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

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Pub. for the Society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, pages 26–35




The Emperor Magari no Ohoye Hiro-kuni Oshi-take was the eldest child of the Emperor Wohodo. His mother's name was Menoko-hime. As to the Emperor's character, the walls were lofty, so that one could not peep in.[3] He was brave and generous, and had the capacity of a ruler of men.

In the 25th year of his reign, Spring, the 2nd month, the 7th day, the Emperor Wohodo established Ohoye as Emperor, and on the same day he died.[4]

In this month Ohotomo no Kanamura no Ohomuraji and Mononobe no Arakahi no Ohomuraji were made Ohomuraji, both being continued in their previous offices.

A.D. 534. 1st year, Spring, 1st month. The capital was removed to Magari no Kanahashi, in the province of Yamato, by which name the palace[5] was called.

3rd month, 6th day. On behalf of the Emperor, functionaries took wedding presents to the Imperial Princess Kasuga no (XVIII. 2.) Yamada, daughter of the Emperor Ohoke,[6] and made her Empress[7] [otherwise called the Imperial Princess Yamada no Akami]. There were, besides, three consorts appointed, viz., Satehime, daughter of Kose no Wobito no Oho-omi, Satehime's younger sister, Kagarihime, and Yakahime, daughter of Mononobe no Itahi no Ohomuraji.

Summer, 4th month, 1st day. The High Steward, Ohomaro Kashihade no Omi,[8] by command of the Emperor, sent a messenger to Ishimi[9] to get pearls. The Kuni no Miyakko of Ishimi delayed coming to the capital, and the time passed without their delivering them. Ohomaro Kashihade no Omi was greatly incensed, and, having seized and bound the Kuni no Miyakko, interrogated them as to the reason. Wakugo no Atahe and the other Kuni no Miyakko were afraid, and ran away, and concealed themselves in an inner chamber of the hinder-palace.[10] The Empress Kasuga, unaware that they had come straight in,[11] was startled, and fell down deeply ashamed. Wakugo no Atahe and the others, being already convicted of the crime of intrusion, and having become liable to severe punishment, humbly offered the Empress the Miyake[12] of Ishimi to be her absolute property, praying her to accept it by way of atonement for their offence of intrusion. A settlement (XVIII. 3.) was therefore made of the Miyake of Ishimi. It was now divided and made into districts, which were attached to the province of Kadzusa.

5th month. Pèkché sent the Ha-pu Syu-tök, Työk Tök-son, and the Syang-pu[13] To-tök, Kwi Chyukwiru, to come and render the Imperial tribute, and separately to present a memorial.

Autumn, 7th month, 1st day. The Emperor made a decree, saying:—"The Empress, it is true, is of one body with the Emperor, but their designations, one being outer and the other inner, are quite distinct. Moreover let there be assigned a tract of Miyake land from (the revenues of) which to erect a Pepper[14] Court, so that after generations may hand down its memory." Imperial Commissioners were accordingly appointed to select good rice-land. The Imperial Commissioners, having received this charge, addressed Ajihari [otherwise called Satohi], Ohoshi Kahachi no Atahe, saying:—"Thou shouldst now offer to the Emperor the fat rice-land of Kiji." Ajihari conceived a sudden grudging, and deceived the Imperial Commissioners, saying:—"This rice-land is subject to drought, and hard to irrigate. The surface water percolates readily, so that the expenditure of labour would be enormous, and the harvest very small." The Imperial Commissioners, in accordance with these words, made their report to the Emperor without reserve.

Winter, 10th month, 15th day. The Emperor commanded Kanamura, Ohotomo no Ohomuraji, saying:—"Although we have taken to us four wives there has been up till now no heir. When ten thousand years have passed,[15] Our name will be extinct. What dost thou propose should now be done, Our uncle[16] of Ohotomo? Whenever we think of this, Our anxiety knows no rest."

Kanamura, Ohotomo no Muraji, addressed the Emperor, (XVIII. 4.) saying:—"This is also a subject of anxiety to thy servant. It is necessary that all the sovereigns of this country who rule the Empire, whether they have heirs or not, should have something by which they should have a name. I pray, therefore, that on behalf of the Empress and thy other consorts Miyake lands may be established, and made to remain unto future generations, so that relics of the past may be manifested."

The Emperor commanded, saying:—"Be it so; let them be speedily established." Kanamura, Ohotomo no Ohomuraji, recommended to the Emperor that the Miyake of Oharida with serfs[17] from every province should be granted to Satehime, that the Miyake of Sakurawi [one book says, "And in addition the Miyake of Chinuyama"] with serfs from every province should be granted to Kagarihime, and that the Miyake of Naniha with spade-labourers from every district should be granted to Yakahime as an indication to posterity, and an example by which to view the past. The Emperor commanded, saying:—"Let it be done as proposed."

Intercalary 12th month, 4th day. The Emperor made a progress to Mishima. Kanamura, Ohotomo no Ohomuraji, was in attendance.

The Emperor, through Ohotomo no Ohomuraji, made inquiry as to good rice-land of the Agata-nushi[18] Ihi-bo. The Agata-nushi Ihi-bo was delighted beyond measure, and with the utmost reverence and loyalty offered as a present Upper Mino and Lower Mino, Upper Kuhabara and Lower Kuhabara, (XVIII. 5.) as well as land in Takefu, 40 chô in all. Ohotomo no Ohomuraji, by command of the Emperor, addressed him,[19] saying:—"Of the entire surface of the soil, there is no part which is not a Royal grant in fee; under the wide Heavens there is no place which is not royal territory. The previous Emperors therefore[20] established an illustrious designation and handed down a vast fame: in magnanimity they were a match with Heaven and Earth: in glory they resembled the sun and moon. They rode afar and dispensed their mollifying influence to a distance; in breadth it extended beyond the bounds of the capital and cast a bright reflection throughout the boundaries of the land, pervading everywhere without a limit. Above they were the crown of the nine heavens: they passed abroad through all the eight points of the compass: they declared their efficiency by the framing of ceremonial observances: they instituted music,[21] thereby manifesting order. The resulting happiness was truly complete: there was gladness which tallied with that of past years.[22]

Now thou, Ajihari, being an obscure and insignificant subject of the realm, didst suddenly entertain a grudging as regards the lands of the Crown, and hast lightly disregarded the messenger. It is the Imperial will that thou, Ajihari, shalt henceforth cease to hold the office of Local Governor." Hereupon, the Agata-nushi (XVIII. 6.) Ihibo's heart was filled with mingled joy and awe. He took his son Toriki and presented him to the Ohomuraji as a servant. Then Ajihari, Ohoshi Kahachi no Atahe, was afraid, and had lasting regret. Prostrating himself on the ground, with the perspiration streaming from him, he addressed the Ohomuraji, saying:—"I am an ignorant subject, and my crime deserves ten thousand deaths. I pray humbly that I may be allowed to furnish from each district in spring-time five hundred spade-labourers, and in the time of autumn five hundred, for the Emperor's service. My descendants to all ages will pray for their lives in dependence on this,[23] and they will keep it before them for ever as an exemplary punishment." He separately presented to Ohotomo no Ohomuraji six chô of rice-land in Sawida. This seems to have been the origin of the labourers of the Agata of Kahachi being attached to the Miyake of Takefu in Mishima as serfs.

This month Hatahime, daughter of Kikoyu, Ihoki be no Muraji, stole a necklace belonging to Okoshi, Ohotomo no Ohomuraji, and presented it to the Empress Kasuga. The matter was at length discovered, and Kikoyu gave his daughter, Hatahime, to be a servant of the Uneme. [The Kasuga Be Uneme.[24]] He also presented (to the Emperor) the Miyake of Ihokibe in Koshibe in the province of Aki, and therewith (XVIII. 7.) redeemed his daughter's crime. Okoshi, Mononobe no Ohomuraji, fearing that he might become implicated in the matter, could not feel secure, and presented to the Emperor Towochi Be, with Kusasa, Toi [Kusasa and Toi are names of two villages], and Nihe no Hasebe, in the province of Ise, and also Wisayamabe, in the Land of Tsukushi.

The Kuni no Miyakko of the province of Musashi, Omi, Kasahara no Atahe, had a dispute with a relation named Wogi as to who should be Kuni no Miyakko. This went on for years and could not be settled. Wogi was of an obstructive and rebellious disposition; he had a high spirit, unapt for compliance. He secretly sought support from Wokuma, the Kuni of Kamitsukenu,[25] and conspired with him to kill Omi. Omi became aware of this, and made his escape to the capital, where he informed the Court. When the matter came to be decided, Omi was made Kuni no Miyakko, and Wogi was executed. Omi, Kuni no Miyakko, his breast filled with mingled awe and gladness, could not restrain himself, but reverently offered to the State the four Miyake of Yokonu, Tachibana, Ohohi, and Kurasu.

This was the year Kinoye Tora (51st) of the Cycle.

A.D. 535. 2nd year, Spring, 1st Month, 5th day. The Emperor made a decree, saying:—"Of late, for several successive years, the crops have produced well; there have been no frontier anxieties: the people take pleasure in their husbandry: my black-headed subjects of every calling are free from famine: benign influences extend agreeably over the universe: cries of admiration fill Heaven and Earth: within and without serenity is everywhere diffused: the commonwealth is flourishing: Our joy is extreme: let there be a Great Revel for five days, to the delight of the Empire."

(XVIII. 8.) Summer, 4th month, 1st day. The Be of the Toneri of Magari was established, and the Be of the Yuki of Magari.[26]

5th month, 9th day. There were established the Miyake of Funami and Kama in Tsukushi, the Miyake of Tosa, Kuhabara, Kato, Ohonuku and Aka in the province of Toyo, the Miyake of Kasuga be, in the province of Hi, the Miyake of Koshibe and Ushika in the province of Harima, the Miyake of Shidzuki, Tane, Kukutsu, Hawaka, and Kaha-oto, in the further province of Kibi, the Miyake of Iye and Itoshibe in the province of Ata,[27] the Miyake of Kasuga be in the province of Aha, the Miyake of Fuse and Kahabe in the province of Ki, the Miyake of Soshiki in the province of Tamba, the Miyake of Ashiura in the province of Afumi, the Miyake of Mashiki and Iruka in the province of Wohari, the Miyake of Midono (XVIII. 9.) in the province of Kamitsukenu, and the Miyake of Wakanihe in the province of Suruga.[28]

Autumn, 8th month, 1st day. By Imperial command Be of dog-keepers[29] were established in every province.

9th month, 3rd day. The Emperor appointed Sakurawi Tanabe no Muraji, Agata no Inukahi no Muraji, and Naniha no Kishi, to the charge of the revenues from the Miyake.

13th day. The Emperor specially commanded the Ohomuraji, saying:—"Let cattle be let loose on Ohosumi-jima, and in the fir-plain of Hime-jima at Naniha. By this we hope that a name will be handed down to after times."[30]

Winter, 12th month, 17th day. The Emperor died in the palace of Kanabashi at Magari, at the age of seventy.

In this month the Emperor was buried in the misasagi on the hill of Takaya at Furuichi in the province of Kahachi. In this misasagi there were buried along with the Emperor the Empress, who was the Imperial Princess Kasuga no Yamada, and the Emperor's younger sister, the Princess Kamisaki.[31]



The Emperor Take-wo Hiro-kuni Oshitate was the second child of the Emperor Wohodo, and the younger brother by (XVIII. 10.) the same mother of the Emperor Magari no Ohoye Hiro-kuni Oshitake Kanahi.

The Emperor Magari no Ohoye Hirokuni Oshitake Kanahi died in the 12th month of the second year of his reign, leaving no heir. The Ministers in a body delivered up the sword and mirror[34] to Takewo Hirokuni Oshitate no Mikoto, and made him assume the Imperial Dignity. As to his character, his capacity was unalloyed throughout, his intelligence surpassingly bright, and he did not play the ruler, making a boast to people of his abilities. Superior men gave him their allegiance.

A.D. 536. 1st year, Spring, 1st month. The capital was transferred to Ihorino in Hinokuma,[35] whence the palace took its name.

2nd month, 1st day. Ohotomo no Kanamura no Ohomuraji and Mononobe no Arakahi no Ohomuraji were appointed Ohomuraji, both as before. Moreover, Soga no Iname no Sukune was made Oho-omi and Abe no Ohomaro no Omi Daibu.

3rd month, 1st day. The functionaries petitioned that an Empress might be appointed.

8th day. The Emperor commanded, saying:—"Let her who is already my proper[36] consort, viz. the Imperial Princess Tachibana no Nakatsu, daughter of the Emperor Ohoke, be appointed Empress." She bore to him one son and three daughters. The eldest was called the Imperial Princess Ishi hime,[37] the next was called the Imperial Princess Koishi hime,[38] the next was called the Imperial Princess Kura no Wakaya hime, (XVIII. 11.) and the next the Imperial Prince Kamu-uye-ha [ otherwise Mariko]. He was the ancestor of the two families[39] of the Tajihi no Kimi and the Ina no Kimi. The concubine whom he already had, viz. Ohoshi Kahachi no Wakugo hime, bore to him one son, named the Imperial Prince Honowo.[40] He was the ancestor of the Kimi of Shihida.

Summer, 5th month, 1st day. The Emperor made an edict, saying:—"Food is the basis of the Empire. Yellow gold and ten thousand strings of cash cannot cure hunger.[41] What avails a thousand boxes of pearls to him who is starving of cold? Now the province of Tsukushi is a place reached by visitors to our Court from far and near; it is a barrier passed by travellers going and coming. Therefore the countries beyond the sea, awaiting the water of the ocean,[42] come as our guests: looking up to the clouds of Heaven, they bring us tribute. From the days of the Emperor in the womb[43] down to (XVIII. 12.) Ourselves, grain has been stored up and hoards of provisions accumulated as a distant preparation for evil years, and for the cordial entertainment of our good guests. For the peace of our country there is nothing better than this. We therefore send Asomo no Kimi to transport thither a further supply of grain from the Miyake of the district of Mamuta in Kahachi. Let Soga no Oho-omi and Iname no Sukune send Wohari no Muraji to transport grain of the Miyake of the province of Wohari. Let Arakahi, Mononobe no Ohomuraji send Nihinomi no Muraji to transport grain from the Miyake of Nihinomi. Let Abe no Omi send Iga no Omi to transport grain from the Miyake of the province of Iga. Let there be built a Government House at Nanotsu no Kuchi.[44] Moreover, the Miyake of the three provinces of Tsukushi, Hi, and Toyo are dispersed and remote: transport is therefore impeded by distance. In the case of an emergency it would be difficult to provide for sudden needs. Let the various districts therefore be charged each severally to transfer (the Miyake), and to erect one jointly at Nanotsu no Kuchi, thus making provision against extraordinary occasions, and long preserving the lives of the people. Speedily go down to the districts (in question) and make known to them Our behests."

Autumn, 7th month. Mononobe no Arakahi no Ohomuraji died.

This year was the year Hinoye Tatsu (53rd) of the Cycle.

A.D. 537.2nd year, Winter, 10th month, 1st day. By reason of Silla's hostility towards Imna, the Emperor commanded Ohotomo no (XVIII. 13.) Kanamura no Ohomuraji to send his sons Iha and Sadehiko to the assistance of Imna. At this time Iha staid in Tsukushi, where he took charge of the local Government, and made preparations against the three Han.[45] Sadehiko went to Imna and restored peace there. He also lent aid to Pèkché.

A.D. 539.4th year, Spring, 2nd month, 10th day. The Emperor died in the Palace of Ihorino in Hinokuma at the age of seventy-three.

Winter, 11th month, 17th day. The Emperor was buried in the misasagi at the top of the acclivity of Tsukijima, in Musa, in the province of Yamato.

There were buried with him in the same misasagi the Empress, viz. the Imperial Princess Tachibana and her infant child.[46]

There is no mention in the records of the year of the Empress's death. Probably the infant child had died before reaching manhood.

  1. Magari is the name of a place. Ohoye or Ohine means the elder of a family. The rest is literally "wide-country-push-valiant-metal-sun."
  2. Ankan, "easy-space."
  3. An allusion to a passage in the "Analects of Confucius." See Legge's edition, p. 211. The meaning is that he was of a reserved disposition, and not easy to understand and appreciate.
  4. The 25th year of Keidai's reign is A.D. 531. Ankan succeeds him at once, yet his 1st year is A.D. 534. See above, p. 25.
  5. i.e. the Kanahashi Palace.
  6. Ninken Tennō.
  7. This was only a formal installation. The real marriage took place in the 7th year of Keidai's reign.
  8. Kashihade no Omi means "steward minister," so that here the name and the office coincided, as they frequently did at this time.
  9. In Kadzusa.
  10. i.e. the Empresses' apartments.
  11. Without warning or introduction.
  12. The Miyake are frequently mentioned below. The word is defined in Yamada's Dictionary as follows:—"Mi means august; yake, house. The Miyake were granaries, in which was stored the rice which the peasants were made to cultivate on lands belonging to the government in the various provinces. The term was also applied to the government buildings belonging to them."

    This word is written in two ways in Chinese. One rendering means store-house or granary, the other government house. The Miyake has two aspects corresponding to this distinction. They were primarily granaries to which were attached cultivated lands and serfs, and they were also local centres of government. But the present and other passages show that they were frequently private property. The Japanese Residency in Imna is called a Miyake, and even the kingdoms of Pèkché and Silla are so termed. The Miyake are evidently the older Be somewhat modified. Cf. Vol. I. p. 214.

  13. Official ranks. Ha-pu and Syang-pu mean respectively Lower and Upper Division.
  14. "The private apartments of the Empress, so called because (1) an Empress of the Han had the walls of her palace smeared with pepper in order to generate warmth, or (2) because she always had a supply of pepper flowers about her, hoping to be fruitful like them."—Giles.
  15. i.e. when I am dead.
  16. Uncle, like cousin or brother in the mouths of European sovereigns, is only a term of friendly greeting.
  17. Tana-be. See above, Vol. I. p. 214.
  18. District-lord.
  19. i.e. Ajihari.
  20. From this point to the end of the paragraph is taken from the monument of a personage named 湘東王, of the Liang Dynasty of China.
  21. The importance of music as a means of government is often insisted on in the ancient Chinese literature. The interlinear version has here uta-mai, "song and dancing," which latter was no doubt included. Ceremony and music are put generally for the pomp and circumstance which are the life of an Imperial Court.
  22. Here we have the imperial theory formulated in terms, be it noted, which are borrowed entirely from Chinese writings.
  23. i.e. this will be a perpetual ransom for the lives of my descendants.
  24. i.e. The Empress's waiting-women.
  25. i.e. Kôdzuke.
  26. These Be were evidently intended to commemorate the Emperor's name. The Yuki were archers.
  27. Now part of Satsuma.
  28. This institution of Miyake seems to show that the Central Government was vigorously extending its power in the provinces. The Imperial theory was being translated into practice.
  29. Inukahi, a frequent surname in old Japan. The "Shukai" says:—"They had probably charge of the dogs to guard the Miyake against thieves."
  30. In 717 A.D. an order was given to discontinue the cattle-breeding establishments of Ohosumi-jima and Hime-jima, and to allow the peasantry to till the land.
  31. Or Kanzaki.
  32. The elements of this Emperor's name are literally "valiant-small-wide-country-push-shield."
  33. Senkwa means "diffuse-civilization."
  34. The Regalia.
  35. In Yamato.
  36. i.e. not a concubine.
  37. Stone-princess.
  38. Little-stone-princess.
  39. Lit. surnames.
  40. Flame of fire.
  41. It must not be inferred from this that the Japanese had coin at this time. It is simply a phrase borrowed from the Chinese.
  42. The tides.
  43. Ōjin Tennō.
  44. In Chikuzen.
  45. i.e. Silla, Pèkché, and Koryö.
  46. In Japanese wakugo. This word is also found as a proper name, which would account for the strange remark of the "Original Commentary."