free ebooks

A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Prince Itsuse had already died of his wound


is no mention in either the Chronicles or the Records of any marked change in the matter of marine architecture during all these years. The nature of the Kyushu expeditionary ships must therefore remain a matter of conjecture, but that they were propelled by oars, not sails, seems pretty certain. Setting out from some point in Kyushu probably the present Kagoshima Bay the expedition made its way up the east coast of the island, and reaching the Bungo Channel, where the tide is very rapid, obtained the services of a fisherman as pilot. Thence the fleet pushed on to Usa in the province of Buzen, at the north of Kyushu, when two local chieftains built for the entertainment and residence of the princes and their followers a "one pillared palace"--probably a tent. The next place of call was Oka (or Okada) in Chikuzen, where they passed a year before turning eastward into the Inland Sea, and pushing on to one of the many islands off the coast of Aki, they spent seven years before proceeding to another island (Takashima) in Kibi, as the present three provinces of Bingo, Bitchu, and Bizen were then called. There they delayed for eight years the Chronicles say three--in order to repair the oars of their vessels and to procure provisions.

Up to this time there had been no fighting or any attempt to effect a lodgment on the mainland. But the expedition was now approaching the narrow westerly entrance to the present Osaka Bay, where an army might be encountered

at any moment. The boats therefore sailed in line ahead, "the prow of each ship touching the stern of the other." Off the mouth of the river, now known as the Yodo, they encountered such a high sea that they called the place Nami-hana (Wave Flowers), a name subsequently abbreviated to Naniwa. Pushing on, the expeditionary force finally landed at a place--not now identifiable--in the province of Kawachi, which bounds Yamato on the west.

The whole voyage had occupied four years according to the Chronicles, sixteen according to the Records. At Kusaka they fought their first battle against the army of Prince Nagasune and were repulsed, Prince Itsuse being wounded by an arrow which struck his elbow. It was therefore decided to change the direction of advance, so that instead of moving eastward in the face of the sun, a procedure unpleasing to the goddess of that orb, they should move westward with the sun behind them. This involved re-embarking and sailing southward round the Kii promontory so as to land on its eastern coast, but the dangerous operation of putting an army on board ship in the presence of a victorious enemy was successfully achieved by the aid of skilfully used shields.

On the voyage round Kii, where stormy seas are frequent, the fleet encountered a heavy gale and the boats containing two of the princes were lost.* Prince Itsuse had already died of his wound, so of the four brothers there now remained only the youngest, Prince Iware. It is recorded that, at the age of fifteen, he had been made heir to the throne, the principle of primogeniture not being then recognized, and thus the deaths of his brothers did not affect that question. Landing ultimately at Kumano on the southeast of Kii, the expeditionary force was stricken by a pestilence, the prince himself not escaping. But at the behest of the Sun goddess, the Kami of thunder caused a sword of special virtue to come miraculously into the possession of an inhabitant of Kii, who carried it to the prince, and at once the sickness was stayed. When, however, the army attempted to advance into the interior, no roads were found and precipitous mountains barred the progress. In this dilemma the Sun goddess sent down the three-legged crow of the Sun** to act as guide.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us