All the places occupied by the enemy were strong positions, and therefore the roads were cut off and obstructed, so that there was no room for passage.
Continuing Japan’s First Emperor,
our selection from from Japan: its History, Traditions, and Religions by Sir Edward Reed published in 1880. The selection is presented in seven easy 5 minute installments
Previously in Japan’s First Emperor.
Time: 660 BC
After this the emperor wished to respect the Land of Yoshino, so, taking personal command of the light troops, he made a progress round by way of Ukechi Mura in Uda. When he came to Yoshino, there was a man who came out of a well. He shone and had a tail. The emperor inquired of him, saying: “What man art thou?” He answered and said: “Thy servant is a local deity, and his name is Wihikari.” He it is who was the first ancestor of the Yoshino no Obito. Proceeding a little further, there was another man with a tail, who burst open a rock and came forth from it. The emperor inquired of him, saying: “What man art thou?” He answered and said: “Thy servant is the child of Iha-oshiwake.” It is he who was the first ancestor of the Kuzu of Yoshino. Then, skirting the river, he proceeded westward, when there appeared another man, who had made a fishtrap and was catching fish. On the emperor making inquiry of him, he answered and said: “Thy servant is the son of Nihe-molsu.” He it is who was the first ancestor of the U-kahi of Ata.
Ninth month, 5th. day. The emperor ascended to the peak of Mount Takakura in Uda, whence he had a prospect over all the land. On Kuni-mi Hill there were descried eighty bandits.
Moreover at the acclivity of the Me-Zaka there was posted an army of women, and at the acclivity of Wo-Zaka there was stationed a force of men. At the acclivity of Sumi-Zaka was placed burning charcoal. This was the origin of the names Me-Zaka, Wo-Zaka and Sumi-Zaka.
Again there was the army of Ye-Shiki, which covered all the village of Ihare. All the places occupied by the enemy were strong positions, and therefore the roads were cut off and obstructed, so that there was no room for passage. The emperor, indignant at this, made prayer on that night in person, and then fell asleep. The heavenly deity appeared to him in a dream, and instructed him, saying: “Take earth from within the shrine of the heavenly mount Kagu, and of it make eighty heavenly platters. Also make sacred jars and therewith sacrifice to the gods of heaven and earth. Moreover pronounce a solemn imprecation. If thou doest so, the enemy will render submission of their own accord.”
The emperor received with reverence the directions given in his dream, and proceeded to carry them into execution. Now Ukeshi the younger again addressed the emperor, saying: “There are in the province of Yamato, in the village of Shiki, eighty Shiki bandits. Moreover in the village of Taka-wohari (some say Katsuraki) there are eighty Akagane bandits.
“All these tribes intend to give battle to the emperor, and thy servant is anxious in his own mind on his account. It were now good to take clay from the heavenly mount Kagu and therewith to make heavenly platters with which to sacrifice to the gods of the heavenly shrines and of the earthly shrines. If after doing so thou dost attack the enemy, they may be easily driven off.”
The emperor, who had already taken the words of his dream for a good omen, when he now heard the words of Ukeshi the younger, was still more pleased in his heart. He caused Shihi netsu-hiko to put on ragged garments and a grass hat and to disguise himself as an old man. He also caused Ukeshi the younger to cover himself with a winnowing tray, so as to assume the appearance of an old woman, and then addressed them, saying: “Do ye two proceed to the heavenly mount Kagu, and secretly take earth from its summit. Having done so, return hither. By means of you I shall then divine whether my undertaking will be successful or not. Do your utmost and be watchful.” Now the enemy’s army filled the road, and made all passage impossible. Then Shihi-netsu-hiko prayed, and said: “If it will be possible for our emperor to conquer this land, let the road by which we must travel become open. But if not, let the brigands surely oppose our passage.”
Having thus spoken they set forth and went straight onward. Now the hostile band, seeing the two men, laughed loudly, and said: “What an uncouth old man and old woman!” So with one accord they left the road, and allowed the two men to pass and proceed to the mountain, where they took the clay and returned with it. Hereupon the emperor was greatly pleased, and with this clay he made eighty platters, eighty heavenly small jars and sacred jars, with which he went to the upper waters of the River Nifu and sacrificed to the gods of heaven and earth. Immediately, on the Asahara plain by the river of Uda, it became as it were like foam on the water, the result of the curse cleaving to them. Moreover the emperor went on to utter a vow, saying: “I will now make Ame in the eighty platters without using water. If the Ame is formed, then shall I assuredly without effort and without recourse to the might of arms reduce the empire to peace.” So he made Ame, which forthwith became formed of itself. Again he made a vow, saying: “I will now take the sacred jars and sink them in the River Nifu. If the fishes, whether great or small, become every one drunken and are carried down the stream, like as it were to floating maki leaves, then shall I assuredly succeed in establishing this land. But if this be not so, there will never be any results.”
Thereupon he sank the jars in the river with their mouths downward. After a while the fish all came to the surface gaping, gasping as they floated down the stream. Then Shihi-netsu-hiko, seeing this, represented it to the emperor, who was greatly rejoiced, and plucking up a five-hundred-branched masakaki tree of the upper waters of the River Nifu, he did worship therewith to all the gods. It was with this that the custom began of selling sacred jars.