It was in this campaign that the emperor, fully resolved on victory, made these verses, saying . . . .
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
At this time he commanded Michi no Omi no Mikoto, saying: “We are now in person about to celebrate a public festival to Taka-mi-Musubi no Mikoto, and I appoint thee ruler of the festival, and I grant thee the title of Idzu-hime. The earthen jars which are set up shall be called the Idzube or sacred jars, the fire shall be called Idzu no Kagu-tsuchi or sacred-fire-elder, the water shall be called Idzu no Midzu-ha no me or sacred-water-female, the food shall be called Idzuuka no me, or sacred-food-female, the firewood shall be called Idzu no Yama-tsuchi or sacred-mountain-elder, and the grass shall be called Idzu no no-tsuchi or sacred-moor-elder.”
Winter, 10th. month, 1st. day. The emperor tasted the food of the Idzube, and arraying his troops set forth upon his march. He first of all attacked the eighty bandits at Mount Kunimi, routed and slew them. It was in this campaign that the emperor, fully resolved on victory, made these verses, saying:
“Like the Shitadami
Which creep round
The great rock
Of the Sea of Ise,
Where blows the divine wind —
Like the Shitadami,
My boys! My boys!
We will creep around
And smite them utterly,
And smite them utterly.”
In this poem, by the “great rock” is intended the Hill of Kunimi.
After this the band which remained was still numerous, and their disposition could not be fathomed. So the emperor privately commanded Michi no Omi no Mikoto, saying: “Do thou take with thee the Oho Kume, and make a great muro at the village of Osaka. Prepare a copious banquet, invite the enemy to it, and then capture them.” Michi no Omi no Mikoto thereupon, in obedience to the emperor’s sacred behest, dug a muro at Osaka, and having selected his bravest soldiers, stayed therein mingled with the enemy. He secretly arranged with them, saying: “When they have got tipsy with sake, I will strike up a song. Do you when you hear the sound of my song, all at the same time stab the enemy.”
Having made this arrangement they took their seats, and the drinking bout proceeded. The enemy, unaware that there was any plot, abandoned themselves to their feelings, and promptly became intoxicated. Then Michi no Omi no Mikoto struck up the following song:
In the great Muro-house,
Though men in plenty
Enter and stay,
We the glorious
Sons of warriors,
Wielding our mallet-heads,
Wielding our stone-mallets,
Will smite them utterly.”
Now when our troops heard this song, they all drew at the same time their mallet-headed swords, and simultaneously slew the enemy, so that there were no eaters left. The imperial army were greatly delighted; they looked up to heaven and laughed. Therefore he made a song saying:
“Though folk say
That one Yemishi
Is a match for one hundred men,
They do not so much as resist.”
The practice according to which, at the present time, the Kume sing this and then laugh loud, had this origin. Again he sang, saying:
“Ho! now is the time!
Ho! now is the time!
Ha! Ha! Psha!
All these songs were sung in accordance with the secret behest of the emperor. He had not presumed to compose them with his own motion.
Then the emperor said: “It is the part of a good general when victorious to avoid arrogance. The chief brigands have now been destroyed, but there are ten bands of villains of a similar stamp, who are disputatious.
“Their disposition cannot be ascertained. Why should we remain for a long time in one place? By so doing we could not have control over emergencies!” So he removed his camp to another place.
Eleventh month, 7th. day. The imperial army proceeded in great force to attack the Hiko of Shiki. First of all the emperor sent a messenger to summon Shiki the elder, but he refused to obey. Again the Yata-garasu was sent to bring him. When the crow reached his camp it cried to him, saying: “The child of the heavenly deity sends for thee. Haste! haste!” Shiki the elder was enraged at this and said: “Just when I heard that the conquering deity of heaven was coming I was indignant at this; why shouldst thou, a bird of the crow tribe, utter such an abominable cry?” So he drew his bow and aimed at it. The crow forthwith fled away, and next proceeded to the house of Shiki the younger, where it cried, saying: “The child of the heavenly deity summons thee. Haste! haste!” Then Shiki the younger was afraid, and changing countenance, said: “Thy servant, hearing of the approach of the conquering deity of heaven, is full of dread morning and evening. Well hast thou cried to me, O crow!”
He straightway made eight leaf-platters, on which he disposed food, and entertained the crow. Accordingly, in obedience to the crow, he proceeded to the emperor and informed him, saying: “My elder brother, Shiki the elder, hearing of the approach of the child of the heavenly deity, forthwith assembled eighty bandits and provided arms, with which he is about to do battle with thee. It will be well to take measures against him without delay.” The emperor accordingly assembled his generals and inquired of them, saying: “It appears that Shiki the elder has now rebellious intentions. I summoned him, but again he will not come. What is to be done?” The generals said: “Shiki the elder is a crafty knave. It will be well, first of all, to send Shiki the younger to make matters clear to him, and at the same time to make explanations to Kuraji the elder and Kuraji the younger. If after that they still refuse submission, it will not be too late to take warlike measures against them.”