The emperor rejoiced. And on the 24th. day of the 9th. month he received Hime-tatara-i-suzu-hime no Mikoto and made her his wife.
Today’s installment concludes 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
Shiki the younger was accordingly sent to explain to them their interests. But Shiki the elder and the others adhered to their foolish design, and would not consent to submit. Then Shiki-netsu-hiko advised as follows: “Let us first send out our feebler troops by the Osaka road. When the enemy sees them he will assuredly proceed thither with all his best troops. We should then straightway urge forward our robust troops, and make straight for Sumi-Zaka.
“Then with the water of the River Uda we should sprinkle the burning charcoal, and suddenly take them unawares; when they cannot fail to be routed.” The emperor approved this plan, and sent out the feebler troops toward the enemy, who, thinking that a powerful force was approaching, awaited them with all their power. Now up to this time, whenever the imperial army attacked, they invariably captured, and when fought they were invariably victorious, so that the fighting men were all wearied out. Therefore the emperor, to comfort the hearts of his leaders and men, struck off this verse:
“As we fight
Going forth and watching
From between the trees
Of Mount Inasa,
We are famished.
Ye keepers of cormorants
(Birds of the island)
Come now to our aid.”
In the end he crossed Sumi-Zaka with the stronger troops, and, going round by the rear, attacked them from two sides and put them to the rout, killing their chieftains, Shiki the elder, and the others. Third month, 7th. day. The emperor made an order, saying: “During the six years that our expedition against the East has lasted, owing to my reliance on the majesty of Imperial Heaven, the wicked bands have met death. It is true that the frontier lands are still unpurified, and that a remnant of evil is still refractory. But in the region of the Central Land there is no more wind and dust. Truly we should make a vast and spacious capital and plan it great and strong.
“At present things are in a crude and obscure condition, and the people’s minds are unsophisticated. They roost in nests or dwell in caves. Their manners are simply what is customary. Now if a great man were to establish laws, justice could not fail to flourish. And even if some gain should accrue to the people, in what way would this interfere with the sage’s action? Moreover it will be well to open up and clear the mountains and forests, and to construct a palace. Then I may reverently assume the precious dignity, and so give peace to my good subjects. Above, I should then respond to the kindness of the heavenly powers in granting me the kingdom; and below, I should extend the line of the imperial descendants and foster rightmindedness. Thereafter the capital may be extended so as to embrace all the six cardinal points (sic), and the eight cords may be covered so as to form a roof. Will this not be well? When I observe the Kashiha-bara plain, which lies southwest of Mount Unebi, it seems the centre of the land. I must set it in order.”
Accordingly, he, in this month, commanded officers to set about the construction of an imperial residence.
Year Kanoye Saru, Autumn, 8th. month, 16th. day. The emperor, intending to appoint a wife, sought afresh children of noble families. Now there was a man who made representation to him, saying:
“There is a child, who was born to Koto-Shiro-Nushi no Kami by his union with Tama-Kushi-hime, daughter of Mizo-kuhi-ni no Kami of Mishima. Her name is Hime-tatara-i-suzu-hime no Mikoto. She is a woman of remarkable beauty.”
The emperor was rejoiced. And on the 24th. day of the 9th. month he received Hime-tatara-i-suzu-hime no Mikoto and made her his wife.
Year Kanoto Tori, Spring, 1st month, 1st day. The emperor assumed the imperial dignity in the palace of Kashiha-bara. This year is reckoned the first year of his reign. He honored his wife by making her empress. The children born to him by her were Kami-ya-wi-Mimi no Mikoto and Kami-Nunagaha-Mimi no Mikoto. Therefore there is an ancient saying in praise of this, as follows:
“In Kashiha-bara in Unebi, he mightily established his palace-pillars on the foundation of the bottom rock, and reared aloft the cross roof-timbers to the plain of high heaven. The name of the emperor who thus began to rule the empire was Kami Yamato Ihare-biko Hohodemi.”
Fourth year, Spring, 2nd. month, 23rd. day. The emperor issued the following decree:
“The spirits of our imperial ancestors, reflecting their radiance down from heaven, illuminate and assist us. All our enemies have now been subdued, and there is peace within the seas. We ought to take advantage of this to perform sacrifice to the heavenly deities, and therewith develop filial duty.”
He accordingly established spirit-terraces among the Tomi hills, which were called Kami-tsu-wono no Kaki-hara and Shimo tsu-wono no Kaki-hara. There he worshipped his imperial ancestors, the heavenly deities.
Seventy-sixth year, Spring, 3rd. month, 11th. day. The emperor died in the palace of Kashiha-bara. His age was then 127. The following year, Autumn, the 12th. day of the 9th. month, he was buried in the Misasigi, northeast of Mount Unebi.
This ends our series of passages on Jimmu Becomes Japan’s First Emperor by Sir Edward Reed from his book Japan: its History, Traditions, and Religions published in 1880. This blog features short and lengthy pieces on all aspects of our shared past. Here are selections from the great historians who may be forgotten (and whose work have fallen into public domain) as well as links to the most up-to-date developments in the field of history and of course, original material from yours truly, Jack Le Moine. – A little bit of everything historical is here.