Hotsuma-Tsutae The Book of Heaven (Chapters 7) [Contents] [Japanese] [French]

Amateru, the Rock Cave, and Sosanowo's Banishment

Following the death of his grandfather Toyoke, ruler of the Land of Sahoko-Chitaru (today's San-in region), Amateru bestowed on him the posthumous name of Asahikami (Deity of the Rising Sun). He built a magnificent tomb for Toyoke and held a grand funeral in his memory. Then he returned to the Yasukuni Palace (now the Fuji Asama Shrine) in the foothills of Mount Fuji, from whence he planned to move his capital to the Isawa Palace in Shima (now the Isomiya Shrine in Isobe, Shima-gun, Mie Prefecture).
To stabilize the Sahoko-Chitaru region, one that had caused so many problems in the past, he appointed Toyoke's kinsman Kansahi to the post of masuhito (governor) and the latter's younger brother Tsuwamononushi (now the tutelary deity of the Anashi-Nimasu Hyozu Shrine in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture) as his deputy. Together with the local headman, Kokumi, they took over from Toyoke and governed the province with every care for the welfare of its people.

One day, the nobles of the land gathered at the sovereign court to deliberate on a new code of laws for the punishment of wrongdoers.
They soon agreed on the basic structure of the system. Called Tohoko-nori (the Law of To and Hoko - the Ancient Scriptures and the Lance of Authority), it was based on the 360 degrees of the turning of the heavens. These were divided into four quarters, the finer details of which were now being debated.
An express messenger from Tsuwamononushi in Sahoko suddenly arrived at the court with urgent news. His message read:
"The second wife of Kurakine, former governor of the Land of Ne (Hokuriku), is Tamino-Sashimime, an exceptionally beautiful woman of common birth. The daughter born to them is called Kurako-hime. Kurakine's affection for his wife and child is so great that he has even adopted Sashimime's older brother Kokumi, a man of dubious ambitions, as his own son. He has appointed him as governor of Sahoko-Chitaru, which province he now rules as he sees fit. Kurakine, knowing that he would soon die of old age, married his daughter Kurako to Shirahito, who had recommended Sashimime to him in the first place, and appointed him as governor of Ne. This man, of lowly birth and utterly lacking in noble cultivation, is now oppressing the people of the province with his misrule.
"When Kurakine eventually passed away, Shirahito and Kokumi at last showed their true colours. They didn't even bother to bury the former lord's body. Only his daughter Kurako, who still had affection for her father, took his body to Tateyama (in modern-day Toyama Prefecture) where she buried him through her tears.
"When Kurako finally returned to her marital home, she found that her husband Shirahito had, in her brief absence, fallen in love with her mother and was no longer interested in his former wife. Fearing that word of the affair might leak out, and unable to cope with Kurako's noble birth, Shirahito violently ejected both mother and daughter, sending them off to the ignoble Kokumi in the Miyazu Palace (now the Kono Shrine in Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture).
"Kokumi already knew, through conversation with Shirahito, how difficult it would be to handle the noble-born Kurako and her mother. They so enraged him that he violated them both, each in front of the other, to cause them such shame that they could never look each other in the face again. The situation had already gone too far for the governor Kansahi to correct.
"In my utter indignation as a Minister of the Court, I, Tsuwamononushi, now beg you for a judgment on this matter."

As soon as Amateru heard this abhorrent report, he sent urgent messengers to the provinces of Sahoko-Chitaru and Ne, where they demanded the appearance of Kokumi and Shirahito at court.
They duly appeared before the assembled nobles. First Kanasaki (Sumiyoshi) called for Kokumi and, with all due dignity, asked for his account of the story. He replied:
"Actually, Sashimime was originally my wife. The proof of that is in the testimony that Kurakine set down before he died. He wrote that, after his death, he would break his ties with his wife and return her to me."

Kanasaki now spoke with greater severity.
"Tell us what is your provenance", he demanded.
To which Kokumi answered with an air of complete innocence, "I am a common man from the Land of Ne. What is wrong with that?"
Kanasaki now lost all patience with Kokumi's insolent attitude. He bellowed in his rage, "You are a vile criminal who is no better than a wild beast. Have you forgotten the favour bestowed on you, a man of common birth, elevating you to the position of governor in reward for your offering of Sashimime?
"Your treacherous deeds shall of course earn you the ultimate penalty. Here is a list of the charges against you and the penalties accompanied by each.
"One. Forgetting your lord's favour and neglecting his funeral. One hundred degrees.
"Two. Betraying the support of a mother. Twenty degrees.
"Three. Violating a mother. One hundred degrees.
"Four. Falsifying testimony. One hundred degrees.
"Five. Treating a daughter with contempt. Fifty degrees.
"In all, three hundred and seventy degrees. You will now be sentenced according to the Law of To and Hoko.
"Ninety degrees would require you to leave the area.
"One hundred and eighty degrees would require your banishment.
"Two hundred and seventy degrees would require your confinement from human contact.
"Three hundred and sixty degrees would require your life.
"Since your crime exceeds all these four, you are hereby sentenced to death. Take him to the dungeons!"

Next, Shirahito, of the Land of Ne, was summoned to the court. Again, it was Kanasaki who took up the interrogation.
"Shirahito", he commenced, "why did you drive out your wife and abandon her mother?"
Shirahito immediately started to talk his way out.
"I drove nobody out", he claimed. "It was my wife's mother who left our home, taking her daughter with her."
Now Kanasaki asked after Shirahito's provenance.
"What is your ancestry?" he enquired. "Tell us your family lineage."
Shirahito again replied:
"My family were originally Ministers of the Land of Ne (*actually, they were merely deputies), so it was only natural that I should marry Kurako, daughter of Kurakine, and thus enter a Minister's family. However, her mother was of base lineage and only became Kurakine's consort through my recommendation. I would never forget the grace and favour of my lord!"
So he spoke forth, with brazen impudence. Now Kanmimusubi, who sat beside Kanasaki and had been listening to this explanation with great patience, opened his mouth solemnly and started to rebuke Shirahito in the sternest tones.
"Do you plan to deceive the court with this tale that suits no-one but yourself? I know all about your wretched deeds. In the beginning, it was only thanks to your mother's efforts that you jumped above your peers to come forward in the world, and that is how you entered the circles of government. And have you forgotten that you only became governor thanks to your lord Kurakine, who took you into his family by marrying his beloved daughter to you? What a shameful ingrate you are. How foolishly you then became besotted with your wife's mother and sought to win her favours, sneaking behind Kurako as she laid her dear father to rest. And finally, when your secret was discovered and you could not handle them any longer, you sent them both off to Miyazu. What sort of man are you?!"
The anger still raged in Kanmimusubi's belly. He went on to reveal more of Shirahito ill deeds.
"But there's more", he continued. " You abused your position of trust as a model for the people, stole their women and made them your own. You took bribes. You stole taxes..."

Kanasaki now realized that Shirahito had stooped as low as he could possibly stoop in his criminal behaviour. With a glance at Kanmimusubi to seek his agreement, he at length read out the verdict of the court.
"One. Forgetting the favours of your lord and your mother. Two hundred degrees.
"Two. Banishing your wife. One hundred degrees.
"Three. Committing excesses against your wife and her mother. Fifty degrees.
"Four. Accepting bribes. Sixty degrees.
"Altogether four hundred and ten degrees. Will you try to escape this guilt?"
Shirahito could find no reply.
"Take him away!"

On conclusion of the trials, Amateru held counsel with the nobles and issued the following decree.
"Yasokine shall be appointed Ruler of the Land of Ne. This decision is made because Yasokine is my uncle on my father Isanagi's side, and my father's sister Shirayama is my aunt. Therefore, a marriage between them would ensure the stability of government that continues from our ancestors, and would in turn bring renewed security and affluence to the people. To mark this, we shall bestow on our uncle and aunt Yasokine and Shirayama, rulers of the Land of Ne, the divine name of Shirayama-kami (deities). And from now on, though my father Isanagi shall be worshipped, his younger brother Kurakine shall not, for he caused disruption to his land due to misgovernment."
Amateru's judgment was quite unequivocal.

A trace of this decree by Amateru still survives today, some 3,000 years later. The tutelary deities of the Oyama Shrine on Mount Tateyama, the sacred peak on which Kurako buried her father, are Isanagi and Tajikara. Any connection between Kurakine and the mountain has been erased.
Even the name of the shrine, as one might expect, should really be "Tateyama", not "Oyama". Clearly, Amateru's spell on the memory of Kurakine is still too powerful. But perhaps we may imagine the day when Kurakine will be reunited with his beautiful wife Sashimime and his beloved daughter Kurako, as the triple deity worshipped on Mount Tateyama.

Now, with the trial of Shirahito and Kokumi at an end, life in the Lands of Ne and Sahoko-Chitaru returned to normal, and their people once again lived in peace and affluence.
One day, Amateru's consort and Kurakine's daughter Mochiko (the suke or most senior consort at the northern point) forged a betrothal between Kurako and Ameoshihi, son of the governor Kansahi. Once they were married, Ameoshihi, as Mochiko's brother-in-law, was to succeed Kansahi as governor of Sahoko-Chitaru.
Meanwhile, through Mochiko's intervention, the sentences handed down to Shirahito and Kokumi were halved, and they were banished to Hikawa (in today's Shimane Prefecture). They would even be reinstated as retainers in the household of Ameoshihi when he succeeded to the governorship.

Amateru's brother Sosanowo was assigned the task of managing all the arrangements for Kurako's marriage to Ameoshihi. When his preparations were complete, he paid a visit to Manaigahara, where he reported on his work at the Lord Toyoke's Asahi Shrine, on behalf of the sovereign.
Among the throng of people who had flocked to the shrine, Sosanowo's eye fell on a beautiful maiden who was worshipping with particular devotion. He asked her servants who she might be.
"She is Princess Hayasuu, daughter of Akatsuchi, from the Land of Tsukisumi-Hayami", they replied. (Hayasuu is now remembered as the deity of the Hayasuuhime Shrine in Saganoseki, Oita Prefecture.)
On hearing this, Sosanowo immediately sent a special messenger to the Akatsuchi Palace in Tsukisumi (or Tsukushi, today's Kyushu) to request her hand in marriage.
Akatsuchi gladly accepted Sosanowo's proposal and prepared his daughter for marriage. However, in view of his frequently excessive behaviour, Sosanowo was still seen as a potential problem, and remained under the probationary supervision of Hayatamanowo and Kotosakanowo (Ministers of Kumano). After lengthy deliberations between the nobles, it was decided that he would not be permitted to have his own palace. In aristocratic society, this was a very serious denial of his personality, and the marriage proposal was rejected. Bitterly disappointed and estranged, Sosanowo started to go to the northern consorts Mochiko and her sister Hayako in search of their sympathy. Soon he was frequenting their living quarters and having illicit relations with both of them.
Amateru's chief consort Seoritsu had an intuitive knowledge of the relationship between Sosanowo and the sisters. But she kept it locked inside her heart, hoping thus to protect Amateru's position and sensibilities.

Then, one day, she called the sisters into her inner sanctuary (uchimiya) and relieved them of their positions at the northern point. They were to be given a period of repose to allow the heat of their passions to cool. To succeed them she appointed Munakata's daughter Toyohime, daughter of Munakata (remembered at the Munakata Shrine, Fukuoka Prefecture) and the original oshimo consort at the western point.
Mochiko and Hayako wept and lamented uncontrollably on their return to their Ohouchi Palace. Sosanowo, himself enraged with indignation and sympathy for the sisters, could not hold back his anger at Seoritsu. He took up his sword and, his face white with rage, was about to rush out in search of vengeance. But it was Hayako who held him back.
Standing before the impetuous youth, she said with quiet authority: "If manly deeds be your goal, then seize the reins of power!"
Her words went beyond mere hatred for Seoritsu. They were the spiteful machinations of a woman possessed by the twin ogres of jealousy and revenge, bent now on doing away not only with Seoritsu but also with Amateru himself.
Just at that moment, the Princess Hanako (younger sister of Seoritsu) happened to pass by, unaware of the frantic exchange that had just taken place. The three hurriedly hid their weapons, regained their composure and tried to pretend that all was well. But Hanako immediately sensed the tension in the air and knew that something was amiss.
Hanako also pretended all was well and went her way. But she knew the matter was too serious to simply dismiss, and soon reported the encounter to her sister Seoritsu. The wise and caring Seoritsu thought long and hard how she could resolve this difficult situation for the good. She decided, once again, to keep the matter to herself and wait for the time to come.

This it duly did, when Amateru was away, attending the earthly Takamagahara in Hitakami (near Tagajo in modern-day Sendai). Seoritsu again summoned Mochiko and Hayako, and spoke to them with care.
"You must already know that your relationship with the sovereign has cooled like uneaten food, and you are no longer welcome here. Now listen to me carefully and leave everything to me. You are to proceed to Usa (the Usa Shrine in Oita Prefecture) where you will wait until the time has come. I have already explained the situation to the old lord Akatsuchi in Tsukushi, and he will look after you. And as you stay there, reflect seriously on yourselves and admit your wrongdoings. If you do so, I can surely help restore you to your former positions. Will you have the honest grace to follow my bidding?
"As for your children, Mochiko's son Tanakine (titular name Amanohohi, first High Priest of the Izumo Grand Shrine) will be entrusted to my care, as it is the ancient custom for a boy to be near his father. Have no fear, for I will bring him up as if he were my own. Hayako's three daughters Takeko, Takiko, and Tanako (the Princesses Okitsushima, Etsunoshima, and Ichikishima, now revered as the three Munakata deities) will stay with their mother, as that is the custom for girls. And so, I beseech you, go and bide your time."
The sisters, initially resistant to Seoritsu's proposal, at length resigned themselves in awareness of their wrongdoing, and reluctantly went their way to Usa.
There, old Akatsuchi had rebuilt his palace to welcome the two sisters along with the three girls, reflecting their change of heart. All preparations had been made to afford them every convenience. But despite the warm welcome he extended them, their new abode was a pale reflection of their former glory at court. The quiet, rural solitude of Tsukushi was no match for the luxury in which they had previously been so pampered. So Mochiko and Hayako neglected their upbringing of the three girls, and, instead, voiced their increasing dissatisfaction to any who cared to listen. Their growing indignation surfaced in renewed spite against the chief consort Seoritsu.
"May she die!" they spat out with evil venom, as their behaviour became more and more vituperous day by day.
Akatsuchi decided he could do no more for them, and sent a messenger to report the situation to Seoritsu. She immediately sent Toyohime as a governess for the three girls, and permanently dismissed the two sisters. Enraged, the wandering "Sasurahime" (Banished Princesses) now fled to Hikawa (in present-day Shimane Prefecture).
"Once we reach Hikawa, our old territory, we will find many powerful supporters awaiting us", explained Mochiko. "In particular, Shirahito and Kokumi owe me a debt for saving their lives. We will join forces with their clans to gain vengeance on Mukatsu Seoritsu. One devil knows another. The clans will follow us to hell if they must. We have nothing to fear."
Concealing themselves in the ravines of Hikawa, the "banished princesses" and their supporters became drunk on anger and their desire for vengeance. As they spread their spiteful grudges through the valleys, they grew to resemble a huge, winding serpent. And as more and more of Kokumi's vassals joined them, the serpent grew ever larger. Their host was soon large enough to fill eight valleys, transforming itself into the ill-famed "eight-forked serpent" (yamata no orochi) of legend.

Actually, Shirahito, Kokumi and the others had indeed gathered a huge host in Hikawa as they awaited the arrival of the sisters. For they recognized Mochiko and Hayako (bearing a direct bloodline from Kurakine) as the rightful rulers of their land.
To make plain their intentions from the outset, Kokumi and the others abducted all the women in the clan who were hated by Mochiko and Hayako, then violated and murdered them. The first to receive this wretched fate was Akatsuchi's daughter Hayasuu. The motive was that, because Sosanowo had wooed Hayasuu after seeing her for the first time, Mochiko and Hayako regarded her as a rival in love. The next targets were the eight daughters of Ashinatsuchi, a village headman of Akatsuchi's younger brother Sata (remembered at the Sata Shrine in Yatsuka-gun, Shimane Prefecture) who lived nearby. Seven of the daughters perished in this miserable way.

It was Sosanowo who was most disturbed by all this. Given his innate selfishness and violent disposition, his dear Mochiko and Hayako, the only two who had ever understood him, had been degraded through his own misdeeds, and could no longer be placated. Sosanowo's acts of mischief now increased in significance. He destroyed the sacred rice fields being prepared for the Nihiname Festival of New Fruits, an annual ritual, by double-planting the seedlings. He let horses run wild through the rice fields, broke down the field ridges and ruined the harvest. He even scattered excrement at the door of the hall where the sovereign's ritual garments for the Nihiname Festival were being woven. When the doors of the hall were closed to protect the weaving women from unnecessary harm, Sosanowo lost his temper and broke in through the roof, hurling a piebald horse through the hole. As fate would have it, the Princess Hanako was weaving at her loom directly below. As she turned in surprise, she stabbed herself with the shuttle of her loom, and died.
"Hanako is dead", wailed the other women in their grief. Hearing this, Amateru hurried to the scene. When he saw what had happened, he raised his voice in rare anger at his brother.
"You are a traitor whose ambition was to seize power", he raged. "Remember the words of the Way of Heaven and be ashamed!"
Now Amateru recited these words.
Ame ga shita yawashite meguru hitsuki koso
harete akaruki tami no tara nari

("We are the very parents of the people, shining down brightly just as the sun and moon that cross the heavens and rule all below.")
But Sosanowo was still not ready to recognize his excesses or take responsibility for the crime of Hanako's murder. He merely grew wilder, brandishing his sword and scattering stones around. He came close to Amateru.
"So!", he raged. "I am a traitor whose aim is to seize power. And, pray, what are your grounds for this conclusion? Speak! I have no time for your pretty songs! Come, take me on!"

Amateru now felt fear for his brother's madness. He hid himself in a cave and blocked the entrance with rocks. Whereupon all around was suddenly plunged into darkness, and there was no distinction between day and night.
Omohikane (husband of Amateru's sister Wakahime), surprised at the sudden darkness, now raced to the Isawa Palace from his dwelling in Yasukawa (possibly the Mikami Shrine by the River Yasu in Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture), carrying a burning torch. At Isawa, his son Tachikarawo told him about the disastrous sequence of events. Omohikane hastily convened an emergency meeting of all the nobles to ask for their wisdom. In reply, they could but repeat, "We must pray, we must pray".
So Tsuwamononushi devised a suitable form of prayer and sought the agreement of the gathered nobles.
"Let us take a masakaki tree and hang jewels on its upper branches", he said, "a true mirror on its middle branches, and strips of hempen cloth on its lower branches. And with this let us pray."
All were in agreement.
Meanwhile, the female noble Uzume, together with other women, made themselves garlands of buck grass, which they wrapped alluringly around their bodies. Then, holding heavy lances wreathed in straw (which they named chimaki hoko or "smothered lances"), they danced a provocative dance. They kindled torchlight fires using okera, a perennial medicinal plant, and took posies of bamboo grass in their hands. With these they performed, for the first time, the kagura mystic dance, an important ritual that would survive for thousands of years to come.
"Raise up the chant, light the beacons, burn the fires, pile up the firewood! It's a festival, yes, it's a festival!"

Whence did this happy commotion spring, bringing light into people's hearts to confound the darkness all around? Omohikane, after lengthy deliberation, now performed the nagasaki ("long happiness") dance of eternity before the gathered throng. And as he did, he sang:
Kagu no ki karete mo nihofu,
shihorete mo yo ya.
Aga tsuma awa, aga tsuma awa ya.
Shihorete mo yo ya, aga tsuma awa.

("The orange tree, even when dead, still has a fragrance; though it withers, it is still good. My wife is divine, she is divine. Even though she withers she is good, my wife is divine.")
Finally, the assembled host released cockerels in front of the cave and let them crow in competition, while they clapped hands in time to the nagasaki dance.
Amateru was wondering why there was still laughter outside, even though all should be cloaked in darkness. So he opened the entrance to the cave slightly, and peered out.
Tachikarawo, hiding in the shadow of the rocks, now threw aside the entrance stone, grasped Amateru's hand and led him out. Then Tsuwamononushi hung a straw festoon around the entrance to the cave, saying, "We beseech you, do not return inside".

Sosanowo's decisive misdeed in causing the death of Hanako was the final straw for him. The nobles were summoned to court to decide what should now be his fate. Their verdict was more severe than any they had ever handed down. Normally, 360 degrees (the total passage of the heavens) were enough to warrant death. But Sosanowo's crime was deemed equivalent to 1,000 degrees, or nearly three times the normal death sentence. In other words, he was condemned to the mikidagare or "three-fold death", in which the victim would be subjected to sufficient rigour to die three times.
The execution of the sentence was started. First his hair was pulled out, and his nails were being extracted. Then, suddenly, Seoritsu's messenger arrived with an urgent message.
"Hanako's soul", it started, "was saved from the agonies of death through prayer to Ukemono (the Food Goddess), and removed safely to the heavenly realm. Sosanowo has already suffered the 400 degrees for the killing of Hanako. His violent character was given to him at birth. Should we not now give him a stay of execution and release him?"

What a noble and humane sentiment. Overcoming her grief at the loss of her brave and loyal sister, Seoritsu earnestly sought the reprieve of a criminal whom it was all too easy to despise. This nobility of spirit was the very essence of Seoritsu's graceful nature, for which the young Amateru had descended the steps of his palace in person to take her hand.
The nobles now considered Seoritsu's appeal for a reduced sentence due to extenuating circumstances. Their verdict was as follows. "The crime of opposing the divine principle is normally an offence of the utmost gravity. However, following the good intercession of a kinswoman, the sentence shall be halved and transmuted to banishment."

A sedge hat now sat on Sosanowo's head and a green straw raincoat was draped around his body. This was the pitiful sight he presented as he started his sentence of banishment as a common criminal.
Now there was no-one at all he could turn to. Each day was a desperate search for food just to stay alive. Before him stretched out pitiless mountains, rivers that blocked his path, and closed-off villages giving the widest berth to this wandering criminal. All that awaited him were the chilly stares of the people, all silent, and the wind racing without sound like the souls of the dead. The taunting voices of children would seep in through the miserable straw-roof of his pit dwelling. The adults were as if turned to stone. Anyone would do, if there were a scrap of food left over to eat. Anything would do, just something to put in the mouth. Just one wild flower from a kindly maiden. These were the foolish dreams consumed by the self-pitying "Sasurawo" (the Banished One: Sosanowo).

Amateru, meanwhile, had resumed his good government of the land after his emergence from the rock cave. Thanks to his august majesty, the sun now rose once again in the sky and shone upon all below, and the people's faces were bright and full of cheer. The sovereign now offered up the Song of the Bright Path of Heaven, which went as follows:
Aware ana omo shiro ana tanoshi
ana sayake oke sayake oke
aware omo shiro sayake oke ana tanoshi

("The sun is radiant, how brightly the faces shine, how happy we are! Cleanse the unclean, cleanse the unclean! The sun is radiant, faces shine brightly, cleanse the unclean, how happy we are!")
"So let us clap our hands now. Let us clap hands as we dance. Let us sing and dance until the valleys shake and the land rumbles. This is the true beginning of the mystic kagura. From this time on, let us call ourselves Amaterasu, the One Great Deity."

Sosanowo, though still ranked as a commoner, was nevertheless permitted by Amateru to travel to the Land of Ne.
Before his departure, he was allowed to appear before Amateru in his Ceremonial Chamber. Sosanowo prostrated himself before the attendant Ministers and pronounced his request.
"Before I set out on my journey, may I be allowed to meet my sister Wakahime at Yasukawa once more? I do not wish to tarry long. The briefest moment is all I ask. Will you please grant this wish?"
Now, so distantly separated from Mochiko and Hayako, Sosanowo believed that the only person who could even remotely understand him was Wakahime. She would appear to him as a goddess in his dreams and comfort him as he continued on his wretched journey.
At length, Sosanowo's wish was granted, and he made his way to the Yasukawa Palace.
As he approached, the earth rumbled with a fearsome noise. His startled sister, having already heard much of Sosanowo's wild and violent disposition, was afraid, and only dared speak to him through the half-open door of the palace.
"There can be no good in your coming here. You have surely come to rob me of my land. Surely you cannot ask me to return the Lands of Ne and Sahoko which our parents Isanagi and Isanami entrusted to you and which you have neglected for all this time. What is it that you want?"

Sosanowo gathered his hair together in a topknot, then collected up the hems of his garment into something resembling trousers. He adorned his person with a string of five hundred jewels, strapped quivers bearing a thousand arrows and five hundred arrows to his arms, and swung his bow-string to make it reverberate. Taking his eight-hilted sword in his hand, he stepped onto the courtyard, where he kicked and scattered stones, raised a ferocious roar and bellowed out:
"What do you fear? Is it not written in our parents' testimony that I should have the Land of Ne? I have come out of my way to share an audience with my sister on my way there! Put aside your suspicions and accept me with good will!"
She asked again:
"What are your true intentions?"
He replied, again:
"I will continue to Ne and there I will take a wife and have children, to be sure. And if a girl is born first, I will accept that my heart has been impure. But if it is a boy, then I will have the victory. I am not bad. This is my oath."
He continued:
"When Amateru was residing at Manaigahara, he took off the jewel of sovereign authority from his chest, and washed it in the water of the Manai spring. Then Mochiko gave birth to Tanakine. Next, he exchanged the ritual beverage with Hayako and they were joined together. That night, he dreamt that he broke his ten-hilted sword into three pieces, and when he bit them they turned into three jewels (ta). After that Hayako gave birth to three girls, and the first part of each of their names was Ta. If I am impure and a girl is born, I will honestly accept my guilt and live the rest of my life in shame with my daughter."
Finally, having uttered this one-sided oath, he left.

Hayako's three girls were given titular names when they grew up. Takeko became Okitsushima-hime, Takiko became Sagamu-Enoshima-hime, and Tanako became Itsukushima-hime.
Isanagi and Isanami had mentioned such things in their testament to posterity.
"Just as the heavens sometimes err and cause the moon and sun to be hidden, so Sosanowo, conceived when the centre of the Yasakani curved jewel was murky, was born with a disturbed soul, causing him to commit acts that defiled the nation.
"A man should assume the spirit of the heavens embracing the earth (the female). A woman should have the spirit of the earth supporting the heavens (the male). Whatever happens, they must appoint an "ukihashi" (floating bridge, or go-between) and marry. The woman must, three days after her menstrual period, first purify herself, then worship the rising sun. If she receives the spirit of the sun, a good child will ensue. But a child mistakenly conceived during a time of impurity will surely have a wild, unruly character.
"Our error led to the untimely birth of our first child Hiyoruko. We rid ourselves of our shame by floating her off on a boat of reeds. But a further error led to the wildly mischievous nature of Sosanowo. Use these events as lessons to help your divination in future times.
"Whatever you do, never forget this."

- END -

(from the 7th aya of the Hotsuma-Tsutae, contemporary Japanese translation by Seiji Takabatake)


Hotsuma-Tsutae (National Archives, Tokyo)
Hotsuma-Tsutae (period translation by Waniko Yasutoshi, ca. 1779)

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