|English translation of
English translation by W.G. Ashton
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/
THE LATER RULERS
THE EMPRESS AME-TOYO-TAKARA IKASHI-HI TARASHI-HIME
The Empress Ame-toyo-takara ikashi-hi tarashi-hime [later known as Saimei Tenno] first married the Emperor Tachibana no toyohi's grandson, Prince Takamuku, and bore to him the Imperial Prince Aya. She was afterward married to the Emperor Oki-naga tarashi hi hiro-nuka, to whom she bore two sons and one daughter. In his second year she was raised to the rank of Empress-consort, as may be seen in the history of the Emperor Oki-naga tarashi-hi hiro-nuka. In the thirteenth year of his reign, Winter, the tenth month, the Emperor Oki-naga tarashi-hi hiro-nuka died. In the first mouth of the following year the Empress assumed the Imperial Dignity. In the sixth month of the fourth year of the new reign, she resigned the Dignity to the Emperor Ame-yorodzu-toyohi, and was entitled Empress Dowager. The Emperor Ame-yorodzu-toyohi died in the tenth month of the later fifth Year.
(A.D. 655.) 1st year, Spring, 1st month, 3rd day. The Empress Dowager assumed the Imperial Dignity in the Palace of Asuka no Itabuki.
Summer, 5th month, 1st day. In the midst of the Void there was seen one riding on a dragon, who resembled a man of Thang in appearance. He bad on a broad bat of green oiled stuff. He rode fast from the peak of Katsuraki and disappeared on Mount Ikoma. When it became noon, he galloped off over the firs of Sumiyoshi in a westerly direction.
Winter, 10th month, 13th day. There was a Palace in course of construction at Woharida which it was intended to roof with tiles. But in the recesses of the mountains and on the broad valleys, much of the timber with which it was proposed to erect the Palace buildings rotted. In the end the work was put a stop to, and no building was erected.
This winter the Palace of Asuka no Itabuki was burned, and the Empress therefore removed her residence to the Palace of Asuka no Kahara.
(A.D. 656.) In this year a fresh site for a Palace was fixed upon at Asuka no Wokamoto.
At this time, Koryo, Pekche and Silla together sent envoys to offer tribute. Dark purple curtains were drawn round this Palace site for them, and they were entertained there. At last the Palace buildings were erected, and the Empress removed into them. This Palace was called the later Palace of Asuka no Wokamoto.
Tamu Peak was crowned with a circular enclosure. Moreover on the summit of the Peak, close by where two tsuki trees grew, a lofty building was erected to which the name was given of the Palace of Futa-tsuki. It was also called Amatsu miya.
At this time public works were in favor. Navvies were employed to dig a canal from the western end of Mount Kagu yama as far as the Mountain of Iso no kami. Two hundred barges were loaded with stones from the Iso no Kami Mountain and hauled with the current to the mountain on the east of the Palace, where the stones were piled up to form a wall. The people of that day reviled the work, saying: "This mad canal, which has wasted the labor of over 30,000 men! This wall-building, which has wasted the labor of over 70,000 men! And the timber for the Palace which has rotted! And the top of the mountain which has collapsed! "
Again they reviled, saying: "May the mound built at Iso no kami break down of itself as fast as it is built! "
(A.D. 658.) Summer, 4th mouth. Abe no Omi went on an expedition against the Yemishi in command of a fleet of 180 ships. The Yemishi of the two districts of Aita and Nushiro were struck with fear, and tendered their submission. Hereupon the ships were drawn up in order of battle in the bay of Aita. A Yemishi of Aita named Omuka came forward and made an oath, saying: "It is not by reason of the arrival of the Imperial forces that we slaves carry bows and arrows, but because it is our nature to live upon animal food. If we have provided bows and arrows against the Imperial forces, may the Gods of the bay of Aita take note of it! We will serve the Government with pure hearts."
Omuka was accordingly granted the rank of Upper Shaotsu, and local governors were established in the two districts of Nushiro and Tsugaru. Ultimately the Yemishi of Watari no Shima were summoned together at the shore of Arima and a great feast provided them, after which they were dismissed home.
5th month. A grandson of the Empress named Prince Takeru died. He was eight years of age. His remains were deposited in a temporary tomb which was raised for him over the Imaki valley. The Empress had always esteemed her grandson highly for his obedient conduct. She was therefore beside herself with grief, and her emotion was exceeding great. Sending for the Ministers, she said:
"After ten thousand years and a thousand autumns he must be interred along with us in our own misasagi.
So she made songs, saying:
On the Hill of Womure
In Imaki --
If but a cloud
Arose, plain to be seen,
Why should lament?
This was the first song.
"I never thought
That he was young
As the young grass
By the riverside whither one tracks
The deer wounded by an arrow."
This was the second song.
Like the flowing water
Of the River Asuka.
Which surges as it flows,
I long for him!
This was the third song.
The Empress sang these songs from time to time, and lamented bitterly.
In this month, the Buddhist priests Chitsu and Chitatsu went by, the Empress's command to Great Thang on board a Silla ship, where they received instruction from the teacher of religion," Hsuan-ts'ang, on the philosophy of things without life and living beings.
Winter, 10th month, 15th day. The Empress visited the hot baths of Ki. The Empress, remembering her Imperial grandson, Prince Takeru, grieved and lamented. She exclaimed) saying:
Though I pass over the mountains
And cross the seas
Yet can I never forget
The pleasant Region of Imaki.
With the harbor's
An the sea goes down,
With the darkness behind me
Leaving him, I must go -
The dear one.
My young child!
Leaving him, I must go.
She commanded Mari, Hada no Oho-kura no Miyakko, saying: "Let these verses be handed down and let them not be forgotten by the world."
11th month, 3rd day. Soga no Akaye no Omi, the official who had charge during the Empress's absence, addressed the Imperial Prince Arima, saying: "There are three faults in the Empress's administration of the affairs of Government. The first is that she builds treasuries on a great scale, wherein she collects the riches of the people. The second is that she wastes the public grain revenue in digging long canals. The third is that she loads barges with stones and transports them to be piled up into a hill." The Imperial Prince Arima, recognizing Akaye's friendly disposition toward himself, was gratified, and replied, saying: "I have only now come to an age when I am fit to bear arms."
5th day. The Imperial Prince Arima proceeded to the house of Akaye, where he went up into an upper story and conspired with him. A leg-rest broke of itself. They both recognized that this was a bad omen, and swore to one another to proceed no further. The Imperial Prince returned home, where he was staying for the night, when at midnight Akaye sent Shibi, Mononobe no Yenowi no Muraji, in command of the laborers engaged in building the Palace, to surround the Imperial Prince Arima in his house at Ichifu, and straightway dispatched a mounted courier to inform the Empress.
9th day. The Imperial Prince Arima, with Oho-ishi, Mori no Kimi, Kusuri, Sakahibe no Muraji, and Konoshiro, Shihoya no Muraji, were arrested, and sent to the hot springs of Ki. His toneri Yonemaro, Nihitabe no Muraji, followed him.
Thereupon the Prince Imperial in person questioned the Imperial Prince Arima, saying: "Why didst thou plot treason?" He answered and said: "Heaven and Akaye know. I do not at all understand."
11th day. Kuniso, Tajihi no Wosaha no Muraji, was sent to strangle the Imperial Prince Arima at the Fujishiro acclivity. On this day Konoshiro, Shihoya no Muraji, nd the toneri Yonemaro, Nihitabe no Muraji, were executed at the Fujishiro, acclivity. When Konosbiro, Shihoya no Muraji, was about to be executed he said: "I request that my right hand may be made a national treasure." Oho-ishi, Mori no Kimi, was banished to the province of Kamitsukenu, and Kusuri, Sakahibe no Muraji, to the province of Wohari.
One book says: "The Imperial Prince Arima, with Akaye, So-a no Omi, Konosbiro, Shiboya no Muraji, Oho-isbi, Mori no Kimi, and Kusuri, Sakahibe no Muraji, divined the future of their treasonous conspiracy by drawing slips of paper." One book says: "The Imperial Prince Arima said: 'First of all we will burn the Palace. Then with five hundred men for a day and two nights we will waylay the Empress at the harbor of Muro, and speedily with a fleet cutting off the land of Ahaji, make as it were a prison. This can be easily accomplished.' Some one objected, saying: 'It can not be so. For all your plans, the faculty of carrying them out is wanting. At the present time, Your Imperial Highness is only nineteen years of age, and has not yet attained to manhood. You must first reach manhood and then you will gain the faculty.'" Another book says: "When the Imperial Prince Arima was plotting treason along with a judicial officer, the leg of the Imperial Prince's arm-rest broke of itself without cause, but he did not cease from conspiring, and was eventually executed."
In this year, Hirafu, Abe no Hikida no Omi, Warden of the land of Koshi, went on an expedition against the Sushen. He presented to the Emperor two live white bears.
The Buddhist priest Chiyu made a south-pointing chariot.
It was reported from the province of Idzumo: "On the shore of the northern sea the fish are dying in heaps three feet in depth. In size they resemble the globe-fish. They have the beaks of sparrows and thorny scales several inches long. The common people say that they are sparrows which have gone into the sea and become changed into fish, and give them the name of 'sparrow-fish.'"
One book says: "In the seventh month of the sixth year, Pekche sent envoys with the following message to the Empress: 'Great Thang and Silla have joined their powers for an attack upon us. They have taken away as prisoners King Wicha, his Queen 'and the Heir to the Throne. Our Government has therefore stationed troops on the northwestern frontier and repaired the fortifications as an indication that the mountains and rivers are blocked."
Moreover Tsuratari, Adzumi no Muraji, of Lower Shokwa rank, who bad gone as Envoy to the Western Seal returned from Pekche and reported that Pekche had returned after a successful expedition against Silla. At this time a horse of his own accord went round the Golden Hall of a temple night and day without ceasing, and only stopping to graze.
One book says: "This was an echo of its destruction by the enemy in the year Kanoye Saru."
(A.D. 659.) A fox bit off the end of a creeper which a laborer of the district of Ou held in his band, and went off with it. Moreover, a dog brought in his mouth a dead man's hand and forearm and laid it in the Ifuya shrine. (Signs that the Empress was about to die.)
Again, the Koryo envoys had a bear-skin, on which they put a price of sixty pounds of floss silk. The market commissioner laughed and went away.
A Koryo painter, named Komaro, on the day on which he entertained guests of his own surname in his private house, borrowed seventy official polar-bear skins for them to sit upon. The guests were ashamed and astonished and went away.
(A.D. 660.) 6th year, Spring, Ist month, 1st day. The Koryo envoys, the Eul-syang, Ha Chhyu-mun, and his suite, numbering over one hundred persons, anchored in Tsukushi.
3rd month. Abe no Omi was sent on an expedition with a fleet of 200 ships against the land of Su-shen. Abe no Omi made some Yemishi of Nlichinoku embark on board his own ship. They arrived close to a great river. Upon this over a thousand Yemishi of Watari-shima assembled on the seashore and made a camp facing the river. Two men-of this camp came forward and called out hurriedly, saying: "The Su-shen fleet has arrived in great force and threatens to slay us. We pray, therefore, to be allowed to cross the river and to serve the Government, Abe no Omi sent a boat to go and fetch these two Yemishi, and inquired from them where the enemy were concealed and the number of their ships. The two Yemishi accordingly pointed out the place of their concealment, saying: "There are over twenty ships." Thereupon he sent messengers to summon them, but they refused to come. Abe no Omi accordingly heaped upon the beach colored silk stuffs, weapons, iron, etc., to excite their cupidity. The Su-shen people thereupon drew up their fleet in order, and tying feathers to poles, raised them aloft by way of flags. They approached with equal oars and came to a pause in a shallow place. Then from one of the ships they sent forth two old men who went round the colored silk stuffs and other articles which bad been piled up, examining them closely. They then changed the single garments they had on, and each taking up one piece of cloth in his band, went on board their ship and departed. Presently the old men came back again, took off the exchanged garments, and laying them down along with the cloth they bad taken away, went on board their ship and departed. Abe no Omi sent several ships to fetch them, but they refused to come, and returned to the island of Herobe. (Herobe is a separate part of Watarishima.) After some time they asked for peace, but Abe no Omi refused altogether to listen to them. So they betook themselves to their own palisades and fought. At this time Mamukatsu, Noto no Omi, was slain by the enemy. While the battle was still going on, and was not yet fought out, the enemy, finding that they were being beaten, put to death their own wives and children.
Summer, 5th month, 8th day. The Koryo Envoy, the Eul-syang, Ha Chhyu-mun, and his suite arrived at the official residence of Naniha.
In this month, the officials, by order of the Empress, prepared one hundred raised seats " and one hundred Nokesa, and held a Ninwo Hanya meeting.
Moreover, the Prince Imperial for the first time made a clepsydra, by which he caused the people to know the hours.
Again, Abe no Hikida no Omi presented to the Empress more than fifty savages.
Again, a Mount Sumi was built near the pond of Iso no Kami, as high as a pagoda. On this occasion forty -seven men of Su-shen were entertained.
Again, the people of the whole country carried arms without reason when passing to and fro on the highways. The old people of the country said: "This perhaps denotes the destruction of the Land of Pekche."
(A.D. 661.) 7th year, Spring, 1st month, 6th day. The Imperial ship first put to sea for the expedition against the West.
3rd mouth, 25th day. The Imperial ship returned to Una no Ohotsu, where the Empress occupied the temporary Palace of Ihase, the name of which the Empress altered to Nagatsu.
At this time trees belonging to the Shrine of Asakura were cut down and cleared away in order to build this Palace. Therefore the gods were angry and demolished the building. Some were also struck, and in consequence the Grand Treasurer and many of those in waiting took ill and died.
23rd day. Tamna, for the first time, sent Prince A-pha-ki and others with tribute.
In the writing of Hakatoko, Yuki no Muraji, it is stated:
On the 25th day of the Ist month of the year Kanoto Tori (A.D. 661), we arrived at Yueh-chow on our return journey. On the Ist day of the 4th month, leaving Yueh-chow, we proceeded homeward in an easterly direction, and on the 7th arrived south of Mount Ch'eng-an-shan. On the 8th day at cock-crow we put out to sea with a southwest wind in our favor, but in mid-ocean we lost our way and tossed about, undergoing much suffering. On the 9th day at nightfall we reached the island of Tamna with great difficulty. There we induced Prince A-pha-ki and eight other natives of the island to embark with us in the guest-ship to the end that we might present them to the Imperial Court. On the 23rd day of the 25th month, we presented them to the Imperial Court at Asakura. This was the first time that Tamna was received at Court. Moreover, the envoys, who had been slandered by Tarushima, Yamato no Aya no Atahe, a follower of Chihung, received no gracious command. These envoys were wroth, and their anger penetrated to the gods of High Heaven, who with a thunderbolt killed Tarushima." The men of that day said of this: "The divine vengeance of Yamato is near."
6th month. Prince Ise died.
Autumn, 7th month, 24th day. The Empress died in the Palace of Asakura.
8th month, 1st day. The Prince Imperial, in attendance on the Empress's remains, returned as far as the Palace of lhase. That evening, on the top of Mount Asakura, there was a demon wearing a great hat, who looked down on the funeral proceedings. All the people uttered exclamations of wonder.
Winter, 10th month, 7th day. The Empress's funeral train returning, put to sea. Hereupon the Prince Imperial, having come to an anchor in the same place, was filled with grief and longing for the Empress. So he sung to himself, saying:
"Longing as I do
For a sight of thee,
Now that I have arrived here, Even thus do I long
Desirous of a sight of thee!"
[The later passages become, more and more, mere chronicles of commonplace events and entertainments, with an occasional plot or revolt. The closing pages of the thirtieth and last book, which follow, are typical of the rest.]
(A.D. 697.) 11th year, Spring, 1st month, 7th day. An entertainment was given to the Ministers and Daibu.
11th day. Presents of rice in ear of various values were given to all widowers, widows, orphans, and childless persons, to those suffering from grave disease, and to those who from poverty were unable to support themselves, throughout the Empire.
16th day. An entertainment was given to the Ministers and public functionaries.
2nd month, 28th day. Kunimi, Tahema no Mlabito, of Jiki-kw6-ichi rank, was appointed Grand Tutor of the Heir Apparent, Atomi, Michi no Mabito, of Jiki-kwo-san rank, was appointed Director of the Spring Palace, and Ahamochi, Kose no Ason, of Jiki-dai-shi rank, Assistant Director.
3rd month, 5th day. A public great-congregation was held at the Eastern Palace.
Summer, 4th month, 4th day. Ranks, from that of Jo to that of Jiki, were conferred on the selected persons for office, discrimination being made in the case of each.
7th day. The Empress Jito went to the Palace of Yoshino.
14th day. Envoys were sent to pray to Hirose and Tatsuta.
On this day the Empress arrived from Yoshino.
5th month, 8th day. Daibu were sent as envoys to the various shrines to pray for rain.
6th month, 2nd day. Criminals were pardoned.
6th day. An Imperial order was made that Sutras should be read in the temples of the Home provinces.
15th day. Persons of the fifth and lower ranks were sent to cleanse out the temples of the capital.
19th day. Offerings were distributed to the gods of Heaven and Earth
26th day. The Ministers and public functionaries began to make votive images of Buddha for the sake of the Empress's illness.
28th day. Daibu were sent as envoys to visit the various shrines and pray for rain.
Autumn, 7th month, 7th day. At midnight, one hundred and nine habitual thieves were pardoned, and four pieces of cloth given to each. But those from the outer provinces received twenty sheaves of rice each.
12th day. Envoys were sent to pray to Hirose and Tatsuta.
29th day. The Ministers and public functionaries prepared a festival for the installation of Buddhist images in the Temple of Yakushiji.
8th month, 1st day. The Empress, having decided on this measure in the forbidden precinct, abdicated the Imperial Dignity in favor of the Prince Imperial.
END OF THE NIHONGI