Shinto: The Way of the Gods/Chapter 7
THE PANTHEON—NATURE DEITIES.
I. GODS OF INDIVIDUALS AND GODS OF CLASSES.
The neglect of indications of number in the Japanese language often renders it impossible to say whether a God belongs to an individual natural object or phenomenon or to a class. I therefore take these two classes of deities together, noting the distinction wherever it is possible or desirable.
The Sun-Goddess.—The most eminent of the Shinto deities is the Sun-Goddess. Nor is this surprising. If, as Scotus Erigena has well said, "every visible and invisible creature is a theophany or appearance of God," what more striking aspect of Him can there be to the uncultured mind than the Sun? In a later stage of intellectual development men find a fuller revelation of Him in the moral order of the world, in the laws of human progress, and in the spiritual experiences of saints and sages, culminating in a synthesis of all the divine aspects of the universe in one harmonious whole. But, naturally enough, there is little of this in Shinto. The ancient Japanese recognized the divinity of the universe in a very imperfect, piecemeal fashion, and almost exclusively in those physical aspects by which they were more directly affected. Among these the light and warmth of the Sun and the sources of their daily food held the chief place. Sun-worship is specially natural to the Japanese as an agricultural people. Almost all the peasant's doings are in some way dependent on, or regulated by, the Sun.
The application of the term "fetish" to the Sun considered as an object of adoration is to be deprecated. It implies a stigma which is altogether out of place. Socrates prayed to the Sun; Æschylus's Prometheus appeals to him against the tyranny of Zeus; in Sophocles's 'Œdipus Tyrannus' the Chorus swears by "the Sun, chief of all the Gods"; Plato says that "the soul of the Sun should be deemed a God by every one who has the least particle of sense"; Goethe admitted his claims to worship; Don Quixote swears by God and by the Sun in the same breath, and Tristram Shandy "by the great God of Day." Milton, in the character of Satan, it is true, addresses the Sun in terms of awe and wonder, and Swinburne calls him "the living and visible God." The name of the first day of the week still remains to show what an important place he held in the religion of our forefathers. The association of the ideas of light, splendour, and brightness with divinity has its origin in a primæval sun-worship. William the Conqueror swore "by the splendour of God." Divine contains the root div, brightness. Milton calls light "of the eternal co-eternal beam." No doubt so long as a nation is hesitating between sun-worship and a higher form of religion there is a reason for treating the former with contempt and aversion. No form of faith is so odious—because of the danger of relapse—as that from which we have emerged with painful effort to something higher. But such intolerance is no longer needed. It is now unnecessary to punish with death the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, or even to stigmatize it as fetish-worship.
The meaning of the word fetish has become so blurred by indiscriminate use that there is a temptation to discard it altogether. It is frequently applied to all concrete objects of devotion, including not only great nature-gods, like the earth and sun, but their symbols, images, and seats of their real presence, which have no intrinsic divinity of their own, and are only worshipped by reason of their association with genuine deities. The same objects, after their association with the God has been forgotten and they are blindly adored as if they were themselves Gods, form a third class of fetishes. The sword of the shrine of Atsuta is an example. Probably originally an offering and then a shintai, it is still worshipped, for no known reason except, perhaps, an empiric belief in the efficacy of prayers ad- dressed to it. Implements of trade, honoured for the help which they render to man, are a fourth class. To these we may add a fifth, consisting of stones, sticks, feathers, &c., worshipped for their imaginary virtues or for no definite reason at all.
The indiscriminate application of the term fetish to objects of all these five classes is highly inconvenient, especially when we come to discuss the question whether fetishism is a primitive form of religion. The answer depends entirely on the kind of fetish which is intended. If the word is used at all, it would be better to confine it to the last three of these classes.
The Sun-Goddess is described as the Ruler of Heaven and as "unrivalled in dignity." She wears royal insignia, is surrounded by ministers, of whom the Court of the Mikado is the obvious prototype, and is spoken of in terms appropriate to personages of sovereign rank. She is selected as the ancestor from whom the Mikados derive their descent and authority. Yet she is hardly what we understand by a Supreme Being. Her power does not extend to the sea or to the Land of Yomi. Her charge as Ruler even of Heaven was conferred on her by her parents, and did not by any means involve absolute control. When grossly insulted by her younger brother, instead of inflicting on him condign punishment, she hid in a cave, from which she was partly enticed, partly dragged, by the other deities. This is not the behaviour of a Supreme Being. The punishment of the culprit and other important celestial matters are determined, not by the fiat of the so-called Ruler of Heaven, but by a Council of the Gods. The celestial constitution, like its earthly counterpart, was far from being an absolute monarchy. The epithet sumera, translated "sovran," and derived from a verb sumeru, which means "to hold general rule," is applied not only to the Sun-Goddess but to many other deities—the Wind-Gods, for example—and also to the Mikados. The same is the case with Mikoto, which corresponds roughly to our "majesty." Of course Japan is not the only country which attributes royalty to the Sun. Milton speaks of the Sun's "sovran vital lamp."
In some parts of the Shinto mythical narrative it is the actual Sun that the author has in view, as when he speaks of her radiance illuminating the universe, or of the world being left to darkness when she entered the Rock-cave. Elsewhere she is an anthropomorphic being, with no specially solar characteristics. She wears armour, celebrates the feast of first-fruits, cultivates rice, &c. Inconsistencies of this kind are inherent in all nature myths, and trouble their authors not a whit. Some of the modern theologians, however, are much perplexed by them. Motoöri concludes that "this great deity actually is the Sun in Heaven, which even now illuminates the world before our eyes, a fact which is extremely clear from the divine writings." His pupil Hirata, on the other hand, holds that the Sun-Goddess is not the Ruler of Heaven but the Ruler of the Sun, a distinction which never occurred to the myth- makers. Another modern writer attempts to smooth over difficulties by the explanation that the Sun-Goddess is actually a female goddess, but, owing to the radiance which flows from her, seen from a distance she appears round.
The transparent character of the names by which the Sun-Goddess is known is a formidable obstacle to the tendency to neglect her solar quality and to give prominence to the anthropomorphic side of her character. Her most usual appellation is Ama terasu no Oho-kami, or the Heaven-shining-great-deity. She is also called Ama-terasu hiru-me, or Heaven-shining sun-female—more briefly Hiru-me, Ama terasu mi oya, or Heaven-shining august parent, and other variants. Of these names European writers have generally adopted Ama-terasu, which, like Phoibos, is in reality a mere epithet, and is applied to other deities. Hirume, or sun-female, is more expressive, and probably older.
In modern times the appellation Ama-terasu no Oho-kami is little used, its Chinese equivalent Tenshōdaijin being substituted. Partly under cover of a name which is less clearly intelligible to the multitude, the tendency has become accentuated to throw her solar functions into the background and to conceive of her simply as a general Providence, at the expense of other deities. In other words, she has made a distinct advance towards the position of a supreme monotheistic deity.
Even in ancient times there was some recognition of the Sun-Goddess as a Providence that watches over human affairs, more especially the welfare of the Mikado and his Government. She provided Jimmu with the yatagarasu, or Sun-crow, as a guide to his army. The following prayer, addressed to her in 870 by envoys despatched to Ise with offerings, illustrates this conception of her character:
"By order of the Mikado we declare with deepest reverence in the spacious presence of (with awe be her name pronounced) the Sovran Great Heaven-shining Deity, whose praises are fulfilled in the Great Shrine, whose pillars are broad-based on the nethermost rocks, and whose cross-beams rise aloft to the Plain of High Heaven on the bank of the River Isuzu in Uji, of Watarahi in Ise, as follows:—
"Since the past sixth month reports have been received from the Dazaifu that two pirate-ships of Shiraki appeared at Aratsu, in the district of Naka, in the province of Chikuzen, and carried off as plunder the silk of a tribute-ship of the province of Buzen. Moreover, that there having been an omen of a crane which alighted on the arsenal of the Government House, the diviners declared that it presaged war with a neighbouring country. Also that there had been earthquakes with storms and floods in the province of Hizen by which all the houses had been overturned and many of the inhabitants swept away. Even the old men affirmed that no such great calamity had ever been heard of before.
"Meanwhile news was received from the province of Michinoku of an unusually disastrous earthquake, and from other provinces grave calamities were reported.
"The mutual enmity between those men of Shiraki and our Land of Yamato has existed for long ages. Their present invasion of our territory, however, and their plunder of tribute, show that they have no fear of us. When we reflect on this, it seems possible that a germ of war may spring from it. Our government has for a long time had no warlike expeditions, the provision for defence has been wholly forgotten, and we cannot but look forward to war with dread and caution. But our Japan is known as the country of the Gods. If the Gods deign to help and protect it, what foe will dare to approach it ? Much more so, seeing that the Great Deity in her capacity (with awe be it spoken) as ancestress of the Mikado bestows light and protection on the Under-Heaven which he governs. How, therefore, shall she not deign to restrain and ward off outrages by strangers from foreign lands as soon as she becomes aware of them?
"Under these circumstances, we (the names of the envoys follow) present these great offerings by the hands of Komaye, Imbe no Sukune, Vice-Minister of the Bureau of Imbe, who, hanging stout straps on weak shoulders, has purely prepared and brought them hither. Be pleased graciously to hearken to this memorial. But if unfortunately such hostile acts as we have spoken of should be committed let the (with awe be it spoken) Great Deity, placing herself at the head of all the deities of the land, stay and ward off, sweep away and expel the enemy before his first arrow is shot. Should his designs ripen so far that his ships must come hither, let them not enter within our borders, but send them back to drift and founder. Suffer not the solid reasons for our country being feared as the Divine Country to be sodden and destroyed. If t apart from these, there should be danger of rebellion or riot by savages, or of disturbance by brigands at home, or again of drought, flood or storm, of pestilence or famine such as would cause great disaster to the State or deep sorrow to the people, deign to sweep away and destroy it utterly before it takes form. Be pleased to let the Under-Heaven be free from alarms and all the country enjoy peace by thy help and protection. Grant thy gracious favour to the Sovran Grandchild, guarding his august person by day and by night, firm and enduring as Heaven and Earth, as the Sun and the Moon.
"Declared with deep reverence."
The solar character of Ama-terasu or Tenshōdaijin having become obscured, the people have personified the Sun afresh under the names of Nichi-rin sama (sun-wheel-personage) and O tentō sama (august-heaven-path-personage). To the lower class of Japanese at the present day, and especially to women and children, O tentō sama is the actual sun—sexless, mythless, and unencumbered by any formal cult, but looked up to as a moral being who rewards the good, punishes the wicked, and enforces oaths made in his name. In his 'Religions of Japan,' Dr. Griffis says: "To the common people the Sun is actually a God, as none can doubt who sees them worshipping it morning and evening. The writer can never forget one of many similar scenes in Tokio, when, late one afternoon, O tentō sama, which had been hidden behind clouds for a fortnight, shone out on the muddy streets. In a moment, as with the promptness of a military drill, scores of people rushed out of their houses, and with faces westward, kneeling, squatting, began prayer and worship before the great luminary."
I reproduce a drawing by a Japanese artist of a famous spot on the coast of Ise to which pilgrims resort in order to worship the sun as he rises over distant Fujiyama. The tori-wi, which in some prints of this scene is seen in the foreground, fulfils the same function as the great trilithon at Stonehenge, viz., to mark the direction of worship. I have seen the eastern wall of a private courtyard which was pierced with a round hole for the convenience of worshipping the morning sun.
There is a modern custom, called himachi (sun-waiting), of keeping awake the whole night of the 5th day of the 10th month in order to worship the sun on his rising. The rules of religious purity must be observed from the previous day. Many persons assemble at Takanaha, Uheno, Atago, and other open places in Tokio to worship the rising Sun on the first day of the year. This is called hatsu no hi no de (the first sunrise).
The myths mention several other deities which, although not identical with Ama-terasu or Hirume, are plainly of solar origin. Such is Waka-hirume (young-sun-female), who, according to Motoöri, is the Morning Sun. The Ise shrine is sometimes called Asa-hi no Jinja, that is to say, the shrine of the Morning Sun. One version of the names of the three children of Ninigi calls them Ho no akari (fire or sun-light), Ho no susori (fire or sun-advance), and Ho no wori (fire or sun-subside), originally, it may be suspected, names for the rising, noonday, and setting sun. Such a distinction is recognized in Egyptian mythology. The mythical founder of the dynasty which preceded Jimmu in Yamato was called Nigi-haya-hi—that is, gentle-swift-sun—and he is said to have come flying down from Heaven. One myth gives him the epithet Ama-teru kuni- teru (Heaven-shining, earth-shining). I am disposed to regard this personage as the Sun-deity of the earlier Yamato Japanese, from whom their chieftains were feigned to be descended. Even in Shojiroku times many noble families traced their descent from him, as the Mikados did from Hirume. There are a good many other names suggestive of solar deities. But here caution is necessary, in view of the habit, common to the Japanese with other nations, of borrowing solar epithets for the adornment of human beings. There is a Take-hi (brave-sun) in the Nihongi who is unquestionably a mere mortal. And what could be more solar than Takama no hara hiro nu hime (high-heaven-plain-broad-moor-princess), the last word meaning etymologically "sun-female"? Yet this is indubitably the name of an historical Empress who came to the throne A.D. 687. The Mikado Kōtoku's Japanese name was Ame-yorodzu-toyo-hi (heaven-myriad-abundant-sun).
Although Shinto contains no formal system of ethics, moral elements are not wanting in the character of the Sun-Goddess as delineated in the ancient myths. She exhibits the virtues of courage and forbearance in her dealings with her mischievous younger brother Susa no wo. She is wroth with the Moon-God when he slays the Goddess of Food, and banishes him from her presence. Her loving care for mankind is shown by her preserving for their use the seeds of grain and other useful vegetables, and by setting them the example of cultivating rice. There is a recognition of her beneficent character in the joy of Gods and men when she emerged from the Rock-cave.
The circumstance that, according to one story, the Sun-Goddess was produced from the left and the Moon-God from the right eye of Izanagi is suggestive of the influence of China, where the left takes precedence of the right. Compare the Chinese myth of P'anku: "P'anku came into being in the great waste; his beginning is unknown. In
No doubt with the greater development of the Sun-Goddess myth it was felt that there was no room for a male Sun-God. The tag of story which is appended to the leech derivation is one of those perversions of true myth which arise from an ignorant misunderstanding or a wilful misapplication of language.
The leech-child can hardly be reckoned among the effective deities of Shinto. In modern times, however, he has, for some inscrutable reason, been identified with a widely worshipped deity of unknown origin called Ebisu. This God has to all appearance nothing in common either with the sun or the leech. He is a favourite subject of the artist, and is usually depicted with a smiling countenance (emi or ebi means to smile), in ancient Japanese costume, and holding a fishing-rod while a tahi struggles at the end of his line. He is reckoned one of the seven Gods of good fortune, and is a favourite deity to pray to for success in trade. Merchants hold a great feast in his honour on the 20th day of the 10th month.
The ascription of the female sex to the most prominent among the Shinto Gods is not owing merely to caprice. Myth-makers have often more substantial reasons for their fancies than might be supposed. In the present case there is evidence that women played a very important part in the real world of ancient Japan as well as in that of imagination. Women rulers were at this time a familiar phenomenon. Both Japanese and Chinese history give us glimpses of a female Mikado who lived about A.D. 200, and whose commanding ability and strong character have not been wholly obscured by the mists of legend. Women chieftains are frequently mentioned. Indeed the Chinese seem to have thought that feminine government was the rule in Japan, for their historians frequently refer to it as the "Queen-country." In more historical times several of the Mikados were women. In some families descent was traced by the female line. From the Kojiki we learn that in Suinin's time it was the custom for the mother to give children their names.
One might think that so obviously solar a Goddess as the Heaven-shining-great-deity, or Sun-female, whose abode is the "Plain of High Heaven," who fills the universe with her radiance and leaves it to darkness when she conceals herself, and who is even spoken of in so many words as the "Deity of the Sun," would have escaped the temerarious touch of the Euhemerist. Yet I have before me a 'History of the Empire of Japan,' compiled by doctors of the Imperial University, and published in 1893 by order of the Japanese Government, which speaks of the principles of rice-culture and the arts of weaving, mining, and of making swords, hats, and pantaloons being known in the reign of Ama-terasu. Other writers are even more precise. Much to Motoöri's indignation, they say bluntly that she was a mortal empress who reigned in a locality on earth called Takama no hara (the Plain of High Heaven).
Yatakagami.—The shintai of the Sun-Goddess is a mirror, sometimes called the yatakagami, or eight-hand-mirror, probably because it had a number of leaves or projections round it. It is also called the hi-kagami (sun-mirror) or hi-gata no kagami (sun-form-mirror). It appears from the Nihongi that similar mirrors were honoured in Korea. Ama no hihoko is stated to have brought a sun-mirror from that country in B.C. 27.
The mythical notices of the yatakagami represent it in various aspects. It is mentioned in the Kojiki among the offerings made to the Sun-Goddess to propitiate her after her retirement to the Rock-cave of Heaven. In the same passage Uzume calls it "a deity more illustrious than thine (the Sun-Goddess's) augustness." When the Sun-Goddess and Musubi sent down Ninigi to rule the earth they gave him the yatakagami, saying: "Regard this mirror exactly as our mitama, and reverence it as if reverencing us." The Nihongi adds: "Let it be with thee on thy couch and in thy hall, and let it be to thee a holy mirror." The yatakagami is frequently spoken of as if it were the Sun-Goddess herself, and is even called " the Great God of Ise." Another sun-mirror received an independent worship at Kumano. The Nihongi says, under the date B.C. 92:—
"Before this the two Gods Ama-terasu no Oho-kami and Yamato no Oho-kuni-dama were worshipped together within the Emperor's Great Hall. He dreaded, however, the power of these Gods, and did not feel secure in their dwelling together. Therefore he entrusted Ama-terasu no Oho-kami to Toyo-suki-iri-bime no Mikoto to be worshipped at the village of Kasanuhi, in Yamato."
Here we must understand that it was the sun-mirror which was sent away from the palace. It was subsequently (B.C. 5) enshrined at Ise, where it is to this day preserved with the greatest care and reverence. It is about eight inches in diameter.
In ancient Peru, the Sun-God was represented by a golden disc, the Moon-Goddess by one of silver.
We find, however, that in A.D. 507 a sacred mirror was still preserved in the Imperial palace as one of the regalia. It was destroyed by fire in the eleventh century, but its successor is to this day transmitted from sovereign to sovereign as a token of royal authority. The religious ceremony in its honour is described below. Associated with the mirror as regalia were a sword and a jewel. These three objects are presented to the Mikado on his accession with great ceremony. In ancient times there were probably only two regalia, the mirror and the sword. The latter was lost in the sea at the battle of Dannoüra. But such losses are not irreparable.
The Sun -Goddess in her capacity as sovereign is attended by a Court of minor deities who belong to the class of man-deities, and will be dealt with in the next chapter. Yatagarasu.—Like the Greek Phoibos, who had his κίρκος, the Egyptian Ra, who was accompanied by a hawk, and the Peruvian Sun-God, who was attended by a condor, the Sun-Goddess is provided with a bird as her messenger and attendant. This bird is called in Japanese ya-ta-garasu, which means "eight-hand-crow." It is not, however, a Japanese invention, but is borrowed from China, where it is called the Sun-crow or Golden Crow, and described as a bird with three claws and of a red colour which roosts in the sun. It is mentioned in a Chinese poem written B.C. 314. Possibly it may be traced even further back. A three-legged bird was figured on coins of Pamphylia and Lycia in very ancient times. In Japan the yatagarasu, as a symbol of the Sun, was depicted on the banners set up in front of the Imperial Palace on State occasions as a mark of sovereignty. This custom is known to go back to A.D. 700, and is probably much older.
The Euhemerists have tried their hand on the yatagarasu. Mr. Takahashi Gorô informs us in his dictionary that this was the name of one of Jimmu Tennô's generals, and Klaproth thinks it probable that the "corbeau à huit pattes designe la boussole dont Zimmu s'est servi pour se guider dans son expedition." A Japanese noble family claimed descent from it, and a shrine in its honour is mentioned in the Yengishiki.
There is a God called Ame no hi-washi (heaven-sun-eagle), which, although not to be identified with the yatagarasu, is no doubt a product of the same tendency to associate birds with the Gods. Both are inhabitants of the same celestial region.
Susa no wo.—The history of Susa no wo illustrates the tendency of Nature-Gods to have their original character obscured by the anthropomorphic fancies of successive myth-makers. The Kojiki and Nihongi accounts of him are extremely vague and contradictory. Later Japanese writers have identified him with the Moon-God, with an Indian Hades deity named Godzu Tennô, and with Emma, the Rhadamanthus of the Buddhist Hell. He has also been made a God of Pestilence, of Love and Wedlock, or of War. European scholars have described him as a "rotating-heavens God" or as "evidently a human being." Dr. Buckley, of Chicago, was the first to suggest that he is the Rain-storm. We need not adopt every detail of this scholar's explanations, and indeed no one theory can solve all the problems presented by the mutually inconsistent stories related of this deity, but there can be no hesitation in accepting Dr. Buckley's view as substantially correct. It is as the Rain-storm that he is "continually weeping, wailing, and fuming with rage"; that he "weeps the mountains bare and the seas and rivers dry"; that he is a lover of destruction; that "by reason of the fierceness of his divine nature he causes a commotion in the sea and makes the hills and mountains groan aloud" when he ascends through cloud and mist to visit his elder sister the Sun-Goddess. Torrent Goddesses are born from the fragments of his sword. He breaks down the divisions between the rice-fields and defiles his sister's dwelling, disgusting her so that she hides in a cave and leaves the world to darkness. He is further represented as going down to earth at the season of continuous rains, and as wearing a broad hat and a rain-coat. When he marries, the nuptial hut to which he retires with his wife is built of thick clouds. The sword which he takes from the serpent's tail is called ama no mura-kumo, that is to say, "the gathering clouds of Heaven." Another appropriate name for the weapon of a rain-storm deity is kusa-nagi, "the herb-queller." His wife's name, Inada-hime (the rice-field lady), is probably not without significance.
But mythology is rarely consistent. An explanation which suits one episode of a story may fail altogether when applied to others. There is nothing of the rain-storm about the Susa no wo who rescues a Japanese Andromeda from the great serpent which comes to devour her, or in the provider of timber and fruit-trees for mankind, or in the names and attributes of his very numerous children. His visit to Korea can hardly have a rain-storm significance. Moreover, it is impossible to pass over the explicit statement of the Nihongi that he was appointed to rule the land of Yomi. A Kojiki myth gives an account of his abode here in which no trace of his rain-storm quality is perceptible.
Dr. Florenz summarily rejects Hirata's theory that Susa no wo is identical with the Moon-God Tsuki-yomi. It must be admitted that if this deity ever had a lunar quality it had become forgotten in the times of the Kojiki and Nihongi. Both these works distinguish him unmistakably from the Moon-God. Nor is the European student likely to adopt the literal-minded Hirata's notion that the land of Yomi at first situated at the bottom of the Earth, became detached after Susa no wo was made its ruler, and was placed in the sky where we now see it—as the moon. Yet there is something to be said for his contention that the two deities were originally identical. The analogy of other mythologies suggests that a God whose relations with the Sun are at one time marital and at another hostile must be the Moon. There is nothing strange in the darkness of night and of the grave being presided over by the same divinity. Persephone, Queen of Hades, was a Moon-Goddess. The original identity of Susa no wo and Tsukiyomi would account for both deities being severally described in different myths as the slayer of the Food-Goddess and as the Ruler of the Sea-plain. It would also explain why the diviners at Ise ascribed to a curse from Tsukiyomi a storm of wind and rain which in 772 uprooted trees and destroyed houses. In an old book quoted by Hirata, Susa no wo is called Haya-Sasura no Kami, "swift-banishment-deity." His daughter while in Yomi is called Suseri-hime, probably identical with the Sasura-hime of the norito who dwells in the Root-country, and whose business it is to "banish" and get rid of the pollutions of the people. A Manyōshiu poem calls the moon Sasurahe-otoko, that is to say, the banished or vagabond youth. All this establishes a presumption that Susa no wo was at one time a lunar deity. If so he would appear in three closely related aspects, the darkness of the storm, of the grave, and of night. Brinton, writing without any special reference to Japan, observes:—"Associated with the gloom of night was the darkness of the storm, which in many mythologies is contrasted with the sunshine in some divine struggle. Endless are the tales and rites which bear upon this contest in early religions."
If we remember the attributes of our own "Prince of Darkness," we shall not be surprised to find traces of a tendency to make of Susa no wo a personification of the evil principle. He is the arch offender of Japanese myth. The crimes committed by him against the Sun-Goddess agree closely with the so-called " celestial offences " of the Great Purification Ceremony. Hence his identification with the horned Godzu Tennô, a minister of the Buddhist hell. The Shinto Miomoku, which makes of him a Trinity under the name Sampô Kwôjin (three-treasure-rough-god), consisting of Kami Susa no wo, Haya Susa no wo, and plain Susa no wo, by the epithet " rough," recognizes the sinister aspect of his character. We may note the same clement ara, rough, in the name of the Moon-god's shrine at Ise, namely, Aratama no Miya.
Several of Susa no wo's acts have an unmistakably beneficent character, as his rescue of Inada hime, and his provision of useful trees for man. The modern worship of him as (with his wife) a deity of love and wedlock also recognizes a beneficent aspect of his nature. Hirata explains this contradiction by the theory that he is beneficent when his nigi-tama (gentle spirit) is in the ascendant, and malignant when his ara-tama (rough-spirit) gets the upper hand, as in the leading case of Jekyll and Hyde, reported by R. L. Stevenson. The female deity of Yomi, Sasura-hime, is called by Hirata a waki-dama (side spirit, or double) of Susa no wo, forming with him a dual divinity, as in the case of the Wind-Gods.
Etymology helps us little in determining Susa no wo's character. The ordinary derivation connects his name with the verb susamu, to be impetuous. Hence the "Impetuous Male" of English translators. It agrees well with the rainstorm conception of this deity. There is at the present day a festival celebrated in his honour at Onomachi in Bingo, described as follows by a Japanese writer: "The procession is a tumultuous trial of speed and strength. Bands of strong men seize the sacred cars, race with them to the sea, and having plunged in breast-deep, their burden held aloft, dash back at full speed to the shrine. There refreshments are served out, and then the race is resumed, the goal being the central flag among a number set up in a large plain. Their feet beat time to a wildly shouted chorus, and they sweep along wholly regardless of obstacles or collisions." The ceremony here described is no doubt intended as a dramatic representation of the impetuous character of the God. The susamu etymology derives some support from a comparison of that of Woden, from vatha (the modern German wuthen), to go violently, to rush, and of Hermes, from ὁρμάω; but it is after all questionable. It implies a noun susa, impetuosity, which does not exist. Moreover, one of Susa no wo's wife's names was Susa no yatsu mimi, where it is not disputed that Susa is the name of a town in Idzumo. There is a legend which represents Susa no wo as giving his name to this place and allowing his mitama to rest here. Susa no wo would therefore be simply the male (God) of Susa, a territorial title (of Tsuki-yomi?) for which there are many parallels in Japanese mythology.
The shintai of Susa no wo, or rather of his supposed modern representative, Godzu Tennô, is a naginata, or halbert. But there is some reason to think that the great festival of Goriōye, now held in his honour at Kioto, was originally that of the Sahe no kami, and that the hoko or naginata carried in procession on this occasion is a substitute for an older phallus.
Tsuki-yomi.—This God, although worshipped in many places, Ise and Kadono amongst others, is hardly one of the greater gods of Japan. The usual derivation of his name is from tsuki, moon, and yomi, darkness. It is to be observed, however, that this yomi is often written with a character which implies a derivation from yomu, to reckon, a word which contains the same root as yubi, finger. "Moon-reckoner" is not an inappropriate name for a luminary which is recognized in so many countries as a measurer of time. Tsuki-yomi was represented at Ise as a man riding on a horse, clad in purple and girt with a golden sword. Another shintai of his was a mirror. Live horses. were offered to him annually. The Kiujiki mentions a Moon-God among the suite of Ninigi when he descended to earth, and states that he was the ancestor of the agata-nushi (local chiefs) of Iki. This was probably a local Moon-deity. The phases of the Moon are not recognized in Japanese myth.
Tsuki-machi (moon-waiting). On the I7th or 23rd of the lunar month, people assemble to greet the rising moon. Ritual purity must be observed beforehand. This custom illustrates the tendency to revert to the direct worship of nature when the myths have become obscured by time and no longer fulfil their original purpose.
Star-God.—There is only one mention of a Star-God in the Nihongi. He is called Amatsu mika hoshi (dread star of Heaven), or Ame no Kagase wo (scarecrow male of Heaven), and was one of the malignant deities conquered by Futsunushi and Mika-tsuchi in preparation for Ninigi's descent to earth. The scarecrow is regarded as a sort of deity. He is said to know everything in the empire, though he cannot walk.
The worship of Tanabata (Vega) and of the North Star is also known in Japan. But these cults have been introduced from China. They are not Shinto.
Ame no minaka-nushi.—The Sky is not deified in Japan as it is in China. Ame is the region where the Gods dwell, not itself a God. Possibly, however, we should regard Ame no mi-naka-nushi (heaven-august-centre-master), as a personification of the sky, which has already reached that secondary phase in which the God has become distinct from the natural phenomenon. Some have endeavoured to make of him a sort of Supreme Being. But his cult is recent. Motoöri says that he was not worshipped in ancient times. In the Shōjiroku he is the ancestor of several noble families.
Earth-Gods.—Comte calls Earth a great fetish. There are the same objections to calling the Earth a fetish as there are to applying this epithet to the Sun. Æschylus's All-Mother Earth, and Swinburne's Hertha, ought not to be so stigmatized. The Earth is not a factitious (feitiço, fetish) object of adoration, but a real divinity. It should not be discarded or neglected, but, along with other primary objects of worship, merged in the supreme synthesis of all the glimpses of the Divine which are vouchsafed to us.
Several phases of earth worship are exemplified in Shinto. The simplest of all is the ji-matsuri, or ji-chin-sai (earth-festival or earth-calming-festival), which is the ceremony of propitiating the site of a new building, or a piece of ground to be reclaimed for cultivation. Here it is the ground itself that is worshipped, without distinction of sex, or the adjunct of myth, metaphor, or personal name. This practice is as old as the Yengishiki, and is not extinct at the present day. Many peasants make sacrifice to the ta no kami, or rice-field god, when preparing the ground for a crop, though here we perhaps pass into the next stage, in which the God is something apart from the rice-field itself. A similar phase of thought is implied by the use of such terms as Iku-kuni (living country), and Taru-kuni (perfect country), though here too the norito of Praying for Harvest, has already taken the further step of regarding this deity as a God who "rules" the islands of Japan. Ikushima (living island or region), is also used both for the country regarded as a God and for the God of the country.
We have seen above that several of the provinces had two names, one geographical, the other when considered as a God or Goddess, like our Britain and Britannia, Scotland and Caledonia.
A still further stage of progress is illustrated by the terms kuni-dama (country spirit), and iku-dama (live spirit). Kuni-dama is a general term for deified localities. Iku-dama, which has the same meaning, is a contraction for iku kuni-dama. Motoöri says that any God who has done service by "making " a country or province is worshipped in that province as the Kuni-dama or Oho-kuni-dama. The Ichi no miya (No. I shrines) of later times represent the old Gods of localities.
The Kunari no kami, or Kunari-hime, were also apparently local earth-deities. Kunari is for kuni-nari (earth-become).
Ohonamochi.—In the case of the great Earth-God of Japan, namely, Ohonamochi, the direct worship and personification of the country have already retired into the background. The myths speak of him not as the land itself, but as the maker of the land. His functions are variously described as constructing, measuring out, consolidating, subduing, and ordering or governing. The Idzumo Fudoki frequently calls him the ame no shita tsukurashishi Oho-kami, that is to say, " the great God who made the Under-Heaven." The spear which he carries is indicative of warlike prowess and political sway, while the mattock given to him by one myth points rather to agricultural development. He is also, along with Sukuna-bikona, the instructor of mankind in the arts of medicine and magic. The usual tendency to enlarge the sphere of nature deities by attributing to them providential powers is illustrated by a poem in the Manyōshiu in which he is appealed to for the protection of the ship of an envoy who was about to proceed to China.
He could assume the form of a snake or of a human being.
The name Ohonamochi tells us nothing. It means great-name-possessor, and is simply honorific. An alter- native title is Oho-kuni-nushi, or great land-master, Kuni-nushi being perhaps an honorary epithet equivalent to "king." Another name of this deity, Oho-kuni-dama (great land spirit), is more significant. It shows that he was regarded as one of the Kuni-dama or earth-deities mentioned above. His Earth-God quality is also implied by the alias Oho-toko-nushi, or great-place-master.
This God belongs mainly to the Idzumo group of myths. He is the son of Susa no wo, also an Idzumo God. The great centre of his worship to this day, and the holiest spot in Japan, next after Ise, is Kidzuki, a town in that province. His shrine here is known all over Japan as the Taisha, or Great Shrine, and was formerly of exceptional magnificence. There is a widespread belief that all the Gods of Japan resort hither in the tenth month, which is therefore called Kami-na-dzuki, or the godless month. But Hirata's suggestion that Kami-na-dzuki is really for Kami-name-dzuki, the divine tasting-month, that is, the month of the harvest festival, is very plausible. Kaempfer transfers this annual visit of the Gods from Idzumo to the Mikado's palace, a blundering account of a myth which itself rests on a blunder.
The story of his deposition by Take-mika-dzuchi and Futsunushi is probably an echo of a real historical event, when the rulers of Idzumo were compelled to yield up their temporal power to the conquerors of Yamato, retaining however, their control of spiritual matters.
Miwa, in Yamato, was another seat of this deity's worship. To be more exact, it was his nigi-tama, or gentle spirit, which was worshipped here. He is also associated with the numerous shrines called Sannō or Hiye. The Sono no kami (garden deity), to whom there was a shrine in the Palace, is also believed to be Ohomononushi, the nigi-tama of Ohonamochi. Along with Sukunabikona he is wor- shipped at Kanda, Tokio, as showing special favour to the inhabitants of that city (Yedokko no mitama no kami). These two deities are supposed to grant protection against small-pox.
The Kojiki story of Ohonamochi's adventures in Yomi has no apparent connexion with his status as an Earth-God. Dr. Buckley argues that the Ohonamochi of this narrative is a Moon-God, and that his eighty brothers are the stars. I think it will be found to contain foreign and later elements, and that the introduction of Ohonamochi's name is merely accidental. The Nihongi passes it over in silence. The shintai of Ohonamochi is a necklace of jewels. His nigi-tama, or gentle spirit, is represented by a mirror, the shintai of the ara-tama, or rough spirit, being a spear.
Asuha.—An obscure deity, called Asuha no kami, said to be the child of Oho-toshi, the Harvest-God, is referred to in one of the norito. Motoöri fails to identify him or her. Hirata thinks that Asuha is for ashiba, that is, foot-place, and that it means the plot of ground on which the dwelling stands. He mentions a practice by persons whose friends were absent on pilgrimages of making a model of a house with a thatched roof to which they offered tea and rice every morning. They could not tell him what God it was whom they wished to propitiate. Hirata had no doubt that it was Asuha. He quotes an old poem which says: "Until he returns, I will pray to the God Asuha of the middle of the courtyard." Sir E. Satow calls Asuha no kami the "guardian deity" of the courtyard. I do not deny that this conception existed. But we must not lose sight of the earlier phase of thought in which the courtyard is itself the deity.
Other Earth-Gods.—Another obscure earth-deity is Haigi no kami, said to be the God of the space between the door of the house and the outer gate. The soil of the earth is deified under the names of Uhijini, Suhijini, and Hani-yasu-hime, personifications of mud, sand, and clay respectively. The two former are just mentioned in myth. Hani-yasu means "clay easy," the latter adjective indicating its plastic quality. Clay was probably deified because it forms the material for the Kamado, or kitchen-furnace, and is therefore deserving of gratitude for its service in restraining the unruly element fire. The water-gourd was deified for the same reason.
Earthquake—Gods.—The old myths say nothing about earthquakes, and although they are mentioned several times in the historical part of the Nihongi, in only one case is a God of Earthquakes spoken of. In A.D. 684 there was a great earthquake, and a new island was formed at Idzu. A drumming sound was heard, which was thought to be made by the Gods in constructing it. The Shoku-nihongi, a continuation of the Nihongi, states that in the reign of Shōmu (724-48), there were shrines to the God of Earthquakes in all the provinces. But any God might cause an earthquake. There is a legend that the God of Kashima (Take-mika-dzuchi) sealed down the Earthquake-God—he has no particular name—by placing over him the Kaname-ishi, or pivot-stone, which is still to be seen near his shrine.
The comparative insignificance of this deity in a country so notoriously subject to these convulsions as Japan is an instructive commentary on Buckle's well-known views of their importance in promoting superstition.
Mountain-Gods.—Most mountains of importance have their deity, who sometimes belongs to the general pantheon and is at others a specific mountain deity. The Mountain-God sometimes assumes the form of a serpent.
Though Japan has one hundred volcanoes, of which half are more or less active, the feelings excited by volcanic phenomena have left little trace in the religion. The Kojiki, Nihongi, and Norito do not recognize any worship of volcanoes. Perhaps the Aso-tsu-hiko and Aso-tsu-hime of the Nihongi are to be reckoned an exception. These are no doubt personifications of Mount Aso, a remarkable volcano in the province of Higo, which is frequently referred to in later history. The drying up or overflowing of a lake within its crater was supposed to portend famine, pestilence, drought, or the death of the sovereign. A ninth-century notice states that the Mikado informed the Sun-Goddess that "the miraculous pond in the district of Aso recently dried up for about four hundred feet, and in the province of Idzu there has been an earthquake. After divination I learnt that a drought, plague, or war would ensue. In order that this land might be peacefully ruled by the Sun-Goddess, I, having chosen a day of happy omen, send out the messengers (named) and present offerings." On another similar occasion, the God Hachiman was appealed to for help. The God (or Gods), however, of Aso itself was not wholly neglected. There were shrines to him on the mountain, with hereditary guardians to attend to them, and we hear of an offering of a horse. But volcano gods were in no high estimation. In 860 a Satsuma volcano received the junior branch of a lower division of the fourth rank, which is much as if Vesuvius were awarded the Italian equivalent for a D.S.O.
A great eruption of a mountain in Deha in the ninth century was attributed to the wrath of Oho-mono-imi (the Food-Goddess), on account of a pollution of the mountain water by dead bodies.
Fuji no yama is worshipped under the name of Sengen or Asama. At the present day nearly every volcano has its deity and a small shrine.
Mountain Class-Deities.—The Kojiki and Nihongi mention a Mountain-God or Gods, called Yama tsu mi (mountain-body), as among the children of Izanagi and Izanami, or as born from the blood of Kagutsuchi when slain by his father. We hear little more of him or them. The Mountain-God was worshipped before cutting trees for shrines or palaces.Sea-Gods.—The chief sea-deities of Shinto are the three Gods produced by Izanagi when he washed in the sea after his return from Yomi. They are named respectively Soko-tsu-wata-dzu-mi (bottom-sea-body),
Naka-tsu-wata-dzu-mi (middle-sea-body) and Uha-tsu-wata-dzu-mi (upper-sea-body). Their chief shrine is at Sumiyoshi, near Sakai, and they are prayed to for rescue from shipwreck and for fair winds. These three Gods are frequently spoken of as one. Hirata identifies them with Toyotama-hiko, whose legend is related above.
With Toyotama-hiko there is associated a fabulous animal called a wani, usually written with the Chinese character for crocodile. There can be little doubt that the wani is really the Chinese dragon. It is frequently so represented in Japanese pictures. I have before me a print which shows Toyotama-hiko and his daughter with dragons' heads appearing over their human ones. This shows that he was conceived of not only as a Lord of Dragons, but as a dragon himself. His daughter, who in one version of the story changes at the moment of child-bearing into a wani as her true form, in another is converted into a dragon. In Japanese myth the serpent or dragon is almost always associated with water in some of its forms.
We also hear of a Shiho-tsuchi, or brine-father, and of local harbour deities.
River-Gods.—The River-Gods have no individual names. They are called generally midzu-chi, or water-father. Japanese dictionaries describe the midzu-chi as an animal of the dragon species with four legs. Hepburn, in his 'Japanese-English Dictionary,' calls it a large water-snake. The difference is not material. The dragon-kings of Chinese myth (of whom Toyotamahiko is an echo) are in India the Naga Raja, or cobra-kings.
The conception of a stream as a snake, serpent, or dragon, or of one of these animals as the embodiment of a water-deity is widespread. Dennys, in his 'Folk-Lore of China,' quotes from the North China Herald the following: "The River-God is in every case a small water-snake which popular fancy has converted into a deity." Robertson-Smith, in his 'Religion of the Semites,' says that "the living power that inhabits sacred waters and gives them their miraculous or healing quality is very often held to be a serpent, a huge dragon, or water monster." Reville tells us that "Le serpent joue en effet un grand rôle symbolique dans le culte de Tlaloc (the Mexican Rain and Water God) en tant qu'il représente l'eau qui coule, les nuages, les cours d'eau." It is easy to understand how a river, with its sinuous course and its mysterious movement without legs, should come to be thought of as a great serpent, especially if we remember the aquatic habits of some of the ophidia. Rivers have their favourable and their maleficent aspects. On the one hand they furnish water for irrigation, and on the other they cause destruction and loss of life by their floods, metaphorically expressed by the serpent's poison. The River-Gods are prayed to for rain in time of drought. We hear oftener of their sinister aspect. The Perseus and Andromeda incident related above is probably a trace of former human sacrifices to rivers, of which further evidence is afforded by the following extracts from the Nihongi:
"A.D. 379. This year, at a fork of the River Kahashima, in the central division of the Province of Kibi, there was a great water-dragon which harassed the people. Now when travellers were passing that place on their journey, they were sure to be affected by its poison, so that many died. Hereupon Agatamori, the ancestor of the Omi of Kasa, a man of fierce temper and of great bodily strength, stood over the pool of the river-fork and flung into the water three whole calabashes, saying: 'Thou art continually belching up poison and therewithal plaguing travellers. I will kill thee, thou water-dragon. If thou canst sink these calabashes, then will I take myself away, but if thou canst not sink them, then will I cut thy body to pieces.' Now the water-dragon changed itself into a deer and tried to draw down the calabashes, but the calabashes would not sink. So with upraised sword he entered the water and slew the water-dragon. He further sought out the water-dragon's fellows. Now the tribe of all the water-dragons filled a cave in the bottom of the pool. He slew them every one, and the water of the river became changed to blood. Therefore that water was called the pool of Agatamori."
"A.D. 323. In order to prevent the overflowing of the Northern river the Mamuta embankment was constructed. At this time there were two parts of the construction which gave way and could not be stopped up. Then the Emperor had a dream, in which he was admonished by a God, saying: 'There are a man of Musashi named Koha-kubi and a man of Kahachi named Koromo no ko, the Muraji of Mamuta. Let these two men be sacrificed to the River-God, and thou wilt surely be enabled to close the gaps.' So he sought for these two men, and having found them, offered them to the River-God. Hereupon Koha-kubi wept and lamented, and plunging into the water, died. So that embankment was completed. Koroma no ko, however, took two whole calabashes, and standing over the water which could not be dammed, plunged the two calabashes into the mid-stream and prayed, saying: 'O thou River-God, who hast sent the curse [to remove which] I have now come hither as a sacrifice! If thou dost persist in thy desire to have me, sink these calabashes and let them not rise to the surface. Then shall I know that thou art a true God, and will enter the water of my own accord. But if thou canst not sink the calabashes, I shall, of course, know that thou art a false God, for whom why should I spend my life in vain?' Hereupon a whirlwind arose suddenly which drew with it the calabashes and tried to submerge them in the water. But the calabashes, dancing on the waves, would not sink, and floated far away over the wide waters. In this way that embankment was completed, although Koromo no ko did not die. Accordingly Koromo no ko's cleverness saved his life. Therefore the men of that time gave a name to these two places, calling them ' Koha-kubi's Gap' and 'Koromo no ko's Gap.' "
These stories, like that of Perseus and Andromeda, and the Roman legend that Hercules substituted images of straw for the living men hurled into the Tiber from the Sublician bridge, belong to a period when the belief in the efficacy of human sacrifice for propitiating river-deities had been considerably shaken. The abolition of sacrifices of living men at the tombs of deceased Mikados is part of the same movement in the direction of a greater regard for human life. The decay of the cult of rivers is also to be inferred from a statement in the Nihongi (A.D. 642) that prayers to the River-Gods for rain were condemned by the Government as yielding no good result. Reading Buddhist Sutras was equally ineffectual, but prayers by the Mikado to the four quarters of Heaven in Chinese fashion were more successful.
There is a superstition at the present day that the mouths and pools of rivers are haunted by monsters called kappa, which destroy human beings and domestic animals.
Rain-Gods.—Two special Rain-Gods are mentioned in the Nihongi, namely, Kura o Kami (valley-august-god) and Taka-o-Kami (height-august-god). Both are often called simply O Kami, and are conceived of as having dragon shape. But praying for rain was by no means confined to them. The Yengishiki gives a list of eighty-five shrines to which messengers were despatched by the Court to pray for rain. These included many river and water deities, such as the Yamaguchi (mountain-mouth) and Mi-kumari (water-distributor) Gods; but the Wind-God, the Rice-God, the Thunder-God, and many others were added. Even deified men like Temmangū might be prayed to for rain. The following is a modern method of causing rain. A procession is formed, a Shinto priest carrying gohei at its head. Next to him follows a conch-blower, and then some men carrying a dragon made of straw, bamboo, &c. Two flags inscribed to the Dragon-kings come after. Next follows a drum, then the people in disorderly rout, shouting, "The black clouds of the honourable peak: from the west the rain comes pouring." The ceremony ends by the straw dragon being plunged into a waterfall.
Water from the sacred lake of Haruna is supposed to produce rain. It is carried to the required place by relays of couriers, for if it stopped on the way the rain would fall there instead.
Well-Gods.—Sacred wells are known in Japan. They are called mi-wi (august well) or mana-wi (true well). There is one at Kitsuki, in Idzumo, called the ama no manawi (heaven-true-well), whence sacred water is drawn. Wells or well-gods are widely worshipped, usually in association with such household deities as Ashiba no Kami (the site deity) and Kamado no Kami (the furnace deity). We hear of an Iku-wi no Kami (live- well-god) and a Fukuwi no Kami (luck-well-god). Special wells were sunk for the water used in the ohonihe ceremony, and worship paid to them.
Well-diggers (idohori) at the present day sometimes purify the ground previously to beginning their operations and set up gohei. In fine weather, at night, they apply their ears to the ground, when they can hear the water- veins below. Old wells should not be wholly closed, or blindness to one of the family will be the result. Hence to appease the God of the well a bamboo is let down into it before filling it up. Wells are worshipped at the New Year.
Water-Gods.—The element of water generally is deified under the name of Midzuha no me (water-female). She is said to have been produced from the urine of Izanami when dying, or, according to another account, from the blood of Kagu-tsuchi when he was slain by Izanagi. The Jimmu legend says that the water used in sacrifice to Musubi was entitled Idzu no Midzuha no me, that is to say, "sacred-water-female," thus identifying the element with the deity to whom it belongs.
Wind-Gods.—The Nihongi speaks of one Wind-God named Shinatsu-hiko (wind-long-prince). He was produced from Izanagi's breath when he puffed away the mists which surrounded the newly formed country of Japan. The conception of the wind as the breath of the Gods is also found in the Vedas and elsewhere. In the latter part of the Nihongi frequent mention is made of embassies to Tatsuta, in Yamato, to pray to the Wind-Gods for a good harvest. A norito addressed to them makes two Wind- Gods—one masculine, named Shinatsu-hiko, and one feminine, called Shinatobe. They are also referred to as Ame no Mihashira (august-pillar of Heaven) and Kuni no Mihashira (august-pillar of Earth). Hirata supposes that it was by them that communication was maintained between earth and sky in the Age of the Gods, and that it is due to their agency that the prayers of men are heard in Heaven. Their shintai is a mirror.
Another Wind-God is Hayachi, that is, the swift father, or perhaps swift wind. He is more especially the whirlwind. He acted as the messenger of the Gods in bringing up to Heaven the body of Ame no waka-hiko, who had died on earth.
Take-mika-dzuchi and Futsunushi.—There is much confusion as to the character and functions of these two deities. They are associated in myth and in worship. Their two oldest shrines at Kashima and Kadori are close to one another, and they are worshipped together at Kasuga and other places. Indeed Hirata argues that they are one and the same deity. He points out that Futsunushi is not mentioned in the Kojiki story of the pacification of Japan in preparation for the advent of Ninigi, and that the same authority gives Toyo-futsu no Kami and Take-futsu no Kami as alternative names of Take-mika-dzuchi. On the other hand, the Jimmu legend calls Futsu no mitama, apparently a variant of Futsunushi, the sword of Take-mika-dzuchi, and ascribes a different parentage to these two deities. There are other features in the Nihongi myths which are inconsistent with the theory that they are identical.
Take-mika-dzuchi means " brave-dread-father." His name is frequently written with Chinese characters which imply that he is identical with Ika-dzuchi, or the ThunderGod. This is probably correct, although it is to be remembered that Ika-dzuchi had in more ancient times the more general signification "dread father," and is applied to other than thunder deities.
In Futsu-nushi the latter element admittedly means "master." But I cannot accept Motoöri's explanation of futsu as an onomatopoetic word expressing the sound made when a thing is cleanly cut or snapped off.
The following facts suggest a different derivation:—
1. The Sun-mirror (hi-kagami, which may also mean "fire-mirror") is called in one writing the Ma-futsu no kagami (true-fire-mirror).
2. Ama no hihoko is said to have brought over with him from Korea a hi-kagami.
3. Futsu is the regular Japanese phonetic equivalent of the Korean pul, "fire." In Furu-no mitama and Furu- musubi (for Ho-musubi) we have an intermediate form between futsu and pul. There is a God called Saji-futsu or Satsu-futsu, for which the Korean phonetic equivalent would be Sal-pul. This would mean " living fire " (Cicero's "ignis animal "). I have no doubt that Saji-futsu is an alias of Futsu-nushi.
4. Futsunushi was produced from the blood of Kagu- tsuchi, the God of Fire, when the latter was slain by Izanagi.
The inference from these data is that Futsunushi is a Fire-God of Korean origin.
But while there is a strong probability that Take- mika-dzuchi and Futsunushi were originally Thunder and Fire deities, by a tendency which there is for nature-gods to become credited with providential functions, to the neglect or oblivion of their proper natural powers, these two deities have in historical times been universally recognized as war-gods. The myth which represents them as subduing Ohonamochi and makes Futsu no mitama a sword contains the germ of this view of their character. A poet of the Manayōshiu speaks of praying to the God of Kashima when about to start on a warlike expedition. Fencing and horsemanship were under Futsunushi's special protection. The shintai of both Gods, to some worshippers the Gods themselves, were swords. That of Take-mika-dzuchi was a sword, five feet long, which at the annual Kashima festival was drawn from its sheath and worshipped by the priests, all the people present wearing swords and drawing them before the shrine. It is probably as a war-god that he was constituted the Ujigami of the arrowmakers, and that offerings of horses were made to him. When savage tribes were subdued or foreign invaders repulsed these Gods led the van and were followed by the other deities. They were supposed to extend their special embassies to their various shrines. They were also prayed to for a calm passage for envoys to China, and for children. Predictions of the quality of the harvest were recently, and probably still are, hawked about by persons in the garb of Shinto priests, called Kashima no koto-fure, that is to say, "notifications from Kashima." Believers in the ghost and grave theory of the origin of religion will be interested to learn that not far from Kashima there is a large sepulchral mound called Kame-yama (pot-hill). On the 8th day of the 1st month an Imperial envoy offers gohei here and recites a norito. There are dances and music, and the mound is solemnly circumambulated. Traditions exist of a great battle in this neighbourhood. Smaller sepulchral mounds are also met with here, as at all ancient centres of authority in Japan.
Ika-dzuchi.—Take-mika-dzuchi having been converted into a war-deity and general Providence, the Thunder itself continued to be worshipped under the name of Ika-dzuchi, "dread father," which is short for Naru ika-dzuchi, "the sounding dread father." He is also called Naru kami, or "the sounding God." Kami-nari (god-sound) is the modern word for thunder. There are numerous shrines to this deity. By the Ika-dzuchi, which were generated from the putrefying corpse of Izanami, we must understand not thunders but personified diseases, the word being taken in its etymological signification. The Kojiki, however, in this passage does undoubtedly say "thunders." The distinction into "eight thunders" is a fancy of the writer, little recognized in later ritual. The Nihongi ignores it.
The following story from the Nihongi illustrates Japanese ideas respecting the Thunder-God:—
"A.D. 618. This year Kahabe no Onii was sent to the province of Aki with orders to build ships. On arriving at the mountain, he sought for ship timber. Having found good timber, he marked it and was about to cut it, when a man appeared, and said: 'This is a thunder-tree, and must not be cut.' Kahabe no Omi said: 'Shall even the Thunder-God oppose the Imperial commands?' So having offered many mitegura, he sent workmen to cut down the timber. Straightway a great rain fell, and it thundered and lightened. Hereupon Kahabe no Omi drew his sword, and said: 'O Thunder-God, harm not the workmen; it is my person that thou shouldst injure.' So he looked up and waited. But although the God thundered more than ten times, he could not harm Kahabe no Omi. Then he changed himself into a small fish, which stuck between the branches of the tree. Kahabe no Omi forthwith took the fish and burnt it. So at last the ships were built."
Other Fire-Gods.—Futsunushi's quality as a Fire-God had been quite forgotten even in the Kojiki and Nihongi times. But there are several other Fire-Gods, or perhaps we should rather say local or occasional variants of the same deity. Kagu-tsuchi, or "radiant father," is the name given to a Fire-God in the Nihongi, where he is said to have caused the death of his mother Izanami. Kagu contains the same root as kagayaku, to shine. It also occurs in Kaguyama, a sacred mountain in Yamato, from which the needful objects for sacrifice were in early times provided. This God is worshipped under the name of Ho-musubi or "fire-growth" on the summit of Atago, a mountain near Kiōto. There are many hill-shrines to this deity near other cities in Japan. His business is to give protection against conflagrations.
The Jimmu legend speaks as if fire-worship arose from the deification of the sacrificial fire. But there must have been other reasons. The domestic fire renders important services to mankind, and its relation to the sun is unmistakable. Indeed the Japanese call fire and sun by the same name, hi. Fire has also its terrible aspect, which is recognized in myth and norito.
Hirata identifies the God with the element. He is obviously a class, and not an individual God. There is a festival at the present day called the Hi-taki-matsuri (fire-kindle-festival), when bonfires are lit, and small offerings made to the flames.
Furnace Gods.—Along with the Gods of Fire we may place the deities of the domestic cooking furnace, namely Kamado no Kami and Kudo no Kami. They are barely mentioned in the Kojiki and not at all in the Nihongi. They have no myth, and although there is a norito addressed to them it contains nothing characteristic. This worship is nevertheless general, from the Mikado's palace to the home of the peasant. Sometimes we find a single deity, sometimes a married pair called Okitsu-hiko and Okitsu-hime, sometimes as many as eight co-existing furnace-gods are met with. The vulgar call him an aragami (rough deity), and represent him with three heads, a notion which, according to Hirata, is taken from Indian myth. Usually the cooking furnace is the deity. The Japanese kitchen wench at the present day calls her cooking range Hettsui-sama, the termination sama implying personification and respect. She thinks it unlucky to lay down an edge-tool on it. But the God is also conceived of as detached from the furnace. Thus he is said to have taught the art of cooking to mankind. In that case the kama, or pot, is his shintai, or material representative. There was a Kama-matsuri (pot festival) at Kiōto before the revolution. It was celebrated at the beginning of the year, when Shinto priests read harahi. The pot was addressed in song and adjured to bring plenty of customers, usually by dyers and others in whose business caldrons were used.
Ukemochi (the Food Goddess).—Cicero, in his treatise 'De Natura Deorum,' asks whether any one is mad enough to believe that the food we eat is actually a God. The modern student of religion has no difficulty in answering this question in the affirmative. "Eating the God" is a well-known institution, from the custom of the Ainus of Yezo, who worship a bear, caught and caged for the purpose, and wind up the festival in his honour by eating him, up to the most solemn rite of Roman Catholic Christianity. An Ainu prayer, quoted by Mr. Batchelor, contains the following words: "O thou God! O thou divine cereal, do thou nourish the people. I now partake of thee. I worship thee and give thee thanks." Gratitude in the first place to, and then for, our daily bread, is an important factor in the early growth of religion. Without it we should have had no Roman Ceres, no Mexican Maize-God Centliotl, and no Ukemochi. I do not find the direct worship of our daily food in Shinto, though perhaps a trace of an older identification of the food with the God is to be recognized in the myth which represents the Food-Goddess as producing from her mouth and other parts of her body viands for the entertainment of the Moon-God. Hirata is indignant at the idea that there is anything metaphorical about this story.
It is usually the offerings of food which are deified. Jimmu is said to have directed that the food-offerings to Taka-musubi should be called Idzu-uka no me (sacred-food-female), which is another name for Uke-mochi. In a work of the eighth century the Sun-Goddess is said to have appeared to the Mikado Yūriaku in a dream. She complained to him of her loneliness at Ise, and directed that "Aga mi ketsu no kami" should be sent for to Tamba in order to keep her company. This was the legendary origin of the worship of the Food-Goddess in the outer shrine (Geku) of Ise. As Motoöri points out, Aga mi ketsu no kami means "the deity of the food offered to me." But in this last instance the offering and the deity of the offering are no longer identical.
It was usual for the participants in the ceremony to consume the food offered to the Gods. We are told that Jimmu "tasted the food of the sacred jars." The Mikado at all times followed this rule, notably at the Nihiname, or harvest festival, when he partook of ordinary food with, but after, the Gods. He does not "eat the God," but only associates himself with the deity as his table-companion—a very simple and intelligible form of communion. It is on the same principle that in modern times pilgrims to Ise buy from the priests and eat the rice which has been offered to the Gods.
There is some confusion in regard to Ukemochi. Her aliases are very numerous, if, indeed, we ought not to reckon some of them as distinct deities. No doubt food was deified over and over again in many places. The etymology of most of her names is sufficiently transparent. They contain the element ke or ka, "food." One of these, namely Uka no mitama, or the spirit of food, should be mentioned, as it embodies a more advanced and spiritual conception of the nature of this deity.
The parentage of the Food-Goddess is variously given in different myths. One story makes her the daughter of Izanagi and Izanami, and another of Susa no wo. The latter is, perhaps, an expression of the idea that the rain-storm fits the rice-fields for producing grain.
After the Sun-Goddess, Uke-mochi is, perhaps (especially if we identify her with Inari), the most universally popular deity in Japan. She was one of the eight deities of the Jingikwan, and was worshipped at four of the twenty-two Greater Shrines, of which a list was made in 1039. There is abundant evidence that her cult was not confined to the State ceremonies. Hirata calls her an ihe no kami, or household deity.
The Sake (rice-beer) God is sometimes the same as the Food-Goddess, and at others Sukuna-bikona.
Inari.—Notwithstanding the difference of sex, and to some extent of function, the Rice-God Inari is generally recognized by the Japanese as identical with Uke-mochi. Inari, it is explained, is only the name of the locality of her best-known shrine near Kiôto, first established in 711. It is not to be doubted that in Japan the name of the place of his worship has frequently been converted into the name of the God. In the present case, however, it may be suspected that the reverse process has taken place. Might not Inari be ine, rice in a growing state, and ri, a termination implying personality?
Naturally Inari is much prayed to for agricultural prosperity. But, as so often happens, the functions of this God have been enlarged so as to make him a sort of general Providence who watches over all human concerns. In a recent Japanese novel he is supplicated by a wife to make her husband faithful; by a mother to cause her son to divorce an obnoxious daughter-in-law; by a wrestler for victory in his contests; by a geisha for a wealthy protector who will give her plenty of money and rich clothes, and, getting tired of her within a month, will dismiss her with a handsome present. He is also appealed to for the resto- ration of stolen property, to avert pestilence, to cure colds, to give wealth and prosperity, and to unite friends. The Kiôto Inari is the special patron of swordsmiths and of jōrōs. Another Inari is celebrated for his protection of children from small-pox and measles. People who desire his help in this way offer at his shrine a red clay monkey, and take away with them one which has been deposited there by a previous worshipper.
The shintai of Inari is a stone, or a wooden ticket with his name inscribed on it. He is represented as an elderly man with a long beard riding upright on a white fox. The fox is always associated with this deity. A pair of these animals carved in wood or stone may usually be seen in front of his shrines. According to the modern theologians, the fox is properly his servant or messenger. But there is a more ignorant current of opinion which takes the animal for the God himself. Klaproth finds in Japanese books that "the people in Japan worship the inari (fox) as a tutelar God: little temples are dedicated to him in many houses, especially of the commoner folk. They ask his advice in difficulties, and set rice or beans for him at night. They take him to be a kami, i.e., the soul of a good man deceased." Be it observed that inari does not mean fox, and that a kami is something quite different from " the soul of a good man deceased." It is just possible, however, that in this case the ignorant multitude are right, and that the fox is a duplicate representative of the rice or rice-deity. Mr. Frazer, in his 'Golden Bough,' adduces many instances of the Corn-God being represented by animals. "In Poitou, the spirit of the corn appears to be conceived in the shape of a fox."
The festival of Inari is held on the first "horse" day of the second month. The Shōguns celebrated it with great ceremony, of which dramatic performances (nō) were a part.
Harvest-Gods.—The Harvest-Gods, of which there are several, as Oho-toshi no Kami (Great-Harvest-God), Mitoshi no Kami (August-Harvest-God), Waka-toshi no Kami (Young-Harvest-God), are not very clearly distinguished from the food and grain deities. A myth relating to one of these deities will be found below, p. 196.
The liturgy entitled 'Praying for Harvest' was addressed to all the chief deities.
The worship of the Sun and of Grain, Harvest and Growth deities, which forms so important a part of Shinto, is characteristic of an agricultural nation. It is emphasized by the ancient custom of the Mikado tilling land in person, and by the Miko at Kasuga planting rice annually with much ceremony.
Tree-Gods.—Individual trees of great age and size are everywhere worshipped in Japan. An ancient example of this cult is mentioned above, p. 158. At the present day the sacred trees are often to be seen girt with shimenaha, and with tiny shrines at the bottom. The novelist Bakin, writing in the early part of the nineteenth century, tells of one which he visited near Uraga. It was a common-looking fir which had been struck by lightning, no doubt, Bakin says, before the spirit took up its abode there. This tree healed diseases of all kinds and brought luck to fisher- men. People with sore eyes carried away the water which collected in a hollow part, and washed their eyes with it. Incense was burned to it.
At the shrine of Kamo in Kiôto there are two sakaki (sacred evergreen) trees, which are joined together by a branch which has grown from one trunk into that of the other. These trees are much visited by women who desire to live in harmony with their husbands. A small red tori-wi in front of them shows that they are considered sacred. Here the emblem of unity has come to be regarded as having intrinsic virtue.
A Kami-gi (God-tree) was often planted in front of Shinto shrines. It was sometimes set in a portable box, which could be carried about by the devotees. A case is recorded in which this was done for the sake of protection to the bearers. The sacred tree of Japan is the cleyera japonica. It is an evergreen, as the name, derived from sakayuru, to flourish, indicates.
There is a modern custom in places where fruit trees are grown for two men to go out into the orchard. One climbs up a tree while the other stands at the bottom with an axe. The latter asks whether it will have a good crop the next season, and threatens to cut it down if it fails to do so. Hereupon the man above answers for the tree, promising that it will bear plentifully. In Hitachi at the time of the Sai (or Sahe) no Kami feast (the first full moon of the year) a gruel is made of rice coloured red with adzuki beans. This is sprinkled on the fruit trees of the neighbourhood. The man who does so wears the straw covering of a rice-bag by way of hat, and takes with him an axe and the gruel vessel, saying to each tree, "Will you bear—will you bear, of bags 1,000 bags, of sacks 1,000 sacks? Say that you will bear." "I will bear, I will bear." Then he gives the tree three cuts with the axe, and pours the gruel on it.
Similar customs are found all over the world. M. D'Alviella, in his Hibbert Lectures, quotes as follows: "Ibn al Awam's agricultural treatise recommends the intimidation of trees that refuse to produce fruit. 'You are to flog them mildly and threaten to cut them down if they go on bearing no fruit.'" The Bohemian Slavs used to say to the garden trees, " Bud! ye trees, bud! or I will strip you of your bark." Brand's 'Popular Antiquities of Britain' records several variants of this custom. "On Christmas Eve," he says, "the farmers and their men in Devonshire take a large bowl of cider, with a toast in it, and carrying it in state to the orchard, they salute the apple-trees with much ceremony, in order to make them bear well the next season." This salutation consists in throwing some of the cider about the roots of the tree, placing bits of the toast on the branches, and then, "en- circling one of the best bearing trees in the orchard, they drink the following toast several times:—
'Here's to thee, old apple-tree
Whence thou mayst bud, and whence thou mayst blow,
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!
Bushel, bushel sacks-full!
And my pockets full, too! Hurra!'"
Mr. J. G. Frazer has treated this subject with his usual fulness in 'The Golden Bough.'
I suspect that the pleasure we take in dramatic make- believe has more to do with such practices than any belief in their practical efficacy, and that they rather contain the germ of a religious cult of trees than are a survival of a primitive tree-worship.
Kukunochi.—The older records mention a Kukunochi (trees-father), a Ki no mi-oya no Kami (tree-august-parent- deity). There is also a Ko-mata no Kami (tree-fork-deity) and a Ha-mori no Kami (leaf-guardian-deity). These are class-deities.
Kaya nu hime.—The deity of herbs and grasses is called Kaya nu hime (reed-lady), or Nu-dzuchi (moor-father) or Kaya no mi-oya no Kami (reed-august-parent-deity). The chief reason for deifying trees and reeds was that they furnish materials for house-building, and are therefore deserving of our gratitude and worship. Ko-dama.—The echo is called in Japan Ko-dama, or tree spirit.
House-Gods.—Our knowledge of these deities is chiefly derived from a norito in the Yengishiki. One part of this ritual speaks of Yabune, which may be either singular or plural ; but further on in the same document we find Yabune Kukunochi and Yabune Toyo-uke-hime. Perhaps an original single deity has been split up into a wedded pair by a process of which Shinto affords other examples. Ya is "house," and fune, which usually means "ship," may also be applied to other wooden vessels, such as troughs or tubs. The ya-bune is therefore the shell of the house. Kukunochi, as we have just seen, is the name of the Tree- God. Toyo-uke-hime, which means abundant-food-lady, has been identified with the Food-Goddess; but it is more probable that the prefix yabune was intended to distinguish her from that deity, as the same prefix made of Kukunochi a distinct God from the ordinary Tree-God. The functions of these Gods was to guard the palace building from harm of all kinds. No doubt each household had also its Yabune no Kami. Hirata, in his Tamadasuki, gives a prayer to this deity intended for general use.
The Oho-toma-hiko and Oho-toma-hime of the Nihongi and the Oho-ya-hiko of the Kojiki are also House-Gods. Nothing is known of them.
A certain sanctity attached to the central pillar of the house, called Daikoku-bashira or Imi-bashira (sacred pillar). The Daikoku-bashira is worshipped in some places on the I4th of the 1st month by offerings of rice-ears, flowers, rice bags, &c. The date indicates a connexion with the phallic Sahe no Kami.
Privy-God.—There is in modern times a God of the privy, who has no particular name, sex, or mythic record. Hirata, in his Tamadasuki, has provided a special form of prayer to him. He himself was his devout worshipper. He saluted the God on entering and leaving, and, that people might not forget this duty, recommends that a card be nailed on the door, with the inscription "Ojigi," or "good manners." According to him privies, as well as dunghills and all unclean places, are a favourite resort of evil spirits. They are haunted by flies and maggots, which are the fractional souls of bad men (a Buddhist notion?). There is, therefore, all the greater need to put ourselves under the protection of the presiding deity of the place. He deprecates spitting into it (which causes ophthalmia) or defiling it, and says that women who sweep it out daily and make offering to the God of a light on the last day of each month will be free from diseases below the girdle.
All this shows that the original identity of demons and diseases has not yet been wholly lost sight of in Japan.
Gate-Gods.—Kushi-iha-mado (wondrous-rock-door) and Toyo-iha-mado (rich-rock-door). These two Gods are known to us from the norito entitled Mikado no matsuri. They are obviously personifications of the gates of the Palace. But the difficulty presents itself that these Gods are (apparently) two in number, these two being differentiated out of one original deity by the honorary epithets kushi and toyo, while the gates of the Palace were much more numerous. If it is the gate itself, and not the spirit of the gate, which is worshipped, there ought to be as many Gods as gates. Hirata would no doubt explain this by saying that there are really only two Gods, but that each gate is occupied by a mitama, or emanation from them. It seems more probable that the ancient Japanese had no very definite ideas on the subject. They conceived of the gates as in some way or another instinct with life and exercising certain protective functions; but whether there were two deities for each gate or two for all collectively was a question which did not occur to them. It must be remembered that the Japanese language seldom takes the trouble to distinguish between singular and plural. This is merely another way of saying that the nation is comparatively indifferent to number, whether of Gods or gates. Whether the Gate-divinity is one or several does not trouble them.
GODS OF ABSTRACTIONS.
Izanagi and Izanami.—The conspicuous position given by the mythical narrative to these personifications of the dual creative powers of the universe has little to correspond with it in cult and ritual. Although they are no doubt to be reckoned among the Dii majores of Japan, they occupy a much lower place than the Sun-Goddess and the Food- Goddess.
Izanagi and Izanami are evidently creations of subse- quent date to the Sun-Goddess and other concrete deities, for whose existence they were intended to account. I have little doubt that they were suggested by the Yin and Yang or female and male principles of Chinese philosophy. In- deed there is a passage in the Nihongi in which these terms are actually applied to them. It may be said, and Motoöri does say, that the Yin and Yang are foreign ideas which have found their way into a purely native myth. We must remember, however, that the Japanese myths as we have them date from a period three centuries after the introduc- tion of Chinese learning into Japan, and that there was communication with China hundreds of years earlier still. It would, therefore, not be strange if some knowledge of the fundamental principle of Chinese philosophy and science had reached the Japanese long before the Kojiki and Nihongi were written.
I conjecture that the early part of the Nihongi, taken in the order of the original composition of the myths which it comprises, would be somewhat as follows:—First the Sun-myth, which is the nucleus of all, next that of the creation by Izanagi and Izanami, then the more abstract Musubi and a number of ill-defined creations of some idle fancy which precede him. Last of all was composed the philosophic proem with which the book opens.
Izanagi and Izanami belong to that stage of religious progress in which the conception has been reached of powerful sentient beings separate from external nature. Untrue in itself, it has served a useful purpose. It is obviously easier for nations with little scientific knowledge to conceive of the same being as a ruler or parent of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, with all its human concerns, than to recognize in these phenomena a harmonious living whole. The common parentage of Izanagi and Izanami formed a link of union between the different aspects of nature which did not previously exist, and thus was in so far a step towards monotheism.
The manner of creation is variously represented. In no case is anything made out of nothing. The first act of creation was the formation of an island out of the drippings of the brine of the chaos-ocean from a spear. The other parts of Japan and many of the deities were produced by the ordinary process of generation. The functions of Izanagi and Izanami are elsewhere described as "putting in order and fully consolidating" the floating land beneath. This is precisely what Ohonamochi is represented as doing several generations of Gods later. Deities were also produced from Izanagi's clothing and staff" which he threw down on his flight from Yomi, and from his eyes and nose when he washed in the sea to remove the impurity contracted by his visit thither. The Wind-God was his breath and the Gods of Water and Clay were formed of the urine and fœces of Izanami when she was about to die. These ideas, though not quite identical with, are closely related to the legends of other countries which describe the creation of the universe from the fragments of a fabulous anthropomorphic being. The Chinese myth of P'anku has been already quoted. Norse story tells how "the vast frame of the world-giant Hymi was completely cut up by the sons of Bor, with Woden at their head. From Hymi's flesh they made the earth, from his bones the mountains, from his skull the heavens, from his blood the sea."
There is nothing spiritual about these two deities. All their actions are modelled not on those of ghosts, but on those of living men. Even when Izanami dies and goes down to the land of Yomi, she does not become a ghost, but a putrefying corpse.
Their shintai is a mirror.
A Japanese writer says: " n the beginning of all sentient things we have two Supreme Beings, Izanagi and Izanami." Even if we admit the possible existence of two Supreme Beings, Izanagi and Izanami hardly realize our conception of the Supreme. They acted by command of other pre-existing deities, and their creation is limited. It does not include all the Gods, and, as is only natural, is confined to Japan. The creation of mankind is nowhere accounted for in Japanese myth. There is, however, a modicum of truth in this writer's statement. Though not the first sentient beings, Izanagi and Izanami are the first who stand out with any distinct characterization, and, although not supreme, they represent a movement, feeble and abortive it is true, towards the co-ordination of all the aspects of divinity in one Supreme Being.
Motoöri proposed, and most European scholars have accepted, a derivation of Izanagi and Izanami from izanafu, a verb which means to invite, to instigate, the terminations gi and mi meaning respectively male deity and female deity. Hence the translation "Male who invites" and "Female who invites." There are, however, grave difficulties in the way of this interpretation. It is scarcely appropriate in the case of the female deity. Moreover, we must take into account the fact that these are not the only pairs of deities in which the terminations nagi and nanii occur. We have also an Aha-nagi (foam-God) and Aha- nami (foam -Goddess), a Tsura-nagi (bubble -God) and Tsura-nami (bubble-Goddess), and a Sa-nagi (rapid-God) and Sa-nami (rapid-Goddess), in all of which na does not belong to the first part of the word, but is put for no, the genitive particle, by a letter-change of which we have other examples. The first element of Izanagi is, therefore, not izana but iza, which is met with as an exclamation of incitement. The harshness of making an interjection followed by a genitive particle is obvious. I am disposed to prefer the derivation which takes Iza as the name of a place. The Nihongi mentions a "true well" of Isa or Iza. There are two places called Isa in Hitachi, and an Isa no Jinja, or shrine of Isa, in Idzumo. It is even possible that these Gods are simply the Gods of Ise (Ise no gi and Ise no mi). A similar letter-change takes place in manabuta, eyelid, for me no futa, and tanasuye for te no suye. The difference between s and z is of little consequence in Japanese.
Musubi, the God of Growth.—Musubi illustrates a different conception of creation from that of the myths of Ohonamochi and Izanagi and Izanami. This God is the abstract process of growth personified—that is, a power immanent in nature and not external to it. The emotion which prompts this personification—so natural to an agricultural people—is well portrayed in the words of a Kafir to the French traveller M. Arbrouseille: "Do I know how the corn sprouts? Yesterday there was not a blade in my field: to-day I returned to the field and found some. Who can have given the earth the wisdom and power to produce it? Then I buried my head in both hands." But while the emotion is the same, the Japanese conception differs. Musubi means growth or production. It is connected with the word umu, to bear, to bring forth, and with musu, to grow, to be born. Musu is said of moss growing on a stone and of ice forming on water. Musuko, a boy, and musume, a girl, contain the same element. As a God's name, Musubi is usually found with one of the laudatory adjectives, taka, high, or kamu, divine, prefixed to it. To these the honorific particle mi is commonly added, giving the forms Taka-mi-musubi and Kamu-mi-musubi. Even in the Kojiki and Nihongi these are recognized as two distinct deities. The Yengishiki (901-922) enumerates three more Musubi deities, and to these still others might be added. In poetry a single God Musubi is alone met with, and the Wamiōshō recognizes but one such deity. Probably the division into several persons was an esoteric refinement of which the people took little heed.
Whether we have regard to his name or to the somewhat meagre notices in the Kojiki and Nihongi, there is nothing spiritual in the Japanese conception of Musubi. But the scribes learned in Chinese who committed the old myths to writing sometimes use characters which imply a spiritual view of his nature. They mean " producing- spirit."
He is also called mi oya, or august parent. Hirata thinks that Taka-musubi and Kamu-musubi are husband and wife, the Kamurogi (progenitor) and Kamuromi (progenitrix) of the norito, and condemns his master Motoöri for holding that we have in these deities a unity in duality and a duality in unity. But his reasons are not quite convincing, and there is a passage in the Kojiki which cannot be reconciled with his view. The same author points out the resemblance of this God to the Hindu Siva, who represents the fructifying principle, the generating power that pervades the universe, producing sun, moon, stars, animals, and plants. Siva is represented in his temples by a phallus, and Hirata conjectures that this was likewise the shintai of Musubi.
Musubi is sometimes called the Inochi no Kami, or God of life. The creation of mankind is attributed to him in a poem of the Jiu-i-shiu, where a rejected lover exclaims:—
"I hate not thee,
It is the God I hate,
Why did he men create
Unto so hard a fate?"
The Kojiki speaks of the two deities Taka-musubi and Kamu-musubi as forming the second and third generations of Gods. The original text of the Nihongi omits all mention of them in this part of the narrative, but in a note there is a quotation from " one writing " in which they are named. In the various accounts of the measures taken to prepare the earth for occupation by Ninigi sometimes the Sun-Goddess is represented as giving instructions, sometimes Taka-musubi, sometimes both together, and sometimes Taka-musubi alone. Jimmu, in making mention of the two deities, gives precedence to Taka-musubi. This discordance in the various myths seems to indicate a struggle for ascendency between the respective adherents of Musubi and the Sun-Goddess. The Nihongi states that in A.D. 487 (a fairly trustworthy date), by request of the Moon-God and the Sun-Goddess, the worship of Taka-mi-musubi, whom these two deities call their ancestor and the Creator of Heaven and Earth, was established in two places, and grants of lands and of peasants made for the maintenance of the shrines. This is possibly the beginning of the official worship of this God. In 859 several Musubi deities were raised to the first grade of the first rank. In the tenth century eight shrines to various Musubi deities existed within the Palace. With the official classes Musubi was a dangerous rival to the Sun-Goddess, more especially during the Augustan age of Japanese literature. But he was too philosophical for popular favour. His worship is now greatly neglected. The Musubu no Kami of the present day is identified with the Chinese Gekka-rōjin (moon-under-old-man), who presides over the fates of lovers. The strips of cloth frequently seen hung on bushes by the roadsides are offerings to him. The second meaning of Musubi, namely, "to tie," has no doubt something to do with this new view of the God's function.
The Shōjiroku traces the descent of a large number of the noble families of Japan from the various forms of Musubi. This is a literal rendering of a statement which, in one sense, is true of everybody. We all resemble Topsy.
Kuni-toko-tachi.—I place this deity provisionally among the personifications of abstractions. The name means literally "earth-eternal-stand." He is, therefore, apparently a deification of the durability of earth. Motoori and Hirata take toko as for soko, bottom or limit. This would make this deity a personification of the horizon, or perhaps more accurately Lucretius's " flammantia mænia mundi." He has no sex and no special characteristics. He is barely mentioned in myth, and his cult, which is comparatively modern, was no doubt, as Hirata suggests, a result of the prominent position given him in the Nihongi as the first God in point of time, and as the ancestor of the Sun-Goddess, before whom he was therefore entitled to precedence. He was identified with the Taikyoku, or "Great Absolute," of the Chinese philosophers, was said to be immortal, and to comprise all the Gods in himself, was called "the name of the nameless, the form of that which has no form," and, in short, erected into a Supreme Being. In the fourteenth century an unsuccessful attempt was made to substitute him for the Food-Goddess as the deity of the outer shrine of Ise. At the present day he is wor- shipped at Mount Ontake, in the province of Shinano, a place much resorted to by pilgrims.
O tentō-sama (august-heaven-way-personage) was probably originally a personification of the natural order of things Laotze's tao, or Pindar's Νόμος, the βασιλεύς of Gods and men. But this is too abstract for the common Japanese. To them O tentō sama is the Sun itself, endowed, it is true, with certain moral attributes.
Drought and Famine deities belong to this class. None of these is of much importance.
- Deuteronomy iv. 19; xvii. 3.
- The Vice-Royalty of Kiushiu.
- In Korea.
- See above, p. 70; also Index—'Mirror.'
- "The mirror is kept in a box of chamaecyparis wood, which rests on a low stand covered with a piece of white silk. It is wrapped in a bag of brocade, which is never opened or renewed, but when it begins to fall to pieces from age another bag is put on, so that the actual covering consists of many layers. Over the whole is placed a sort of wooden cage, with ornaments said to be of pure gold, over which again is thrown a cloth of coarse silk falling to the floor on all sides."—Murray's 'Japan,' fifth edition, p. 308.
- See Index—Naishidokoro.
- A kind of hawk. 'Odyssey,' xv. 525.
- Vide 'The Hinomaru' in the T. A. S. J., vol. xxii. p. 27.
- See above, p. 65.
- 'In the Shinto Pantheon,' in the New World, December, 1896.
- Japan is annually visited by destructive typhoons, accompanied by great darkness and a terrific downpour of rain.
- See above, p. 106.
- Egyptian is one.
- See Index—'Sasura-hime.'
- 'Religions of Primitive Peoples,' p. 80.
- I offer, for consideration only, two conjectures: first, that Tsuki-yomi was the Ise Moon-God, and Susa no wo the Idzumo lunar deity; and second, that Susa may possibly be an allotropic form of sasura, banish.
- "The large, deep love of living sea and land."—Swinburne, 'Kynance Cove.'
- Graphically described in Lafcadio Hearn's 'Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.'
- See above, p. 108.
- See above, p. 106.
- Nihongi, ii. 366.
- I. 198.
- See 'Ch. K.,' p. 33.
- See above, p. 95.
- See Index—'Sumiyoshi.'
- See p. 114.
- See above, p. 92.
- Nihongi, i. 22.
- See Index—'Wind-Gods.'
- In Yucatan there were four Wind-Gods, who upheld the four corners of Heaven.
- See above, p. 109.
- Nihongi, i. 115
- Nihongo, i. 44.
- Is it possible that Fuji no yama is really for Futsu no yama, the mountain of fire?
- The sword was deified in Teutonic myth.
- "So called," says Hirata, "because heat makes things grow."
- See Index—Ho-shidzume, Fire-drill.
- As a source of food?
- See Index—Toshi-gohi.
- See Index.
- Murray's 'Japan,' fifth edit., p. 383.
- See Index—'Red.'
- See Index—Yabune.
- Compare our "nave," from the Latin navis.
- See below, p. 186.
- See Index, s.v.
- See above, p. 86.
- In Japanese In and Yō.
- See above, p. 129.
- Rhys, 'Celtic Heathendom,' p. 115.
- 'In Japan,' edited by Capt. Brinkle.