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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Is found in many ancient annals


Is

it not also more than a mere coincidence that as all the Semitic tribes worshipped the goddess Isis, so--the Japanese worshipped, for supreme being, the goddess of the Sun? Thus, here again there would seem to have been some path of communication other than that via China between Japan and the west of Asia. Further, the "river of heaven"--the Milky Way--which so often figures in Japanese mythology, is prominent in Chinese also, and is there associated with the Spinning Damsel, just as in the Japanese legend it serves the Kami for council-place after the injury done by Susanoo's violence to the Sun goddess and her spinning maidens. It has been remarked [Chamberlain] that the chop-stick which Susanoo found floating down a river in Izumo, and the sake (rice-wine) which he caused to be made for the purpose of intoxicating the eight-headed serpent, are obviously products of Chinese civilization, but as for the rescue of the maiden from the serpent, it is a plain replica of the legend of Perseus and Andromeda, which, if it came through China, left no mark in transit.

Less palpable, but still sufficiently striking, is the resemblance between the story of Atalanta's golden apples and the casting down of Izanagi's head-dress and comb as grapes and bamboo sprouts to arrest the pursuit of the "hag of hades." But indeed this throwing of his comb behind him by Izanagi and its conversion into a thicket are common incidents of ancient folk-lore, while in the

context of this Kami's ablutions on his return from hades, it may be noted that Ovid makes Juno undergo lustration after a visit to the lower regions and that Dante is washed in Lethe when he passes out of purgatory. Nor is there any great stretch of imagination needed to detect a likeness between the feathered messenger sent from the Ark and the three envoys--the last a bird--despatched from the "plain of high heaven" to report upon the condition of disturbed Japan. This comparison is partially vitiated, however, by the fact that there is no tradition of a deluge in Japanese annals, though such phenomena are like ly to occur occasionally in all lands and to produce a great impression on the national imagination. "Moreover, what is specially known to us as the deluge has been claimed as an ancient Altaic myth. Yet here we have the oldest of the undoubtedly Altaic nations without any legend of the kind." [Chamberlain.]

It appears, further, from the account of the Great-Name Possessor's visit to the underworld, that one Japanese conception of hades corresponded exactly with that of the Chinese, namely, a place where people live and act just as they do on earth. But the religion out of which this belief grew in China had its origin at a date long subsequent to the supposed age of the Gods in Japan. The peaches with which Izanagi pelted and drove back the thunder Kami sent by Izanami to pursue him on his return from the underworld were evidently suggested by the fabulous female, Si Wang-mu, of Chinese legend, who possessed a peach tree, the fruit of which conferred immortality and repelled the demons of disease. So, too, the tale of the palace of the ocean Kami at the bottom of the sea, with its castle gate and cassia tree overhanging a well which serves as a mirror, forms a page of Chinese legendary lore, and, in a slightly altered form, is found in many ancient annals.


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