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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Susanoo hands his sword to Amaterasu o mi Kami


*At Himuka in Kyushu, then called Tsukushi.

But the last three of these newly created beings act a prominent part in the sequel of the story. They are the "heaven-shining Kami" (Amaterasu-o-mi-Kami), commonly spoken of as the "goddess of the Sun;" the Kami of the Moon, and the Kami of force.* Izanagi expresses much satisfaction at the begetting of these three. He hands his necklace to the Kami of the Sun and commissions her to rule the "plain of heaven;" he confers upon the Kami of the Moon the dominion of night, and he appoints the Kami of force (Susanoo) to rule the sea-plain. The Kami of the Sun and the Kami of the Moon proceed at once to their appointed task, but the Kami of force, though of mature age and wearing a long beard, neglects his duty and falls to weeping, wailing, and fuming. Izanagi inquires the cause of his discontent, and the disobedient Kami replies that he prefers death to the office assigned him; whereupon he is forbidden to dwell in the same land with Izanagi and has to make his abode in Omi province. Then he forms the idea of visiting the "plain of high heaven" to bid farewell to his sister, the goddess of the Sun.

*Mr. Chamberlain translates the title of this Kami "brave, swift, impetuous, male, augustness."

But his journey is attended with such a shaking of mountains and seething of rivers that the goddess, informed of his recalcitrancy and distrusting his purpose, makes preparations to receive him in warlike guise, by dressing her hair in male fashion (i.e. binding it into knots), by tying up her skirt into the shape of trousers, by winding a string of five hundred curved jewels round her head and wrists, by slinging on her back two quivers containing a thousand arrows and five hundred arrows respectively, by drawing a guard on her left forearm, and by providing herself with a bow and a sword.

The Records and the Chronicles agree in ascribing to her such an exercise of resolute force that she stamps her feet into the ground as though it had been soft snow and scatters the earth about. Susanoo, however, disavows all evil intentions, and agrees to prove his sincerity by taking an oath and engaging in a Kami-producing competition, the condition being that if his offspring be female, the fact shall bear condemnatory import, but if male, the verdict shall be in his favour. For the purpose of this trial, they stand on opposite sides of a river (the Milky Way). Susanoo hands his sword to Amaterasu-o-mi-Kami, who breaks it into three pieces, chews the fragments, and blowing them from her mouth, produces three female Kami. She then lends her string of five hundred jewels to Susanoo and, he, in turn, crunches them in his mouth and blows out the fragments which are transformed into five male Kami. The beings thus strangely produced have comparatively close connexions with the mundane scheme, for the three female Kami--euphoniously designated Kami of the torrent mist, Kami of the beautiful island, and Kami of the cascade--become tutelary goddesses of the shrines in Chikuzen province (or the sacred island Itsuku-shima), and two of the male Kami become ancestors of seven and twelve families, respectively, of hereditary nobles.


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