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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The female Kami who forged the mirror


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

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

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

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

THE DESCENT UPON TSUKUSHI

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


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