward" is imitated from a passage in the "Liki."
  45. He probably makes allusion to the Yih-king, Diagram xxxiii. Sect. 6, which is thus translated by Legge: "The sixth line, undivided shows its subject retiring in a noble way. It will be advantageous in every respect." This means, perhaps, that his modest behaviour proves that his reign will be beneficial to the people.
  46. The "Nihongi" introduces a (not) here. The "Kiujiki" reading seems preferable, and I have followed it in the translation.
  47. Corea is called the gold and silver country at p. 221.
  48. See above, XIV. 5.
  49. The point of this poem is not to be expressed in English. It rests on the similarity of the first syllable of nute, bell, with nu, a moor, which must be read twice in different senses. The first half of the poem takes nu in the latter sense. With the latter half it is only the first syllable of nute.
  50. This unusual way of designating the day of the month suggests that a different document is here quoted from.
  51. i.e, Warden of the Mountains, or, as we should say, "Woods and Forests." It included the charge of game.
  52. Muraji of the Mountain Be.
  53. Game-keeper.
  54. The erasure of his name from the register was on account of his being attached to the service of the misasagi; the mountain wardenship placed him under the jurisdiction of the Yamabe no Muraji.

    May not these guardians of the Imperial tombs have been among the ancestors of the Eta or Hinin, a pariah caste (abolished by the revolution of 1868), who lived in villages by themselves, and did not intermarry with or have any social intercourse with other Japanese? They followed the occupations of leather-dressers, shoemakers, buriers of dead animals, executioners, and watchmen of cemeteries. The name Hinin (not-man) accords well with the circumstance mentioned here of their names being erased from the census registers. They were supposed to belong to the service of the dead, and no longer to be reckoned with the living.

    Most of the misasagi had from one to five guardians' houses allotted to them.

  55. Ban-zai or Man-zai, lit. 10,000 years. This term is still in use.
  56. Virtue is in Chinese active, not merely the negation of vice.
  57. The "Kojiki" tells a somewhat different story. Vide Ch. K., p. 336. This misasagi (which I have visited) is at the present day a round single mound, encircled by a moat, but there are sufficient remains of the second mound and of the original moat to show that it was once a double-topped misasagi of the ordinary type. See above, p. 136. A large quantity of earth must have been removed in order thus to deprive this tomb of its distinctive character as an Imperial tumulus, and to give it the appearance of the tomb of a mere subject. It appears as if both the "Nihongi" and "Kojiki" regarded the demolition of a misasagi as an impious action, and tried to minimize it.
  58. Lit., The Mulberry and Euphorbia trees. There is an allusion to a verse in the "Chinese Book of Odes" (Legge, Vol. IV. p. 337):—

     "Even the mulberry trees and the tsze (of one's home)
    Must be regarded with reverence."

  59. This is the first mention of coin in the "Nihongi." It is impossible to say what the measure of rice was, or what the value of the coin. Indeed, I take the whole passage to be a flight of the author's fancy, stimulated by his recollections of Chinese literature. It contains several phrases borrowed from Chinese works. See Index—Currency.
  60. See below, XXV. 18.
  61. Saki-kusa is literally the herb of happiness. It is also called man-nen-gusa, or the "herb of 10,000 years." It was said to grow in the Court of the Temple to the sovereign's ancestors. The "Seishiroku" says:—"In the reign of the Emperor Kenzō, the officials were summoned to a banquet. At this time, a herb of three stems was growing in the courtyard of the palace. One of these was plucked up and presented to the Emperor, who thereupon conferred on the donor the title of Saki Be no Miyakko."
  62. Irin is called in Ōjin's reign, year 16, a place in Imna.
  63. The Kana rendering is Shitoromo or Shitoromure.
  64. The "Tongkam" does not mention this affair, but there is no reason to doubt that the "Nihongi" narrative is substantially true.

    The "Kojiki" practically ends here. Nominally, it is carried down to the death of Suiko in A.D. 628, but all after this is mere genealogy.

  65. Also read Oke. Ohoke is the "Kojiki" reading.
  66. Benevolent-talented.
  67. Big-leg or big-foot. The name is written above, XV. 7, with characters which mean big-stone.
  68. Or taboo name. In China the use of the personal name is not thought respectful except by a chief or parent. Instead of it the designation () is used. The latter was assumed at the age of fifteen (or twenty), when the ceremony of capping took place. In writing the personal names of the Emperors of the reigning dynasty, the Chinese are careful to alter one or two strokes of the character.
  69. Shima no Wakako, above, XV. 7.
  70. This is a curious way of putting it, but the original is so.
  71. This is the temporary palace built by Wodate. See above, XV. 5.
  72. See above, XIV. 7, for an account of her birth.
  73. The "Kojiki" makes Mawaka a Prince.
  74. Toneri.
  75. The august harbour.
  76. Literally young herb or grass.
  77. Cf. the Biblical expression "bowels of compassion".
  78. By the clusters of the garlic bulbs in autumn she indicates the somewhat complicated family relations described below.
  79. Kara-fisher's-field.
  80. The (professional) weeping woman.
  81. His wife's mother. This union was regarded as incestuous.
  82. In the speech above quoted.
  83. Se and imo also mean respectively husband and wife.
  84. This note is from the "Shiki" or "Scholiast."
  85. Possibly the Japanese reading of the characters is preferable, viz. Suruki, Toruki.