|English translation of
English translation by B.H. Chamberlain
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/kojiki.htm
THE WHITE HARE OF INABA
From His Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness was descended the deity Master-of-the-Great-Land. He had eighty deities his brethren; but they all left the land to the deity Master-of-the-Great-Land. The reason for their leaving it was this: Each of these eighty deities had in his heart the wish to marry the Princess of Yakami in Inaba, and they went together to Inaba, putting their bag on the back of the deity Great-Name-Possessor, whom they took with them as an attendant. Hereupon, when they arrived at Cape Keta, they found a naked hare lying down. Then the eighty deities spoke to the hare, saying: "What thou shouldest do is to bathe in the sea-water here, and lie on the slope of a high mountain exposed to the blowing of the wind." So the hare followed the instructions of the eighty deities, and lay down. Then, as the sea-water dried, the skin of its body all split with the blowing of the wind, so that it lay weeping with pain. But the deity Great-Name-Possessor, who came last of all, saw the hare, and said: "Why liest thou weeping? " The hare replied, saving: "I was in the Island of Oki, and wished to cross over to this land, but had no means of crossing over. For this reason I deceived the crocodiles of the sea, saying: ' Let you and me compete, and compute the numbers of our respective tribes. So do you go and fetch every member of your tribe, and make them all lie in a row across from this island to Cape Keta. Then I will tread on them, and count them as I run across. Hereby shall we know whether it or my tribe is the larger.' Upon my speaking thus, they were deceived and lay down in a row, and I trod on them and counted them as I came across, and was just about to get on land, when I said: 'You have been deceived by me.' As soon as I had finished speaking, the crocodile who lay the last of all seized me and stripped off all my clothing. As 1 was weeping and lamenting for this reason, the eighty deities who went by before thee commanded and exhorted me, saying: 'Bathe in the salt water, and lie down exposed to the wind.' So, on my doing as they had instructed me, my whole body was hurt." Thereupon the deity Great-Name-Possessor instructed the hare, saying: " Go quickly now to the river-mouth, wash thy body with the fresh water, then take the pollen of the sedges growing at the river-mouth, spread it about, and roll about upon it, whereupon thy body will certainly be restored to its original state." So the bare did as it was instructed, and its body became as it bad been originally. This was the White Hare of Inaba. It is now called the Hare deity. So the hare said to the deity Great-Name-Possessor: "These eighty deities shall certainly not get the Princess of Yakami. Though thou bearest the bag, Thine Augustness shall obtain her."
Thereupon the Princess of Yakami answered the eighty deities, saving: "I will not listen to your words. I mean to marry the deity Great-Name- Possessor." So the eighty deities, being enraged, and wishing to slay the deity Great-Name-Possessor, took counsel together, on arriving at the foot of Tema in the land of Hahaki, and said to him: "On this mountain there is a red boar. So when we drive it down, do thou wait and catch it. If thou do not wait and catch it, we will certainly slay thee." Having thus spoken, they took fire, and burned a large stone like unto a boar, and rolled it down. Then, as they drove it down and he caught it, be got stuck to and burned by the stone, and died. Thereupon Her Augustness his august parent cried and lamented, and went up to Heaven, and entreated His Divine-Producing-Wondrous-Augustness, who at once sent Princess Cockle-Shell and Princess Clam to bring him to life. Then Princess Cockle-Shell triturated and scorched her shell, and Princess Clam carried water and smeared him as with mother's milk, whereupon he became a beautiful young man, and wandered off. Hereupon the eighty deities, seeing this, again deceived him, taking him with them into the mountains, where they cut down a large tree, inserted a wedge in the tree and made him stand in the middle, whereupon they took away the wedge and tortured him to death. Then on Her Augustness his august parent again seeking him with cries, she perceived him, and at once cleaving the tree, took him out and brought him to life, and said to him: "If thou remain here, thou wilt at last be destroyed by the eighty deities." Then she sent him swiftly off to the august place of the deity Great-House-Prince in the land of Ki. Then when the eighty deities searched and pursued till they came up to him, and fixed their arrows in their bows, he escaped by dipping under the fork of a tree, and disappeared.
The deity Great-House-Prince spoke to him, saying: Thou must set off to the Nether-Distant-Land where dwells His Impetuous-Male-Augustness. That great deity will certainly counsel thee." So on his obeying her commands and arriving at the august place of His Impetuous-Male-Augustness, the latter's daughter the Forward-Princess came out, and saw him, and they exchanged glances and were married, and she went in again, and told her father, saying: " A very beautiful deity has come." Then the great deity went out and looked, and said: " This is the Ugly-Male-Deity-of-the-Reed-Plains," and at once calling him in, made him sleep in the snake-house. Hereupon his wife, Her Augustness the Forward-Princess, gave her husband a snake-scarf, saying: " When the snakes are about to bite thee, drive them away by waving this scarf thrice." So, on his doing as she bad instructed, the snakes became quiet, so that he came forth after calm slumbers. Again on the night of the next day the Impetuous--Male deity put him into the centipede and wasp-house; but as she again gave him a centipede and wasp-scarf, and instructed him as before, he came forth calmly. Again the Impetuous-Male deity shot a whizzing barb into the middle of a large moor, and sent him to fetch the arrow, and, when be bad entered the moor, at once set fire to the moor all round. Thereupon, while he stood knowing no place of exit, a mouse came and said: " The inside is hollow-hollow; the outside is narrow-narrow." Owing to its speaking thus, he trod on the place, whereupon he fell in and hid himself, during which time the fire burned past. Then the mouse brought out in its mouth and presented to him the whizzing barb. The feathers of the arrow were brought in their months by all the mouse's children. Hereupon his wife the Forward-Princess came bearing mourning implements, and crying. Her father the great deity, thinking that the deity Great-Name-Possessor was already dead and done for, went out and stood on the moor, whereupon the deity Great-Name-Possessor brought the arrow and presented it to him, upon which the great deity, taking him into the house and calling him into an eight-foot spaced large room, made him take the lice off his head. So, on looking at the head, be saw that there were many centipedes there. Thereupon, as his wife gave to her husband berries of the muku tree and red earth, he chewed the berries to pieces, and spat them out with the red earth which he held in his mouth, so that the great deity believed him to be chewing up and spitting out the centipedes, and, feeling fond of him in his heart, fell asleep. Then the deity Great-Name-Possessor, grasping the great deity's hair, tied it fast to the various rafters of the house, and, blocking up the floor of the house with a five-hundred draught rock, and taking his wife the Forward-Princess on his back, then carried off the great deity's great life-sword and life-bow-and-arrows, as also his heavenly speaking-lute, and ran out. But the heavenly speaking-lute brushed against a tree, and the earth resounded. So the great deity, who was sleeping, started at the sound, and pulled down the house. But while he was disentangling his hair which was tied to the rafters, the deity Great-Name-Possessor fled a long way. So then, pursuing after him to the Even-Pass-of-Hades, and gazing on him from afar, be called out to the deity Great-Name-Possessor, saying: "With the great life-sword and the life-bow-and-arrows which thou carriest, pursue thy half-brethren till they crouch on the august slopes of the passes, and pursue them till they are swept into the reaches of the rivers, and do thou, wretch! become the deity Master-of-the-Great-Land; and moreover, becoming the deity Spirit-of-the-Living-Land, and making my daughter the Forward-Princess thy consort, do thou make stout the temple-pillars at the foot of Mount Uka in the nethermost rock-bottom, and make high the crossbeams to the Plain-of-High-Heaven, and dwell there, thou villain! So when, bearing the great sword and bow, he pursued and scattered the eighty deities, be did pursue them till they crouched on the august slope of every pass, he did pursue them till they were swept into every river, and then he began to make the land.
THE WOOING OF THE DEITY-OF-EIGHT-THOUSAND-SPEARS
This Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears, when he went forth to woo the Princess of Nuna-kaha, in the land of Koshi, on arriving at the house of the Princess of Nunakaha sang, saying:
"I, The Augustness the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears, having been unable to find a spouse in the Land of the Eight Islands, and having heard that in the far-off Land of Koshi there is a wise maiden, having heard that there is a beauteous maiden, I am standing here to truly woo her, I am going backward and forward to woo her. Without having yet untied even the cord of my sword, without having yet untied even my veil, I push back the plank-door shut by the maiden; while I am standing here, I pull it forward. While I am standing here, the nuye sings upon the green mountain, and the voice of the true bird of the moor, the pheasant, resounds; the bird of the yard, the cock, crows. Oh! the pity that the birds should sing! Oh! these birds! Would that I could beat them till they were sick! Oh! swiftly flying heaven-racing messenger, the tradition of the thing, too, this!"
Then the Princess of Nuna-kaba, without yet opening the door, sang from the inside, saying:
Thine Augustness, the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears! Being maiden like a drooping plant, my heart is just a bird on a sand-bank by the shore; it will now indeed be a dotterel. Afterward it will be a gentle bird; so as for thy life, do not deign to die. Oh! swiftly flying heaven-racing messenger! the tradition of the thing, too, this!
Second Song of the Princess
When the sun shall hide behind the green mountains, in the night black as the true jewels of the moor will I come forth. Coming radiant with smiles like the morning sun, thine arms white as rope of paper-mulberry-bark shall softly pat my breast soft as the melting snow; and patting each other interlaced, stretching out and pillowing ourselves on each other's jewel-arms - true jewel-arms - and with outstretched legs, will we sleep. So speak not too lovingly, Thine Augustness the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears! The tradition of the thing, too, this!"
THE CUP PLEDGE
Again this deity's Chief Empress, Her Augustness the Forward-Princess, was very jealous. So the deity her husband, being distressed, was about to go up from Idzumo to the Land of Yamato; and as he stood attired, with one august hand on the saddle of his august horse and one august foot in the august stirrup, he sang, saying:
When I take and attire myself so carefully in my august garments black as the true jewels of the moor, and, like the birds of the offing, look at my breast -though I raise my fins, I say that these are not good, and cast them off on the waves on the beach. When I take and attire myself so carefully in my august garments green as the kingfisher, and, like the birds of the offing, look at my breast -though I raise my fins, I say that these, too, are not good, and cast them off on the waves on the beach. When I take and attire myself so carefully in my raiment dyed in the sap of the dye-tree, the pounded madder sought in the mountain fields, and, like the birds of the offing, look at my breast though I raise my fins, I say that they are good. My dear young sister, Thine Augustness! Though thou say that thou wilt not weep - if like the Rocking birds, I flock and depart, if, like the led birds, I am led away and depart, thou wilt hang down thy head like a single eulalia [sic] upon the mountain and thy weeping shall indeed rise an the mist of the morning shower. Thine Augustness my spouse like the young herbal The tradition of the thing, too, this!"
Then his Empress, taking a great august liquor-cup, and drawing near and offering it to him, sang, saying:
"Oh I Thine Augustness the Deity-of-Eight-Thousand-Spears! Thou, my dear Master-of-the-Great-Land indeed, being a man, probably best on the various island-headlands that thou seest, and on every beach headland that thou lookest on, a wife like the young herbs. But as for me alas! being a woman, I have no man except thee; I have no spouse except thee. Beneath the fluttering of the ornamented fence, beneath the softness of the warm coverlet, beneath the rustling of the cloth coverlet, thine arms white as rope of paper-mulberry bark softly patting my breast soft as the melting snow, and patting each other interlaced, stretching out and pillowing ourselves on each other's arms-true jewel-arms, and with outstretched legs, will we sleep. Lift up the luxuriant august liquor!"
She having thus sung, they at once pledged each other by the cup with their hands on each other's necks, and are at rest till the present time. These are called divine words.
THE CHAMPION OF JAPAN
YAMATO-TAKE SLAYS HIS ELDER BROTHER
The Heavenly Sovereign said to His Augustness Wo-usu: "Why does not thine elder brother come forth to the morning and evening great august repasts? Be thou the one to take the trouble to teach him his duty." Thus he commanded; but for five days after, still the prince came not forth. Then the Heavenly Sovereign deigned to ask His Augustness Wo-usu, saying: "Why is thine elder brother so long of coming? Hast thou perchance not yet taught him his duty?" He replied, saying: "I have been at that trouble." Again the Heavenly Sovereign said: "How didst thou take the trouble?" He replied, saying: " In the early morning when he went into the privy, I grasped hold of him and crushed him, and, pulling off his limbs, wrapped them in matting and flung them away.
YAMATO-TAKE SLAYS THE KUMASO BRAVOES
Thereupon the Heavenly Sovereign, alarmed at the valor and ferocity of his august child's disposition, commanded him, saying: " In the West there are two Kumaso Bravoes - unsubmissive and disrespectful men. So take them "-and with this command he sent him off. It happened that at this time his august hair was bound at the brow. Then His Augustness Wo-usu was granted by his aunt Her Augustness Yamato-himeo her august upper garment and august skirt; and, with a saber hidden in his august bosom, he went forth. So, on reaching the house of the Kumaso braves, he saw that near the house there was a threefold belt of warriors, who had made a cave to dwell in. Hereupon they, noisily discussing a rejoicing for the august cave, were getting food ready. So Prince Wo-usu sauntered about the neighborhood, waiting for the day of the rejoicing. Then when the day of the rejoicing came, having combed down after the manner of girls his august hair which was bound up, and having put on his aunt's august upper garment and august skirt, he looked quite like a young girl, and, standing amidst the women, went inside the cave. Then the elder brother and the younger brother, the two Kumaso bravoes, delighted at the sight of the maiden, set her between them, and rejoiced exuberantly. So, when the feast was at its height, His Augustness Wo-usu, drawing the saber from his bosom, and catching Kumaso by the collar of his garment, thrust the saber through his chest, whereupon, alarmed at the sight, the younger bravo ran out. But pursuing after and reaching him at the bottom of the steps of the cave, and catching him by the back, Prince Wo-usu thrust the saber through his buttock. Then the Kumaso bravo spoke, saying: "Do not move the sword; I have something to say." Then His Augustness Wo-usu, respited him for a moment, holding him down as he lay prostrate. Hereupon the bravo said: " Who is Thine Augustness?" Then he said: " I am the august child of Obo-tarashi-hiko-oshiro-wake, the Heavenly Sovereign who, dwelling in the palace of Hishiro at Makimuku, rules the Land of the Eight Great Islands; and my name is King Yamata-woguna. Hearing that you two fellows, the Kumaso bravoes, were unsubmissive and disrespectful, the Heavenly Sovereign sent me with the command to take and slay you." Then the Kumaso bravo said: " That must be true. There are no persons in the West so brave and strong as we two. Yet in the Land of Great Yamato there is a man braver than we two-there is. Therefore will I offer thee an august name. From this time forward it is right that thou be praised as the August Child Yamato-take." As soon as he had finished saying this, the Prince ripped him up like a ripe melon, and slew him. So thenceforward he was praised by being called by the august name of his Augustness Yamato-take. When he returned up to the capital after doing this, he subdued and pacified every one of the deities of the mountains and of the deities of the rivers and likewise of the deities of Anado, and then went up to the capital.
YAMATO-TAKE SLAYS THE IDZUMO BRAVO
Forthwith entering the land of Idzumo, and wishing to slay the Idzumo bravo, he, on arriving, forthwith bound himself to him in friendship. So, having secretly made the wood of an oak-tree into a false sword and augustly girded it, he went with the bravo to bathe in the River Hi. Then, His Augustness Yamato-take getting out of the river first, and taking and girding on the sword that the Idzumo bravo bad taken off and laid down, said: " Let us exchange swords! " So afterward the Idzumo bravo, getting out of the river, girded on His Augustness Yamato-take's false sword. Hereupon His Augustness Yamato-take, suggested, saying: "Come on! let us cross swords." Then on drawing his sword, the Idzumo bravo could not draw the false sword. Forthwith His Augustness Yamato-take drew his sword and slew the lclzumo bravo. Then he sang augustly, saying:
"Alas that the sword girded on the Idzumo bravo, and wound round with many a creeper, should have had no true blade!"
So having thus extirpated the bravoes and made the land orderly, he went up to the capital and made his report to the Heavenly Sovereign.
YAMATO-TAKE IS SENT TO SUBDUE THE EAST AND VISITS HIS AUNT AT ISE
Then the Heavenly Sovereign again urged a command on His Augustness Yamato-take, saying: "subdue and pacify the savage deities and likewise the unsubmissive people of the twelve roads of the East"; and when he sent him off, joining to him Prince -Mi-suki-tomo-mimi-take, ancestor of the Grandees of Kibi, he bestowed on him a holly-wood spear eight fathoms long. So when he had received the imperial command and started off, he went into the temple of the Great August Deity of Ise, and worshiped the deity's court, forthwith speaking to his aunt, Her Augustness Yamato-hine, saving: " It must surely be that the Heavenly Sovereign thinks I may die quickly - for after sending me to smite the wicked people of the West, I am no sooner come up again to the capital than, without bestowing on me an army, he now sends me off afresh to pacify the wicked people of the twelve circuits of the East. Consequently I think that he certainly thinks I shall die quickly." When he departed with lamentations and tears, Her Augustness Yamato-hine bestowed on him the "Herb-Quelling-Saber," and likewise bestowed on him an august bag, and said: "If there should be an emergency, open the mouth of the bag."
YAMATO-TAKE SLAYS THE RULERS OF SAGAMU
So reaching the land of Wohari, he went into the house of Princess Miyadzu, ancestress of the rulers of Wohari, and forthwith thought to wed her; but thinking again that he would wed her when he should return up toward the capital, and having plighted his troth, he went on into the Eastern lands, and subdued and pacified all the savage deities and unsubmissive people of the mountains and rivers. So then, when he reached the land of Sagamu, the ruler of the land lied, saying: "In the middle of this moor is a great lagoon, and the deity that dwells in the middle of the lagoon is a very violent deity." Hereupon Yamato-take entered the moor to see the deity. Then the ruler of the land set fire to the moor. So, knowing that he had been deceived, he opened the mouth of the bag which his aunt, Her Augustness Yamato-hine had bestowed on him, and saw that inside of it there was a fire-striker. Hereupon he first mowed away the herbage with his august sword, took the fire-striker and struck out fire, and, kindling a counter-fire, burned the herbage and drove back the other fire and returned forth, and killed and destroyed all the rulers of that land, and forthwith set fire to and burned them. So that place is now called Yakidzu.
YAMATO-TAKE'S EMPRESS STILLS THE WAVES
When be thence penetrated on, and crossed the sea of Hashiri-midzu, the deity of that crossing raised the waves, tossing the ship so that it could not proceed across. Then Yamato-take's Empress, whose name was Her Augustness Princess Oto-tachibana, said:" I will enter the sea instead of the august child. The august child must complete the service on which he has been sent, and take back a report to the Heavenly Sovereign." When she was about to enter the sea, she spread eight thicknesses of sedge rugs, eight thicknesses of skin rugs, and eight thicknesses of silk rugs on the top of the waves, and sat down on the top of them. Thereupon the violent waves at once went down, and the august ship was able to proceed. Then the Empress sang, saving:
"Ah I thou whom I inquired of, standing in the midst of the flames of the fire burning on the little moor of Sagamu, where the true peak pierces!"
So seven days afterward the Empress's august comb drifted on to the sea-beach - which comb was forthwith taken and placed in an august mausoleum which was made.
YAMATO-TAKE SLAYS THE DEITY OF THE ASHIGARA PASS
When, having thence penetrated on and subdued all the savage Yemisi [Ainu] and likewise pacified all the savage deities of the mountains and rivers, he was returning up to the capital, he, on reaching the foot of the Ashigara Pass, was eating his august provisions, when the deity of the pass, transformed into a white deer, came and stood before him. Then forthwith, on his waiting and striking the deer with a scrap of wild chive, the deer was hit in the eye and struck dead. So, mounting to the top of the pass, he sighed three times and spoke, saying: " Adzuma ha ya!" [My Wife!] So that land is called by the name of Adzuma.
YAMATO-TAKE WOOS PRINCESS MIYAZU
When, forthwith crossing over from that land out into Kahi, he dwelt in the palace of Sakawori, he sang, saying:
"How many nights have I slept since passing Nihibari and Tsukuha?"
Then the old man, who was the lighter of the august fire, completed the august song, and sang, saying:
"Oh! having put the days in a row, there are of nights nine nights, and of days ten days!"
Therefore Yamato-take praised the old man, and forthwith bestowed on him the rulership of the Eastern lands.
Having crossed over from that land into the land of Shinanu and subdued the deity of the Shinanu pass, he came back to the land of Wohari, and went to dwell in the house of Princess Miyazu, to whom he had before plighted his troth. Hereupon, when presenting to him the great august food, Princess Miyazu lifted up a great liquor-cup and presented it to him.
After this, placing in Princess Miyazu's house his august sword "the Grass-Quelling Saber," he went forth to take the deity of Mount Ibuki.
YAMATO-TAKE MEETS THE DEITY OF MOUNT IBUKI
Hereupon he said: "As for the deity of this mountain, I will simply take him empty-handed"-- and was ascending the mountain, when there met him on the mountainside a white boar whose size was like unto that of a bull. Then he lifted up words, and said: "This creature that is transformed into a white boar must be a messenger from the deity. Though I slay it not now, I will slay it when I return"-- and so saying, ascended. Thereupon the deity caused heavy ice-rain to fall, striking and perplexing His Augustness Yamato-take. (This creature transformed into a white boar was not a messenger from the deity, but the very deity in person. Owing to the lifting up of words, he appeared and misled Yamato-take.) So when, on descending back, he reached the fresh spring of Tamakura-be and rested there, his august heart awoke somewhat. So that fresh spring is called by the name of the fresh spring of Wi-same.
YAMATO TAKE SICKENS AND DIES
When he departed thence and reached the moor of Tagi, he said: " Whereas my heart always felt like flying through the sky, my legs are now unable to walk. They have become rudder-shaped." So that place was called by the name of Tagi. Owing to his being very weary with progressing a little farther beyond that place, be leaned upon an august staff to walk a little. So that place is called by the name of the Tsuwetsuki pass. On arriving at the single pine-tree on Cape Wotsu, an august sword, which he had forgotten at that place before when augustly eating, was still there, not lost. Then he augustly sang, saying:
"O mine elder brother, the single pine-tree that art on Cape Wotsu which directly faces Wohari! If thou, single pine-tree! wert a person, I would gird my sword upon thee, I would clothe thee with my garments - O mine elder brother, the single pine-tree!"
When he departed thence and reached the village of Mihe, he again said: " My legs are like threefold crooks, and very weary." So that place was called by the name of Mihe. When he departed thence and reached the moor of Nobe, he regretting his native land, sang, saying:
"As for Yamato, the most secluded of land - Yamato, retired behind Mount Awogaki encompassing it with its folds, is delightful."
Again he sang, saying:
"Let those whose life may be complete stick in their hair as a headdress the leaves of the bear-oak from Mount Heguri -those children!"
This song is a land-regretting song. Again he sang, saying:
"How sweet! ah! from the direction of home clouds are rising and coming!"
This is an incomplete song. At this time, his august sickness very urgent. Then he sang augustly, saying:
The saber-sword which I placed at the maiden's bedside, alas! that sword!"
As soon as he had finished singing, he died. Then a courier was dispatched to the Heavenly Sovereign.
YAMATO-TAKE TURNS INTO A WHITE BIRD
Thereupon his Empresses and likewise his august children, who dwelt in Yamato, all went down and built an august mausoleum, and, forthwith crawling hither and thither in the rice fields encompassing the mausoleum, sobbed out a song, saying:
The Dioscorea quinqueloba crawling hither and thither among the rice-stubble in the rice-fields encompassing the Mausoleum.."
Thereupon the dead prince, turning into a white dotterel eight fathoms long, and soaring up to Heaven, flew off toward the shore. Then the Empress and likewise the august children, though they tore their feet treading on the stubble of the bamboo-grass, forgot the pain, and pursued him with lamentations. At that time they sang, saying:
"Our loins are impeded in the plain overgrown with short bamboo-grass. We are not going through the sky, but oh! we are on foot."
Again when they entered the salt sea, and suffered as they went, they sang, saying:
"As we go through the sea, our loins are impeded -tottering in the sea like herbs growing in a great river-bed."
Again when the bird flew and perched on the seaside, they sang, saying:
"The dotterel of the beach goes not on the beach, but follows the seaside."
These four songs were all sung at Yamato-take's august interment. So to the present day these songs are sung at the great interment of a Heavenly Sovereign. So the bird flew off from that country, and stopped at Shiki in the land of Kafuchi. So they made an august mausoleum there, and laid Yamato-take to rest. Forthwith that august mausoleum was called by. the name of the "August-Mausoleum of the White-Bird." Nevertheless the bird soared up thence to heaven again and flew away.