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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The Kami of boats went to seek him


*This

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

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

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

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

At this point the course of the history is interrupted by an unintelligible description of the resulting obsequies--held in heaven according to the Chronicles, on earth according to the Records. Wild geese, herons, kingfishers, sparrows, and pheasants were the principal officiators; the mourning rites, which included singing, and dancing,* continued for eight days and eight nights, and the proceedings were rudely interrupted

by the prince's brother-in-law, who, coming to condole and being mistaken for the deceased, is so enraged by the error that he draws his sword, cuts down the mortuary house, and kicks away the pieces.

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

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

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


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