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

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The Empress Ame toyo-takara ikashi-hi tarashi hime was the great-granddaughter of the Emperor Nuna-kura futo-dama-shiki,[3] granddaughter of the Imperial Prince Ohoye, Oshizaka no hiko-bito, and daughter of Prince Chinu. Her mother's name was Princess Kibi.

This Empress conducted the government in conformity with the ancient path.

In the second year of the Emperor Okinaga tarashi-hi hironuka,[4] she was appointed Empress-consort. This Emperor died in the 10th month of the 13th year of his reign.

(A.D. 642.)  1st year, Spring, 1st month, 15th day. The Empress-consort assumed the Imperial Dignity. Yemishi, Soga no Omi, was made Oho-omi as before. The Oho-omi's son, Iruka [also called Kuratsukuri], took into his own hands the reins of government, and his power was greater than his father's. Therefore thieves and robbers were in dread of him, and things dropped on the highways were not picked up.

29th day. The Dainin, Hirafu, Adzumi no Muraji, who had gone as Envoy to Pèkché, returned from Tsukushi, riding on post-horses, and said:—"The Land of Pèkché, hearing of the Emperor's death, has sent Ambassadors of condolence, along with whom I arrived in Tsukushi. But I wished to take part in the funeral ceremonies, and therefore have come on alone in advance. That country, however, is at present greatly disturbed."

(XXIV. 2.) 2nd month, 2nd day. Hirafu, Adzumi no Yamashiro no Muraji, Ihakane, Kusakabe no Kishi, and Agata, Yamato no Aya no fumi no Atahe, were sent to the Pèkché Ambassadors of condolence to inquire their news. The Ambassadors of condolence replied, saying:—"The sovereign of Pèkché said to us:—'Sè-syang is always behaving badly. I request that he may be delivered to the Envoys on their return.'" The Empress did not consent.

The servants of the Pèkché Envoys of condolence said:—"In the 11th month of last year, the Tèsa-phyöng,[5] Chi-chyök, died. Moreover the Pèkché Envoys flung the Kunluen[6] Envoys into the sea. In the first month of this year the King's mother died. Again, Kyoki, the son of the younger Prince, and also his younger sisters by the same mother, four persons in all, with the Lord Nè-sa-phyöng,[7] and over forty notables, were banished to an island."[8]

6th day. Koryö Envoys anchored in the harbour of Naniha.

21st day. The Daibu were sent to the district (government house) of Naniha to inspect the gold and silver sent as tribute (XXIV. 3.) by the Land of Koryö, as well as the other things presented by that country. After the Envoys had delivered over all the tribute, they said:—"The younger Prince died in the sixth month of last year. In the autumn, the 9th month, the Prime Minister, Irikasyumi, slew the King, and also put to death Irikö-Iyésă and others to the number of more than 180. Then he took the son of the younger Prince and made him King.[9] He also made his own relation[10] To-syu-ryu Keum-nyu Prime Minister."

22nd day. The Koryö and Pèkché guests were entertained at the Naniha district (Government office). The Empress commanded the Oho-omi to send Oho-ama, Tsumori no Muraji, as Envoy to Koryö, Kuhina, Naniha no Kishi, to Pèkché, Mato, Kusakabe no Kishi, to Silla, and Nagaye, Sakamoto no Kishi, to Imna.

24th day. Kyoki was sent for and lodged in the house of Adzumi no Yamashiro no Muraji.

25th day. The Koryö and Pèkché guests were entertained.

27th day. The Koryö and Pèkché Envoys both took their departure.

3rd month, 3rd day. There was rain without any clouds.

Silla sent Envoys of congratulation on the accession, and also Envoys of condolence.

15th day. The Silla Envoys took their departure. This month there were continual rains.

Summer, 4th month, 8th day. The Chief Envoy Kyoki and his companions had an audience of the Empress.

10th day. The Oho-omi, Soga, invited Kyoki of Pèkché and (XXIV. 4.) his companions to his house at Unebi. He had friendly conversation with them and presented a good[11] horse and twenty bars of iron. But he did not invite Sè-syang.

This month there were continuous rains.

5th month, 5th day. Kyoki and his companions were invited to witness an archery-hunt[12] in front of the Miyake of Yosami in the province of Kahachi.

16th day. The ship of the Envoys of the Land of Pèkché and the ship of the Kishi anchored together in the harbour of Naniha.

18th day. The Pèkché Envoys delivered their tribute, and the Kishi reported their mission.

21st day. One of Kyoki's companions died.

22nd day. A child of Kyoki died. At this time, Kyoki and his wife shrunk with horror from the dead child, and were not present at the funeral ceremonies. It is the general custom in Pèkché and Silla when a death occurs that even the parents, brothers, husband or wife, and sisters of the deceased should never look on him again. Judging from this, they are utterly wanting in feeling, and not to be distinguished from birds and beasts.

23rd day. Ripe rice was seen.

24th day. Kyoki removed with his wife and children to the house in Ohowi in Kudara, and sent people to bury his child in Ishikaha.[13]

6th month, 16th day. Fine rain fell.

6th month. There was a teat drought.

Autumn, 7th month, 9th day. A guest-star entered the moon.[14]

22nd day. The Pèkché Envoys, the Tè-sa-phyöng, Chi-chyök, and his colleaues were entertained at Court.

One writin has:—"The Tè-sa-phyöng, Chichyök, and his son the Tal-sol—the name is wanting—the Eun-sol Kun-syön."

Therewith stout fellows were commanded to wrestle before Kyoki, Chichyök and the others. When the banquet was over, they retired and went to pay their respects at Kyoki's gate.

(XXIV. 5.) 23rd day. The pages of Iruka, Soga no Omi, caught a white sparrow.[15] On the same day at the same time there was a man who put a white sparrow (or sparrows) into a cage and sent it as a present to Soga no Omi.

25th day. The Ministers conversed with one another, saying:—"In accordance with the teachings of the village hafuri, there have been in some places horses and cattle killed as a sacrifice to the Gods of the various (Shintō) shrines, in others frequent changes of the market-places,[16] or prayers to the River-Gods. None of these practices have had hitherto any good result." Then Soga no Oho-omi answered and said:—"The 'Mahāyāna Sūtra' ought to be read by way of extract[17] in the temples, our sins repented of, as Buddha teaches, and thus with humility rain should be prayed for."

27th day. In the South Court of the Great Temple, the images of Buddha and of the Bosatsu,[18] and the images of the four Heavenly Kings, were magnificently adorned. A multitude of priests, by humble request, read the "Mahāyāna Sūtra." On this occasion Soga no Oho-omi held a censer in his hands, and having burnt incense in it, put up a prayer.

28th day. A slight rain fell.

29th day. The prayers for rain being unsuccessful, the reading of the "Sutra" was discontinued.

8th month, 1st day. The Emperor made a progress to the river-source of Minabuchi. Here he knelt down and prayed, worshipping towards the four quarters, and looking up to Heaven.[19] Straightway there was thunder and a great rain, which eventually fell for five days, and plentifully bedewed the Empire. [One writing has:—"For five days there was continuous rain, and the nine grains ripened."]

(XXIV. 6.) Hereupon the peasantry throughout the Empire cried with one voice, "Bansai," and said, "An Emperor of exceeding virtue!"

6th day. The Pèkché Envoys, viz. the Associate Official and the rest, took their departure. They were given a large ship and three boats.

This day at midnight it thundered in the south-west corner, and there was wind and rain. The ship in which the Associate Official and his companions were embarked ran ashore and was wrecked.

13th day. The rank of Shōtoko was conferred on the Pèkché hostage, the Tal-sol, Chyang-pok. One grade of rank was conferred on the guests of middle and lower condition, and they each received presents according to their station.

15th day. A ship was given to the Associate Official of Pèkché and his companions, in which they were sent off.

16th day. The Koryö Envoys returned to their country.

26th day. The Pèkché Envoys returned to their country.

9th month, 3rd day. The Empress commanded the Oho-omi, saying:—"It is our wish to build a great temple, Let labourers be levied from Afumi and Koshi." Moreover, charge was given to the various provinces to have ships built.

19th day. The Empress commanded the Oho-omi, saying:—"I wish the building of a palace to be begun in this month, and completed not later than the 12th month. Let building-timber be taken from the various provinces. Accordingly, workmen for building the palace were levied from Tōtomi on the east, as far as Aki on the west.

21st day. The Yemishi of the Koshi neighbourhood, several thousand in number, made their submission.

Winter, 10th month, 8th day. There was an earthquake, with rain.

9th day. There was an earthquake. This night there was an earthquake, with wind.

12th day. The Yemishi were entertained at Court.

15th day. Soga no Oho-omi entertained the Yemishi in his house, and personally made kind inquiries after their welfare.

On this day, the ship of the Silla Envoys of condolence, and the ship of the Envoys of congratulation on the accession, anchored at the island of Iki.

24th day. There was an earthquake at midnight.

This month summer ordinances were put in force.[20] There was rain without clouds.

(XXIV. 7.) 11th month, 2nd day. There was great rain, with thunder.

5th day. At midnight there was a thunder-clap in the north-west corner.

8th day. It thundered five times in the north-west corner.

9th day. The weather was warm, as in spring.

10th day. Rain fell.

11th day. The weather was warm, as in spring.

13th day. There was a thunder-clap in the northern quarter, and wind sprang up.

16th day. The Empress celebrated the festival of tasting the new rice. On this day the Prince Imperial and the Oho-omi each personally tasted the new rice.[21]

12th month, 1st day. The weather was mild, as in spring.

3rd day. It thundered five times during the day, and twice at night.

9th day. It thundered twice in the east, and there was wind and rain.

13th day. The mourning ceremonies for the Emperor Okinaga tarashi-hi hiro-nuka were begun. On this day, the Shōtoko, Tokudai, Kose no Omi, pronounced a funeral eulogium on behalf of Prince Ohomata. Next the Shōtoko Hosome, Ahata no Omi, pronounced a funeral eulogium on behalf of the Imperial Prince Karu. Next the Shōtoko, Mŭmakahi, Ohotomo no Muraji, pronounced a funeral eulogium on behalf of the Oho-omi.

14th day. Okinaga no Yamana no Kimi pronounced an eulogium of the Imperial line.

20th day. It thundered three times in the north-east corner.

21st day. The Emperor Okinaga tarashi-hi hiro-nuka was buried on the Hill of Name-hazama.

(XXIV. 8.) On this day the Empress removed her residence to the Palace of Woharida.

One writing says:—"To the temporary palace in the southern courtyard of the Eastern Palace."

23rd day. It thundered once in the night with a splitting noise.

30th day. The weather was mild, as in spring.

This year Yemishi, Soga no Oho-omi erected his own ancestral temple at Taka-miya in Katsuraki, and performed an eight-row dance.[22] Finally he made a song, saying:—

In order to ford
The River Hiro-se of Oshi
In Yamato,
I adjust my garters
And gird up my loins![23]

Moreover he levied all the people of the land as well as the serfs of the 180 Be, and constructed two tombs at Imaki in preparation for his death.[24] One was called the Great Misasagi, and was intended as the tomb of the Oho-omi; one was called the Small Misasagi, and was meant for the tomb of Iruka no Omi. It was his desire that after his death other people might not be troubled. Moreover he assembled all the Mibu people of Kamutsumiya,[25] and made them do forced labour on the precincts of the tombs. Hereupon Princess Kamutsumiya no Oho-iratsume[26] was wroth, and exclaimed, saying:—"Soga no Omi wantonly usurps the Government of the land, and does many outrageous things. In Heaven there (XXIV. 9.) are not two suns: in a state there cannot be two sovereigns. Why should he, at his own pleasure, employ, in forced labour, all the people of the fief?" From this her hate began to gather, and she at length shared in the common downfall.[27]

This year was the year Midzunoye Tora (39th) of the Cycle.

(A.D. 643.) 2nd year, Spring, 1st month, 1st day. In the morning great clouds of five colours[28] covered all the sky, except in the north-east, where they were wanting. A mist of a uniform blue colour arose from the earth on all sides.

10th day. A great storm.

2nd month, 20th day. Peach-blossoms first appeared.

25th day. The leaves and flowers of herbs and trees were injured by hail.

In this month there were wind, thunder, and ice-rain. Winter ordinances were in force.

3rd month, 13th day, The official quarters of the Pèkché guests at Naniha and the houses of the people took fire.

25th day. The flowers and leaves of the herbs and trees were injured by frost.

In this month there were wind, thunder, rain and ice-rain. Winter ordinances were in force.

Summer, 4th month, 7th day. A great storm, with rain.

8th day. A wind sprang up and the weather was chilly.

20th day. There was a west wind[29] and hail. The weather was cold, and people wore three wadded garments.

21st day. The Viceroy[30] of Tsukushi sent a mounted messenger with a message to the Empress, saying:—"The Prince, the younger brother of Kyoki, son of the King of Pèkché, has arrived in company of the tribute Envoys."

25th day. It was reported from the province of Ohomi that hail had fallen there one inch in diameter.

28th day. The Empress removed her residence from the temporary palace to the new Palace of Itabuki in Asuka.

5th month, 16th day. There was an eclipse of the moon.

6th month, 13th day. The Viceroy of Tsukushi sent a mounted messenger with a message to the Empress, saying:—"Koryö is sending Envoys to our Court." When (XXIV. 10.) the Ministers heard this, they said:—"Koryö has not come to Court since the year Kanoto i,[31] and this year they are coming to Court."

23rd day. The Pèkché tribute-ships anchored in the port of Naniha.

Autumn, 7th month, 3rd day. Several Daibu were sent to the district (Government house) of Naniha to inspect the Pèkché tribute and presents. Hereupon the Daibu inquired of the tribute Envoys, saying:—"The national tribute offered by you is less than by previous precedent. The articles sent to the Oho-omi are of no better quality than those which were returned in a former year; and, in defiance of previous precedent, no articles at all have been brought for the Ministers. How is this?"

The senior Envoy, the Tal-sol, Chă-să, and the junior Envoy, the Eun-sol, Kun-syön, together answered and said:—"The deficiency will be speedily supplied." Chă-să was a son of the hostage, the Tal-sol, Mu-chă.

In this month the water of the Mamuta pond stank greatly, and was covered with small grubs, which had black mouths and white bodies.

8th month, 15th day. The water of the Mamuta pond changed, and became like indigo juice. Its surface was covered with dead grubs. Moreover the running water in the drains became coagulated to the thickness of three or four inches, and the fishes, both great and small, stank, as when they are scorched to death in summer. They were therefore unfit for food.

9th month, 6th day. The Emperor Okinaga tarashi-hi hiro-nuka was buried in the Oshi-zaka Misasagi.

A certain writing says:—"The Emperor Hironuka is also called the Emperor Takechi."

11th day. Kibi no Shima, the Empress's grandmother, died.

17th day. The Empress instructed Wite, Hashi no Saba no Muraji, to superintend the funeral ceremonies of her grandmother. From the time that the Empress's grandmother took ill, until the beginning of the mourning, the Empress never left (XXIV. 11.) her bedside, and was assiduous in attending to her nourishment.

19th day. The Empress's grandmother was buried on the Hill of Mayumi.

On this day there was great rain, with hail.

30th day. The work of constructing the tomb of the Empress's grandmother was discontinued, and presents of silk and cloth[32] were given to the Omi, the Muraji, and Tomo no Miyakko, each according to his rank.

In this month the water of the Mamuta pond gradually changed, and became white. Moreover, it was no longer ill-smelling.

Winter, 10th month, 3rd day. The Ministers and Tomo no Miyakko were entertained in the Court of the Imperial Residence, and the matter of bestowing Dignities was considered. Ultimately instructions to the Governors of Provinces were given as before ordered, and no change was made. They were told to proceed to their posts, and to be watchful in respect to their administration.

6th day. Yemishi, Soga no Oho-omi, was unable from illness to attend at Court. On his own private authority, he granted his son Iruka a purple cap, which made him rank, as it were, with the Oho-omi. He also called the younger brother (of Iruka) Mononobe no Oho-omi. The Oho-omi's grandmother was the younger sister of Mononobe no Yugehi no Ohomuraji. Therefore, by reason of his mother's property, he acquired an influential position in the world.

12th day. Iruka, Soga no Omi, plotted by himself to set aside the Kamutsumiya Princes,[33] and to establish Furubito no Ohoye as Emperor. At this time there was a children's song which said:—

By the cliff,
A little monkey is cooking rice:
Pass on—having stolen
Even the very rice,
O thou mountain-goat[34] old man.

One book says:—"Iruka, Soga no Omi, had a profound repulsion for the prestige and fame of the Kamutsumiya Princes throughout the Empire, and plotted by himself how to become established in their stead."

In this month the xvater of the Mamuta pond became clear again.

11th month, 1st duy. Iruka, Soga no Omi, sent the Shōtoko, (XXIV. 12.) Kose no Tokudai no Omi, and the Dainin, Hashi no Saba no Muraji, to seize Prince Yamashiro no Ohoye and the rest at Ikaruga.

One book says:—"With Kose no Tokudai no Omi and Yamato no Mŭma-kahi no Obito as commanders."

Hereupon the slave Minari and several tens of toneri came forth and fought in their defence. Hashi no Saba no Muraji was hit by an arrow and died, and the troops were afraid, and retreated. They said to one another:—"The saying 'one

man as good as a thousand' is applicable to Minari." Yamashiro no Ohoye accordingly took the bones of a horse and flung them into his sleeping-chamber, and eventually, taking with him his consort, and accompanied by the younger members of his family, seized an opportunity to escape, and concealed himself on Mount Ikoma. Miwa no Fumuya no Kimi, a toneri named Tame no Muraji, and his daughter Uda no Morowoshi, and Ise no Abe no Katafu followed him.

Kose no Tokudai no Omi and the others, having burnt the Palace of Ikaruga, found bones among the ashes, and wrongly imagined that the Prince was dead. So they raised the siege and withdrew. Therewith Prince Yamashiro no Ohoye and his companions tarried on the mountain for four or five days. They had nothing to eat or drink. Miwa no Fumuya no Kimi advanced, and advised him, saying:—"Let us, I pray thee, go over to the Miyake of Fukakusa, and thence on horseback towards the Eastern provinces. Let us make Mibu our headquarters, and having raised troops, come back and fight. Our success is not doubtful." Prince Yamashiro no Ohoye and his companions[35] answered and said:—"If we did as thou sayest, we should certainly succeed. In my heart, however, I desire for ten years not to impose a burden on the people. For the sake of one person only, why should I distress the ten thousand subjects? Moreover, I do not wish it to be said by after generations that for my sake anyone has mourned the loss of a (XXIV. 13.) father or mother. Is it only when one has conquered in battle that he is to be called a hero? Is he not also a hero who has made firm his country at the expense of his own life?" There was a man who from afar perceived the Princes of Kamutsumiya on the mountains, and went back and told this to Iruka, Soga no Omi. When Iruka heard this he was much afraid, and immediately set in movement an armed force. Then he informed Kuni-oshi, Takamuku no Omi, where the Prince was, and said:—"Thou must at once proceed to the mountain and arrest the Prince." Kuni-oshi answered and said:—"Thy slave guards the Imperial Palace, and dares not go elsewhere." Iruka was about to go himself when the Imperial Prince Furubito no Ohoye arrived, panting for breath, and asked whither he was going. Iruka informed him of the whole circumstances. Then the Imperial Prince Furubito said:—"The rat lies down in its hole and lives; it leaves its hole and dies." Accordingly Iruka gave up the idea of going, and sent commanders to make search at Ikoma, but they were never able to find him.

Hereupon Prince Yamashiro no Ohoye and his companions returned from the mountain and entered the Temple of Ikaruga. The commanders straightway surrounded the Temple with troops. Then Prince Yamashiro no Ohoye sent Miwa no Fumuya no Kimi with a message to the commanders, saying:—"If I had raised an army, and attacked Iruka, I should certainly have conquered. But for the sake of one person, I was unwilling to destroy the people. Therefore I deliver up myself to Iruka." Finally he and the younger members of his family, with his consorts, strangled themselves at the same time, and died together. At this time five coloured banners and umbrellas shone in the sky, and descending, ahung over the Temple to the sound of various music. Every one looked up with cries of admiration. At length they were pointed out to Iruka, upon (XXIV. 14.) which the banners and umbrellas were changed into a black cloud, so that Iruka was unable to see them.

Yemishi, Sega no Oho-omi, hearing that Prince Yamashiro no Ohoye and his people had all been destroyed by Iruka, chid him angrily, saying:—"Ah! Iruka! Thou ara foolish exceedingly, and dost arbitrarily practise outrage. Is not thine own life precarious?"

The people of that day explained the application of the above poem[36] as follows:—

By "the cliff" is meant Kamutsumiya:[37] by the "little monkey" is meant Hayashi no Omi [Hayashi no Omi is Iruka]: by "cooking rice" is intended the burning of Kamutsumiya: by "Pass on, having stolen even the very rice, oh thou mountain-goat old man," Prince Yamashiro's head of hair, which was streaked with grey so as to resemble that of a wild goat, is alluded to. Another explanation is that it refers to his having abandoned his Palace and concealed himself deep among the mountains.

This year the Heir Apparent to the throne of Pèkché, Yö Phung-chyang, set loose and kept four hives of honey-bees on Mount Miwa; but they did not multiply their kind.

(A.D. 644.) 3rd year, Spring, 1st month, 1st day. Nakatomi no Kamako[38] no Muraji was appointed Chief[39] of the Shintō religion. He declined the appointment several times, and would not take it up. On the plea of ill-health he went away and lived at Mishima. At this time the Imperial Prince Karu had an ailment of the leg which prevented him from coming to (XXIV. 15.) Court. Now Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji had before this a friendship for the Imperial Prince Karu, and therefore went to his Palace to spend the night in attendance on him. The Imperial Prince Karu, knowing well that Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji was a man of exalted sentiments and of a bearing which made rudeness to him impossible, sent his favourite consort, a lady of the Abe House, to sweep out a separate room and to spread high a new sleeping-mat. There was nothing which was not provided for him, and the respect shown him was extraordinary. Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji was very sensible of (the cordiality of) his receiption, and addressed the toneri, saying:—"I have been treated with a special kindness which exceeds all that I had expected. Who would not make him Ruler over the Empire?" The toneri accordingly reported to the Imperial Prince what he had said. The Imperial Prince was greatly pleased.

Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji was a man of an upright and loyal character and of a reforming disposition. He was indignant with Soga no Iruka for breaking down the order of Prince and Vassal, of Senior and Junior, and cherishing veiled designs upon the State. One after another he associated with the Princes of the Imperial line, trying them in order to discover a wise ruler who might establish a great reputation. He had accordingly fixed his mind on Naka no Ohoye, but for want of intimate relations with him he had been for so far unable to unfold his inner sentiments. Happening to be one of a football[40] party in which Naka no Ohoye played at the (XXIV. 16.) foot of the keyaki tree of the Temple of Hōkōji, he observed the (Prince's) leathern shoe fall off with the ball. Placing it on the palm of his hand, he knelt before the Prince and humbly offered it to him. Naka no Ohoye in his turn knelt down and respectfully received it. From this time they became mutual friends, and told each other all their thoughts. There was no longer any concealment between them. They feared, however, that jealous suspicions might be caused by their frequent meetings, and they both took in their hands yellow rolls,[41] and studied personally the doctrines of Chow[42] and Confucius with the learned teacher of Minabuchi.[43] Thus they at length while on their way there and back, walking shoulder to shoulder, secretly prepared their plans. On all points they were agreed.

Now Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji counselled him, saying:—"For him who cherishes great projects, nothing is so essential as support. I pray thee, therefore, take to thee the eldest daughter of Soga no Kurayamada no Maro, and make her thy consort. When a friendly marriage relationship has been established, we can then unfold our desire to associate him with us in our plans. There is no shorter way to success than this. Now when Naka no Ohoye heard this, he was much pleased, and acted in accordance with his advice in every particular. Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji accordingly went himself, and as go-between conducted the marriage negotiations (XXIV. 17.) to a successful result. On the night, however, fixed upon for (the consummation of the marriage with) the eldest daughter, she was stolen away by a relation [his name was Musa no Omi]. In consequence of this, Kurayamada no Omi was grieved and alarmed. He looked up and looked down, and knew not what to do. His younger daughter, wondering at her father's grief and alarm, went up to him and inquired of him, saying:—"Why art thou sorrowful and in fear?" Her father told her the cause. The younger daughter said:—"I beseech thee, do not grieve, but offer me. It is still not too late." Her father was greatly rejoiced, and at length offered this daughter. She served (the Prince) with sincerity of heart,[44] and without any shyness whatever.

Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji recommended Komaro, Saheki no Muraji, and Amida,[45] Katsuraki no Waka-inu-kahi[46] no Muraji, to Naka no Ohoye, saying, &c., &c.

3rd month. An owl brought forth young in the Miyake of Ohotsu belonging to Toyota no Oho-omi.

It was reported from the Province of Yamato:—"Lately a man of the Uda district, called Oshizaka no Atahe, went with a boy for a walk over the snow. They climbed Mount Uda, and there they saw purple mushrooms growing out of the snow six inches or more in height, and covering about four chō.[47] So he made the boy gather them, and went back and showed them to his neighbouts. They all said:—'We do not know them,' and suspected that they were poisonous. Hereupon Oshizaka no Atahe and the boy boiled and ate them. They were very savoury. The next day they went to see, but there were none (XXIV. 18.) at all. Oshizaka no Atahe and the boy, from having eaten the mushroom soup, werc free from disease, and lived long. Some one said:—'Probably the common people, not knowing the herb of long life,[48] mistakenly called it a mushroom.'"

Summer, 6th month, 1st day. Ohotomo no Mŭmakahi no Muraji presented to the Empress a lily, the stem of which was eight feet in length, separated as to the lower part, but joined together as to the end.

3rd day. It was reported from the district of Shiki no Kami:—"There was a man on Mount Miwa who, seeing a monkey having its noonday sleep, stealthily took it by the elbow, but without doing it bodily harm. The monkey kept its eyes closed, and sang a song, saying:—

It can be none but the soft hand
Of a friend who stands
On the opposite hill
That has taken my hand:
Whose happy hand is it
—Oh happy, happy hand!—
That hath taken my hand?[49]

The man was amazed at the monkey's song. He set it free and came away. This was a portent, indicating, after many years had passed, the siege of the Kamutsumiya Princes on Mount Ikoma by Soga no Kura-tsukuri."

6th day. Among the lotuses in the Tsurugi pond, there was one which had two flowers on one stem. Toyora no Oho-omi inferred without sufficient reason that this portended the future (XXIV. 19.) prosperity of Soga no Omi. So he made a picture[50] with golden ink, and presented it to the sixteen feet high Buddha of Great Hōkōji.

In this month the witches and wizards[51] of the whole country, breaking off leafy branches and hanging them with tree fibre,[52] watched the time when the Oho-omi was crossing a bridge and vied with one another in addressing to him subtle interpretations of divine words. They were in great numbers, so that they could not be distinctly heard. Old people said that this was a sign of changes. At this time three popular songs were made. The first was:—

From afar off
Something is heard—
The jungle-plain of Shima.[53]

The second was:—

Though I have slept,
Not allowing a noise to be made
By the pheasants of the Ahanu plain,
On yonder side,
Others allow them to make a noise.

The third was:—

I know not the face,
Nor do I even know the house
Of him who did it,
Having led me
(XXIV. 20.) Into the Little Wood.[54]

Autumn, 7th month. A man of the neighbourhood of the River Fuji in the East Country named Ohofu Be no Oho urged his fellow-villagers to worship an insect, saying:—"This is the God of the Everlasting World. Those who worship this God will have long life and riches." At length the wizards and witches, pretending an inspiration of the Gods, said:—"Those who worship the God of the Everlasting World will, if poor, become rich, and, if old, will become young again." So they more and more persuaded the people to cast out the valuables of their houses, and to set out by the roadside sake, vegetables, and the six domestic animals.[55] They also made them cry out:—"The new riches have come!" Both in the country and in the metropolis people took the insect of the Everlasting World and, placing it in a pure place, with song and dance invoked happiness. They threw away their treasures, but to no purpose whatever. The loss and waste was extreme. Hereupon Kahakatsu, Kadono no Hada no Miyakko, was wroth that the people should be so much deluded, and slew[56] Ohofu Be no Oho. The wizards and witches were intimidated, and ceased to persuade people to this worship. The men of that time made a song, saying:—

Has executed
The God of the Everlasting World
Who we were told
Was the very God of Gods.

This insect is usually bred on orange trees, and sometimes on (XXIV. 21.) the Hosoki[58] It is over four inches in length, and about as thick as a thumb. It is of a grass-green colour with black spots, and in appearance entirely resembles the silkworm.[59]

Winter, 11th month. Iruka no Omi, son of Yemishi, Soga no Oho-omi, built two houses on the Amagashi Hill. The Oho-omi's house was called the Palace-Gate:[60] Iruka's house was called the Valley-Palace-Gate. Their sons and daughters were styled Princes and Princesses. Outside the houses palisades were constructed, and an armoury was erected by the gate. At each gate there was set a tank for water, and several tens of wooden hooks as a provision in case of fire.[61] Stout fellows were constantly employed to guard the houses, with arms in their hands.

The Oho-omi made Osa no Atahe build the Temple of Hokonuki on Mount Ohoniho. Moreover, he built a house on the east side of Mount Unebi and dug a pond,[62] so as to make of it a castle. He erected an armoury, and provided store of arrows. In his goings out and comings in he was always surrounded by an attendant company of fifty soldiers. These sturdy fellows were called the Eastern[63] Company. The people of the various Uji[64] came to his gate, and waited upon him. He called himself their father, and them his boys. The Aya no Atahe attended wholly upon the two houses.[65]

(A.D. 645.) 4th year, Spring, 1st month. On mountain-peaks, by river-sides, or among shrines and temples, there was a something visible afar, and there was heard a humming of monkeys, as it were ten or sometimes twenty together. But when one (XXIV. 22.) approached to see what it might be, nothing was visible. There was still heard the sound of crying and screaming, but no one was able to distinguish any bodily form.

An old book says:—"In this year the capital was removed to Naniha, and this was an indication that the Itabuki palace would become a waste."

The men of that day said:—"These are the messengers ot the Great Deity of Ise."[66]

Summer, 4th month, 1st day. The Koryö student-priests said that their fellow-student Kura-tsukuri no Tokushi had made friends with a tiger, and had learnt from him his arts, such as to make a barren mountain change into a green mountain, or to cause yellow earth to become clear water, and all manner of wonderful arts too many to enumerate. Moreover, the tiger bestowed on him his needle, saying:—"Be watchful! be watchful, and let no one know! Treated with this, there is no disease which may not be cured." Truly, as the tiger had said, there was no disease which was not cured when treated by it.[67] Tokushi always kept the needle concealed in a pillar. Afterwards the tiger broke the pillar and ran away, taking the needle with him. The Land of Koryö, hearing that Tokushi wished to return, put him to death by poison.

6th month, 8th day. (Prince) Naka no Ohoye secretly addressed Kurayamada no Maro no Omi, saying:—"On the day that the three Corean kingdoms present their tribute I will surely cause thee to read aloud their memorial," and went on to inform him of his plan for slaying Iruka no Omi. Maro no Omi respectfully assented.

(XXIV. 23.) 12th day. The Empress held a Court in the Taikyokuden.[68] (Prince) Furubito no Ohoye was in attendance.

Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji, knowing that Soga, Iruka no Omi, was of a very suspicious nature, and wore a sword day and night, showed the performers an expedient to make him lay it aside. Iruka no Omi laughed, and, having ungirded his sword, entered and took his place in attendance by the throne. Kurayamada Maro no Omi advanced and read aloud the memorials of the three kingdoms of Corea. Hereupon (Prince) Naka no Ohoye ordered the Guard of the Gates to fasten all the twelve gates at the same time, and to allow nobody to pass. Then he called together the Guards of the Gates to one place and promised them rewards. (Prince) Naka no Ohoye then took in his own hands a long spear and hid it at one side of the Hall. Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji and his people, armed with bows and arrows, lent their aid. Katsumaro, Ama no Inukahi no Muraji, was sent to give two swords in a case to Komaro, Saheki no Muraji, and Amida, Katsuraki no Waka-inu-kahi no Muraji, with the message, "Up! up! make haste to slay him." Komaro and the other tried to send down their rice with water, but were so frightened that they brought it up again.[69] Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji chid and encouraged them. Kurayamada Maro no (XXIV. 24.) Omi feared lest the reading of the memorials should come to an end before Komaro and his companion arrived. His body was moist with streaming sweat, his voice was indistinct, and his hands shook. Kuratsukuri no Omi wondered at this, and inquired of him, saying:—"Why dost thou tremble?" Yamada Maro answered and said:—It is being near the Empress that makes me afraid, so that unconsciously the perspiration pours from me." Naka no Ohoye, seeing that Komaro and his companion, intimidated by Iruka's prestige, were trying to shirk and did not come forward, cried out "Yā!" and forthwith coming out with Komaro and his companion, fell upon Iruka without warning, and with a sword cut open his head and shoulder. Iruka started up in alarm, when Komaro with a turn of his hand flourished his sword and wounded him on the leg. Iruka rolled over to where the Empress sat, and bowing his head to the ground, said "She who occupies the hereditary Dignity is the Child of Heaven. I, Her servant, am conscious of no crime, and beseech Her to deign to make examination into this." The Empress was greatly shocked, and addressed Naka no Ohoye, saying:—"I know not what has been done. What is the meaning of this?" Naka no Ohoye prostrated himself on the earth, and made representation to Her Majesty, saying:—"Kuratsukuri wished to destroy utterly the Celestial House, and to subvert the Solar Dignity. Is Kuratsukuri to be substituted for the Celestial descendants?" The Empress at once got up, and went into the interior of the Palace. Komaro, Saheki no Muraji, and Amida, Waka-inu-kahi no Muraji, slew Iruka no Omi. On this day rain fell, and puddle-water overflowed the Court. They covered Kuratsukuri's body with screens of matting.[70] When Furubito no Ohoye saw this, he (XXIV. 25.) ran into his private palace, and said to his people:—"The Coreans have slain Kuratsukuri no Omi. My heart is sore." Then he went into his sleeping-chamber, shut the door, and would not come out.

Naka no Ohoye presently entered the Temple of Hōkōji, which he fortified and prepared to defend. The Imperial Princes, Ministers, Daibu, Omi, Muraji, Tomo no Miyakko, and Kuni no Miyakko, one and all followed him. Men were sent to deliver the body of Kuratsukuri no Omi to Yemishi no Oho-omi. Hereupon the Aya no Atahe[71] assembled all their clan. Clad in armour and with weapons in their hands, they came to the assistance of the Oho-omi, and formed an army. Naka no Ohoye sent the General Kose no Tokuda[72] a no Omi to explain to the rebel band that ever since the creation of Heaven and Earth there were lords and vassals, and to make himself acquainted with the cause of this? uprising. Hereupon Kunioshi, Takamuku no Omi, addressed the Aya no Atahe, saying:—"We are bound to receive (capital) punishment on account of our Lord's[73] eldest son. Moreover, it is not doubtful that to-day or to-morrow swift execution awaits the Oho-omi. This being so, for whom should we fight to no purpose, rendering ourselves all liable to be put to death?" When he had finished speaking, he ungirded his sword, flung away his bow, and went away, deserting the cause. The rebel troops, moreover, following his example, dispersed and ran away.

13th day. Yemishi, Soga no Omi, and his people, when about to be executed, burnt the History of the Emperors, the History of the Country, and the objects of value. Yasaka Funa no Fubito straightway hastened to seize the. burning History of the Country, and delivered it up to Naki no Ohoye. On this day permission was given for the interment Of the bodies of Yemishi, Soga no Omi, and Kuratsukuri in tombs.[74] Lament for them was also allowed.

Upon this, some explained the first of the popular songs,[75] saying:—

The song which says:—

(XXIV. 26.) From afar off
Something is heard—
The jungle-plain of Shima,

prefigured the building of palaces together at the house of Shima no Oho-omi, and the secret conspiracy of Naka no Ohoye and Nakatomi, Kamako no Muraji in the cause of justice, with their plot to kill Iruka.

The second of the popular songs was explained as follows:—

The song which says:—

Though I have slept,
Not allowing a noise to be made
By the pheasants of the Ahanu plain
On yonder side,
Others allow them to make a noise,

was ominous of the Kamutsumlya Princes, of gentle disposition, and none of them guilty of a crime, being harmed by Iruka, and of Heaven bringing about his death by the hands of others, thouh they could not themselves have their


The third popular song was explained as follows:—

The song which says—

I know not the face,
Nor do I even know the house
Of him who did it,
Having led me
Into the little wood,

was ominous of Iruka no Omi being suddenly slain in the Palace by Komaro, Saheki no Muraji, and Amida, Wakainukahi no Muraji.

14th day. The Dignity was abdicated in favour of the Imperial Prince Karu, and Naka no Ohoye was made Prince Imperial.

  1. Heaven-rich-treasure-great-sun-suffice-princess.
  2. This word occurs in the "Shooking," p. 328 of Legge's edition, where it is translated "royal perfection."
  3. Bidatsu Tennō.
  4. Jomei Tennō.
  5. 大佐平, Prime Minister.
  6. Kun-luen, 崑崙, may be the Kunluen mountains between the desert of Gobi and Tibet, or it may be Pulo Condore in the China Sea.
  7. 内佐平, a Corean officer, Japanese Naidaijin, says a commentator.
  8. This is servants' gossip—not to be taken without many grains of salt. Chi-chyiök is alive later on, and Kyoki appears as chief envoy to Japan. See below, XXIV. 4.
  9. The "Tongkam" places these events in A.D. 642, 10th month.
  10. Lit. of the same surname.
  11. i.e. well-broken.
  12. The interlinear Kana has uma-yumi, i.e. shooting with bow and arrows from horseback.
  13. Name of a district in Kahachi.
  14. This is evidently what we call the "occultation" of a star.
  15. A lucky omen.
  16. This is an old custom in China. A Chinese book, 廣州記, says that in a certain village there is a pond. At this pond there is a stone cow. In years of drought, the peasants kill a cow and, mixing its blood with mud, smear it on the back of the stone cow, with prayers.

    The "Kogojiui,"an ancient Japanese book, speaks of sacrifices of oxen to the Ohotsuchi (great-earth) nushi (master) no Kami. The flesh was eaten by the peasants.

    The practice of changing the market-place as a means of averting drought is also an old Chinese custom. The present custom of closing the city gates of Söul, the capital of Corea, to put a stop to excessive rain, may be compared with it.

    A modern commentator denounces both these customs (sacrifice of animals and changing the market-place) as contrary to the spirit of Shintoism.

  17. The tendoku (轉讀) is the reading of passages of a book to represent the whole. I have seen a dozen priests each with a pile of books on his right, of which he took one, read a few words at the beginning, made the pages defile rapidly before him, and then reading a few words at the end, passed it to a gradually increasing pile on his left. In this way a volume takes only a few seconds to dispose of, and although the Buddhist scriptures are pretty voluminous? an hour or two of this sort of thing makes some impression on them.
  18. Boddhisatwa.
  19. This is the Chinese as opposed to the Buddhist styles, which had been without result.
  20. The writer had probably in his mind a passage of the "Liki" (Legge's translation, Vol. I. p. 276), of which the following is an extract:—"If in the second month of summer the governmental proceedings of winter were observed, hail and cold would injure the grain; the roads would not be passable, and violent assaults of war would come." The general purport is that bad government is the cause of bad weather, pestilence and other disasters. I am not sure, however, that the Japanese writer adopts this theory. He may only mean that the weather was unseasonable, without intending to saddle the Empress with the responsibility for it.
  21. They probably celebrated this ceremony in their own houses.
  22. These were assumptions of Imperial rank. Vide "Legge's Chinese Classics," Vol. I. p. 18.
  23. Hiro-se means a broad ford. Apparently Soga, in these lines, is supposed to hint at his secret ambition of usurpation.
  24. It was not unusual to build sepulchral mounds during the lifetime of the intended occupant. Nintoku Tennō is an example.
  25. The serfs of the late Prince Shōtoku Daishi.
  26. Shōtoku Daishi's daughter.
  27. See below, XXIV. 13.
  28. Rainbow-tinted.
  29. The west wind in Japan comes from North China and Siberia, and resembles our east wind in character.
  30. Dazai.
  31. A.D. 639.
  32. Of hemp or mulberry bark fibre.
  33. The sons of Shōtoku Daishi.
  34. The kama-shishi is probably the animal now known as the kamoshika, a kind of antelope with a shaggy fleece. Vide "Satow and Hawes' Handbook," 2nd ed. p. [41]. See below, XXIV. 14, for an interpretation of this poem.
  35. The speech itself can be only that of Prince Yamashiro.
  36. See above, XXIV. 11.
  37. i.e. Upper Palace.
  38. 神祇伯, Kamutsukasa no Kami.
  39. Better known as Kamatari Kō. See below, XXV. 54.
  40. Dakiu, "strike-ball," the word here used, now means "polo," for an account of which see "Things Japanese," p. 350. But here some kind of football is evidently meant. What kind of football—like ours, or in Chinese fashion, knocking the ball from one to another like a shuttle-cock—does not appear.
  41. i.e. Chines? books.
  42. Chow, the supposed author of the Chow-li, a set of rules for the guidance of officials. Vide Mayers, p. 20.
  43. No doubt the Shōan above mentioned, XXII. 21. It is often far from clear, as here, whether a proper name is to be understood as a man's name or as the name of his place of residence. The latter meaning fades into the former.
  44. Lit. a red heart.
  45. Net-ricefield.
  46. Puppy-keeper.
  47. The chō, is at present, according to Hepburn, a land measure of 3000 tsubos, or 108,000 square feet.
  48. The "Yengishiki" describes the 芝草 as a plant resembling coral in shape, with clustering leaves and branches. Some are red, others purple, others black, others golden-coloured, while some change their colour in the four seasons. It blossoms three times a year, and gives long life to the person who eats if.
  49. The metre belongs to no recognized standard. The text of this song is probably corrupt. As it stands it is very obscure, though, perhaps, not more so than we should expect from a drowsy monkey. The Japanese commentators vary widely in its interpretation. Dr. Florenz's version will be found to differ from the one given above. I should be sorry to say that mine is any improvement.
  50. Or writing.
  51. The interlinear Kana has Kamunai (for Kamunagi), which Yamada renders by miko. See Vol. I. p. 79, Note.
  52. In the manner of offerings to the Gods. The Chinese characters for tree-fibre now mean cotton, which is a much later introduction into Japan. The fibre was probably that of the inner bark of the paper mulberry.
  53. Shima is the Oho-omi's place of abode. The "something heard" is said to mean the explanations of the wizards above referred to.
  54. Wood (Hayashi) is an allusion to Hayashi no Omi. The commentators have done their best to explain the political allusions in the above verses, but they do not at all agree among themselves, and are none of them very satisfactory. See below, XXIV. 26.
  55. i.e. the flesh of these animals, viz., of the horse, ox, sheep, pig, dog, fowl. But this is merely a Chinese phrase for domestic animals generally. There is no reason to suppose that the Japanese had sheep at this time.
  56. The original is , strike, which I take to be a euphemism for slay.
  57. i.e. Hada no Miyakko.
  58. The Chinese characters used mean "creeping pepper." I have not been able to identify this plant or tree. It is also called itachi-hajikami, i.e. weasel-ginger.
  59. It was evidently a caterpillar of some kind.
  60. The interlinear Kana version has Uhe no Mikado, Upper Palace, which suggests that a character has been lost here.
  61. A pole with a hook at the end is in use by Japanese firemen at the present day for pulling down houses.
  62. i.e. a moat.
  63. Perhaps because his house stood on the eastern side of Mount Unebi. An interlinear gloss has Adzuma or East Country. The Soga family had much to do with the Eastern provinces, as the name of its head, viz. Yemishi (Aino) suggests. Possibly the guard here spoken of consisted of Ainos.
  64. Noble houses.
  65. Of the father and son.
  66. The Sun-goddess.
  67. Acupuncture is no doubt meant.
  68. The 大極, Taikyoku, is the Absolute or first principle of Chinese philosophy, from which proceed the Yin and Yang. The Taikyokuden was the Great Hall of Audience.
  69. Probably only to be taken metaphorically.
  70. Or mats and screens.
  71. See above, XXIV. 21.
  72. Called Tokudai above.
  73. Yemishi.
  74. Haka, not misasagi. See above, XXIV. 8.
  75. See above, XXIV. 19.