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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Of the two peaks of Kirishima yama


*"Dragon-fly

Island" was a name anciently given to Japan on account of the country's shape.

These three objects thenceforth became the three sacred things of Japan. Strict injunction was given that the mirror was to be regarded and reverenced exactly as though it was the spirit of the Sun goddess, and it was ordered that the Kami of "thought combination" should administer the affairs of the new kingdom. The fact is also to be noted that among the Kami attached to Hikoho no Ninigi's person, five--three male and two female--are designated by the Records as ancestors and ancestresses of as many hereditary corporations, a distinctive feature of the early Japan's polity. As to the manner of Hikoho no Ninigi's journey to Japan, the Chronicles say that the Great-Producing Kami threw the coverlet of his couch over him and caused him to cleave his way downwards through the clouds; but the Records allege that he descended "shut up in the floating bridge of heaven."

The point has some interest as furnishing a traditional trace of the nature of this so-called invasion of Japan, and as helping to confirm the theory that the "floating bridge of heaven," from which Izanagi thrust his spear downwards into the brine of chaos, was nothing more than a boat. It will naturally be supposed that as Hikoho no Ninigi's migration to Japan was in the sequel of a long campaign having its main field in the province of Izumo, his immediate destination

would have been that province, where a throne was waiting to be occupied by him, and where he knew that a rich region existed. But the Records and the Chronicles agree in stating that he descended on Kirishimayama* in Tsukushi, which is the ancient name of the island of Kyushu. This is one of the first eight islands begotten by Izanagi and Izanami. Hence the alternative name for Japan, "Land of the Eight Great Islands."

*Takachiho-dake is often spoken of as the mountain thus celebrated, but Takachiho is only the eastern, and lower, of the two peaks of Kirishima-yama.

It was, moreover, to a river of Tsukushi that Izanagi repaired to cleanse himself from the pollution of hades. But between Kyushu (Tsukushi) and Izumo the interval is immense, and it is accentuated by observing that the mountain Kirishima, specially mentioned in the story, raises its twin peaks at the head of the Bay of Kagoshima in the extreme south of Kyushu. There is very great difficulty in conceiving that an army whose ultimate destination was Izumo should have deliberately embarked on the shore of Kagoshima. The landing of Ninigi--his full name need not be repeated--was made with all precautions, the van of his army (kume) being commanded by the ancestor of the men who thenceforth held the highest military rank (otomo) through many centuries, and the arms carried being bows, arrows, and swords.*

*The swords are said to have been "mallet-headed," but the term still awaits explanation.

All the annals agree in suggesting that the newcomers had no knowledge of the locality, but whereas one account makes Ninigi consult and obtain permission from an inhabitant of the place, another represents him as expressing satisfaction that the region lay opposite to Kara (Korea) and received the beams of the rising and the setting sun, qualifications which it is not easy to associate with any part of southern Kyushu.

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


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