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Presently he
encountered a beautiful girl. She gave her name as Brilliant Blossom,
and described herself as the daughter of the Kami of mountains one of
the thirty-five beings begotten by Izanagi and Izanami who would seem
to have been then living in Tsukushi, and who gladly consented to
give Brilliant Blossom. He sent with her a plentiful dower--many
"tables"* of merchandise--but he sent also her elder sister,
Enduring-as-Rock, a maiden so ill favoured that Ninigi dismissed her
with disgust, thus provoking the curse of the Kami of mountains, who
declared that had his elder daughter been welcomed, the lives of the
heavenly sovereigns** would have been as long as her name suggested,
but that since she had been treated with contumely, their span of
existence would be comparatively short. Presently Brilliant Blossom
became enceinte. Her lord, however, thinking that sufficient time had
not elapsed for such a result, suspected her of infidelity with one
of the earthly Kami,*** whereupon she challenged the ordeal of fire,
and building a parturition hut, passed in, plastered up the entrance,
and set fire to the building. She was delivered of three children
without mishap, and their names were Hosuseri (Fire-climax), Hohodemi
(Fire-shine), and Hoori (Fire-subside).

*This expression has reference to the fact that offerings at
religious ceremonials were always heaped on low tables for laying
before the shrine.

**The expression "heavenly sovereign" is here applied for the first
time to the Emperors of Japan.

***The term "earthly" was applied to Kami born on earth, "heavenly"
Kami being those born in heaven.

THE CASTLE OF THE SEA DRAGON

At this stage the annals digress to relate an episode which has only
collateral interest Hosuseri and Hohodemi made fishing and hunting,
respectively, their avocations. But Hohodemi conceived a fancy to
exchange pursuits, and importuned Hosuseri to agree. When, however,
the former tried his luck at angling, he not only failed to catch
anything but also lost the hook which his brother had lent him. This
became the cause of a quarrel. Hosuseri taunted Hohodemi on the
foolishness of the original exchange and demanded the restoration of
his hook, nor would he be placated though Hohodemi forged his sabre
into five hundred hooks and then into a thousand. Wandering
disconsolate,* by the seashore, Hohodemi met the Kami of salt, who,
advising him to consult the daughter of the ocean Kami,** sent him to
sea in a "stout little boat."

*"Weeping and lamenting" are the words in the Records.

**One of the Kami begotten by Izanagi and Izanami.

After drifting for a time, he found himself at a palace beside which
grew a many-branched cassia tree overhanging a well. He climbed into
the tree and waited. Presently the handmaidens of Princess Rich Gem,
daughter of the ocean Kami, came to draw water, and seeing a shadow
in the well, they detected Hohodemi in the cassia tree. At his
request they gave him water in a jewelled vessel, but instead of
drinking, he dropped into the vessel a gem from his own necklace, and
the handmaidens, unable to detach the gem, carried the vessel to
their mistress. Then the princess went to look and, seeing a
beautiful youth in the cassia tree, "exchanged glances" with him. The
ocean Kami quickly recognized Hohodemi; led him in; seated him on a
pile of many layers of sealskins* overlaid by many layers of silk
rugs; made a banquet for him, and gave him for wife Princess Rich
Gem.

*Chamberlain translates this "sea-asses' skins," and conjectures that
sea-lions or seals may be meant.

Three years passed tranquilly without the bridegroom offering any
explanation of his presence. At the end of that time, thoughts of the
past visited him and he "sighed." Princess Rich Gem took note of this
despondency and reported it to her father, who now, for the first
time, inquired the cause of Hohodemi's coming. Thereafter all the
fishes of the sea, great and small, were summoned, and being
questioned about the lost hook, declared that the tai* had recently
complained of something sticking in its throat and preventing it from
eating. So the lost hook was recovered, and the ocean Kami instructed
Hohodemi, when returning it to his brother, to warn the latter that
it was a useless hook which would not serve its purpose, but would
rather lead its possessor to ruin. He further instructed him to
follow a method of rice culture the converse of that adopted by his
brother, since he, the ocean Kami, would rule the waters so as to
favour Hohodemi's labours, and he gave him two jewels having the
property of making the tide ebb and flow, respectively. These jewels
were to be used against Hosuseri, if necessary.

*Pagrus major.

Finally the Kami of the ocean instructed a crocodile to carry
Hohodemi to his home. This was accomplished, and in token of his safe
arrival, Hohodemi placed his stiletto on the crocodile's neck for
conveyance to the ocean Kami.

The programme prescribed by the latter was now faithfully pursued, so
that Hosuseri grew constantly poorer, and finally organized a fierce
attack upon his younger brother, who, using the tide-flowing jewel,
overwhelmed his assailants until they begged for mercy, whereupon the
power of the tide-ebbing jewel was invoked to save them. The result
was that Hosuseri, on behalf of himself and his descendants for all
time, promised to guard and respectfully serve his brother by day and
by night. In this episode the hayabito had their origin. They were
palace guards, who to their military functions added the duty of
occasionally performing a dance which represented the struggles of
their ancestor, Hosuseri, when he was in danger of drowning.

BIRTH OF THE EMPEROR JIMMU

After the composition of the quarrel described above, Princess Rich
Gem arrived from the castle of the ocean Kami, and built a
parturition hut on the seashore, she being about to bring forth a
child. Before the thatch of cormorants' feathers could be completed,
the pains of labour overtook her, and she entered the hut, conjuring
her husband not to spy upon her privacy, since, in order to be safely
delivered, she must assume a shape appropriate to her native land.
He, however, suffered his curiosity to overcome him, and peeping in,
saw her in the form of an eight-fathom crocodile. It resulted that
having been thus put to shame, she left her child and returned to the
ocean Kami's palace, declaring that there should be no longer any
free passage between the dominions of the ocean Kami and the world of
men. "Nevertheless afterwards, although angry at her husband's having
wished to peep, she could not restrain her loving heart," and she
sent her younger sister, Good Jewel, to nurse the baby and to be the
bearer of a farewell song to Hohodemi.

The Records state that the latter lived to the age of 580 years and
that his mausoleum was built to the west of Mount Takachiho, on which
his palace stood. Thus for the first time the duration of a life is
stated in the antique annals of Japan. His son, called Fuki-ayezu
(Unfinished Thatch), in memory of the strange incident attending his
birth, married Princess Good Jewel, his own aunt, and by her had four
sons. The first was named Itsuse (Five Reaches) and the youngest,
Iware (a village in Yamato province). This latter ultimately became
Emperor of Japan, and is known in history as Jimmu (Divine Valour), a
posthumous name given to him many centuries after his death.* From
the time of this sovereign dates and events are recorded with full
semblance of accuracy in the Chronicles, but the compilers of the
Records do not attempt to give more than a bald statement of the
number of years each sovereign lived or reigned.

*Posthumous names for the earthly Mikados were invented in the reign
of Kwammu (A.D. 782-805), i.e., after the date of the compilation of
the Records and the Chronicles. But they are in universal use by the
Japanese, though to speak of a living sovereign by his posthumous
name is a manifest anomaly.

THE EXPEDITION TO YAMATO

According to the Chronicles, the four sons of Fuki-ayezu engaged in a
celebrated expedition from Tsukushi (Kyushu) to Yamato, but one
alone, the youngest, survived. According to the Records, two only
took part in the expedition, the other two having died before it set
out. The former version seems more consistent with the facts, and
with the manner of the two princes' deaths, as described in the
Records. Looking from the east coast of the island of Kyushu, the
province of Yamato lies to the northeast, at a distance of about 350
miles, and forms the centre of the Kii promontory. From what has
preceded, a reader of Japanese history is prepared to find that the
objective of the expedition was Izumo, not Yamato, since it was to
prepare for the occupation of the former province that the Sun
goddess and her coadjutors expended so much energy. No explanation
whatever of this discrepancy is offered, but it cannot be supposed
that Yamato was regarded as a halfway house to Izumo, seeing that
they lie on opposite coasts of Japan and are two hundred miles
distant.

The Chronicles assign the genesis of the enterprise to Prince Iware,
whom they throughout call Hohodemi, and into whose mouth they put an
exhortation--obviously based on a Chinese model--speaking of a land
in the east encircled by blue mountains and well situated, as the
centre of administrative authority. To reach Yamato by sea from
Kyushu two routes offer; one, the more direct, is by the Pacific
Ocean straight to the south coast of the Kii promontory; the other is
by the Inland Sea to the northwestern coast of the same promontory.
The latter was chosen, doubtless because nautical knowledge and
seagoing vessels were alike wanting.

It is not possible, however, to speak with confidence as to the
nature of the ships possessed by the Japanese in early times. The
first mention of ships occurs in the story of Susanoo's arrival in
Japan. He is said to have carried with him quantities of tree seeds
which he planted in the Eight Island Country, the cryptomeria and the
camphor being intended to serve as "floating riches," namely ships.
This would suggest, as is indeed commonly believed, that the boats of
that era were simply hollow trunks of trees.

Five centuries later, however, without any intervening reference, we
find the Emperor Sujin urging the construction of ships as of
cardinal importance for purposes of coastwise transport--advice which
is hardly consistent with the idea of log boats.



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