Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

1.6: Shintoism

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    6 Shintoism


    Shintō?), also called kami-no-michi, is a Japanese ethnic religion. It focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified "Shinto religion", but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is a term that applies to the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of gods (kami), suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, and applies as well to various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Nara and Heian periods (8th to 12th centuries AD).

    The word Shinto ("way of the gods") was adopted, originally as Jindō or Shindō, from the written Chinese Shendao (神道, pinyin: shén dào), combining two kanji: "shin" (?), meaning "spirit" or kami; and "" (?), meaning a philosophical path or study (from the Chinese word dào). The oldest recorded usage of the word Shindo is from the second half of the 6th century. Kami are defined in English as "spirits", "essences" or "gods", referring to the energy generating the phenomena. Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, trees, rivers, animals, places, and even people can be said to possess the nature of kami. Kami and people are not separate; they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.

    Shinto is the largest religion in Japan, practiced by nearly 80% of the population, yet only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys. This is because "Shinto" has different meanings in Japan: most of the Japanese attend Shinto shrines and beseech kami without belonging to an institutional "Shinto" religion, and since there are no formal rituals to become a member of "folk Shinto", "Shinto membership" is often estimated counting those who join organised Shinto sects. Shinto has 81,000 shrines and 85,000 priests in the country.

    According to Inoue (2003):

    In modern scholarship, the term is often used with reference to kami worship and related theologies, rituals and practices. In these contexts, "Shinto" takes on the meaning of "Japan’s traditional religion", as opposed to foreign religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and so forth.


    Shinto religious expressions have been distinguished by scholars into a series of categories:

      Jinja-Shintō?), the main tradition of Shinto, has always been a part of Japan's history. It consists in taking part in worship practices and events at local shrines. Before the Meiji Restoration, shrines were disorganized institutions usually attached to Buddhist temples; in the Meiji Restoration they were made independent systematised institutions. The current successor to the imperial organization system, the Association of Shinto Shrines, oversees about 80,000 shrines nationwide. Kōshitsu-Shintō?) are the religious rites performed exclusively by the imperial family at the three shrines on the imperial grounds, including the Ancestral Spirits Sanctuary (Kōrei-den) and the Sanctuary of the Kami (Shin-den). Minzoku-Shintō?) includes the numerous but fragmented folk beliefs in deities and spirits. Practices include divination, spirit possession, and shamanic healing. Some of their practices come from Buddhism, Taoism or Confucianism, but most come from ancient local traditions. Kyōha-Shintō?) is a legal designation originally created in the 1890s to separate government-owned shrines from local organised religious communities. These communities originated especially in the Edo period. The basic difference between Shrine Shinto and Sect Shinto is that sects are a later development and grew self-consciously. They can identify a founder, a formal set of teachings and even sacred scriptures. Sect Shinto groups are thirteen, and usually classified under five headings: pure Shinto sects (Shinto Taikyo, Shinrikyo and Izumo Oyashirokyo), Confucian sects (Shinto Shusei-ha and Taiseikyo), mountain worship sects (Jikkokyo, Fusokyo and Mitakekyo or Ontakekyo), purification sects (Shinshukyo and Misogikyo), and faith-healing sects (Kurozumikyo, Konkokyo and its branching Omotokyo, and Tenrikyo). ko-shintō?), literally "Old Shinto", is a reconstructed "Shinto from before the time of Buddhism", today based on Ainu religion and Ryukyuan practices. It continues the restoration movement begun by Hirata Atsutane.
    Shūha-Shintō?) is a grouping of Japanese new religions developed since the second half of the 20th century that have significantly departed from traditional Shinto and are not always regarded as part of it.

    Theology and cosmology


    Kami or shin () is defined in English as "god", "spirit", "spiritual essence", all these terms meaning 'the energy generating a thing'. Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms. Rocks, trees, rivers, animals, places, and even people can be said to possess the nature of kami. Kami and people exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.

    Early anthropologists called Shinto "animistic" in which animate and inanimate things have spirits or souls that are worshipped. The concept of animism in Shinto is no longer current, however. Shinto gods are collectively called yaoyorozu no kami (八百万の神?), an expression literally meaning "eight million kami", but interpreted as meaning "myriad", although it can be translated as "many Kami". There is a phonetic variation, kamu, and a similar word in the Ainu language, kamui. An analogous word is mi-koto.

    Kami refers particularly to the power of phenomena that inspire a sense of wonder and awe in the beholder (the sacred), testifying to the divinity of such a phenomenon. It is comparable to what Rudolf Otto described as the mysterium tremendum and fascinans.

    The kami reside in all things, but certain objects and places are designated for the interface of people and kami: yorishiro, shintai, shrines, and kamidana. There are natural places considered to have an unusually sacred spirit about them, and are objects of worship. They are frequently mountains, trees, unusual rocks, rivers, waterfalls, and other natural things. In most cases they are on or near a shrine grounds. The shrine is a building in which the kami is enshrined (housed). It is a sacred space, creating a separation from the "ordinary" world. The kamidana is a household shrine that acts as a substitute for a large shrine on a daily basis. In each case the object of worship is considered a sacred space inside which the kami spirit actually dwells, being treated with the utmost respect.


    In Shinto kannagara, meaning "way [path] of [expression] of the kami", refers to the law of the natural order. It is the sense of the terms michi or to, "way", in the terms "kami-no-michi" or "Shinto". Those who understand kannagara know the divine, the human, and how people should live. From this knowledge stems the ethical dimension of Shinto, focusing on sincerity (makoto), honesty (tadashii) and purity.


    According to the Kojiki, Amenominakanushi (天御中主 "All-Father of the Originating Hub", or 天之御中主神 "Heavenly Ancestral God of the Originating Heart of the Universe") is the first kami, and the concept of the source of the universe according to theologies. In mythology he is described as a "god who came into being alone" (hitorigami), the first of the zōka sanshin ("three kami of creation"), and one of the five kotoamatsukami ("distinguished heavenly gods").

    Amenominakanushi has been considered a concept developed under the influence of Chinese thought. With the flourishing of kokugaku the concept was studied by scholars. The theologian Hirata Atsutane identified Amenominakanushi as the spirit of the North Star, master of the seven stars of the Big Dipper. The god was emphasised by the Daikyōin in the Meiji period, and worshiped by some Shinto sects.

    The god manifests in a duality, a male and a female function, respectively Takamimusubi (高御産巣日神) and Kamimusubi (神産巣日神). In other mythical accounts the originating kami is called Umashiashikabihikoji (宇摩志阿斯訶備比古遅神 "God of the Ashi [Reed]") or Kuninotokotachi (国之常立神 in Kojiki, 国常立尊 in Nihonshoki; Kunitokotachi-no-Kami or Kuninotokotachi-no-Kami?; the "God Founder of the Nation"), the latter used in the Nihon Shoki.

    Creation of Japan

    The generation of the Japanese archipelago is expressed mythologically as the action of two gods: Izanagi ("He-who-invites") and Izanami ("She-who-is-invited"). The interaction of these two principles begets the islands of Japan and a further group of kami.

    The events are described in the Kojiki as follows:

    • Izanagi-no-Mikoto (male) and Izanami-no-Mikoto (female) were called by all the myriad gods and asked to help each other to create a new land which was to become Japan.
    • They were given a spear with which they stirred the water, and when removed water dripped from the end, an island was created in the great nothingness.
    • They lived on this island, and created a palace. Within the palace was large pole.
    • When they wished to bear offspring, they performed a ritual each rounding a pole, male to the left and female to the right, the female greeting the male first.
    • They had two children (islands) which turned out badly and they cast them out. They decided that the ritual had been done incorrectly the first time.
    • They repeated the ritual but according to the correct laws of nature, the male spoke first.
    • They then gave birth to the eight perfect islands of the Japanese archipelago.
    • After the islands, they gave birth to the other Kami. Izanami-no-Mikoto died in childbirth, however, and Izanagi-no-Mikoto tried to revive her.
    • His attempts to deny the laws of life and death have bad consequences.

    In the myth, the birth of the god of fire (Kagu-Tsuchi) causes the death of Izanami, who descends into Yomi-no-kuni, the netherworld. Izanagi chases her there, but runs away when he finds the dead figure of his spouse. As he returns to the land of the living, Amaterasu (the sun goddess) is born from his left eye, Tsukiyomi (the moon deity) from his right eye, and Susanoo (the storm deity) is born from Izanagi's nose.



    kiyome?). Normal days are called "day" (ke), and festive days are called "sunny" or, simply, "good" (hare). urami?) (grudge) and become powerful and evil kami who seek revenge (aragami). Additionally, if anyone is injured on the grounds of a shrine, the area must be ritually purified.


    Purification rites called Harae are a vital part of Shinto. They are done on a daily, weekly, seasonal, lunar, and annual basis. These rituals are the lifeblood of the practice of Shinto. Such ceremonies have also been adapted to modern life. New buildings made in Japan are frequently blessed by a Shinto priest called kannushi (神主?) during the groundbreaking ceremony (Jichinsai 地鎮祭), and many cars made in Japan have been blessed as part of the assembly process. Moreover, many Japanese businesses built outside Japan have had ceremonies performed by a Shinto priest, with occasionally an annual visitation by the priest to re-purify.


    It is common for families to participate in ceremonies for children at a shrine, yet have a Buddhist funeral at the time of death. In old Japanese legends, it is often claimed that the dead go to a place called yomi (黄泉), a gloomy underground realm with a river separating the living from the dead mentioned in the legend of Izanami and Izanagi. This yomi very closely resembles the Greek Hades; however, later myths include notions of resurrection and even Elysium-like descriptions such as in the legend of Okuninushi and Susanoo. Shinto tends to hold negative views on death and corpses as a source of pollution called kegare. However, death is also viewed as a path towards apotheosis in Shintoism as can be evidenced by how legendary individuals become enshrined after death. Perhaps the most famous would be Emperor Ojin who was enshrined as Hachiman the God of War after his death.

    ujigami?). One may choose to have one's name added to another list when moving and then be listed at both places. Names can be added to the list without consent and regardless of the beliefs of the person added to the list. This is not considered an imposition of belief, but a sign of being welcomed by the local kami, with the promise of addition to the pantheon of kami after death.

    Shinto Funeral

    Shinto Funeral were established during the Tokugawa period. There are at least twenty steps involves in burying the dead. Mourners wear a solid black in a day of mourning called Kichu-fuda and a Shinto priest will perform various rituals. People will give monetary gifts to the deceased's family called Koden, and Kotsuge is the gathering of the deceased's ashes. Some of the ashes are taken by family members to put in their home shrines at the step known as Bunkotsu.


    The principal worship of kami is done at public shrines or worship at small home shrines called kamidana (神棚, lit. "god-shelf"). The public shrine is a building or place that functions as a conduit for kami. A fewer number of shrines are also natural places called mori. The most common of the mori are sacred groves of trees, or mountains, or waterfalls. All shrines are open to the public at some times or throughout the year.

    While many of the public shrines are elaborate structures, all are characteristic Japanese architectural styles of different periods depending on their age. Shrines are fronted by a distinctive Japanese gate (鳥居, torii) made of two uprights and two crossbars denoting the separation between common space and sacred space. The torii have 20 styles and matching buildings based on the enshrined kami and lineage.

    There are a number of symbolic and real barriers that exist between the normal world and the shrine grounds including: statues of protection, gates, fences, ropes, and other delineations of ordinary to sacred space. Usually there will be only one or sometimes two approaches to the Shrine for the public and all will have the torii over the way. In shrine compounds, there are a haiden (拝殿) or public hall of worship, heiden (幣殿) or hall of offerings and the honden (本殿) or the main hall. The innermost precinct of the grounds is the honden or worship hall, which is entered only by the high priest, or worshippers on certain occasions. The honden houses the symbol of the enshrined kami.

    The heart of the shrine is periodic rituals, spiritual events in parishioners' lives, and festivals. All of this is organized by priests who are both spiritual conduits and administrators. Shrines are private institutions, and are supported financially by the congregation and visitors. Some shrines may have festivals that attract hundreds of thousands, especially in the New Year season.

    The Kojiki7

    Read as much of this as you feel like, and try to focus on answering one question: What are the philosophical elements present here? Specifically, you can be thinking in terms of metaphysics (nature of reality and existence) and ethics (right actions), but there are other elements as well.



    The names of the deities that were born in the Plain of High Heaven when the Heaven and Earth began were the deity Master-of-the-August-Center-of-Heaven; next, the High-August-Producing-Wondrous deity; next, the Divine-Producing-Wondrous deity. These three deities were all deities born alone, and hid their persons. The names of the deities that were born next from a thing that sprouted up like unto a reed-shoot when the earth, young and like unto floating oil, drifted about medusa-like, were the Pleasant-Reed-Shoot-Prince-Elder deity, next the Heavenly-Eternally-Standing deity. These two deities were likewise born alone, and hid their persons.

    The five deities in the above list are separate Heavenly deities.


    The names of the deities that were born next were the Earthly-Eternally-Standing deity; next, the Luxuriant-Integrating-Master deity. These two deities were likewise deities born alone, and hid their persons. The names of the deities that were born next were the deity Mud-Earth-Lord; next, his Younger sister the deity -Mud-Earth-Lady; next, the Germ-Integrating deity; next, his younger sister the Life-Integrating-Deity; next, the deity of Elder-of-the-Great-Place; next, his younger sister the deity Elder-Lady-of-the-Great-Place; next, the deity Perfect-Exterior; next, his younger sister the deity Oh-Awful-Lady; next, the deity Izanagi or the Male-Who-Invites; next, his younger sister Izanami or the deity the Female-Who-Invites.

    From the Earthly-Eternally-Standing deity down to the deity the Female-Who-Invites in the previous list are what are termed the Seven Divine Generations.


    Hereupon all the Heavenly deities commanded the two deities His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites and Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites, ordering them to "make, consolidate, and give birth to this drifting land." Granting to them a heavenly jeweled spear, they thus deigned to charge them. So the two deities, standing upon the Floating Bridge of Heaven pushed down the jeweled spear and stirred with it, whereupon, when they had stirred the brine till it went curdle-curdle, and drew the spear up, the brine that dripped down from the end of the spear was piled up and became an island. This is the Island of Onogoro.


    Having descended from Heaven on to this island, they saw to the erection of a heavenly august pillar, they saw to the erection of a hall of eight fathoms. Then Izanagi, the Male-Who-Invites, said to Izanami, the Female-Who-Invites, "We should create children"; and he said, "Let us go around the heavenly august pillar, and when we meet on the other side let us be united. Do you go around from the left, and I will go from the right." When they met, Her Augustness, the Female-Who-Invites, spake first, exclaiming, "Ah, what a fair and lovable youth!" Then His Augustness said, "Ah what a fair and lovable maiden!" But afterward he said, " It was not well that the woman should speak first!" The child which was born to them was Hiruko (the leech-child), which when three years old was still unable to stand upright. So they placed the leech-child in a boat of reeds and let it float away. Next they gave birth to the island of Aha. This likewise is not reckoned among their children.

    Hereupon the two deities took counsel, saving: "The children to whom we have now given birth are not good. It will be best to announce this in the august place of the Heavenly deities." They ascended forthwith to Heaven and inquired of Their Augustnesses the Heavenly deities. Then the Heavenly deities commanded and found out by grand divination, and ordered them, saying: "they were not good because the woman spoke first. Descend back again and amend your words." So thereupon descending back, they again went round the heavenly august pillar. Thereupon his Augustness the Male-who-Invites spoke first: " Ah! what a fair and lovely maiden!" Afterward his younger sister Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites spoke: " Ah! what a fair and lovely youth! " Next they gave birth to the Island of Futa-na in Iyo. This island has one body and four faces, and each face has a name. So the Land of Iyo is called Lovely-Princess; the Land of Sanuki is called Princess-Good-Boiled-Rice; the Land of Aha is called the Princess-of-Great-Food, the Land of Tosa is called Brave-Good-Youth. Next they gave birth to the islands of Mitsu-go near Oki, another name for which islands is Heavenly-Great-Heart-Youth. This island likewise has one body and four faces, and each face has a name. So the Land of Tsukushi is called White-Sun-Youth; the Land of Toyo is called Luxuriant-Sun-Youth; the Land of Hi is called Brave-Sun-Confronting-Luxuriant-Wondrous-Lord-Youth; the Land of Kumaso is called Brave-Sun-Youth. Next they gave birth to the Island of Iki, another name for which is Heaven's One-Pillar. Next they gave birth to the Island of Tsu, another name for which is Heavenly-Hand-Net-Good-Princess. Next they gave birth to the Island of Sado. Next they gave birth to Great-Yamato-the-Luxuriant-Island-of-the-Dragon-fly, another name for which is Heavenly-August-Sky-Luxuriant-Dragon-fly-Lord-Youth. The name of "Land-of-the-Eight-Great-Islands" therefore originated in these eight islands having been born first. After that, when they had returned, they gave birth to the Island of Koo-zhima in Kibi, another name for which island is Brave-Sun-Direction-Youth. Next they gave birth to the Island of Adzuki, another name for which is Oho-Nu-De-Hime. Next they gave birth to the Island of Oho-shima, another name for which is Oho-Tamaru-Wake. -Next they gave birth to the Island of Hime, another name for which is Heaven's-One-Root. Next they gave birth to the Island of Chika, another name for which is Heavenly-Great-Male. Next they gave birth to the islands of Futa-go, another name for which is Heaven's Two-Houses. (Six islands in all from the Island of Ko in Kibi to the Island of Heaven's-Two-Houses.)


    When they had finished giving birth to countries, they began afresh giving birth to deities. So the name of the deity they gave birth to was the deity Great-Male-of-the-Great-Thing; next, they gave birth to the deity Rock-Earth-Prince; next, they gave birth to the deity Rock-Nest-Princess; next, they gave birth to the deity Great-Door-Sun-Youth; next, they gave birth to the deity Heavenly-Blowing-Male; next, they gave birth to the deity Great-House-Prince; next, they gave birth to the deity Youth-of-the-Wind-Breath-the-Great-Male; next, they gave birth to the sea-deity, whose name is the deity Great-Ocean-Possessor next, they gave birth to the deity of the Water-Gates, whose name is the deity Prince-of-Swift-Autumn ; next they gave birth to his younger sister the deity Princess-of-Swift-Autumn. (Ten deities in all from the deity Great-Male-of-the-Great-Thing to the deity Princess-of-Autumn.) The names of the deities given birth to by these two deities Prince-of-Swift-Autumn and Princess-of-Swift-Autumn from their separate dominions of river and sea were: the deity Foam-Calm; next, the deity Foam-Waves; next the deity Bubble-Calm; next, the deity Bubble-Waves; next the deity Heavenly-Water-Divider; next, the deity Earthly-Water-Divider; next, the deity Heavenly-Water-Drawing-Gourd-Possessor; next, the deity Earthly-Water-Drawing-Gourd-Possessor. (Eight deities in all from the deity Foam-Prince to the deity Earthly-Water-Drawing-Gourd-Possessor.) Next, they gave birth to the deity of Wind, whose name is the deity Prince-of-Long-Wind. Next, they gave birth to the deity of Trees, whose name is deity Stem-Elder; next, they gave birth to the deity of Mountains, whose name is the deity Great-Mountain-Possessor. Next, they gave birth to the deity of Moors, whose name is the deity Thatch-Moor-Princess, another name for whom is the deity Moor-Elder. (Four deities in all from the deity Prince-of-long-wind to Moor-Elder.) The names of the deities given birth to by these two deities, the deity Great-Mountain-Possessor and the deity, Moor-Elder from their separate dominions of mountain and moor were: the deity Heavenly-Elder-of-the Passes; next, the deity Earthly-Elder-of-the-Passes; next, the deity Heavenly-Pass-Boundary; next, the deity Earthly-Pass-Boundary; next, the deity Heavenly-Dark-Door; next, the deity Earthly-Dark-Door next, the deity Great-Vale-Prince; next, the deity Great-Vale-Princess. (Eight deities in all from the deity Heavenly-Elder-of-the-Passes to the deity Great-Vale-Princess.) The name of the deity they next gave birth to was the deity Bird's-Rock-Camphor-tree-Boat, another name for whom is the Heavenly-Bird-Boat. Next, they gave birth to the deity Princess-of-Great-Food. Next, they gave birth to the Fire-Burning-Swift-Male deity, another name for whom is the deity Fire-Shining-Prince, and another name is the deity Fire-Shining-Elder.


    Through giving birth to this child her august private parts were burned, and she sickened and lay down. The names of the deities born from her vomit were the deity Metal-Mountain-Prince and, next, the deity Metal-Mountain-Princess. The names of the deities that were born from her feces were the deity Clay-Viscid-Prince and, next, the deity Clay-Viscid-Princess. The names of the deities that were next born from her urine were the deity Mitsubanome and, next, the Young-Wondrous-Producing deity. The child of this deity was called the deity Luxuriant-Food-Princess. So the deity the Female-Who-Invites, through giving birth to the deity of Fire, at length divinely retired. (Eight deities in all from the Heavenly-Bird-Boat to the deity Luxuriant-Food-Princess.) The total number of islands given birth to jointly by the two deities the Male- Who-Invites and the Female-Who-Invites was fourteen, and of deities thirty-five. (These are such as were given birth to before the deity the Princess-Who-Invites divinely retired. Only the Island of Onogoro was not given birth to and, moreover, the Leech-Child and the Island of Aha are not reckoned among the children.)

    So then His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites said: " Oh! Thine Augustness my lovely younger sister' Oh! that I should have exchanged thee for this single child! " And as he crept round her august pillow, and as he crept round her august feet and wept, there was born from his august tears the deity that dwells at Konomoto, near Unewo on Mount Kagu, and whose name is the Crying-Weeping-Female deity. So he buried the divinely retired deity the Female-Who-Invites on Mount Hiba, at the boundary of the Land of Idzumo and the Land of Hahaki.


    Then His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites, drawing the ten-grasp saber that was augustly girded on him, cut off the head of his child the deity Shining-Elder. Hereupon the names of the deities that were born from the blood that stuck to the point of the august sword and bespattered the multitudinous rock-masses were: the deity Rock-Splitter; next, the deity Root-Splitter; next, the Rock-Possessing-Male deity. The names of the deities that were next born from the blood that stuck to the upper part of the august sword and again bespattered the multitudinous rock-masses were: the Awfully-Swift deity; next, the Fire-Swift deity; next, the Brave-Awful-Possessing-Male deity, another name for whom is the Brave-Snapping deity, and another name is the Luxuriant-Snapping deity. The names of the deities that were next born from the blood that collected on the hilt of the august sword and leaked out between his fingers were: the deity Kura-okami and, next, the deity Kura-mitsuba.

    All the eight deities in the above list, from the deity Rock-Splitter to the deity Kura-mitsuha, are deities that were born from the august sword.

    The name of the deity that was born from the bead of the deity Shining-Elder, who bad been slain, was the deity Possessor-of-the-True-Pass-Mountains. The name of the deity that was next born from his chest was the deity Possessor-of-Descent--Mountains. The name of the deity that was next born from his belly was the deity Possessor-of-the-Innermost Mountains. The name of the deity that was next born from his private parts was the deity Possessor-of-the-Dark-Mountains. The name of the deity that was next born from his left hand was the deity Possessor-of-the-Densely-Wooded-Mountains. The name of the deity that was next born from his right hand was the deity Possessor-of-the-Outlying-Mountains. The name of the deity that was next born from his left foot was the deity Possessor-of-the-Moorland-Mountains. The name of the deity that was next born from his right foot was the deity Possessor-of-the-Outer--Mountains. (Eight deities in an from the deity Possessor-of-the-True-Pass-Mountains to the deity Possessor-of-the-Outer--Mountains.) So the name of the sword with which the -Male-Who-Invites cut off his son's head was Heavenly-Point-Blade-Extended, and another name was Majestic-Point-Blade-Extended.



    Thereupon His Augustuess the Male-Who-Invites, wishing to meet and see his younger sister Her Augustness the FemaleWho-Invites, followed after her to the Land of Hades. So when from the palace she raised the door and came out to meet him, His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites spoke, saying: "Thine Augustness, my lovelv younger sister! the lands that I and thou made are not yet finished making; so come back! " Then Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites answered, saying: " Lamentable indeed that thou camest not sooner! I have eaten of the furnace of Hades. Nevertheless, as I reverence the entry here of Thine Augustness, my lovely elder brother, I wish to return. Moreover, I will discuss it particularly with the deities of Hades. Look not at me!" Having thus spoken, she went back inside the palace; and as she tarried there very long, he could not wait. So having taken and broken off one of the end-teeth of the multitudinous and close-toothed comb stuck in the august left bunch of his hair, he lit one light and went in and looked. Maggots were swarming, and she was rotting, and in her head dwelt the Great-Thunder, in her breast dwelt the Fire-Thunder, in her left hand dwelt the Young-Thunder, in her right hand dwelt the Earth-Thunder, in her left foot dwelt the Rumbling-Thunder, in her right foot dwelt the Couchant-Thunder -- altogether eight Thunder-deities had been born and dwelt there. Hereupon His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites, overawed at the sight, fled back, whereupon his younger sister, "Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites, said: "Thou hast put me to shame," and at once sent the Ugly-Female-of-Hades to pursue him. So His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites took his black august head-dress and cast it down, and it instantly turned into grapes. While she picked them up and ate them, he fled on; but as she still pursued him, he took and broke the multitudinous and close-toothed comb in the right bunch of his hair and cast it down, and it instantly turned into bamboo-sprouts. While she pulled them up and ate them, he fled on. Again, later, his younger sister sent the eight Thunder-deities with a thousand and five hundred warriors of Hades to pursue him. So he, drawing the ten-grasp saber that was augustly girded on him, fled forward brandishing it in his back hand;" and as they still pursued, he took, on reaching the base of the Even-Pass-of-Hades, three peaches that were growing at its base, and waited and smote his pursuers therewith, so that they all fled back. Then His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites announced to the peaches: "Like as ye have helped me, so must ve help all living people in the Central Land of Reed-Plains when they shall fall into troublous circumstances and be harassed! "- and he gave to the peaches the designation of Their Augustnesses Great-Divine-Fruit. Last of all, his younger sister, Her Augustness the Princess-Who-Invites, came out herself in pursuit. So he drew a thousand-draught rock, and with it blocked up the Even-Pass-of-Hades, and placed the rock in the middle; and they stood opposite to one another and exchanged leave-takings ; and Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites said: "My lovely elder brother, thine Augustness! If thou do like this, I will in one day strangle to death a thousand of the folk of thy land." Then His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites replied: "My lovely younger sister, Thine Augastness! If thou do this, I will in one day set up a thousand and five hundred parturition-house. In this manner each day a thousand people would surely be born." So Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites is called the Great-Deity-of-Hades. Again it is said that, owing to her having pursued and reached her elder brother, she is called the Road-Reaching-Great deity."' Again, the rock with which he blocked up the Even-Pass-of-Hades is called the Great-Deity-of-the-Road-Turning-back, and again it is called the Blocking-Great-Deity-of-the-Door-of-Hades. So what was called the Even-Pass-of-Hades is now called the Ifuya-Pass in the Land of Idzumo.


    Therefore the great deity the Male-Who-Invites said: "Nay! hideous! I have come to a hideous and polluted land - I have! So I will perform the purification of my august person." So he went out to a plain covered with altagi, at a small river-mouth near Tachibana in Himuka in the island of Tsukushi, and purified and cleansed himself. So the name of the deity that was born from the august staff which he threw down was the deity Thrust-Erect-Come-Not-Place. The name of the deity that was born from the august girdle which he next threw down was the deity Road-Long-Space. The name of the deity that was born from the august skirt which he next threw down was the deity Loosen-Put. The name of the deity that was born from the august upper garment which he next threw down was the deity Master-of-Trouble. The name of the deity that was born from the august trousers which be next threw down was the Road-Fork deity. The name of the deity that was born from the august hat which he next threw down was the deity Master-of-the-Open-Mouth. The names of the deities that were born from the bracelet of his august left hand which he next threw down were the deity Offing-Distant, next, the deity Wash-Prince-of-the-Offing; next, the deity Intermediate-Direction-of-the-offing. The names of the deities that were born from the bracelet of his august right hand which he next threw down were: the deity Shore-Distant; next, the deity Wash-Prince-of-the-Shore; next, the deity Intermediate-Direction-of-the-Shore.

    The twelve deities mentioned in the foregoing list from the deity Come-Not-Place down to the deity Intermediate-Direction-of-the-Shore are deities that were born from his taking off the things that were on his person.

    Thereupon saying: "The water in the upper reach is too rapid; the water in the lower reach is too sluggish," he went down and plunged in the middle reach; and, as he washed, there was first born the Wondrous-Deity-of-Eighty-Evils, and next the Wondrous-Deity-of-Great-Evils. These two deities are the deities that were born from the filth he contracted when he went to that polluted, hideous land. The names of the deities that were next born to rectify those evils were: the Divine-Rectifying-Wondrous deity; next, the Great-Rectictifying-Wondrous deity; next, the Female-Deity-Idzu. The names of the deities that were next born as be bathed at the bottom of the water were: the deity Possessor-of-the-Ocean-Bottom and, next, His Augustness Elder-Male-of-the-Bottom. The names of the deities that were born as he bathed in the middle of the water were: the deity Possessor-of-the-Ocean-Middle and, next, His Augustness Elder-Male-of-the-Middle. The names of the deities that were born as lie bathed at the top of the water were the deity Possessor-of-the-Ocean-Surface and, next, His Augustness Elder--Male-of-the-Surface. These three Ocean-Possessing deities are the deities held in reverence as their ancestral-deities by the Chiefs of Adzumi. So the Chiefs of Adzumi are the descendants of His Augustness Utsushi-hi-gana-saku, a child of these Ocean-possessing deities. These three deities His Augustness Elder-Male-of-the-Bottom, His Augustness Elder-Male-of-the-Middle, and His Augustness Elder-Male-of-the-Surface are the three great deities of the Inlet of Sumi. The name of the deity that was born as he thereupon washed his left august eye was the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity. The name of the deity that was next born as he washed his right august eye was His Augustness Moon-Night-Possessor. The name of the deity that was next born as he washed his august nose was His Brave-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness.

    The fourteen deities in the foregoing list from the Wondrous-Deity-of-Eighty-Evils down to His Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness are deities born from the bathing of his august person.



    At this time His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites greatly rejoiced, saying: "I, begetting child after child, have at my final begetting gotten three illustrious children." With which words, at once jinglingly taking off and shaking the jewel-string forming his august necklace, be bestowed it on Amaterasu, the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity. saying: "Do Thine Augustness rule the Plain-of-High-Heaven." With this charge he bestowed it on her. Now the name of this august necklace was the August-Storehouse-Shelf deity. Next he said to His Augustness Moon-Night-Possessor: "Do Thine Augustness rule the Dominion of the Night." Thus he charged him. Next he said to His-Brave-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness: "Do Thine Augustness rule the Sea-Plain."


    So while the other two deities each assumed his and her rule according to the command with which her father had deigned to charge them, the Storm-God, His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness, did not assume the rule of the dominion with which he had been charged, but cried and wept till his eight-grasp beard reached to the pit of his stomach. The fashion of his weeping was such as by his weeping to wither the green mountains into withered mountains, and by his weeping to dry up all the rivers and seas. For this reason the sound of bad deities was like unto the flies in the fifth moon as they all swarmed, and in all things every portent of woe arose. So the Great August deity the Male-Who-Invites said to His Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness: "How is it that, instead of ruling the land with which I charged thee, thou dost wail and weep?" He replied, saying: "I wail because I wish to depart to my deceased mother's land, to the Nether Distant Land." Then the Great August deity the Male-Who-Invites was very angry and said: If that be so,, thou shalt not dwell in this land, and forthwith expelled him with a divine expulsion. So the great deity the Male-Who-Invites dwells at Taga in Afumi.


    So thereupon His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness said: if that be so I will take leave of the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity, and depart." With these words he forthwith went up to Heaven, whereupon all the mountains and rivers shook, and every land and country quaked. So the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity, alarmed at the noise, said: " The reason of the ascent hither of His Augustness my elder brother is surely of no good intent. It is only that he wishes to wrest my land from me." And she forthwith, unbinding her august hair, twisted it into august bunches; and both into the left and into the right august bunch, as likewise into her august head-dress and likewise on to her left and her right august arm, she twisted an augustly complete string of curved jewels eight feet long, of five hundred jewels, and, slinging on her back a quiver holding a thousand arrows, and adding thereto a quiver holding five hundred arrows, she likewise took and slung at her side a mighty and high sounding elbow-pad, and brandished and stuck her bow upright so that the top shook, and she stamped her feet into the hard ground up to her opposing thighs, kicking away the earth like rotten snow, and stood valiantly like unto a mighty man, and, waiting, asked: "Wherefore ascendest thou hither?" Then His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness replied, saying: "I have no evil intent. It is only that when the Great August deity our father spoke, deigning to inquire the cause of my wailing and weeping, I said: 'I wail because I wish to go to my deceased mother's land' -- whereupon the Great-August deity said: 'Thou shalt not dwell in this land,' and deigned to expel me with a divine expulsion. It is therefore solely with the thought of taking leave of thee and departing, that I have ascended hither. I have no strange intentions." Then the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity said: " If that be so, whereby shall I know the sincerity of thine intentions? " Thereupon His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness replied, saying: "Let each of us swear and produce children." So as they then swore to each other from the opposite banks of the Tranquil River of Heaven, the august names of the deities that were born from the mist of her breath when, having first begged His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness to hand her the ten-grasp saber which was girded on him, and broken it into three fragments, and with the jewels making a jingling sound, having brandished and washed them in the True-Pool-Well of Heaven, and having crunchingly crunched them, the Heaven-Shining-Great deity blew them away, were Her Angustness Torrent-Mist-Princess, another august name for whom is Her Augustness Princess-of-the-Island-of-the-Offing; next Her Augustness Lovely-Island-Princess another august name for whom is Her Augustness Good-Princess; next Her Augustness Princess-of-the-Torrent. The august name of the deity that was born from the mist of his breath when, having begged the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity to hand him the augustly complete string of curved jewels eight feet long - of five hundred jewels - that was twisted in the left august bunch of her hair, and with the jewels making a jingling sound having brandished and washed them in the True-Pool-Well of Heaven, and having cruncbingly crunched them, His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness blew them away, was His Augustness Truly-Conqueror-I-Conqueror-Conquering-Swift-Heavenly-Great-Great-Ears. The august name of the deity that was born from the mist of his breath when again, having begged her to hand him the jewels that were twisted in the right august bunch of her hair, and having crunchingly crunched them, he blew them away, was His Augustness Ame-no-hohi. The august name of the deity that was born from the mist of his breath when again, having begged her to hand him the jewels that were twisted in her august head-dress, and having crunchingly crunched them, he blew them away, was His Augustness Prince-Lord-of-Heaven. The august name of the deity that was born from the mist of his breath when again, having begged her to hand him the jewels that were twisted on her left august arm, and having crunchingly crunched them, he blew them away, was His Augustness Prince-Lord-of-Life. The august name of the deity that was born from the mist of his breath when again, having begged her to band him the jewels that were twisted on her right august arm, and having crunchingly crunched them,, be blew them away was His-Wondrous-Augustness-of-Kumanu. ( Five deities in all.)


    Hereupon the Heavenly Shining-Great-August deity said to His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness: "As for the seed of the five male deities born last, their birth was from things of mine; so undoubtedly they are my children. As for the seed of the three female deities born first, their birth was from a thing of thine; so doubtless they are thy children." Thus did she declare the division. So Her Augustness Torrent-Mist-Princess, the deity born first, dwells in the inner temple of Munakata. The next, Her Augustness Lovely-Island-Princess, dwells in the middle temple of Munakata. The next, Her Augustness Princess-of-the-Torrent, dwells in the outer temple of Munakata. These three deities are of the three great deities held in reverence by the dukes of Munakata. So His Augustuess Brave-Rustic-Illuminator, child of His Augustness Ame-no-hohi, one of the five children born afterward. This is the ancestor of the rulers of the land of Idzumo, of the rulers of the land of Muzashi, of the rulers of the upper land of Unakami, of the rulers of the lower land of Unakami, of the rulers of the land of lzhimu, of the departmental suzerains of the Island of Tsu and of the rulers of the land of Tobo-tsu-Afumi. The next, His Augustness Prince-Lord-of-Heaven, is the ancestor of the rulers of the land of Ofushi-kafuchi, of the chiefs of Nukatabe-no-yuwe, of the rulers of the land of Ki, of the suzerains of Tanaka in Yamato, of the rulers of the land of Yamashiro, of the rulers of the land of Umaguta, of the rulers of the land of Kine in Michi-no-Shiri, of the rulers of the land of Suhau, of the rulers of Amuchi, in Yamato, of the departmental suzerains of Takechi, of the territorial lords of Kamafu, and of the rulers of Sakikusabe.


    Then His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness said to the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity: "Owing to the sincerity of my intentions I have, in begetting children, gotten delicate females. Judging from this I have undoubtedly gained the victory." With these words, and impetuous with victory, he broke down the divisions of the rice-fields laid out by the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity filled up the ditches, and moreover strewed excrements in the palace where she partook of the great food. So, though he did thus, the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity upbraided him not, but said: "What looks like excrements must be something that His Augustness mine elder brother has vomited through drunkenness. Again, as to his breaking down the divisions of the rice-fields and filling up the ditches, it must be because be grudges the land they occupy that His Augustness mine elder brother acts thus." But notwithstanding these apologetic words, he still continued his evil acts, and was more and more violent. As the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity sat in her awful weaving-hall seeing to the weaving of the august garments of the deities, he broke a hole in the top of the weaving-hall, and through it let fall a heavenly piebald horse which he had flayed with a backward flaying, at whose sight the women weaving the heaveijy garments were so much alarmed they died of fear.


    So thereupon the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity, terrified at the sight, closed behind her the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling, made it fast and retired. Then the whole Plain of High Heaven was obscured and all the Central Land of Reed-Plains darkened. Owing to this, eternal night prevailed. Hereupon the voices of the myriad deities were like unto the flies in the fifth moon as they swarmed, and a myriad portents of woe all arose. Therefore did the eight hundred myriad deities assemble in a divine assembly in the bed of the Tranquil River of Heaven, and bid the deity Thought-Includer, child of the High-August-Producing-Wondrous deity, think of a plan, assembling the long-singing birds of eternal night and making them sing, taking the hard rocks of Heaven from the river-bed of the Tranquil River of Heaven, and taking the iron from the Heavenly Metal-Mountains, calling in the smith Ama-tsu-ma-ra, charging Her Augtsness I-shi-ko-ri-do-me to make a mirror, and charging His Augustness Jewel-Ancestor to make an augustly complete string of curved jewels eight feet long - of five hundred jewels - and summoning His Augustness Heavenly-Beekoning-Ancestor-Lord and His Augustness Great-Jewel, and causing them to pull out with a complete pulling the shoulder-blade of a true stag from the Heavenly Mount Kagu, and take cherry-bark from the Heavenly Mount Kagu, and perform divination, and pulling up by pulling its roots a true cleyera japonica with five hundred branches from the Heavenly Mount Kaga, and taking and putting upon its upper branches the augustly complete string of curved jewels eight feet long - of five hundred jewels - and taking and tying to the middle branches the mirror eight feet long, and taking and hanging upon its lower branches the white pacificatory offerings and the blue pacificatory offering His Augustness Grand-Jewel taking these divers things and holding them together with the grand august offerings, and His Augustness Heavenly-Beckoning-Ancestor-Lord prayerfully reciting grand liturgies, and the Heavenly Hand-Strength-Male deity standing hidden beside the door, and Her Augustness Heavenly-Alarming-Female banging round her the heavenly clubmoss the Heavenly -Mount Kagu as a sash, and making the heavenly spindle-tree her head-dress and binding the leaves of the bamboo-grass of the Heavenly -Mount-Kagu in a posy for her hands, and laying a sounding-board before the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling and stamping, till she made it resound and doing as if possessed by a deity, and pulling out the nipples of her breasts, pushing down her skirt-string "usque ad privates partes". Then the Plain of High Heaven shook, and the eight hundred myriad deities laughed together.

    Hereupon the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity was greatly amazed, and, slightly opening the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling, spoke thus from the inside: "Methought that owing to my retirement the Plain of Heaven would be dark, and likewise the Central Land of Reed-Plains would all be dark: how then is it that the Heavenly-Alarming-Female makes merry, and that likewise the eight hundred myriad deities all laugh? "Then the Heavenly-Alarming-Female spoke, saving: "We rejoice and are glad because there is a deity more illustrious than Thine Augustness." While she was thus speaking, His Augustness Heavenly-Beckoning-Ancestor-Lord and His Augustness Grand-Jewel pushed forward the mirror and respectfully showed it to the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity, whereupon the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity, more and more astonished, gradually came forth from the door and gazed upon it, whereupon the Heavenly-Hand-Strength-Male deity, who was standing hidden, took her august hand and drew her out, and then His Augustness Grand-Jewel drew the bottom-tied rope along at her august back, and spoke, saving: "Thou must not go back further in than this"! So when the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity had come forth, both the Plain of High Heaven and the Central-Land-of-Reed-Plains of course again became light.


    Thereupon the eight hundred myriad deities took counsel together, and imposed on High-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness a fine of a thousand tables, and likewise cut his beard, and even caused the nails of his fingers and toes to be pulled out, and expelled him with a divine expulsion. Again he begged food of the deity Princess-of-Great-Food. Then the Princess-of-Great-Food took out all sorts of dainty things from her nose, her mouth, and her fundament, and made them up into all sorts of dishes, which she offered to him. But His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness watched her proceedings, considered that she was offering up to him filth, and at once killed the deity Princess-of-Great-Food. So the things that were born in the body of the deity who had been killed were as follows: in her head were born silkworms, in her two eyes were born rice-seeds, in her two ears was born millet, in her nose were born small beans, in her private parts was born barley, in her fundament were born large beans. So His Augustness the Deity-Producing-Wondrous-Ancestor caused them to be taken and used as seeds.


    So, having been expelled, His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness descended to a place called Tori-kami at the headwaters of the River Hi in the Land of Idzumo. At this time some chopsticks came floating down the stream. So His Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness, thinking that there must be people at the head-waters of the river, went up it in quest of them, when he came upon an old man and an old woman - two of them - who had a young girl between them, and were weeping. Then he deigned to ask: "Who are ye?" So the old man replied, saving: "I am an Earthly deity, child of the deity Great-Mountain-Possessor. I am called by the name of Foot-Stroking-Elder, my wife is called by the name of Hand-Stroking-Elder, and my daughter is called by the name of Wondrous-Inada-Princess." Again he asked: "What is the cause of your crying?" The old man answered, saying: "I had originally eight young girls as daughters. But the eight-forked serpent of Koshi has come every year and devoured one, and it is now its time to come, wherefore we weep." Then he asked him: "What is its form like?" The old man answered, saving: " Its eyes are like akakagachi, it has one body with eight heads and eight tails. Moreover, on its body grows moss, and also chamaecyparis and cryptomerias. Its length extends over eight valleys and eight hills, and if one look at its belly, it is all constantly bloody and inflamed." (What is called here akakagachi is the modern hohodzuki.) Then His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augstness said to the old man: "If this be tby daughter, wilt thou offer her to me?" He replied, saying: "With reverence, but I know not thine august name." Then be replied, saving: I am elder brother to the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity. So I have now descended from Heaven." Then the deities Foot-Stroking-Elder and Hand-Stroking-Elder said: "If that be so, with reverence will we offer her to thee." So His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness, at once taking and changing, the young girl into a multitudinous and close-toothed comb which he stuck into his august hair-bunch, said to the deities Foot-Stroking-Elder and Hand-Stroking-Elder: " Do you distil some eightfold refined liquor. Also make a fence round about, in that fence make eight gates, at each gate tie together eight platforms, on each platform put a liquor-vat, and into each vat pour the eightfold refined liquor, and wait." So as they waited after having thus prepared everything in accordance with his bidding the eight-forked serpent came truly as the old man had said, and immediately dipped a head into each vat, and drank the liquor. Thereupon it was intoxicated with drinking, and all the heads lay down and slept. Then His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness drew the ten-grasp saber, that was augustly girded on him, and cut the serpent in pieces, so that the River Hi flowed on changed into a river of blood. So when he cut the middle tail, the edge of his august sword broke. Then, thinking it strange, he thrust into and split the flesh with the point of his august sword and looked, and there was a great sword within. So he took this great sword, and, thinking it a strange thing, he respectfully informed the Heaven-Shining-Great-August deity. This is the Herb-Quelling Great Sword.


    So thereupon His Swift-Impetuous-.Male-Augustness sought in the land of Idzumo for a place where he might build a palace. Then he arrived at a place called Suga, and said:

    On coming to this place my august heart is pure" - and in that place he built a palace to dwell in. So that place is now called Suga. When this great deity, first built the palace of Suga, clouds rose up thence. Then he made an august song. That song said:

    "Eight clouds arise. The eightfold fence of Idzumo makes an eightfold fence for the spouses to retire within. Oh! that eightfold fence."

    [This difficult song has been rather differently rendered by Mr. Aston in the Second Appendix to his " Grammar of the Japanese Written Language." Mr. Aston translates it thus:

    Many clouds arise:

    The clouds which come forth are a manifold fence:

    For the husband and wife to retire within

    They have formed a manifold fence:

    Oh! that manifold fence!"]



    From His Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness was descended the deity Master-of-the-Great-Land. He had eighty deities his brethren; but they all left the land to the deity Master-of-the-Great-Land. The reason for their leaving it was this: Each of these eighty deities had in his heart the wish to marry the Princess of Yakami in Inaba, and they went together to Inaba, putting their bag on the back of the deity Great-Name-Possessor, whom they took with them as an attendant. Hereupon, when they arrived at Cape Keta, thev found a naked hare lying down. Then the eighty deities spoke to the hare, saying: "What thou shouldest do is to bathe in the sea-water here, and lie on the slope of a high mountain exposed to the blowing of the wind." So the hare followed the instructions of the eighty deities, and lay down. Then, as the sea-water dried, the skin of its body all split with the blowing of the wind, so that it lay weeping with pain. But the deity Great-Name-Possessor, who came last of all, saw the hare, and said: "Why liest thou weeping? " The hare replied, saving: "I was in the Island of Oki, and wished to cross over to this land, but had no means of crossing over. For this reason I deceived the crocodiles of the sea, saying: ' Let you and me compete, and compute the numbers of our respective tribes. So do you go and fetch every member of your tribe, and make them all lie in a row across from this island to Cape Keta. Then I will tread on them, and count them as I run across. Hereby shall we know whether it or my tribe is the larger.' Upon my speaking thus, they were deceived and lay down in a row, and I trod on them and counted them as I came across, and was just about to get on land, when I said: 'You have been deceived by me.' As soon as I had finished speaking, the crocodile who lay the last of all seized me and stripped off all my clothing. As 1 was weeping and lamenting for this reason, the eighty deities who went by before thee commanded and exhorted me, saying: 'Bathe in the salt water, and lie down exposed to the wind.' So, on my doing as they had instructed me, my whole body was hurt." Thereupon the deity Great-Name-Possessor instructed the hare, saying: " Go quickly now to the river-mouth, wash thy body with the fresh water, then take the pollen of the sedges growing at the river-mouth, spread it about, and roll about upon it, whereupon thy body will certainly be restored to its original state." So the bare did as it was instructed, and its body became as it bad been originally. This was the White Hare of Inaba. It is now called the Hare deity. So the hare said to the deity Great-Name-Possessor: "These eighty deities shall certainly not get the Princess of Yakami. Though thou bearest the bag, Thine Augustness shall obtain her."


    Thereupon the Princess of Yakami answered the eighty deities, saving: "I will not listen to your words. I mean to marry the deity Great-Name- Possessor." So the eighty deities, being enraged, and wishing to slay the deity Great-Name-Possessor, took counsel together, on arriving at the foot of Tema in the land of Hahaki, and said to him: "On this mountain there is a red boar. So when we drive it down, do thou wait and catch it. If thou do not wait and catch it, we will certainly slay thee." Having thus spoken, they took fire, and burned a large stone like unto a boar, and rolled it down. Then, as they drove it down and he caught it, be got stuck to and burned by the stone, and died. Thereupon Her Augustness his august parent cried and lamented, and went up to Heaven, and entreated His Divine-Producing-Wondrous-Augustness, who at once sent Princess Cockle-Shell and Princess Clam to bring him to life. Then Princess Cockle-Shell triturated and scorched her shell, and Princess Clam carried water and smeared him as with mother's milk, whereupon he became a beautiful young man, and wandered off. Hereupon the eighty deities, seeing this, again deceived him, taking him with them into the mountains, where they cut down a large tree, inserted a wedge in the tree and made him stand in the middle, whereupon they took away the wedge and tortured him to death. Then on Her Augustness his august parent again seeking him with cries, she perceived him, and at once cleaving the tree, took him out and brought him to life, and said to him: "If thou remain here, thou wilt at last be destroyed by the eighty deities." Then she sent him swiftly off to the august place of the deity Great-House-Prince in the land of Ki. Then when the eighty deities searched and pursued till they came up to him, and fixed their arrows in their bows, he escaped by dipping under the fork of a tree, and disappeared.


    The deity Great-House-Prince spoke to him, saying: Thou must set off to the Nether-Distant-Land where dwells His Impetuous-Male-Augustness. That great deity will certainly counsel thee." So on his obeying her commands and arriving at the august place of His Impetuous-Male-Augustness, the latter's daughter the Forward-Princess came out, and saw him, and they exchanged glances and were married, and she went in again, and told her father, saying: " A very beautiful deity has come." Then the great deity went out and looked, and said: " This is the Ugly-Male-Deity-of-the-Reed-Plains," and at once calling him in, made him sleep in the snake-house. Hereupon his wife, Her Augustness the Forward-Princess, gave her husband a snake-scarf, saying: " When the snakes are about to bite thee, drive them away by waving this scarf thrice." So, on his doing as she bad instructed, the snakes became quiet, so that he came forth after calm slumbers. Again on the night of the next day the Impetuous--Male deity put him into the centipede and wasp-house; but as she again gave him a centipede and wasp-scarf, and instructed him as before, he came forth calmly. Again the Impetuous-Male deity shot a whizzing barb into the middle of a large moor, and sent him to fetch the arrow, and, when be bad entered the moor, at once set fire to the moor all round. Thereupon, while he stood knowing no place of exit, a mouse came and said: " The inside is hollow-hollow; the outside is narrow-narrow." Owing to its speaking thus, he trod on the place, whereupon he fell in and hid himself, during which time the fire burned past. Then the mouse brought out in its mouth and presented to him the whizzing barb. The feathers of the arrow were brought in their months by all the mouse's children. Hereupon his wife the Forward-Princess came bearing mourning implements, and crying. Her father the great deity, thinking that the deity Great-Name-Possessor was already dead and done for, went out and stood on the moor, whereupon the deity Great-Name-Possessor brought the arrow and presented it to him, upon which the great deity, taking him into the house and calling him into an eight-foot spaced large room, made him take the lice off his head. So, on looking at the head, be saw that there were many centipedes there. Thereupon, as his wife gave to her husband berries of the muku tree and red earth, he chewed the berries to pieces, and spat them out with the red earth which he held in his mouth, so that the great deity believed him to be chewing up and spitting out the centipedes, and, feeling fond of him in his heart, fell asleep. Then the deity Great-Name-Possessor, grasping the great deity's hair, tied it fast to the various rafters of the house, and, blocking up the floor of the house with a five-hundred draught rock, and taking his wife the Forward-Princess on his back, then carried off the great deity's great life-sword and life-bow-and-arrows, as also his heavenly speaking-lute, and ran out. But the heavenly speaking-lute brushed against a tree, and the earth resounded. So the great deity, who was sleeping, started at the sound, and pulled down the house. But while he was disentangling his hair which was tied to the rafters, the deity Great-Name-Possessor fled a long way. So then, pursuing after him to the Even-Pass-of-Hades, and gazing on him from afar, be called out to the deity Great-Name-Possessor, saying: "With the great life-sword and the life-bow-and-arrows which thou carriest, pursue thy half-brethren till they crouch on the august slopes of the passes, and pursue them till they are swept into the reaches of the rivers, and do thou, wretch! become the deity Master-of-the-Great-Land; and moreover, becoming the deity Spirit-of-the-Living-Land, and making my daughter the Forward-Princess thy consort, do thou make stout the temple-pillars at the foot of Mount Uka in the nethermost rock-bottom, and make high the crossbeams to the Plain-of-High-Heaven, and dwell there, thou villain! So when, bearing the great sword and bow, he pursued and scattered the eighty deities, be did pursue them till they crouched on the august slope of every pass, he did pursue them till they were swept into every river, and then he began to make the land.


    This Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears, when he went forth to woo the Princess of Nuna-kaha, in the land of Koshi, on arriving at the house of the Princess of Nunakaha sang, saying:

    "I, The Augustness the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears, having been unable to find a spouse in the Land of the Eight Islands, and having heard that in the far-off Land of Koshi there is a wise maiden, having heard that there is a beauteous maiden, I am standing here to truly woo her, I am going backward and forward to woo her. Without having yet untied even the cord of my sword, without having yet untied even my veil, I push back the plank-door shut by the maiden; while I am standing here, I pull it forward. While I am standing here, the nuye sings upon the green mountain, and the voice of the true bird of the moor, the pheasant, resounds; the bird of the yard, the cock, crows. Oh! the pity that the birds should sing! Oh! these birds! Would that I could beat them till they were sick! Oh! swiftly flying heaven-racing messenger, the tradition of the thing, too, this!"

    Then the Princess of Nuna-kaba, without yet opening the door, sang from the inside, saying:

    Thine Augustness, the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears! Being maiden like a drooping plant, my heart is just a bird on a sand-bank by the shore; it will now indeed be a dotterel. Afterward it will be a gentle bird; so as for thy life, do not deign to die. Oh! swiftly flying heaven-racing messenger! the tradition of the thing, too, this!

    Second Song of the Princess

    When the sun shall hide behind the green mountains, in the night black as the true jewels of the moor will I come forth. Coming radiant with smiles like the morning sun, thine arms white as rope of paper-mulberry-bark shall softly pat my breast soft as the melting snow; and patting each other interlaced, stretching out and pillowing ourselves on each other's jewel-arms - true jewel-arms - and with outstretched legs, will we sleep. So speak not too lovingly, Thine Augustness the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears! The tradition of the thing, too, this!"


    Again this deity's Chief Empress, Her Augustness the Forward-Princess, was very jealous. So the deity her husband, being distressed, was about to go up from Idzumo to the Land of Yamato; and as he stood attired, with one august hand on the saddle of his august horse and one august foot in the august stirrup, he sang, saying:

    When I take and attire myself so carefully in my august garments black as the true jewels of the moor, and, like the birds of the offing, look at my breast -though I raise my fins, I say that these are not good, and cast them off on the waves on the beach. When I take and attire myself so carefully in my august garments green as the kingfisher, and, like the birds of the offing, look at my breast -though I raise my fins, I say that these, too, are not good, and cast them off on the waves on the beach. When I take and attire myself so carefully in my raiment dyed in the sap of the dye-tree, the pounded madder sought in the mountain fields, and, like the birds of the offing, look at my breast though I raise my fins, I say that they are good. My dear young sister, Thine Augustness! Though thou say that thou wilt not weep - if like the Rocking birds, I flock and depart, if, like the led birds, I am led away and depart, thou wilt hang down thy head like a single eulalia upon the mountain and thy weeping shall indeed rise an the mist of the morning shower. Thine Augustness my spouse like the young herbal The tradition of the thing, too, this!"

    Then his Empress, taking a great august liquor-cup, and drawing near and offering it to him, sang, saying:

    "Oh I Thine Augustness the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears! Thou, my dear Master-of-the-Great-Land indeed, being a man, probably best on the various island-headlands that thou seest, and on every beach headland that thou lookest on, a wife like the young herbs. But as for me alas! being a woman, I have no man except thee; I have no spouse except thee. Beneath the fluttering of the ornamented fence, beneath the softness of the warm coverlet, beneath the rustling of the cloth coverlet, thine arms white as rope of paper-mulberry bark softly patting my breast soft as the melting snow, and patting each other interlaced, stretching out and pillowing ourselves on each otber's arms-true jewel-arms, and with outstretched legs, will we sleep. Lift up the luxuriant august liquor!"

    She having thus sung, they at once pledged each other by the cup with their hands on each other's necks, and are at rest till the present time. These are called divine words.



    The Heavenly Sovereign said to His Augustness Wo-usu: "Why does not thine elder brother come forth to the morning and evening great august repasts? Be thou the one to take the trouble to teach him his duty." Thus he commanded; but for five days after, still the prince came not forth. Then the Heavenly Sovereign deigned to ask His Augustness Wo-usu, saying: "Why is thine elder brother so long of coming? Hast thou perchance not yet taught him his duty?" He replied, saying: "I have been at that trouble." Again the Heavenly Sovereign said: "How didst thou take the trouble?" He replied, saying: " In the early morning when he went into the privy, I grasped hold of him and crushed him, and, pulling off his limbs, wrapped them in matting and flung them away.


    Thereupon the Heavenly Sovereign, alarmed at the valor and ferocity of his august child's disposition, commanded him, saying: " In the West there are two Kumaso Bravoes - unsubmissive and disrespectful men. So take them "-and with this command he sent him off. It happened that at this time his august hair was bound at the brow. Then His Augustness Wo-usu was granted by his aunt Her Augustness Yamato-himeo her august upper garment and august skirt; and, with a saber hidden in his august bosom, he went forth. So, on reaching the house of the Kumaso braves, he saw that near the house there was a threefold belt of warriors, who had made a cave to dwell in. Hereupon they, noisily discussing a rejoicing for the august cave, were getting food ready. So Prince Wo-usu sauntered about the neighborhood, waiting for the day of the rejoicing. Then when the day of the rejoicing came, having combed down after the manner of girls his august hair which was bound up, and having put on his aunt's august upper garment and august skirt, he looked quite like a young girl, and, standing amidst the women, went inside the cave. Then the elder brother and the younger brother, the two Kumaso bravoes, delighted at the sight of the maiden, set her between them, and rejoiced exuberantly. So, when the feast was at its height, His Augustness Wo-usu, drawing the saber from his bosom, and catching Kumaso by the collar of his garment, thrust the saber through his chest, whereupon, alarmed at the sight, the younger bravo ran out. But pursuing after and reaching him at the bottom of the steps of the cave, and catching him by the back, Prince Wo-usu thrust the saber through his buttock. Then the Kumaso bravo spoke, saying: "Do not move the sword; I have something to say." Then His Augustness Wo-usu, respited him for a moment, holding him down as he lay prostrate. Hereupon the bravo said: " Who is Thine Augustness?" Then he said: " I am the august child of Obo-tarashi-hiko-oshiro-wake, the Heavenly Sovereign who, dwelling in the palace of Hishiro at Makimuku, rules the Land of the Eight Great Islands; and my name is King Yamata-woguna. Hearing that you two fellows, the Kumaso bravoes, were unsubmissive and disrespectful, the Heavenly Sovereign sent me with the command to take and slay you." Then the Kumaso bravo said: " That must be true. There are no persons in the West so brave and strong as we two. Yet in the Land of Great Yamato there is a man braver than we two-tbere is. Therefore will I offer thee an august name. From this time forward it is right that thou be praised as the August Child Yamato-take." As soon as he had finished saying this, the Prince ripped him up like a ripe melon, and slew him. So thenceforward he was praised by being called by the august name of his Augustness Yamato-take. When he returned up to the capital after doing this, he subdued and pacified every one of the deities of the mountains and of the deities of the rivers and likewise of the deities of Anado, and then went up to the capital.


    Forthwith entering the land of Idzumo, and wishing to slay the Idzumo bravo, he, on arriving, forthwith bound himself to him in friendship. So, having secretly made the wood of an oak-tree into a false sword and augustly girded it, he went with the bravo to bathe in the River Hi. Then, His Augustness Yamato-take getting out of the river first, and taking and girding on the sword that the Idzumo bravo bad taken off and laid down, said: " Let us exchange swords! " So afterward the Idzumo bravo, getting out of the river, girded on His Augustness Yamato-take's false sword. Hereupon His Augustness Yamato-take, suggested, saying: "Come on! let us cross swords." Then on drawing his sword, the Idzumo bravo could not draw the false sword. Forthwith His Augustness Yamato-take drew his sword and slew the lclzumo bravo. Then he sang augustly, saying:

    "Alas that the sword girded on the Idzumo bravo, and wound round with many a creeper, should have had no true blade!"

    So having thus extirpated the bravoes and made the land orderly, he went up to the capital and made his report to the Heavenly Sovereign.


    Then the Heavenly Sovereign again urged a command on His Augustness Yamato-take, saying: "subdue and pacify the savage deities and likewise the unsubmissive people of the twelve roads of the East"; and when he sent him off, joining to him Prince -Mi-suki-tomo-mimi-take, ancestor of the Grandees of Kibi, he bestowed on him a holly-wood spear eight fathoms long. So when he had received the imperial command and started off, he went into the temple of the Great August Deity of Ise, and worshiped the deity's court, forthwith speaking to his aunt, Her Augustness Yamato-hine, saving: " It must surely be that the Heavenly Sovereign thinks I may die quickly - for after sending me to smite the wicked people of the West, I am no sooner come up again to the capital than, without bestowing on me an army, he now sends me off afresh to pacify the wicked people of the twelve circuits of the East. Consequently I think that he certainly thinks I shall die quickly." When he departed with lamentations and tears, Her Augustness Yamato-hine bestowed on him the "Herb-Quelling-Saber," and likewise bestowed on him an august bag, and said: "If there should be an emergency, open the mouth of the bag."


    So reaching the land of Wohari, he went into the house of Princess Miyadzu, ancestress of the rulers of Wohari, and forthwith thought to wed her; but thinking again that he would wed her when he should return up toward the capital, and having plighted his troth, he went on into the Eastern lands, and subdued and pacified all the savage deities and unsubmissive people of the mountains and rivers. So then, when he reached the land of Sagamu, the ruler of the land lied, saying: "In the middle of this moor is a great lagoon, and the deity that dwells in the middle of the lagoon is a very violent deity." Hereupon Yamato-take entered the moor to see the deity. Then the ruler of the land set fire to the moor. So, knowing that he had been deceived, he opened the mouth of the bag which his aunt, Her Augustness Yamato-hine had bestowed on him, and saw that inside of it there was a fire-striker. Hereupon he first mowed away the herbage with his august sword, took the fire-striker and struck out fire, and, kindling a counter-fire, burned the herbage and drove back the other fire and returned forth, and killed and destroyed all the rulers of that land, and forthwith set fire to and burned them. So that place is now called Yakidzu.


    When be thence penetrated on, and crossed the sea of Hashiri-midzu, the deity of that crossing raised the waves, tossing the ship so that it could not proceed across. Then Yamato-take's Empress, whose name was Her Augustness Princess Oto-tachibana, said:" Iwill enter the sea instead of the august child. The august child must complete the service on which he has been sent, and take back a report to the Heavenly Sovereign." When she was about to enter the sea, she spread eight thicknesses of sedge rugs, eight thicknesses of skin rugs, and eight thicknesses of silk rugs on the top of the waves, and sat down on the top of them. Thereupon the violent waves at once went down, and the august ship was able to proceed. Then the Empress sang, saving:

    "Ah I thou whom I inquired of, standing in the midst of the flames of the fire burning on the little moor of Sagamu, where the true peak pierces!"

    So seven days afterward the Empress's august comb drifted on to the sea-beach - which comb was forthwith taken and placed in an august mausoleum which was made.


    When, having thence penetrated on and subdued all the savage Yemisi [Ainu] and likewise pacified all the savage deities of the mountains and rivers, he was returning up to the capital, he, on reaching the foot of the Ashigara Pass, was eating his august provisions, when the deity of the pass, transformed into a white deer, came and stood before him. Then forthwith, on his waiting and striking the deer with a scrap of wild chive, the deer was hit in the eye and struck dead. So, mounting to the top of the pass, he sighed three times and spoke, saying: " Adzuma ha ya!" [My Wife!] So that land is called by the name of Adzuma.


    When, forthwith crossing over from that land out into Kahi, he dwelt in the palace of Sakawori, he sang, saying:

    "How many nights have I slept since passing Nihibari and Tsukuha?"

    Then the old man, who was the lighter of the august fire, completed the august song, and sang, saying:

    "Oh! having put the days in a row, there are of nights nine nights, and of days ten days!"

    Therefore Yamato-take praised the old man, and forthwith bestowed on him the rulership of the Eastern lands.

    Having crossed over from that land into the land of Shinanu and subdued the deity of the Shinanu pass, he came back to the land of Wohari, and went to dwell in the house of Princess Miyazu, to whom he had before plighted his troth. Hereupon, when presenting to him the great august food, Princess Miyazu lifted up a great liquor-cup and presented it to him.

    After this, placing in Princess Miyazu's house his august sword "the Grass-Quelling Saber," he went forth to take the deity of Mount Ibuki.


    Hereupon he said: "As for the deity of this mountain, I will simply take him empty-handed"-- and was ascending the mountain, when there met him on the mountainside a white boar whose size was like unto that of a bull. Then he lifted up words, and said: "This creature that is transformed into a white boar must be a messenger from the deity. Though I slay it not now, I will slay it when I return"-- and so saying, ascended. Thereupon the deity caused heavy ice-rain to fall, striking and perplexing His Augustness Yamato-take. (This creature transformed into a white boar was not a messenger from the deity, but the very deity in person. Owing to the lifting up of words, he appeared and misled Yamato-take.) So when, on descending back, he reached the fresh spring of Tamakura-be and rested there, his august heart awoke somewhat. So that fresh spring is called by the name of the fresh spring of Wi-same.


    When he departed thence and reached the moor of Tagi, he said: " Whereas my heart always felt like flying through the sky, my legs are now unable to walk. They have become rudder-shaped." So that place was called by the name of Tagi. Owing to his being very weary with progressing a little farther beyond that place, be leaned upon an august staff to walk a little. So that place is called by the name of the Tsuwetsuki pass. On arriving at the single pine-tree on Cape Wotsu, an august sword, which he had forgotten at that place before when augustly eating, was still there, not lost. Then he augustly sang, saying:

    "O mine elder brother, the single pine-tree that art on Cape Wotsu which directly faces Wohari! If thou, single pine-tree! wert a person, I would gird my sword upon thee, I would clothe thee with my garments - O mine elder brother, the single pine-tree!"

    When he departed thence and reached the village of Mihe, he again said: " My legs are like threefold crooks, and very weary." So that place was called by the name of Mihe. When he departed thence and reached the moor of Nobe, he regretting his native land, sang, saying:

    "As for Yamato, the most secluded of land - Yamato, retired behind Mount Awogaki encompassing it with its folds, is delightful."

    Again he sang, saying:

    "Let those whose life may be complete stick in their hair as a headdress the leaves of the bear-oak from Mount Heguri -those children!"

    This song is a land-regretting song. Again he sang, saying:

    "How sweet! ah! from the direction of home clouds are rising and coming!"

    This is an incomplete song. At this time, his august sickness very urgent. Then he sang augustly, saying:

    The saber-sword which I placed at the maiden's bedside, alas! that sword!"

    As soon as he had finished singing, he died. Then a courier was dispatched to the Heavenly Sovereign.


    Thereupon his Empresses and likewise his august children, who dwelt in Yamato, all went down and built an august mausoleum, and, forthwith crawling hither and thither in the rice fields encompassing the mausoleum, sobbed out a song, saying:

    The Dioscorea quinqueloba crawling hither and thither among the among the rice-stubble in the rice-fields encompassing the Mausoleum.."

    Thereupon the dead prince, turning into a white dotterel eight fathoms long, and soaring up to Heaven, flew off toward the shore. Then the Empress and likewise the august children, though they tore their feet treading on the stubble of the bamboo-grass, forgot the pain, and pursued him with lamentations. At that time they sang, saying:

    "Our loins are impeded in the plain overgrown with short bamboo-grass. We are not going through the sky, but oh! we are on foot."

    Again when they entered the salt sea, and suffered as they went, they sang, saying:

    "As we go through the sea, our loins are impeded -tottering in the sea like herbs growing in a great river-bed."

    Again when the bird flew and perched on the seaside, they sang, saying:

    "The dotterel of the beach goes not on the beach, but follows the seaside."

    These four songs were all sung at Yamato-take's august interment. So to the present day these songs are sung at the great interment of a Heavenly Sovereign. So the bird flew off from that country, and stopped at Shiki in the land of Kafuchi. So they made an august mausoleum there, and laid Yamato-take to rest. Forthwith that august mausoleum was called by. the name of the "August-Mausoleum of the White-Bird." Nevertheless the bird soared up thence to heaven again and flew away.

    This page titled 1.6: Shintoism is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Noah Levin (NGE Far Press) .

    • Was this article helpful?