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For that purpose the second of the five necklace
Kami--considered "the most heroic" of all the beings on the "plain of
high heaven"--was despatched. But he "curried favour" with the
Great-Name Possessor and took up his abode in Japan. At the end of
three years,** seeing that he had not returned, it was decided by the
Kami in council to send another envoy, the Heavenly Young Prince. But
he proved even more disloyal, for he married the daughter of the
Great-Name Possessor, famous for her beauty,*** and planning to
succeed his father-in-law as sovereign of the land, remained in Izumo
for eight years. A third conclave of the Kami was now convened by the
Sun goddess and her coadjutor, the Great-Producing Kami,* and they
decided to despatch a pheasant to make observations.

*This Kami married a daughter of one of the two Great-Producing Kami
who belonged to the original trinity, and who co-operates with the
Sun goddess throughout.

**This is the first mention of a measure of time in the Records.

***She was called Princess Undershining, because her beauty shone
through her raiment.

The bird flew down and lit on a cassia tree at the gate of the
Heavenly Young Prince's dwelling, whereupon the prince, at the
instigation of a female spy, taking a bow given to him originally by
the Great-Producing Kami, shot a shaft which pierced the bird's bosom,
and, reaching the Milky Way where sat the Sun goddess and the
Great-Producing Kami, was recognized by the latter, who threw it back
to earth, decreeing that it should strike the prince were he guilty
of treason, and leave him unharmed if the blood on the arrow was that
of the earthly Kami whom he had been sent to quell. The shaft struck
the prince and killed him.

At this point the course of the history is interrupted by an
unintelligible description of the resulting obsequies--held in heaven
according to the Chronicles, on earth according to the Records. Wild
geese, herons, kingfishers, sparrows, and pheasants were the
principal officiators; the mourning rites, which included singing,
and dancing,* continued for eight days and eight nights, and the
proceedings were rudely interrupted by the prince's brother-in-law,
who, coming to condole and being mistaken for the deceased, is so
enraged by the error that he draws his sword, cuts down the mortuary
house, and kicks away the pieces.

*It has been conjectured, with much probability, that this singing
and dancing was a ceremony in imitation of the rites performed to
entice the Sun goddess from her cave. The motive was to resuscitate
the dead.

These two failures did not deter the Great-Producing Kami and the Sun
goddess. They again took counsel with the other beings on the "plain
of high heaven," and it was decided to have recourse to the Kami born
from the blood that dropped from Izanagi's sword when he slew the
Kami of fire. To one of these--the Kami of courage--the mission of
subduing the land of many islands was entrusted, and associated with
him in the work was the Kami of boats, a son of Izanagi and Izanami.
The two descended to Izumo. They carried swords ten hand-breadths
long, and having planted these upside down, they seated themselves on
the points and delivered their message to the Great-Name Possessor,
requiring him to declare whether or not he would abdicate in favour
of the newly named sovereign.

The Great-Name Possessor replied that he must consult his son, who
was absent on a hunting expedition. Accordingly, the Kami of boats
went to seek him, and, on being conducted into his father's presence,
the latter declared his willingness to surrender, sealing the
declaration by suicide.* There remained, then, only the second son of
the Great-Name Possessor to be consulted. He did not submit so
easily. Relying on his great strength, he challenged the Kami of
courage to a trial of hand grasping. But when he touched the Kami's
hand it turned first into an icicle and then into a sword-blade,
whereas his own hand, when seized by the Kami, was crushed and thrown
aside like a young reed. He fled away in terror, and was pursued by
the Kami as far as the distant province of Shinano, when he saved his
life by making formal submission and promising not to contravene the
decision of his father and elder brother.

*He stepped on the side of his boat so as to upset it, and with hands
crossed behind his back sank into the sea.

Then the Great-Name Possessor, having "lost his sons, on whom he
relied," agreed to abdicate provided that a shrine were built in
memory of him, "having its pillars made stout on the nethermost
rock-bottom, and its cross-beams raised to the 'plain of high
heaven.'"* He handed over the broad-bladed spear which had assisted
him to pacify the land, and declaring that if he offered resistance,
all the earthly Kami, too, would certainly resist, he "hid in the
eighty road-windings."

*This hyperbolical language illustrates the tone of the Records and
the Chronicles. Applied to the comparatively humble buildings that
served for residences in ancient Japan, the description in the text
is curiously exaggerated. The phrase here quoted finds frequent
reproduction in the Shinto rituals.

Thus, already in the eighth century when the Records and the
Chronicles were compiled, suicide after defeat in battle had become a
recognized practice. The submission and self-inflicted death of the
Great-Name Possessor did not, however, save his followers. All the
rebellious Kami were put to the sword by the envoys from the "plain
of high heaven." This chapter of the annals ends with an account of
the shrine erected in memory of the Great-Name Possessor. It was
placed under the care of a grandson of the Kami born to Izanagi and
Izanami, who is represented as declaring that he "would continue
drilling fire for the Kami's kitchen until the soot hung down eight
hand-breadths from the roof of the shrine of the Great-Producing Kami
and until the earth below was baked to its nethermost rocks; and that
with the fire thus drilled he would cook for him the fish brought in
by the fishermen, and present them to him in baskets woven of split
bamboos which would bend beneath their weight."

THE DESCENT UPON TSUKUSHI

It had been originally intended that the dominion of Japan should be
given to the senior of the five Kami born of the five-hundred-jewel
string of the Sun goddess. But during the interval devoted to
bringing the land to a state of submission, this Kami's spouse, the
Princess of the Myriad Looms of the Luxuriant Dragon-fly Island,* had
borne a son, Hikoho no Ninigi, (Rice-Ears of Ruddy Plenty), and this
boy having now grown to man's estate, it was decided to send him as
ruler of Japan. A number of Kami were attached to him as guards and
assistants, among them being the Kami of "thought combination," who
conceived the plan for enticing the Sun goddess from her cave and who
occupied the position of chief councillor in the conclave of high
heaven; the female Kami who danced before the cave; the female Kami
who forged the mirror, and, in short, all the Kami who assisted in
restoring light to the world. There were also entrusted to the new
sovereign the curved-jewel chaplet of the Sun goddess, the mirror
that had helped to entice her, and the sword (herb-queller) which
Susanoo had taken from the body of the eight-headed serpent.

*"Dragon-fly Island" was a name anciently given to Japan on account
of the country's shape.

These three objects thenceforth became the three sacred things of
Japan. Strict injunction was given that the mirror was to be regarded
and reverenced exactly as though it was the spirit of the Sun
goddess, and it was ordered that the Kami of "thought combination"
should administer the affairs of the new kingdom. The fact is also to
be noted that among the Kami attached to Hikoho no Ninigi's person,
five--three male and two female--are designated by the Records as
ancestors and ancestresses of as many hereditary corporations, a
distinctive feature of the early Japan's polity. As to the manner of
Hikoho no Ninigi's journey to Japan, the Chronicles say that the
Great-Producing Kami threw the coverlet of his couch over him and
caused him to cleave his way downwards through the clouds; but the
Records allege that he descended "shut up in the floating bridge of
heaven."

The point has some interest as furnishing a traditional trace of the
nature of this so-called invasion of Japan, and as helping to confirm
the theory that the "floating bridge of heaven," from which Izanagi
thrust his spear downwards into the brine of chaos, was nothing more
than a boat. It will naturally be supposed that as Hikoho no Ninigi's
migration to Japan was in the sequel of a long campaign having its
main field in the province of Izumo, his immediate destination would
have been that province, where a throne was waiting to be occupied by
him, and where he knew that a rich region existed. But the Records
and the Chronicles agree in stating that he descended on
Kirishimayama* in Tsukushi, which is the ancient name of the island
of Kyushu. This is one of the first eight islands begotten by Izanagi
and Izanami. Hence the alternative name for Japan, "Land of the Eight
Great Islands."

*Takachiho-dake is often spoken of as the mountain thus celebrated,
but Takachiho is only the eastern, and lower, of the two peaks of
Kirishima-yama.

It was, moreover, to a river of Tsukushi that Izanagi repaired to
cleanse himself from the pollution of hades. But between Kyushu
(Tsukushi) and Izumo the interval is immense, and it is accentuated
by observing that the mountain Kirishima, specially mentioned in the
story, raises its twin peaks at the head of the Bay of Kagoshima in
the extreme south of Kyushu. There is very great difficulty in
conceiving that an army whose ultimate destination was Izumo should
have deliberately embarked on the shore of Kagoshima. The landing of
Ninigi--his full name need not be repeated--was made with all
precautions, the van of his army (kume) being commanded by the
ancestor of the men who thenceforth held the highest military rank
(otomo) through many centuries, and the arms carried being bows,
arrows, and swords.*

*The swords are said to have been "mallet-headed," but the term still
awaits explanation.

All the annals agree in suggesting that the newcomers had no
knowledge of the locality, but whereas one account makes Ninigi
consult and obtain permission from an inhabitant of the place,
another represents him as expressing satisfaction that the region lay
opposite to Kara (Korea) and received the beams of the rising and the
setting sun, qualifications which it is not easy to associate with
any part of southern Kyushu.

At all events he built for himself a palace in accordance with the
orthodox formula--its pillars made stout on the nethermost
rock-bottom and its cross-beams made high to the plain of heaven--and
apparently abandoned all idea of proceeding to Izumo.



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