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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Nagasune sought a conference with Prince Iware


*In

the Chronicles the two princes are represented as having deliberately entered the stormy sea, angered that such hardships should overtake the descendants of the ocean Kami.

**The Yang-wu, or Sun-crow (Japanese Yata-garasu), is a creature of purely Chinese myth. It is supposed to be red in colour, to have three legs, and to inhabit the sun.

Thus indiscriminately are the miraculous and the commonplace intermixed. Following this bird, the invading force pushed on into Yamato, receiving the allegiance of a body of men who fished with cormorants in the Yoshino River and who doubtless supplied the army with food, and the allegiance of fabulous beings with tails, who came out of wells or through cliffs. It is related that the invaders forced the elder of two brothers into a gyn which he had prepared for their destruction; and that on ascending a hill to reconnoitre, Prince Iware observed an army of women and a force of eighty "earth-hiders (Tsuchi-gumo) with tails," by which latter epithet is to be understood bandits or raiders who inhabited caves.

How it fared with the amazons the annals do not say, but the eighty bandits were invited to a banquet and slaughtered in their cups. Still the expeditionary force encountered great opposition, the roads and passes being occupied by numerous hostile bands. An appeal was accordingly made for divine assistance by organizing a public festival

of worship, the vessels employed--eighty platters and as many jars--being made by the hands of the prince himself with clay obtained from Mount Kagu in Yamato.* Several minor arrangements followed, and finally swords were crossed with the army of Nagasune, who had inflicted a defeat on the invaders on the occasion of their first landing at Kusaka, when Prince Itsuse received a mortal wound. A fierce battle ensued. Prince Iware burned to avenge his brother's death, but repeated attacks upon Nagasune's troops proved abortive until suddenly a golden-plumaged kite perched on the end of Prince Iware's bow, and its effulgence dazzled the enemy so that they could not fight stoutly.**

*The Chronicles state that the prince made ame on the platters. Ame is confectioned from malted millet and is virtually the same as the malt extract of the Occident.

**This tradition of the golden kite is cherished in Japan. The "Order of the Golden Kite" is the most coveted military distinction.

From this incident the place where the battle occurred was called Tabi-no-mura, a name now corrupted into Tomi-no-mura. It does not appear, however, that anything like a decisive victory was gained by the aid of this miraculous intervention. Nagasune sought a conference with Prince Iware, and declared that the ruler of Yamato, whom he served, was a Kami who had formerly descended from heaven. He offered in proof of this statement an arrow and a quiver belonging to the Kami. But Prince Iware demonstrated their correspondence with those he himself carried. Nagasune, however, declining to abstain from resistance, was put to death by the Kami he served, who then made act of submission to Prince Iware.

The interest of this last incident lies in the indication it seems to afford that a race identical with the invaders had already settled in Yamato. Prince Iware now caused a palace to be built on the plain of Kashiwa-bara (called Kashihara by some historians), to the southwest of Mount Unebi, and in it assumed the imperial dignity, on the first day of the first month of the year 660 B.C. It is scarcely necessary to say that this date must be received with all reserve, and that the epithet "palace" is not to be interpreted in the European sense of the term. The Chronicles, which alone attempt to fix the early dates with accuracy, indicate 667 B.C. as the year of the expedition's departure from Kyushu, and assign to Prince Iware an age of forty-five at the time. He was therefore fifty-two when crowned at Kashiwa-bara, and as the same authority makes him live to an age of 127, it might be supposed that much would be told of the last seventy-five years of his life.


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