(Read November 12th, 1878.)

[Extracted from Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. 7 (1879), pp. 95-126, 398-484.]

One of the questions most frequently asked by those who take interest in Japanese subjects is, "What is the nature of Shintau"? It might seem at first sight that the answer should be easy, but this is not the case. In the first place, there are several kinds of Shintau to be distinguished before an answer can be given. There is the Riyaubu Shintau, in which the primitive belief has been overlaid and almost hidden by a mass of Buddhist mysticism, and I cannot say that I have had time to study it at all. Then we have the Yuwiitsu Shintau, also consisting mainly of a Buddhist superstructure on a Shintau foundation; the Deguchi Shintau, in which the ancient belief is explained by means of the Chinese Book of Changes, and the Suwiga Shintau, which is a combination of Yuwiitsu Shintau and the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Choohe. Besides these there is the real Shintau, by which I mean the belief actually held and the rites practised by the Japanese people before the introduction of Buddhism and the Chinese philosophy, to 'which must further be added the Shintau of modern writers, such as Motowori and Hirata, whose views I have attempted to summarize in a [p.96] paper entitled the "Revival of Pure Shintau." Of all these kinds, unquestionably the most interesting to students of comparative religion is the Shintau of the primitive Japanese, because if we can separate it from the spurious counterfeits and adulterations which are presented to us as Shintau, we shall probably arrive at a natural religion in a very early stage of development, which perhaps originated quite independently of any other natural religion known to us, and that would certainly be of value, as showing one way in which a natural religion may spring up. The materials for this study consist of certain books belonging to the earliest period of Japanese literature, some of which are older than the introduction of the Chinese art of writing, but in the absence of any native system of writing, have been preserved first by oral tradition and later through the medium of the Chinese characters. As long as these books remain locked up in the original language they can be accessible, of course, only to the very small number of students who have specially directed their attention to this portion of Japanese literature. There is a wide field for research in Japan, and few if any can hope to find time to explore it thoroughly, because of the difficulties which the language presents. It seems, therefore, most practical to endeavour to remove the principal obstacle which prevents inquirers from learning at first hand what this primitive belief and these early rites were, by making as accurate translations as possible of the most important texts. For thus we shall be contributing towards the stock of material, which must be gathered together for examination by those whose special training fits them to draw the proper inferences from the scattered facts, of which each individual specialist can know only a small portion.

In studying the primitive religion of the Japanese people there are two principal avenues open to us. We may examine the names which are contained in the Nihongi, Kozhiki and other early records of tradition, and by analyzing the names of the gods and other supernatural beings who figure in those legends, discover the real relation in which they stand to each other and the true signification of the stories concerning them. In this way we should gain a general idea of the accepted belief concerning the gods, that was current at the time when those records were compiled, that is to say, if the expression be admissible, of the theory of Shintau, and at the same time it would become possible to show how and in what order these myths were evolved. But of not [p.97] less importance than this inquiry would be an investigation into the practical side of Shintau, by considering the attitude which the worshipper assumed towards the objects of worship, the means which he adopted of conciliating their favour or of averting their anger, and the language in which he addressed them. To describe the ceremonies used in the worship of the gods, the buildings in which it was celebrated, the organization of the priesthood, such as it still is, or can be shown to have been in earlier times, would also be of great interest, but such researches would require more ample leisure than falls to the lot of most foreign residents in this country. It would be necessary to visit the chief temples in different parts of the country, to enter into relations with the priests in charge of them, and to be present at their principal festivals. Tied to one spot almost throughout the year, as most of us are, we must content ourselves with such kinds of information as are to be obtained from books, which, though not entitled to be accepted as infallible guides, will yield valuable results when studied with care and patience.

An important part of every performance of Shintau rites, not less so than the presentation of offerings to the god or departed human spirit, is the reading or recitation of a sort of liturgy or ritual addressed for the most part to the object of worship, in which the grounds of this worship are stated and the offerings are enumerated. The Japanese word for such a liturgy or ritual is norito,1 frequently pronounced notto, [p.98] according to a well known law of phonetic corruption. These norito may be, and often are, composed for a single special occasion, as for instance a funeral conducted according to Shintau rites, and the Government Gazettes of the years immediately succeeding the Mikado's restoration in 1868 contain a large number of these occasional norito. Amongst them are rituals recited to add greater solemnity to the oath by which the sovereign bound himself to govern in accordance with liberal ideas, to celebrate his removal to the eastern metropolis, to obtain military success over his enemies, to give sanctity to the institution of an order of lay-preachers who were intended to spread abroad the teachings of Shintau, in honour of the gods of war, and to confirm the bestowal of posthumous titles on certain predecessors of the Mikado who had hitherto not been recognized as legitimate sovereigns. The norito used in the celebration of the annual service called Chinkonsai ([glyphs]), the object of which is to pacify the Mikado's soul, or, in other words, to ensure to him continuance in bodily health, is also said to have been from the earliest ages composed afresh on each occasion; but it is evident that there would be a tendency for a regularly recurrent ritual to settle down into a nearly constant form, from which the variations would be insignificant and might finally disappear altogether. This apparently happened in the cases of a considerable proportion of the rituals used in the services celebrated in early times at the court of the Mikado, for out of seventy-five such recognized services which are enumerated in the Yengishiki, we find that in the tenth century the precise wording of the rituals is prescribed for nearly thirty, and those undoubtedly the most important of the whole number. Whether they had all been committed to writing before the promulgation of the Ceremonial Laws of the year 927 (Yengishiki) is not known, but there seems good ground for supposing that some of them at least had assumed their present form much earlier. Mabuchi ascribes the congratulatory address of the chieftains of Idzumo, which is included among the norito, to the reign of Zhiyomei Teuwau ([glyphs], 629-641), the General Purification to that of Ten-mu ([glyphs] 678-686) and the Praying for Harvest, which is the subject of this paper, to the reign of Kuwaunin ([glyphs] 770-782), but his grounds for assuming these dates as the probable age of the norito in question, are chiefly peculiarities in the use of certain Chinese characters to represent certain Japanese words (e.g. [glyph] for mikoto, instead of [glyphs]), from [p.99] which no trustworthy inferences can be drawn, since the scribes of that age were addicted to numerous irregularities in the use of Chinese ideographs. It is more likely that the norito, as we have received them, had been transmitted orally, without any material alteration, for generations before they came to be written down. A principal reason for holding this opinion is that they contain not a few words, the meaning of which had been so far forgotten, that no Chinese equivalents could then be found for them; and instead of being translated into Chinese characters, they were written down phonetically. Of these words some have been ingeniously interpreted by modern native philologists, but there remain a good number that have hitherto defied analysis, and the preservation of such unintelligible words, instead of substituting something that could be readily understood, is a powerful argument in favour of the antiquity of the present text of those norito in which they occur.

A few bibliographical notes will be useful to those who wish to study the rituals in the original. The Yengishiki, or Ceremonial Law referred to above, had been preceded by two similar codes compiled by authority of the sovereign and published respectively in 820 and 871, which took the titles of Kounin-shiki and Jiyauguwan-shiki from the chronological periods in which they were produced. The former is believed to be no longer extant, and the author of the bibliographical work entitled Guushiyo-ichiran condemns as a forgery the twelve sections in MS. which go by its name, but the latter has been preserved, and the first printed edition of it appeared only a few years since. It contains more detailed instructions for the celebration of certain Shintau services than even the Yengishiki which superseded it, and is on that account esteemed of great value; but the rituals do not seem to have been included in it, probably because there was still sufficient vitality in the Shintau religion to preserve the tradition without the special sanction of an authoritative publication. In 905 a commission of twelve functionaries and scholars, to whom others were afterwards added, was appointed to revise the ceremonial law, and the result of their labours was a collection of regulations in fifty books, to which the title of Yengishiki was given from the chronological period in which it was begun (801-23), though it was not promulgated until the year 927. Of these fifty books the first ten are exclusively occupied with matters concerning the practice of the Shintau religion, such as the ceremonies observed [p.100] and the offerings made at the fixed annual, and at the occasional, services (bks. 1-8), the organization of the priesthood at the temples of Watarahi in Ise, the ordering of the services at those temples and the ceremonies connected with their maintenance and reconstruction every twenty years (bk. 4), the consecration of two virgin princesses of the Mikado's family, one as priestess of the temples of Watarahi, the other for the temples of Kamo in Yamashiro, with the regulations for the management for their households and the services in which they took part (bks. 5 and 6), the ceremonies which were performed to celebrate the accession of the sovereign (bk. 7), a catalogue of the chief Shintau temples recognized as entitled to state support (bks. 9 and 10), while in one book, the 8th, were collected together the norito or rituals to be used at the chief services.

The first printed edition saw the light in 1647 under the editorship of Nakahara Mototada. It was complete all but book 18, a copy of which was known to be in the possession of the noble family of Kuden, but Nakahara was unable to gain access to it. A transcript of this copy was discovered by the well known scholar Hayashi Daushiyun in the library of the prince of Wohari in the following year, and the whole work was eventually published by a Riyauto bookseller named Idzumozbi in 1657. Ten years later the text was revised by Matsushita Renrin, and new blocks were cut. In 1728, a copy having been ordered by the government, it was found that the blocks were much worn and worm-eaten, so that a fresh set had to be engraved. Advantage was taken of the opportunity to correct the text again, and an edition was produced which satisfied everybody's wants for the next hundred years. This is the edition commonly found in the booksellers' shops.

A much better edition is that known as the Deha-bon, for which the text has been carefully emended, and supplemented by a collection of various readings. The credit of this is due to Matsudaira Deha no kami Naritsune, the daimiyau of Matsuye in Idzumo. It was published in 1828, in sixty-one volumes, and is a splendid example of good Japanese block-cutting and printing.

There is also a printed edition of the first ten books only, omitting the prefatory matter and list of contents usually given. At the end of volume 10 is the date 1508 and the signature at full-length of Yoshida Kanetomo, the originator of the heretical form of the native religion [p.101] called Yuwiitsu ([glyphs]) Shintau, from which it is supposed that he is responsible for the kana readings given by the side of the Chinese text.

The well-known scholar Mabuchi wrote a commentary in five books on the whole of the rituals contained in the Yengishiki, to which he gave the name of Norito Kai, but this work has never been published. Just before his death he completed a revised commentary, under the title of Norito Kau, which was printed in 1800 by one of his pupils. It is still the chief guide to the understanding of the Rituals.

Commentaries on the ritual of the General Purification (Okobarahi), under its more popular name of Nakatomi no harahi, are very numerous, and a list of them is to be found in the Gunshiyo Ichiran ([glyphs]) vol. ii. p. 73. Motowori's commentary on this ritual, entitled Ohobarahi no kotoba no Goshiyaku ([glyphs]) which is an admirable work, has been followed by the Ohobarahi no kotoba gogo shiyaku ([glyphs]) of Fujiwi Takanaho, the Ohobarahi Shifuchiuseu ([glyphs]) of Kondau Yoshiki and the Ohobarahi no kotoba Sandouben ([glyphs]) of Nemoto Manahe. Motowori also composed a commentary on the "congratulatory address of the chieftains of Idzumo," entitled Idzumo no kuni no miyatsuko no kamu yo-goto goshiyaku ([glyphs]). Finally, Hirata Atsutane edited a very good text of all the rituals, which has been published by his son under the title of Norito Shiyaukun, or Correct Reading of the Rituals ([glyphs]) and prepared a commentary on the Ohobarahi, which has not yet seen the light. The same scholar published, under the title of Amatsu-norito Kau ([glyphs]) the texts of several copies of an ancient ritual not contained in the Yengishiki, which he had discovered.

The rituals are written entirely with Chinese characters, used for the most part as ideographs (mana), which are to be read into the corresponding Japanese words. No internal evidence of the exact manner, in which these ideographs are to be read is afforded by the text, the Japanese syllabic characters at the side having been added in modern times, and disputes have consequently arisen concerning the proper reading of several phrases, the discussion of which may be left until we come to the passages where they occur. The terminations of verbs and particles, called teniwoha by the native grammarians, are written with whole Chinese characters used phonetically, and belong therefore to the kind of signs known as Manyefu-gana. Further, the Maniyefu-gana not [p.102] infrequently occur in the bodies of words, of which, as stated already, the meaning had been forgotten or could not be adequately expressed by any combination of ideographs. In several places a note is attached to ideographs showing how they are to be read, which was an alternative expedient for avoiding the difficulties of inadequate expression.

The order in which the ideographs are generally arranged is in accordance with Japanese syntax; and inversion, or following the Chinese order of words, is very rare. The following are all the cases of inversion which I have been able to discover. In writing the negative in zu, is placed before the character which represents the negative base, as ochizu, arazu, ahasetamawazu, nasazu, inawosazu. The causative termination skime is often represented by [glyph] before the base, but is also expressed in kana after it, as sasage-motashime, masashime or sarashime and sakayeshime but tsutomeshimete, sakayeshime, masashhne. Negatives of such causatives are written with [glyph] above, as nasashimezu, arashiynezu. Honorific derivative verbs whose bases end in [glyph] are frequently written with [glyph] prefixed, as shiroshi, k-ikoshi, omohoshi, sonahashi, and the causatives with their base in s are written in the same manner, as tarahashi, yosashi. In passive forms like yakayete, which denotes the passive, precedes the base yak. Certain prepositions are placed before the substantives to which they belong, as kuchi yori, shita yori, ima yori. Gotoku is as often placed at the end of the phrase as at the beginning. The adverb kaku, 'thus,' is always represented by [glyphs], and kakaru, 'to be thus,' by [glyphs]. But wochite, always appears after the noun which it governs, with the exception of a single instance, and the same is true of ni yori, 'in consequence.' In one place we find the words tsuki hi, 'moon sun,' which is the Japanese order of naming the two luminaries, written [glyphs], sun moon, according to the Chinese practice. These rare departures from the Japanese syntactical sequence are for the most part mere devices for saving time in representing certain grammatical forms and inflections, and as they do not affect the general character of the compositions in which they occur, it cannot be inferred from their use that the rituals are in any way formed upon a foreign model. In all other cases the usual order of words peculiar to the [p.103] Japanese language is strictly preserved. It may in fact be fairly claimed for the greater number of the norito that they are the oldest specimens of indigenous Japanese literature extant, excepting only perhaps the poetry contained in the Kozhiki and Kihongi, and this alone would render them of the highest value to students of the language, even apart from the light which they throw upon the practice and origin of Shintau religion.

The following is a list of the Norito contained in the Yengishiki.

1. Toshigohi no Matsuri, service of the Praying for Harvest.
2. Kasuga no Matsuri, service of the gods of Kasuga.
3. Hirose oho-imi no Matsuri, service of the goddess of food.
4. Tatsuta kaze no kami no Matsuri, service of the gods of wind.
5. Hiranu no Matsuri, service of the temple of Imaki (dedicated to Yamato-dake no mikoto).
6. Kudo Furuaki. Ritual for the service of the temples of Kudo and Furuaki (dedicated to Chiuai Tenwau and Nintoku Tenwau respectively).
7. Minadzuki no Tsukinami no Matsuri. Half-yearly service performed in the sixth month (originally a monthly service, the ritual almost identical with that of the Praying for Harvest).
8. Ohotono Hogahi, or Luck-wishing of the Great Palace.
9. Mikado Matsuri, service of the gates.
10. Minadzuki Tsugomori no Ohobarahi. General Purification celebrated on the last day of the sixth month.
11. Yamato no Fumi-no-imikibo ga tachi wo tatematsuru toki no Zhiyu, or invocation pronounced by the hereditary scholars of Yamato, in presenting a golden sword to the Mikado before the reading of the Ohobarahi.
12. Ho-shidzumo no Matsuri, service of the Quieting of Fire.
13. Michiahe no Matsuri, service to propitiate the gods of pestilence. (More probably this is in reality the service of the Road Gods).
14. Ohonihe no Matsuri, or Harvest Festival.
15. Mitama wo ihahido ni shidzumuru Matsuri, the service of setting the spirits in the sanctuary.
16-24. Services at the Temples of Ise.


16. Kisaragi no Toehigohi, minadzuki ahihasa tsukinami no Matsuri, or form used at the Praying for Harvest in the 2nd month, and at the monthly services in the 6th and 12th months at the sun goddess' temple.
17. Toyuke no miya. The same form, slightly varied, to he used on these three occasions at the temple of the goddess of food. Both were read by the Mikado's envoy.
18. Udzuki no kamu miso Matsnri, or presentation of sacred clothing at the temple of the sun-goddess in the 4th month.
19. Minadzuki no tsukinami no Matsuri, or form used by the chief priest at the temple of the sun-goddess at the monthly service in the 6th month.
20. Nagatsuki no kamu name no Matsuri, or service of the Divine Tasting (Harvest festival) in the 9th month, at the temple of the sun-goddess.
21. Toyuke no miya no onazhi Matsuri, or, same service at the temple of the goddess of food. This and No. 20 were read by the Mikado's envoy.
22. Onazhiku kamu name no Matsuri, service read on the same occasion by the Chief Priest of the Temples of Ise.
23. Itsuki no hime-miko tatematsuri-iruru koto, read on the induction of a Princess of the Blood as Priestess.
24. Ohomikami no miya wo utsushi-matsuru norito, ritual for the removal of the goddess to her new temple.
25. Tatari-gami wo utsushi-yarafu Matsuri, service for the removal and dismissal of avenging deities. (Considered to be really the Michiahe ritual).
26. Morokoshi ni tsukahi wo tsukahasu toki ni mitegura tate-matsuru, offerings made on the occasion of the despatch of envoys to China.
27. Idzumo no kuni no miyatsuko no kamu Yogoto, or Congratulatory address of the Chieftains of Idzumo.

The Praying for Harvest, or Toshigohi no Matsuri, was celebrated on the 4th day of the 2nd month of each year, at the capital in the Zhingikuwan or office for the Worship of the Shintau gods, and in the provinces by the chiefs of the local administrations. At the Zhingikuwan there were assembled the ministers of state, the functionaries of that [p.105] office, the priests and priestesses of 573 temples, containing 787 shrines, which were kept up at the expense of the Mikado's treasury, while the governors of the provinces superintended in the districts under their administration the performance of rites in honour of 2,895 other shrines. It would not be easy to state the exact number of deities to whom these 8,132 shrines were dedicated. A glance over the list in the 9th and 10th books of the Yengishiki shows at once that there were many gods who were worshipped in more than half-a-dozen different localities at the same time, but exact calculation is impossible, because in many cases only the names of the temples are given, and we are left quite in the dark as to the individuality of the gods to whom they were sacred. Besides these 8,182 shrines, which are distinguished as Shikidai, that is contained in the catalogue of the Yengishiki, there were a large number of unenumerated shrines in temples scattered all over the country, in every village or hamlet, of which it was impossible to take any account, Just as at the present day there are temples of Hachiman, Konpira, Tenzhin sama, Sanwau sama and Sengen sama, as they are popularly called, wherever twenty or thirty houses are collected together. The shrines are classed as great and small, the respective numbers being 492 and 2,640, the distinction being two-fold, firstly in the proportionately larger quantity of offerings made at the great shrines, and secondly that the offerings in the one case were arranged upon tables or altars, while in the other they were placed on mats spread upon the earth. In the Yengishiki the amounts and nature of the offerings are stated with great minuteness, but it will be sufficient if the kinds of articles offered are alone mentioned here. It will be seen, by comparison with the text of the norito, that they had varied somewhat since the date when the ritual was composed. The offerings to a greater shrine consisted of coarse woven silk (ashiginu), thin silk of five different colours, a kind of stuff call shidori or shidzu, which is supposed by some to have been a striped silk, cloth of broussonetia bark or hemp, and a small quantity of the raw materials of which the cloth was made, models of swords, a pair of tables or altars (called yo-kura-oki and ya-kura-oki), a shield or mantlet, a spearhead, a bow, a quiver, a pair of stag's horns, a hoe, a few measures of sake or rice-beer, some haliotis and bonito, two measures of kitaki (supposed to be salt roe), various kinds of edible seaweed, a measure of salt, a sake jar and a few feet of matting for packing. To each of the [p.106] temples of Watarahi in Ise was presented in addition a horse; to the temple of the Harvest god Mitoshi no kami, a white horse, cock and pig, and a horse to each of nineteen others.

During the fortnight which preceded the celebration of the service, two smiths and their journeymen and two carpenters, together with eight inbe,2 were employed in preparing the apparatus and getting ready the offerings. It was usual to employ for the Praying for Harvest members of this tribe who held office in the Zhingikuwan, but if the number could not be made up in that office, it was supplied from other departments of state. To the tribe of quiver-makers was entrusted the special duty of weaving the quivers of wisteria tendrils. The service began at twenty minutes to seven in the morning by our reckoning of time. After the governor of the province of Yamashiro had ascertained that everything was in readiness, the officials of the Zhingikuwan arranged the offerings on the tables and below them, according to the rank of the shrines for which they were intended. The large court of the Zhingikuwan, where the service was held, called the Sai-in, measured 280 ft. by 370. At one end were the offices and on the west side were the shrines of the eight Protective Deities in a row, surrounded by a fence, to the interior of which three sacred archways (toriwi) gave access. In the centre of the court a temporary shed was erected for the occasion, in which the tables or altars were placed. The final preparations being now complete, the ministers of state, the virgin priestesses and the priests of the temples to which offerings were sent by the Mikado entered in succession, and took the places severally assigned to them. The horses which formed a part of the offerings were next brought in from the Mikado's stable, and all the congregation drew near, while the reader recited or read the norito, This reader was a member of the priestly family or tribe of Nakatomi, who traced their descent back to Amenokoyane, one of the principal advisers attached to the sun-goddess' grandchild when he first descended on earth. It is a remarkable evidence of the persistence of certain ideas, that up to the year 1868 the nominal prime-minister of the Mikado after he came of age, and the regent during his minority, if he had succeeded young to the throne, always belonged to this tribe, which changed its name from [p.107] Nakatomi to Fujihara in the 7th century, and was subsequently split up into the Five Setsuke or governing families. At the end of each section the priests all responded 'O!' which was no doubt the equivalent of 'Yes' in use in those days. As soon as he had finished, the Nakatomi retired, and the offerings were distributed to the priests for conveyance and presentation to the gods, to whose service they were attached. But a special messenger was despatched with the offerings destined to the temples at Watarahi. This formality having been completed, the President of the Zhingikuwan gave the signal for breaking up the assembly.

The earliest account of the proceedings on these occasions is contained in the Jiyauguwan Gishiki ([glyphs]) the year 871, and repeated with a few alterations in the Yengishiki (927). We find it also almost unchanged in the Hokuzanseu ([glyphs]) of the Dainagon Kintafu (b. 960, d. 1041), and in the Gouka no Shidai ([glyphs]) of  Ohoye no Masafusa (b. 1041, d. 1111). It may perhaps seem curious that the ceremonies should have been directed by officials organized on a Chinese model, but it can hardly be doubted that the functions which they discharged were older than the introduction of the Chinese system of administration, which merely furnished a convenient means of classifying and arranging what already existed, just as it is evident that even under the Tokugaha Shiyaugun there were organs of government which the new power has merely coordinated and defined with greater clearness. The priestly families of Nakatomi and Inbe, and the four tribes of Urabe or diviners certainly date from a prehistoric period, and that the sanctity which antiquity confers attached to the functions with which they were clothed, is clear from their being taken up into the new religious hierarchy instituted in the ninth century, while still preserving their hereditary character.

At some remote period it was the practice to hold a monthly service at every temple or shrine of importance, at which offerings were presented either in recognition of blessings already enjoyed, or as inducements to the gods to confer the favours which were besought from them. These monthly services were afterwards curtailed to two half-yearly services, but still retained their original name of the Tsukinami no Matsuri, or monthly services. Mabuchi thought that they were celebrated in honour of all the 8,182 shrines mentioned in the Yengishiki, but Motowori's [p.108] opinion is that only the 804 greater shrines, the charges for whose services were defrayed by the Zhnigikuwan, were concerned, and this was probably the case when the most recent ceremonial laws were drawn up, although it seems likely that in the beginning the services were performed at all the recognized shrines. One reason for this view is that the liturgy of the half-yearly (so-called monthly) services is identical, word for word, with that of the Praying for Harvest, with the exception of the passage in which the harvest god is directly addressed, and it is more likely that this part was inserted in a general liturgy which already existed for use on other occasions, than that the liturgy of the Tsukinami no Matsuri was borrowed from the Toshigohi, with the omission of the passage from which it was named. It will be seen that in the Praying for Harvest many gods are addressed who have nothing at all to do with the success or failure of the farmer's toil. It seems to follow, therefore, that the Toshigohi was the less ancient of the two services. Mabuchi is of opinion that the Praying for Harvest dates back to the reign of the Mikado to whom many hundred years later the posthumous title of Suuzhin Tenwau, or God-honouring Heavenly Sovereign, was given, and whom the fabulous early chronology assigns to the first century B.C. He gives as his grounds for this opinion the received tradition that in the reign of this sovereign all the gods received their due meed of honour, and that the wind and rain consequently came in good season, so that the seed of the field flourished; but his motive probably was the occurrence, in the first paragraph, of the phrase, "heavenly temples and country temples," for it is recorded of Suuzhin Tenwau that he divided the shrines of the gods into these two categories. Neither Mabuchi's alleged reason, nor that which I suppose to have guided him, is satisfactory; but whether this ritual date from the extremely vague epoch to which he ascribes it, there seems sufficient internal evidence that it owes its origin to a very remote period of antiquity.

The offerings intended for the Temples of Watarahi in Ise were sent by the hands of a special envoy, and the short rituals used in presenting them at the shrines of the sun-goddess and the goddess of food are Nos. 16, 17 and 19 of the preceding list.

In the following translation I have endeavoured to be as literal as possible; that is to say, to use English words which exactly express in [p.109] their original and etymological meaning the sense of the Japanese. I have also been careful to use the same English equivalents for the same Japanese words wherever they occur. Words in italics have been supplied in order to complete the meaning.


He1 says: "Hear all of you, assembled kannushi2 and hafuri."3

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran4 gods, whose praises by the word5 of the sovran's dear progenitor's6,8 'augustness'7 and progenitrix, who divinely remain in the plain of high heaven, are fulfilled as heavenly9 temples10 and country temples. I fulfil your praises by setting-up11 the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's12 augustness, made with the intention of deigning,13 to begin the harvest14 in the second month of this year, as the morning-sun rises in glory."15

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods16 of the harvest. If the sovran gods will bestow in many-bundled ears and in luxuriant ears17 the late-ripening harvest which they will bestow, the late-ripening harvest which will be produced by the dripping of foam from the arms and by drawing the mud together between the opposing thighs,18 then I will fulfil their praises by setting-up the first fruits in a thousand ears and many hundred ears,19 raising-high the beer-jars,20 filling and ranging-in-rows the bellies of the beer-jars, I will present them [i.e. the first-fruits] in juice and in ear. As to things which grow in the great-field-plain21—sweet herbs and bitter herbs: as to things which dwell in the blue-sea-plain22—things wide of fin and things narrow of fin, down to the weeds of the offing and weeds of the shore: and as to CLOTHES—with bright cloth, glittering cloth, soft cloth and coarse cloth23 will I fulfil praises. And having furnished a white horse, a white boar and a white cock,24 and the various kinds of things in the presence of the sovran god25 of the harvest, I fulfil his praises by setting up the great OFFERINGS of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods whose praises the chief priestess26 fulfils. I fulfil your praises, declaring your names—Divine Producer, Lofty Producer, Vivifying Producer, Fulfilling Producer, Soul-lodging Producer, Woman of the great House, great [p.110] goddess of Food and Events-symbol-lord,27 thus: Because you praise the AGE of the sovran grandchild's augustness as a long age eternally and unchangingly, and bless it as a luxuriant age, I fulfil your praises as our sovran's dear progenitor's augustness and progenitrix's augustness by setting up the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods whose praises the priestess of Wigasuri28 fulfils. I fulfil your praises, declaring your Names, Vivifying Well, Blessing Well, Long-rope Well, Foot-place and Entrance-limit, thus: Because the builders have made stout the House29 pillars on the bottom-most rocks, which the sovran gods command(s), have made high the cross-beams to the plain-of-high-heaven, and have constructed the fresh abode of the sovran grandchild's augustness, and he hiding therein as a shade30 from the heavens and as a SHADE from the sun, tranquilly possesses the countries of the four quarters as a peaceful country, I fulfil your praises by setting-up the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods whose praises the priestess of the Gate fulfils. I fulfil your praises, declaring your Names, Wonderful-rock-gate's augustness and Powerful-rock-gate's augustness,31 thus: Because you obstruct like innumerable piles of rock in the Gates of the four quarters, in the morning open the Gates, in the evening shut the Gates, guard the bottom if unfriendly things come from the bottom, guard the top if they come from the top, and guard by nightly guarding and daily guarding, I fulfil your praises by setting-up the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods whose praises the priestess of Ikushima fulfils: I fulfil your praises, declaring your names. Country-vivifier,32 thus: Because the sovran gods confer on him the many tens of islands which the sovran gods33 command, the many tens of islands of islands, without any falling-short, as far as the limit of the taniguku34's passing, as far as the bound where the salt-foam35 stops, making the narrow countries wide and the hilly countries plane—I fulfil your praises by setting-up the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "Parting the words,36 I declare in the presence of the From-heaven-shining-great-Deity who sits in Ise. Because the sovran [p.111] great deity bestows on him the countries of the four quarters over which her37 glance extends, as far as the limit where heaven stands-up like a wall, as far as the bound where the blue clouds lie flat, as far as the bounds where the white clouds lie away fallen:—the blue-sea-plain as far as the limit whither come the prows of the ships without letting their poles or paddles be dry, the ships which continuously crowd on the great-sea-plain:—the road which men go by land, as far as the limit whither come the horses' hoofs, with the baggage-cords tied tightly, treading the uneven rocks and tree-roots and standing-up continuously in a long path without a break:—making the narrow countries wide and the hilly countries plane, and as it were drawing together the distant countries by throwing many tens of ropes over them, because she does on this he will pile-up the first-fruits like a range of hills in the great presence of the sovran great deity, and will tranquilly take to himself the remainder."

"Again, because you praise the age of the sovran grandchild's augustness as a long age, eternally and unchangingly, and bless it as a luxuriant AGE, I plunge down the root of the neck cormorant-wise38 before you as our sovran's dear progenitor and progenitrix's augustness, and fulfil your praises by setting-up the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods who sit in the FARMS.39 Declaring your names, Takechi, Kadzuraki, Tohochi, Shiki, Yamanobe and Sofu. Because the sweet herbs and bitter herbs which grow in these six Farms have been brought, and the sovran grandchild's augustness takes them as his long food and distant food,40 I fulfil your praises by setting-up the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods who sit in the mouths of the mountains. Declaring your names, Asuka, Ihari, Osaka, Hatsuse, Unebi and Miminashi.41  Because the builders, having cat the bases and ends of the big trees and little trees which have grown-up in the distant mountains and the near mountains, brought from and constructed the fresh abode of the sovran grandchild's augustness and he, hiding therein as a shade from the heavens and as a [p.112] SHADE from the sun, tranquilly possesses the countries of the four quarters as a peaceful country, I fulfil your praises by setting-up the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods who dwell in the partings of the waters.42  I fulfil your praises, declaring your NAMES, Yoshinu, Uda, Tsuge and Kadzuraki, thus: If you will hestow in many-bundled ears and luxuriant ears the late-ripening harvest which the sovran gods43  will bestow, I will fulfil your praises by setting-up the first-fruits in ear and in juice, raising-high the beer-jars, filling and ranging-in-rows the bellies of the beer-jars, and the remainder the sovran grandchild's augustness takes with ruddy countenance as the divine grains of morning food and evening food, as his long food and distant food. Therefore, hear all of you, the fulfilling of praises by the setting-up of the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness."

He says: "Parting the words, let the Kannushi and the hafuri receive the offerings which the Imibe44 hanging thick sashes to their weak shoulders have reverently prepared, and lifting, bring and set them up without erring."


1 'He' is the reader of the ritual, one of the Nakatomi tribe, and the word rendered by 'says' signifies that the speaker is supposed to be speaking the words of the Mikado. Mabuchi reads nori-tamafu, and supposes this word to issue from the mouth of the Nakatomi, but his successors Motowori and Hirata read noru, according to which 'He says' are a rubric, and the ritual actually begins with 'Hear all of you.' I think it probable, however, that in later times, after the rituals were committed to writing, and were read instead of being recited from memory, the word noru was also read, as if it were an integral part of the norito.

2 'Kan-nushi' is the general term for all Shintau priests in the modern language, but it is more correctly restricted to the chief priest in charge of a temple. The priesthood was for the most part hereditary, and in many cases the priests could trace their descent from the chief god to whom the temple was dedicated, a fact which is easily understood when we find that a large number of gods were simply deified ancestors. From this sense of property in the temple sprang the term Kami-nushi, owner of the god, corrupted into Kamu-nushi and Kan-nushi.

3 The Hafuri (pronounced hari) were an inferior class of priests, whose chief functions were to present the offerings and read the prayers. We might translate the word by 'deacon,' but for the associations which this rendering would call up. Hafuri is said by some to be derived from ha, wings, and furu, to wave or [p.113] shake, and to represent the waving of the sleeves in performing sacred dances; bat another derivation is from hafuru (pron. horu), to throw away, which is explained by saying that their special function was originally to bury the dead and to read the funeral service over them. Hafuru is the same as haufuru, modern haumuru, to bury, which suggests the conjecture that in the earliest times the dead ware simply exposed to natural decay in the middle of a forest or moor. The Chinese characters [glyphs] with which hafuri is written mean literally felicitating section or body, and refer to the recital of the glorious deeds of the dead which tanned a part of the ritual or address spoken over his grave.

4 'Sovran' as an adjective or substantive is a translation of sume (adj.) or sumera (subst.) both written [glyphs]. Most scholars, with the exception of Motowori, consider sume to be the same as sube-, root of suberu, to have power over, to rule, which survives in the spoken language as sube-kukuru, to have the chief control of, and subete, all (adv.), the interchange of b and m being one of the commonest phenomena in Japanese etymology. I have not been able to discover what origin Hotowori attributes to the word, but in one place he asserts, without offering any proof, that it is merely an honorific. This is hardly satisfactory, for a word which is now merely honorific must evidently have had some more specific meaning previously. Sumera is the ancient term used to denote the ruler of the nation, derived from sumeru (perh. like naha, rope, from nafu, to twist), and 'sovran' appears to me to be the fittest equivalent in English, on account both of its close correspondence in meaning, and of its double applicability as a substantive and adjective, thus resembling the employment of sumera and sume. By adopting the spelling 'sovran,' for which Milton is a sufficient authority, all the secondary associations connected with the ordinary spelling 'sovereign' are avoided, while the meaning here intended is made clearer.

5 Word is a literal rendering of mikoto, compounded of the honorific mi, identified with ma, which is constantly used as an honorific prefix in the old language, and appears in such words as ma-koto, truth (real-words), ma-sugu, perfectly straight, also in the root maru, round, perfect. Mi is prefixed to the names of things which derive their origin from the gods or the Mikado or princes of the royal house, and conveys much the same sense as 'august,' but the perpetual recurrence of this word in translation would be tedious and sometimes even ludicrous, and the purpose which it serves can be equally attained by printing the English of the word to which it is prefixed in capital letters. Mikoto is employed in another sense to form titles of gods and princes, where its fittest rendering would be 'augustness,' used like 'majesty' or 'highness,' as titles of European sovereigns and their children. Thus a son of the Mikado was anciently styled miko no mikoto, literally 'august-child's augustness.' In the names of many gods it was used alternately with kami; thus Izanami no mikoto and Izanami no kami is equally correct as appellations of the All-mother. It must, however, not be supposed that it can be employed by itself as a convertible term for kami, or that, Kaempfer has erroneously stated, it was used alone as a designation of the [p.114] Japanese sovereign, in the same way that Mikado, Tenwau, Tenahi and so forth are applied to him.

6 Progenitor and Progenitrix are the most convenient renderings of kamurogi and kamuromi, which are written partly with Chinese characters used as ideographs, partly as syllabic signs ([glyphs]) and [glyphs] in the Ohobarahi [glyph] and [glyph] are used for the terminal syllables). Kamu evidently means 'divine,' but the etymology of rogi and romi is by no means so clear. Motowori derives the one from are-oya-gimi ([glyphs]), begetting-parent-prince, by dropping a and ya, contracting re o into ro and cutting off mi from the end, the other from are-oya-ma-gimi ([glyphs]), begetting-parent-princess, by the same process varied by the contraction of me-gi into mi. This is a bold use of the weapons which Japanese philologists claim to have at their command, but is too far-fetched to be admitted for one moment. I am inclined to accept the explanation given by my friend and teacher Hori Hidenari, that ro is the second syllable of tro, seen in the archive iroha, mother, trofo, younger brother, irose, husband, and irone, elder brother, where iro apparently indicates a tie of natural affection, and is identified by him with iro, colour, beauty, love, as in the modern iro-otoko, lover. Gi is ki (with the nigori), a root which in one of its significations is equivalent to 'male,' while mi correspondingly means 'female,' as seen in the pairs okina and omina, old man and old woman, in the names Izanagi, the male-who-invites, and Izanami, the female-who-invites. It is probable that ko and me, which appear in wotoko, young man, and wotome, young woman, in hiko and hime (hi = sun), honorific epithets applied respectively to men and women, are variations of the same pair of roots. If this etymology be correct, then the literal equivalents of kamurogi and kamuromi are divine-dear-male and divine-dear-female; and as these titles are sometimes written with the Chinese characters [glyphs] ancestor, and are applied generally to all the ancestors of the Mikado, the terms used in the translation seem to convey their meaning pretty closely. They occur altogether fourteen times in the rituals contained in the Yengishiki. In the congratulatory address of the Chieftains of Idzumo they denote the first pair of deities Taka-mi-musubi and Kami-musubi, who, according to the cosmogony of the Rozhiki, came into being next after Ame-no-mi-naka-nushi, 'the lord in the very centre of heaven,' who is called the oldest of the gods. In the same ritual we have kamurogi used of Susanowo, the ancestor of Ohonamuji. In the Praying for Harvest it will be seen that kamurogi and kamuromi are used respectively of Taka-mi-musubi and the sun-goddess, are then applied to a larger group of deities, several of whom were never supposed to be ancestors of the Mikado (unless it be admitted that the five Producers are the sun-goddess under other names), and lastly both epithets are employed in speaking of the sun-goddess herself. Much later, a couple of centuries after the beginning of the strictly historical period, Routoku Tenwau ([glyphs]) speaks of Chiuai Tenwau ([glyphs]), more than twenty generations earlier, as his 'dear kamurogi,' and in a poem presented to Ninmiyau Tenwau on the occasion of his fortieth birthday,3 the god Sukunabikona, one of those who took the [p.115] greatest share in the work of civilizing the country, is called his kamirogi. Closely allied to this epithet is the word sumerogi, in which the first element is the root already mentioned, which is rendered by 'sovran.' We find it in the Manyefushifu supplied to Ninigi no mikoto, the grandson of the sun-goddess and first of the Mikado's ancestors to inhabit the earth, and also to other ancestors of the Mikado, whether gods or human beings. In two places it occurs written in kana [glyphs] (Kyakuge, v. 18, p. 22 and v. 20, p. 19 verso), where there can be no doubt of the true reading. Other ways of writing it are [glyphs] (v. 18, p. 23) [glyphs] (v. 18, p. 34) [glyphs] (v. 19, p. 28 v.; v. 7, p. 15 and v. 3, p. 15. v.; in the last case kamirogi is an alternative reading proposed by the commentators) and [glyphs] (v. 11, p. 34; v. 6. p. 11 v. and v. 3, p. 37); in the last two cases kamrogi is suggested as an alternative reading. From these examples it seems not unreasonable to infer the former independent existence of a pair of words irogi and iromi, which were used to denote ancestors or note-worthy personages of previous generations.

7 The insertion of mikoto, rendered 'augustness' after progenitor, is probably the act of an ignorant copyist, who thought it was required to correspond to the second mikoto translated word.

8 Mabuchi takes the terms progenitor and progenitrix to denote in this passage all the gods from Taka-mi-musubi and Kami-musubi down to Izanagi, Izanami and the sun-goddess, while Motowori thinks that only Taka-mi-musubi and the sun-goddess are meant. The passage in the Nihongi, which says that the distinction between 'heavenly temples' and 'country temples' was made in the reign of Suuzhin Tenwau, represents it as the final act of that Mikado after making a series of arrangements about the worship of certain other gods, but does not give the slightest indication of the 'progenitor and progenitrix' being concerned in the settlement. It is safest to conclude that the phrase is vaguely used without any particular significance being attached to it.

9 'Heavenly temples and country temples.' Temple is here a metonymy for god. The only meaning which can possibly be attached to this statement is that wise gods were recognized as of heavenly origin, who either remained on high or descended to the earth, and others as of earthly origin, but that any ruler could ever be the arbiter of such a question is inconceivable, and the assertion is only an additional proof of the mythical character of the Mikado concerning whom it is made.

10 The word yashiro, rendered 'temples,' deserves a passing notice. It is compounded of ya, house, and shiro, which must mean area or enclosure. We find it in maha-shiro, area or inclosure for the young rice-plants (nahe), in mushiro, a mat (mu is mi,-body; mu-shiro, area for one body), and the word shiro, usually translated 'castle,' is identical with it. Hence yashiro does not signify the buildings themselves, but rather the piece of land on which they are built. Metaphorically employed, shiro came to mean that which was given in 'place' of something, that is, price, and hence shiro-mono signifies price-things, merchandise, goods. The [p.116] white plaster parapets, is untenable, because the use of it m that sense dates from a period when shiroki signified 'conspicuous,' of which 'white' is a derivative meaning.

11 'Set-up' is the literal translation of tate-matmru, compounded of tate-, to stand (t.v.) and matturu, originally to serve, and hence used as an honorific auxiliary verb, just like haheru or hahheru and safurafu or samurofu in the later language. Matsuri, usually translated 'festival,' is the root of this verb, and properly signifies 'service' of a god, and matsuri-goto, government, as we are accustomed to render it, is simply 'service' of the sovereign, corresponding thus in etymology and signification to our word 'administration.' Students of the epistolary style are familiar with the use of tatematsuru, written [glyphs], as an honorific auxiliary, but this character properly means matsuru, and [glyphs] would be a more exact equivalent of the compound tate-matsuru, if any one were to begin over again the labour of assigning correct Chinese equivalents to Japanese words. Words in the translation which are printed in italics have been supplied to complete the sense, but tate-matsuru does actually occur in the original a little further on.

12 Grandchild, i.e. of Amaterasu oho-mi kami, the sun-goddess, meant in the first place Ninigi no mikoto, child of Oshi-ho-mi-mi no mikoto, adopted by her as her son. The latter was really the son of Susanowo, according to the myth, and consequently her nephew by birth. The Rozhiki (Notices of Ancient Things) tells the following story of the miraculous birth of Oshi-ho-mi-mi. Izanagi divided the universe between his three children, assigning the sovereignty of the heavens to the sun-goddess, giving the kingdom of night to the moon and making Susanowo ruler over the sea. Susanowo neglected his royal functions, and gave himself up to such a violent fit of petulant weeping, that the land was laid bare and the rivers dried up. On being rebuked by his father, he excused himself by saying that he wanted to go to his mother in the lower regions, and was consequently expelled from the earth. He then ascended to heaven to pay a farewell visit to his sister, who was frightened by the rumbling of the mountains and streams, and by the earthquakes caused by his passing upwards, and misdoubting the loyalty of his intentions prepared to defend her realm against his attack. Susanowo explained the reasons which led to his visit, and protested that he harboured no evil designs. In order to test his good faith she demanded of him a sign, to which he responded by proposing that they should see which could bring into existence the best children. For this purpose they took up their position on opposite sides of the milky way, and the goddess, first breaking the sword which her brother wore into three pieces, plunged it into a well, and then chewing it into minute fragments, blew them from her mouth. Three goddesses sprang from the cloud of spray. Then Susanowo performed a similar series of operations with the chaplets which the goddess wore in her hair, and produced five male gods, the eldest of whom was Masoka-akatsu-kachi-hayabi Ame no Oshi-ho-mi-mi no mikota. The sun-goddess claimed the five as her own offspring, and told Susanowo that he might take the three female children born from the fragments of his sword. Susanowo boasted that the purity of his intentions was made clear by the birth of [p.117] three gentle maidens, and commenced the series of violent actions which ended in the frequently mentioned retirement of the sun-goddess into the 'heavenly rock-cavern.' In this way Oshi-ho-mi-mi was, as it were, adopted by the sun-goddess, and his eldest child was therefore her grandson, the effect of adoption being to place the adopted person in the position which he would have held if he had been legitimately begotten by the adopter. The epithet 'sovran grandchild' having been first applied to the founder on earth of the Mikado's dynasty, came in time to be applied to each and all of his successors on the throne.

13 'Deigning' is used of the Mikado, who by this service deigns, as it were, to begin harvest.

14 'Beginning the harvest' means soaking the seed and preparing the ground for its reception. It has been suggested that the Chinese character [glyphs] commencement, may be a copyist's error for [glyphs] praying-for. Toshi, which exclusively signifies year in its modern acceptation, seems originally to have meant harvest, and is probably from the same root as toru, to take. The ancient Japanese counted time by harvests, moons and suns; the first term entirely lost its earlier meaning, that of the second was obscured, and a Chinese equivalent being substituted for the third, the real nature of the units of measurement was forgotten.

15 'As the morning-sun rises in glory,' seems at first sight an allusion to the tone of day at which the service was held, i.e. between six and seven o'clock in the morning, but from the use of this phrase it appears to be adverbial to tatahe-goto takmatmraku, I fulfil your praises.

16 Who the gods of the Harvest were is unknown. Several temples dedicated to such gods appear in the catalogue of the Tengishiki, but the names of the gods themselves are not mentioned. According to the Rozhiki, Susanowo begot the Great Harvest god, Ohotoshi no kami, who begot the Harvest god, Mi-toshi no bmi, and several other names of deities supposed to provide the human race with the gram which formed their chief food, occur in various myths. The most famous of these are the goddess worshipped at the Outer Temple (Gekuu) at Watarahi in Ise, and the deity, Uka no mitama or Spirit of Food, to whom is dedicated the temple of Inari on the road between Kiyauto and Fushimi. All other temples of Inari, of which there are thousands, are erected in honour of this Spirit of Food, and those worshipped with it, but although common speech uses the term Inari sama, as if Inari were the name of a god, it must be remembered that it is merely the name of a place.

17 The original is yatsuka ho no ikashi ho ni, [glyphs]. Ya originally signified 'many,' and is no doubt connected with the old word iya, still more, which I believe to be merely an interjection of astonishment, also used as a negative = No, identical with iya, hateful, and the root of such words as iyashiki, hatefnl, contemptible, iyashimui, to despise, and iyagaru (= tya ge arte), to dislike. Ya settled down afterwards as the numeral 'eight' (the ordinary yatsu is ya with generic particle tsu), and at the moment when the norito were committed to writing, its original meaning had no doubt been forgotten. Tsuka is the same as [p.118] tsuka, hilt, and is the root of tsukamu, to grasp with the hand. Ho denotes anything which prominently attracts the attention, as an ear of corn, the spike at the end of a spear, a flame (honoho for hi no ho), in iha-ho, a big rock, also ho, a sail, nami no ho, the crest of a wave, in akani ho, ruddiness (of countenance), perhaps also in hou, cheek. The so-called genitive particle no is the most interesting portion of this phrase, which is unintelligible if we translate no by 'of.' Students of the Manyefushifu will have observed that it has a dozen other uses besides this 'of.' In the present case it is most easily interpreted if we look upon it as identical with the verb ni, to be, the existence of which at an early stage of the language has been conjectured, with great appearance of truth, by Mr. Aston. The phrase would then be literally rendered by, 'the luxuriant ears which are many-bundled ears,' which is the same thing as saying 'many bundled and luxuriant ears.' It is not necessary, in order to support this view, to maintain that no was any longer understood to be a variation of the attributive form of a verb ni, to be, at the moment when this phrase was woven into the present norito; on the contrary, the infinitely varied uses of no and also of ni, which in many cases is held by Mr. Aston to be the root of nu, in the earliest extant specimens of Japanese literature, show that the original meaning of these syllables had long been forgotten.

18 The process of preparing the half-liquid soil of the rice fields for the reception of the young plants is thus described. An early variety of rice called wase is sown in nurseries in the beginning of April, planted out early in May and harvested about the middle of September. In the west of Japan these several operations are probably carried out a fortnight earlier respectively.

19 Kahi, here rendered by 'ear,' is more exactly the seed of rice enclosed between the palcæ. The same word originally applied to bivalves, which enfold the mollusc just as the palcæ do the grain of corn, and it is also supposed that kahi, in the sense of a 'deep valley,' the sides of which appear to open out like the two halves of a bivalve, is identical with kahi, a grain, and kahi, a shell.

20 Mika no he takashin, Mabuchi explains mika to be an earthenware jar in which sake is brewed, and afterwards offered up to the gods, and he to be the same as uhe, top. There are plenty of cases of the omission of an initial u after o in the old literature; e.g. sakadzuki no he ni, on the top of the cup (Maiiyefu v. 5, p. 27 v., 1. 1.). But by others mika is said to have signified the liquor itself, mi being the honorific prefix, and ka the same as ke or ki, used to denote the grain in either its solid form as boiled rice, or its liquid form as rice-beer, and he a flat-bottomed vessel. If Mabuchi's explanation were adopted, the phrase would have to be rendered, 'raising-high the tops of the (beer) jars.'

Taka-shiri and its alternative expression taka-shiki, must not be understood literally; the secondary meaning of both shiru, to know, and shiku, to spread, is 'to govern,' 'to command;' but in the compounds which they form with adjective roots they have merely the force of the English verbal termination 'en' in such words as heighten, widen. A similar change is presented by nafu (or namu), to spin, which [p.119] forms the ending of a large number of derivative verbs, such as tomo-nafu, to accompany, azhinafu, to taste, otonafu, to make sound, ni-nafu, to carry as a burden. In ito-nafu, to spin thread, it preserves its original value, which was lost when, with the change of l into m, this word came to be employed solely in a figurative sense.

21 Obo-mi-hara, Both nu (which is the archaic form of the modern no, on the authority of Manyefu, v. 5, p. 26 v., 1. 9, where we find haru no nu ni written in kana) and hara are applied to uncultivated ground, not occupied by trees, but not necessarily flat, as might be inferred from the use of the word 'plain' in the translation. Hara, belly, is no doubt identical. Still, the term no-hara is very frequently applied to wide tracts of uncultivated level ground.

22 Awomi no hara, the blue sea plain. Awo is evidently connected with awi, the name of the plant (polygonum tinctorium) from which the Japanese obtain a dye resembling indigo, and blue is therefore a fair rendering for it, especially when applied to the sea. In the Manyefushifu, however, it is used as an epithet of horses (in the sense of black, that also being a colour afforded by the awi plant), also to clouds (white), to willow-trees (green), and to mountains (green). Mi for umi, sea, is another example of the elision of an initial u after a terminal o. Some Japanese etymologists derive umi, the sea, from umu, to give birth to, thus attributing to it the meaning of 'producer,' on account of its furnishing the inhabitants of these islands with a large proportion of their daily food in the shape of fish, shell-fish, and seaweed. Another derivation from awo, blue, and mi, water, has also been proposed, but is not supported by any good authority in such matters.

23 On the word tahe, here rendered by cloth, Mabuchi has the following note: "As five kinds of silk cloth were offered up, and the terms 'bright' and 'glittering' express their colour, so 'coarse' and 'soft' express the coarseness and fineness of the textures. [glyphs] is a karizhi ([glyphs] character of which the yomi or kuh is used as a kana), and in the Mauyefu we find [glyph], which is the proper character to use. Cloth, whether of take or of hemp, when fine was called nigo-tahe, soft cloth, and when coarse was named ara-tahe, coarse cloth, but after the date of the foundation of the present capital silk was called 'soft cloth,' and hemp 'rough,' and it is in this sense that the terms are used in the Yengishiki." In the earliest ages the materials used were the bark of the paper-mulberry (broussonctia papyrifera), wisteria tendrils and hemp, but when the silkworm was introduced the filler fabric naturally took the place of the humbler in the offerings to the gods. The use of aratahe as a makura-kotoba or 'pillow-word,' to Fujihara, proves that the wisteria was used in making coarse cloth. The wands adorned with strips of white paper which are seen in modern Shintau temples are the survivals of the offerings of cloth fastened to the branches of the sacred tree (masahaki) in ancient times. Yufu, which seems to have strictly meant paper-mulberry bark, also appears in some passages to include the cloth woven from it, and even hemp cloth besides.

24 The horse for the god to ride on, the cook to tell the time, and the boar (a domesticated animal,—not the wild boar) for the god's food. Why white was the colour prescribed is unknown, but perhaps its rarity was a sufficient reason.


25 In the preceding sentence the plural kami tachi occurs and is probably to be understood here also, but as the original has simply kami, deity, I have not considered it justifiable to translate 'gods.' Motowori is of opinion that only one deity is here meant.

26 Oho mi kamu no kois the reading given to [glyphs] which is rendered here by 'chief priestess.' These were virgins taken for a time to serve the gods, but there was nothing to prevent their being married after they had quitted the priesthood. There were apparently four such priestesses consecrated to the service of the twenty-three gods worshipped in the chapel of the Zhingi-kuwan, and the chief of them was distinguished from the others by the prefix oho, great.

27 The Japanese names of these deities are Kami-musubi, Taka-mi-musubi, Ika-musubi, Taru-musubi, Tama-tsume-musubi, Oho-miya-no-me, Oho-mi-ke-tsu-kami and Koto-shiro-nushi. Whether musubi in the first five be compounded of musu, to grow, and bi, applied to everything that is great and glorious, as the sun for instance, according to Motowori's view, or whether it be simply the root of musubui to tie together, matters very little as for as the signification is concerned. All agree in giving to it a meaning which is best rendered by 'Producer.' The Rozhiki calls the god who existed before the heavens and earth and before all other gods, Ame-no-mi-naka-nushi, or the Lord-in-the-very-centre-of-heaven, and the next gods who came into existence were the pair Taka-mi-musubi and Kami-musubi. The first part of each of these appellations is simply honorific, and does not denote any special function; nor is either god to be regarded as superior to the other, for the order in which they are named is a matter of indifference. The other three, Iku-musubi, Taru-musubi, and Tama-tsume-musubi are not mentioned in the Nihongi or Rozhiki, and in the Rogo-shiui they are only enumerated together with the others of the eight deities whose worship is performed by the chief priestess. Mabuchi points out that their names closely resemble those of certain precious stones brought from Heaven by one of the gods (Nigihayahi), which in conjunction with several other treasures, had the virtue of healing pain and recalling the dead to life. These stones were called iku tama, taru tama, maguru-gaheshi, tama and chigaheshi tama. In such compounds as these, iku, which signifies 'to live,' 'breathe,' is to be taken in the sense of 'that by which one lives,' as Motowori explains in the case of iku-dachi, iku-yami and iku-ya, sword, bow and arrows which have the property of giving life to the person who possesses them. So iku-tama is 'precious stone by which life is ensured,' and iku-mumbi is literally 'the producer by whom life is ensured,' which may be rendered more freely by 'vivifying producer.' Taru tama is the precious stone by which completeness, sufficiency, fulfilment of all requirements are assured, and Tarumusubi is the producer through whose influence perfection is attained. By perfection is here meant the perfection of bodily strength and beauty. It is possible, too, that as Motowori thinks, these two gods may have been identical with the Ikuguhi and Omodaru of the Rozhiki, but the point is of minor importance, and the only argument in favour of his view is the occurrence of iku and taru in the names of the two pairs respectively. Tamatsume I take to be a [p.121] compound of tama, soul (the character [glyph] is a karizhi), and tsume- or torne-, to stop, detain, which is the interpretation hinted at by Mabuchi, when he compares the efficient virtue of this god with that of the stones which 'turn-back from death' and 'from the road' to the region of the dead. These etymological interpretations do not necessarily conflict with a conjecture of mine that the five names are merely epithets of a single deity, probably the sun-goddess, whose modes of action may have thus been distinguished.

In the Yamashiro survey quoted by Motowori we find the name of a deity [glyphs] which must be read Amaterasu (or Amateru) taka mi-mosubi no mikoto, and means the 'From-Heaven-Shining-Lofty-Produces augustness,' a combination of the ordinary epithet of the sun, From-Heaven-Shining, and the title of one of the pair of creator gods. Mi-musubi, Produces, is often written [glyphs] and wherever these two characters are found in the name of a god it seems legitimate to give them that reading. Hence [glyphs] found in three places in the Catalogue of Temples (Zhinmeichiyau) in vol. 9, pp. 7 v., 14 v. and 16 v. of the Tengishiki, Deha-bon, where the kana of the editor is Amateru mitama, may fairly be read Amateru (or Amaterasu) mi-musubi, From-heaven-shining Produces. This, however, is not the only argument for identifying the sun with Taka-mi-musubi. We have seen already that the terms progenitor and progenitrix of the Mikado are sometimes taken to mean both the Divine Producer and the Lofty Producer; that in some places the sun-goddess is substituted for the Divine Producer and in one place both terms are applied to the sun-goddess, who was thus both mother and father of the race. It would almost seem to have been a matter of indifference what epithets were used in speaking of the Mikado's progenitors, which is easily accounted for if we suppose those epithets to have been synonymous and therefore interchangeable. It is also worthy of notice that, with perhaps the exception of the Soul-lodging Producer, these names of deities do not indicate distinctly separate functions (being combinations of laudatory epithets prefixed to the word 'producer'), but rather the different effects which the beneficent workings of a single great and powerful deity would produce.

There is still another point that deserves notice. We should naturally expect to find that the first god of all, the Lord-in-the-very-centre-of-heaven, and perhaps the pair which followed him, the Lofty-Producer and Divine-Producer, would play a great part in the early legends of the Japanese, and also that Izanagi, the parent of the sun and moon, would take an important share in ordering events; but as a matter of fact we find that these deities have very little to do, with the exception of the Lofty-Producer, who is usually represented as ruling the world in conjunction with the sun-goddess. Izanagi and his consort disappear from the scene after they have given birth to the land, sea, rivers and the elements, and it is the child of Izanagi who becomes the centre of the mythology and worship of the ancient Japanese. It is difficult to resist the suggestion that the sun was the earliest among the powers of nature to be deified, and that the long series of gods who precede her in the cosmogony of the Rozhiki and Kihongi, most of whom are [p.122] shown by their names to have been more abstractions, were invented to give her a genealogy, into which were inserted two or perhaps more of her own attributes, personified as separate deities.

Oho-mi-ya-no-me is probably, as the meaning of the name suggests, the personification of the successive generations of female attendants of the Mikado. From the earliest times of which we have any record, whether legendary or historical, the sovereign appears to have been surrounded by a large number of women, and during the most recent period, that is down to the reign of the last Mikado, none but women were admitted to his presence. The statement in the Kogo-Shiui that Oho-mi-ya-no-me was appointed to serve before the sun-goddess, when she issued forth from the cave, simply indicates the great antiquity of the practice. Faithful service was rewarded eventually by the erection of an altar to the memory of the mythical personage who was invented to be the type of all these female attendants.

Oho-mi-ke-tsu-kami, the deity of the great food, where 'great' is merely an honorific term like mt, applied to anything belonging to a god or to the sovereign, is no doubt the same as the goddess of Food worshipped at the Gekuu, or Outer Temple at Watarahi in Ise. (See my paper on the temples of Ise in vol. 2 of the Transactions.)

Koto-shiro-nushi was a son of Oho-kuni-nushi (who is identical with Oho-na-muji), and his name contains a reference to the act by which he symbolized his surrender of the sovereignty over Japan to the descendant of the sun-goddess. When it had been determined by the council of the gods that possession should be taken of the earth in the name of the sun-goddess' grandson, several messengers were sent in succession to claim the land from its ruler, but as no tidings were received from them it was finally resolved to despatch Takemikadzuchi, to whom was joined in the mission Ame-no-tori-fune. "These two gods descended upon the shore of the province of Idzumo. They drew their sword, ten-hand-breadths' long, and planting it on the crest of a wave, hilt downwards, took their seat cross-legged on its point. They then made inquiry of Oho-kuni-nushi, saying: The From-heaven-shining great goddess and Takagi no kami (another form of the name Takami-musubi) have sent us to ask saying, I have charged my child to rule over the central region of reed-plains which you possess as chieftain. What is your feeling concerning this matter? He replied: I am unable to say. My child Tahe-koto-shiro-nushi no kami will be able to speak, but he has gone to Cape Miho pursuing birds and taking fish, nor has he yet returned. So Takemikadzuchi sent Ame-no-tori-fune no kami to sunmion Koto-shiro-nushi no kami, and when the question was put to him, he said to the great god his father, I submit. Deliver up this region to the Child of the heavenly god. He then trod upon the edge of his boat so as to overturn it, and with his hands crossed back to back (in token of consent), transformed his boat into a green fence of branches, and disappeared."

The daughter of the god who thus surrendered the land to its new ruler [p.123] married Iharehiko, who was canonized as Zhinmu-Teilwau, and Koto-shiro-nushi is therefore an ancestor of the Mikado by the female side; but it is doubtful whether any consideration of that kind led to his being included among the eight gods who were supposed to be in a special sense the protectors of the Mikado. The eight may be classified as follows, five synonyms of the sun-goddess, ancestress of the Mikado and bestower of the Kingdom, one deity representing the female influence that surrounded the sovereign and imparted a gentle smoothness to his relations with his subjects, the goddess of food, and lastly one of the chief gods of the conquered race, who represented the compromise of antagonistic interests.

28 Wi-ga-suri is held to be a corruption of Wi-ga-shiri, behind or by the well, and of the five gods enumerated in the Zhinmeichiyau as being served by the priestess of Wi-ga-suri, viz., Iku-wi no kami, Saku-wi no kami, Tsunagu-wi no kami, Hahigi no kami and Asuha no kami, the first three are the gods of the 'vivifying well,' the 'blessing-well,' and the 'long-rope-well,' which are probably synonymous epithets of some well, highly esteemed for the quality of its water and the cool depths where it lay. Asuha is explained to be ashi-ha, foot-place, that is, the first place where the foot is set down after issuing from the house, and haha-gi to be derived from hahiri-giha, entrance limit. Motowori has an elaborate and learned note on the subject of these two names which is worth consulting, in the Rozhiki-den, vol. 12, p. 47. It appears from a verse in the Manyefushifu, xx, pt. 1, p. 24, that Asuha no kami was in ancient times worshipped in the court-yard of every house, which would be easily understood if he was supposed to be the guardian deity of court-yards.

29 House is mi-ya, composed of the honorific mi and ya, house. It was used indiscriminately for the house of a chieftain, the tombs of the dead and the temples of the gods.

30 This means that the house protects the Mikado from the weather and the heat of the sun.

31 Kushi-iha-mado no mikoto and Toyo-iha-mado jqo mikoto are the names of these two gods. In the Kogo-Shiui they are called by these names in one place, while in another kami is used instead of mikoto, a common alternation, as I have already observed. The Rozhiki says distinctly that these are simply synonyms of the single god Ihato-wake no kami, who is the 'god of the Gate,' so that we have here another case of alternative titles of a god coming to be looked on as separate gods. In the Rozhiki there is the statement that the three are one, while at the Mikado's court, a century or two later, we find that two separate gods of the gates are worshipped. The Catalogue of Temples says that there were eight shrines to the two gods named in the ritual, one to each at each gate in the four sides of the palace enclosure. Motowori's explanation of the names used in the ritual seems indisputable. Kushi and Toyo, wonderful and powerful, are honorific epithets; mado is not 'window,' but 'gate,' ma being the honorific prefix, so that [glyphs] would be the correct equivalent in Chinese characters, and iha is rock, used in the [p.124] sense of strong, enduring, eternal. The genealogy of Ihato-wake is another instance of the confusion between Taka-mi-mosubi and Kami-musubi, for while the Kogo-Shiui makes him the grandchild of the former through Futo-dama, the Shiau-zhirokn ([glyphs]) speaks of a family of Tame no Mnrazhi descended from Ihatsu-wake (evidently the same as Ihato-wake) the child of the latter. The Catalogue of Temples contains the names of eight, in Yamato, Afmni, Mutsn, Tsu, Mimasaka, Bizen (2) and Toea, dedicated to Ihato-wake, besides the original temple in Tanba, with two shrines, sacred to Koshi-iha-mado. Besides the address to these gods, or to this god, which forms a part of this ritual, there is another whole ritual, called Mikado Matsuri, the service of the Gates, which is entirely dedicated to them, or to him.

32 The Japanese equivalents of these two names are Ihu-kuni and Taru-kuni, the origin of which is not very clear. Perhaps they are synonyms of a single deity. From the Catalogue of Temples we learn of a temple in Tamato called Iku-kuni no Zhinzhiya, of another in Shinano, called Ikushima Tamshima no Zhin-zhiya, and of a temple to Ikukuni Mitama, with two altars to a pair of gods. The last of these is probably the full title. It means the 'spirit by which the country, or region, lives.' In old Japanese, shima can scarcely have differed in meaning from kuni, and the signification common to both was more nearly that of the words 'region,' or 'country,' in such expressions as the 'Black country,' 'the west country' amongst ourselves. It is found frequently forming part of the names of places which are far inland, as for instance Hiruko-jima in Idzu. This explains the occurrence of both shima and kuni in the names of these gods and temples. The god or 'spirit who vivifies' or 'completes,' 'fulfils' the country, is the principal god of the locality, and is represented in later times by the Ichi-no-miya, or chief Shintau temple, in each of the provinces into which the country came to be formally divided for administrative convenience.

33 In the original the expression here rendered by 'Sovran gods' is in the singular number, while just above (below in the Japanese) it is plural. But every student knows how commonly the singular number is used when plurality is intended.

34 I have not been able to learn what species is meant by taniguku, but it is certainly a large kind of frog, which, as its name 'valley-creeper' indicates, is found in damp shady places.

35 'Salt' is probably not the primary meaning of shiho, but rather sea-water, from which salt, properly yaki-shiho, is obtained by desiccation.

36 Koto wakete, parting the words, i.e. taking up a fresh and special theme.

37 As already pointed out, the Japanese language generally makes no difference between god and goddess, but we know that Amaterasu is a goddess. Hence the use of the feminine pronoun here, which, it must be noted, has no representative in the original. Like the articles, relative and nearly all other pronouns, it has to be supplied by the translator.

38 This is a simile descriptive of bowing the head. In the Manyefu (vol. 8, p. [p.125] 12, v.) we have a similar expression shishi zhi mono hiza wori fuse, bending the knees like the deer.

39 Agata originally meant 'upper fields' (ageta), that is to say, arable land, such as is now called hata. Mi agata were therefore the 'august fields' of the sovereign. The Kihongi speaks of officials having to be sent to the six Farms in the province of Yaznato to take a census and to measure the rice-fields and arable lands. When the country was parcelled out into provinces (kuni) and departments (kohori), what had previously been called agata were renamed kohori. The six farms here spoken of are the modern departments of the same name, Kadzuraki, Shiki and Sofu having been each divided into two, so that there are nine instead of six. These were no doubt selected to form the household domain of the Mikado at an early period, when the capital was still in Yamato. It will be seen by looking at the map of Tamato that they form nearly the whole of the northern half of the province, with the exception of Heguri, Hirose and Oshinomi. For further details see the long note in the Kozhiki-den, vol. 29, p.p. 59 et infra.

40 Naga mi he no toho mi ke in the Japanese. Here no places the two terms of the phrase in apposition, and has the force of 'which is,' i.e. literally rendered, distant Food which is (at the same time) long Food. Both words, toho and naga, have reference here to time. In the Manyefu they are thus employed over and over again; e.g.

hafu kuzu no
iya toho nagaku
yorodzu yo ni
tayezhi to omohite

"thinking that it would last for a myriad ages, ever longer and more distant, like the creeping pueraria." The idea is that the Mikado is to partake of this food during a long life, and the whole phrase might more freely be rendered 'perpetual Food' without its meaning being at all sacrificed.

41 We know nothing more about these gods than that they were supposed to inhabit the mountains here named, whence timber was brought for the palace buildings. All six are situated within three departments of the province of Yamato, where most of the ancient Mikado had their capitals, and the expression 'distant mountains' is consequently not to be taken literally, but rather coupled with 'near mountains,' as a poetical way of speaking of mountains in general, just like the taka yama and hiki yama high mountains and low mountains, of the Ohobarahi no Kotoba.

42 Mikumari is the reading of the two characters [glyphs] translated 'parting of the waters.' This rests on the authority of the text of the Kozhiki (Den. vol. 5. p. 38), where Ame no mikumari no kami and Euni no mikumari no kami are enumerated amongst the children of Izanagi and Izanami. Kumari is the same as the more familiar kubarit 'to part' or 'apportion.' The four names in the text are those of localities where temples to such gods of streams were raised. Several others are enumerated in the Catalogue of Temples. They were supposed to be able to con- [p.126] trol the supply of water for irrigation; and it was necessary to propitiate them lest they should withhold it altogether or send such floods as would destroy the crops. 'Parting of the waters' might he rendered by 'watershed,' if that expression were not slightly technical.

43 i.e. the gods who are here addressed.

44 Imibe, corrupted later into Imube and Inbe, were a class of hereditary priests, belonging to several families, whose duties were to prepare the more durable articles offered to the gods at the principal services, to cut down timber required for building the temples, and further, to construct the temples. This appears from several passages in the Kogo-Shiui. There were families of Imibe in Awa, Sanuki, Kii, Tsukushi (i.e. Chikuzen and Chikugo) and Ise. We learn from the few lines of introduction to the Rituals in vol. VIII of the Yengishiki, that the Imibe, besides these functions, were allowed to read the liturgies at the two services of the Luck-wishing of the Great Palace (Ohotono hogahi) and Gates (mikado matsuri). It is not easy to see why this was the case. Perhaps the fact of their being the builders of the palace was considered a reason for their being allowed to recite the ritual in which the Wood Spirit and Spirit of Rice are besought to watch over the building and to protect its occupant. Mabuchi observes that Oho-mi-ya-no-me, who is also addressed by name in the Luck-wishing of the Great Palace, and Kushi-iha-ma-do and Toyo-iha-ma-do, to whom the ritual of the gates is addressed, were children of Futodama no mikoto, from whom the Imibe were also supposed to be descended, and he suggests that the collateral relationship between them and these three gods entitled them to perform the services in which these gods were concerned. It was Futodama who held the mitegura or tree adorned with beads, the famous mirror and the offerings of cloth before the door of the cavern into which the sun-goddess had retired, on that great occasion which has so often to be recalled in speaking of the myths, and his descendants naturally performed a similar function, says Mabuchi. Imibe is compounded of mi-, to dislike or avoid, because it was particularly necessary that these priests should avoid all uncleanness, especially when performing their duties, and he is said to be identical with me, a contraction of mure, flock or body of persons, with which are connected mura, village, and muragant, to flock together.


(Nos. 2, 3 AND 4.)

By Ernest Satow.

(Read June 30th, 1879.)


This ritual is comparatively modern, having been composed for use at a service which we are told was first celebrated in the year 859, A.D,, and it contains, in fact, certain internal indications from which we should naturally be led to conclude that it was not of ancient origin. The earliest book which professes to give any information concerning the foundation of the Temple of Kasnga and of the services performed in honour of the gods to which it is dedicated is the Kuzhi kongeh ([glyphs], written about the year 1422 by a noble named Ichideu Kaneyoshi, entirely from memory, and perhaps we can hardly be expected to place implicit belief in everything that it tells us. Its account of the foundation of the temple of Kasuga at Nara, one of the ancient capitals of Japan, is as follows:—

'In the year 767 (A.D.) Take-mika-dzuchi no mikoto, one of the four gods to whom this temple is consecrated, set out from Kashima in Hitachi, a province in the extreme east of Japan, in search of a dwelling-place. He rode a white deer, and carried in his hand a branch of willow, which he used as a whip. In this style he arrived in the department of Nabari in Iga, accompanied by the Nakatomi no murazhi Tokikaze and Hidetsura. From Nabari he shortly afterwards crossed over to Abe yama in Yamato, and finally arrived at Mikana yama, close to the city of Nara (which, if the date given by Kaneyoshi be accepted as historically correct, was then the capital of the country). Having found a resting-place that pleased him, he announced the fact to the [p.394] other three gods, of whom Ihahi-nushi came from Kadori in the province of Shimofusa, Ama-no-koya-ne no mikoto from Hirawoka in the province of Kahachi, and the goddess, who is named last of all, came from the great temple of the sun-goddess in Ise. In the autumn of the same year, in accordance with a divine command, the Mikado sent an envoy to Mikasa-yama, to plant the foundations of the stout pillars of the temple on the rocks which lay deep in the earth, and so manifested due reverence towards the four gods.'

This story, which the author of the Kuzhi Kongen professes to have derived from the account given by the priests of the temple, explains the goddess to be an emanation from the personality of the sun-goddess, but Motowori argues with reason that she was in reality the wife of Ama-no-koya-ne, or as we should put it, of the ancient chieftain deified under that title, and that her worship, like his, was derived from the temple of Hirawoka in Kahachi. The whole legend is of course a fiction invented by the priests of the temple, at a date long posterior to its foundation in the ordinary way by the heads of the Mihara family in the name of the Mikado, in order to produce an effect upon the imagination of credulous worshippers, for it does not bear traces of being a genuine myth. It moreover appears to contain some anachronisms. Such names as Tokikaze and Hidetsura, formed by combining two separate words, had not come into vogue in Keiun, to which period the migration of Takemikadzuchi is referred. The real name of the man who, in 767, founded the temple of these gods at Kasuga was Uweguri Kuhimaro, a member of the Nakatomi tribe, who simply established at this spot the worship of his family gods. Tokikaze and Hidetsora were descendants of his who lived about the middle of the 9th century, when the Fujihara, who were extremely powerful, chiefly through the many ties which bound successive Mikado to their family, took advantage of their position to introduce an innovation by which the Mikado was made to worship the ancestral gods of his mother as well as his own.


Take-mika-dzuchi, also called Take-ika-dzuchi, is one of three gods who, according to the version of the myth given in the Kochiki, sprang from the blood of Kagutsuchi, the god of Summer-heat, as it dropped [p.395] from the hilt of Izanagi's sword on to the stones in the bed of the River of Heaven (as the Milky Way is called in Japanese). According to the Shiyemzkiroku ([glyphs]) he gives the ancestor in the 15th generation of a family called Yamato no Kahara no Imiki, who belonged to the province of Kahachi. It seems at first sight strange that the only persons who claimed descent from this god should be settled in a part of the country so remote from the original seat of his worship, and it would have been natural to suppose that the guardians of the temple of Kashima traced their lineage from him, as is the case with many other families of hereditary priests. This is not the case, however, for according to the Kashima Meishiyo Ikuwe, the Daiguu-zhi, or Chief Warden, is descended from Ama-no-koya-ne, who here appears in subordinate position as one of the ahidono gods or secondary deities of the temple.

A passage in the Hitachi Fudoki ([glyphs]), although somewhat obscure, appears to afford an explanation of the manner in which the Nakatomi tribe and the branch of it called the Fujihara family came to worship Take-mika-dzuchi as one of their ancestral gods. The legend says that 'in the reign of the sovereign Mimaki (usually known as Suuzhin Tefiwau), a spirit clad in white garments and armed with a white spear appeared on the top of a mountain and pronounced the following words: "If thou wilt order things aright before me, I will make the country which thou rulest tranquil, Oh Kikikatsu, and will grant unto thee large countries and small countries." Hereupon the sovereign summoned his followers and laid the matter before them. Kanra Kikikatsu of the Nakatomi tribe replied:—"This information has been given by the great god who dwells in the Kashima country, and promises thee the Great Many-island country to rule over." The heavenly sovereign on hearing this was startled, and presented the above mentioned offerings at the temple of the god. It is inferred from this extract, which purports to record the legend existing among the inhabitants of Hitachi in the beginning of the 8th century, that the temple of Kashima was founded in the reign of Suuzhin Ten wan, Kikikatsu being appointed the first high priest and bearer of the offerings spoken of, which are very nearly the same as those enumerated in the ritual. It would be natural for the peasant who repeated this legend to the official appointed to compile the Fudoki, to make Kikikatsu seem to say that the spirit who appeared was 'the god of Kashima,' [p.396] that being the expression which he was himself in the habit of using, while Kikikatsa simply said that the spirit was Take-mika-dzuohi. This sort of confusion in the report of another person's words easily happens in Japanese, owing to the absence of any means of distinguishing direct from indirect speech. For example, in Japanese the phrases 'he said that it was too late' and 'he said: "It is too late"' would be expressed in exactly the same manner, so that it is impossible to know without special inquiry whether the speaker is repeating the exact words of another person or is merely giving the sense of what he said. Another difficulty in connection with this passage is that the spirit apparently promises dominion over the country not to the Mikado but to Kikikatsu, but the explanation of this is that supernatural utterances are always essentially of an enigmatical character, and resemble rather the incoherent mutterings of a dreamer than the sayings of a person wide awake, and if the revelation made on this occasion had been clear there would have been no necessity for calling a council together to declare its meaning. In the present case, Kama Kikikatsu is the only one who understands the oracle, and he expounds it to mean that if he performs due rites in honour of the god Take-mika-dzuchi, the god will maintain the Mikado Mimaki as ruler over the 'Great Many-Island Country.' Perhaps the foundation in the east of Japan, as yet not completely cleared of its aboriginal inhabitants, of a temple dedicated to the conquering sword which, in the hands of the founder of the dynasty, had subjugated the western and central parts of the country, was emblematic of the assumption of sovereignty in that region by this Mikado. The people of later times, in repeating the explanation given by Kikikatsu, would then represent him as speaking of the 'god of Kashima,' and so the idea that the foundation of the temple was anterior to the legendary period, i.e. that it dated from the 'age of the gods,' would inevitably spring up. It became the hereditary function of the descendants of Kikikatsu, who succeeded him as high priests of Kashima, to worship Take-mika-dzuchi, and it is not difficult to see how they would come to look upon rites the performance of which had come down to them from their ancestor as a family duty. Hence, when a member of the Nakatomi tribe founded, in 767, the little temple of Kasuga in honour of his family gods, he naturally included among them the god of Kashima.


The Yamato no Kahara no Imiki were no doubt a tribe of sword-cutllers, settled on the banks of the Yamato-gaha, which flows through the province of Kahachi. There is no evidence to decide whether they regarded Take-mika-dzuchi as a famous sword or as the warrior who wielded it, but they no doubt found it convenient to adopt the fiction that they were descended from him.

In the Kozhiki version of the myth, Take-mika-dzuchi is celebrated as the god who descended from heaven to subdue the chieftain whom he found ruling in the province of Idzumo, and thus prepared the way for the advent of the Sun-goddess' grandchild. According to other versions of the story he was accompanied and assisted by a god named Futsu-nushi, but doubt is entertained by the commentators as to the reality of Futsu-nushi's existence as a separate deity. Some think that Futeu-nushi is merely another title for Take-mika-dzuchi himself; others take Futsu-nushi to be the name of the sword which he carried. It seems more reasonable to regard Futsu-nushi as the epithet of the warrior and Take-mika-dzuchi as one of the names of his sword. The Kozhiki in one passage represents Take-mika-dzuchi to have been the son of a god named Ame no Wo-habari no Kami, and in another place it says that Ame no Wo-habari was the name of the sword with which Izanagi slew the god of Summer-heat, so that Take-mika-dzuchi must also have been a sword. Wo-habari seems to mean broad blade; that is, a double-edged sword, and Take-mika-dzuchi was probably a single-edged weapon. In the Kahachi Meisho Dguwe, vol. 8, p. 20, there is a wood-cut representing a pair of old swords, one of which is two-edged, the other single-edged, both called Futsu no mitama, and similar swords are figured on the back of two curious discs of pottery under the name of 'treasures of Futsu no Kami,' and dated 780 ([glyphs], 2nd year). It is clear that in that age Futsu-nushi was looked upon as the owner of the sword, and not as a sword himself. The name Take-mika-dzuchi is merely a title compounded of various honorific words, if we accept Motowori's interpretation. Take is of course the root of the adjective takeki, bold, and is perhaps merely a secondary form of taka, tall. The double meaning of 'stout' in our own language is an illustration of how a single root may signify both size and warrior-like qualities. Mika and its alternative both mean 'big'; the first form occurs in the word mikado, which originally meant 'big place,' and the second has survived to this [p.398] day in some parts of the country as the adjective ikai, big, numerous. Motowori explains tsu to be the archaic generic particle, and chi to be an honorific word found in the names of several other gods, in the word woji, an old man, and reduplicated in chichi, father.

A much easier explanation is that ikadzuchi is the same as the modern word for thunderbolt, and is compounded of ika, great, and tsuchi, mallet or hammer, so that Take-ika-dzuehi or Take-mika-dsnehi would simply be the god of thunder. And as a matter of fact the name is sometimes written [glyphs] (Mi-kadzuchi no wo, august thunder man, in the Kozhiki) and [glyphs] (Mika-dzuohi no kami or Great Hammer god, in the Nihongi, where [glyph] is evidently used as a sort of kana and the second character means 'mallet' or 'hammer'). Further, the names of the gods who, according to the form of the myth in the Kozhiki, were produced at the same moment as Take-mika-dzuchi, are Hi-haya-bi and Mika-haya-bi, epithets the most obvious interpretation of which would lead us to conclude that they were gods of fire, the sort of brethren that the god of thunder would be naturally supposed to have. Motowori, and Hirata following him, warn us against accepting any such easy common-sense derivations, which are of course contrary to the spirit of orthodox Shintau and opposed to the general preference of these and other modern writers for far-fetched supernatural interpretations. It seems on the whole most reasonable to suppose that this name of the Thunder god, who sprang from the blood of the god of Summer-heat, was also applied metaphorically to the famous sword which had subdued the foes of the Mikado's ancestor.

The date of the foundation of the temple of Kashima is unknown, and in fact it is usually referred back to the 'Age of the Gods,' which precedes even the legendary period of Zhinmu Tenwau and his immediate successors. We have, however, seen reason to suppose that it took place in the reign of Suuzhin Tenwau, and we may fairly conclude that it is one of the most ancient temples in Japan. In fact only five Shintau temples are supposed to have existed before the time of that Mikado, namely, the Oho-yashiro in Idzumo and the four temples of Asuka, Kadzuraki, Unada and Ohomiwa in Yamato, mentioned in the Ritual of the Miyadzuko of Idzumo, all of which were dedicated to Ohonamuji and his children, who ruled Japan before it was taken possession of by the founder of the present dynasty.


The second of the four gods of Kasuga, Ihahi-nushi of Kadori, in the province of Shimofusa, is identical with Futsu-nnshi, as is clear from a passage in the Nihongi.4 But the meaning of either name is not so evident.5 In the Kozhiki we find mention made of a sword which had once done great service in subjugating Japan in the time of the sun-goddess' grandchild. When Ihare hiko (Zhinmn Tenwau) was afterwards engaged in conquering the country for himself, in the course of an adventure in Kii, near Kumano, he met with a man who presented him with this very sword, in accordance with the command of Take-mika-dzuchi, delivered to him in a dream.6 This sword was variously called Sazhi-futsu no kami, Mika-fatsu no kami and Futsu no mitama, and was evidently supposed to be a god in itself. Hirata boldly supposes the god Futsu-nushi to be identical with this sword, but it is better to regard him as its owner. Both he and Motowori before him explain futsu to be an onomatopoeia denoting cutting off in a trenchant manner, without leaving anything behind, and compare it with the modern colloquial pittsuri to kuru,7 to cut clean off, so that futsu no mi tavui would mean the 'Soul of Sharpness.' Futsu-nushi is then the name of the owner of this sword, and Ihahi-nushi is that given to him to denote the act of his worshipping the miraculous blade. Like Kashima, the temple of Kadori is said to date from the 'Age of the Gods,' and a family of hereditary arrow-makers who claimed descent from Futsu-nushi is recorded in the Shiyauzhiroku as settled in Kahachi, like the descendants of Take-mika-dzuchi. In the Hitachi Fudoki ([glyphs] p. 5, verso) occurs a curious passage with reference to this god Futsu-nushi, to the effect that after subduing the violent gods of the mountains and rivers, he felt a longing to return to heaven, and so, leaving behind him his magic staff, armour, spear, shield, sword and precious stones, he mounted on a white cloud and ascended to the skies. What clearer proof than this legend can we have of his being simply a deified warrior chief? It is worthy of note that both these gods are worshipped in the form of swords.


The meaning of the name Ama-no-koya-ne or Ama-tsn-koja-ne is even more obscure.8 Ama is of coarse the same as Ame, heaven, but there all certainty ends. Motowori suggests that koya is a corruption of woki-oya, the beckoning elder, which contains an allusion to the constantly recalled incident of the sun-goddess' retirement into a cave in consequence of Susanowo's misconduct, on which occasion it fell to the part of this god to invite her forth from her seclusion by reciting the "great ritual." Ne is considered by both Motowori and Hirata, as a merely honorific suffix to names of gods. Hirata takes koya to be an inversion of ya-ko, much heart or understanding, ko being the radical immaterial part of man. Both of these derivations are extremely far-fetched, and it is much more likely that the god or hero from whom the Nakatomi were descended took his name from a place called Koya in the province of Tsu, in the department of Kahanobe, which belonged to the chief branch of the tribe even down to the time of Kamatari (b. 620, d. 675) in the 7th century. It was Kamatari who took the surname of Fujihara, the other members of the tribe retaining that of Nakatomi. His youngest brother was the ancestor of the Kannushi of Kasuga. Oho-Nakatomi was adopted as a surname by Omi-maro, a son of a first cousin of Kamatari. The Fujihara family gave up the service of the gods, and devoted themselves entirely to politics, while the Nakatomi still remained in the priesthood, which explains the fact that so many of them were officials of the Zhingi Kuwan, or Ministry of Shintau religion.


The temple of Hirawoka, whence the worship of Ama-no-koya-ne was brought to Kashima, is situated in the department of Kahachi in the province of the same name. To judge by the wood-cut at page page 28, vol. v., of the Kahachi Meishiyo dzuwe, the buildings cannot be very magnificent, but a noteworthy peculiarity of the temple is the absence of a haiden or oratory, and the worshippers appear to prostrate themselves on the bare ground below a raised terrace on which the chapels are ranged [p.401] in line. According to the book just quoted, the other three deities are Oho-hira-me (the son-goddess), Fntsa-noshi and Mika-dzachi. Hime-gami, or Lady-god, is the official designation of the goddess in the national records, where she is frequently mentioned, together with Ama-no-koya-ne, as receiving some accession of rank and dignity in the divine hierarchy, but always two or three grades below him in rank, which is incomprehensible if we believe her to have been the Sun-goddess; and the explanation that the Hime-gami is the wife of Ama-no-koya-ne is the one which must be accepted.

A curious custom used formerly to be practised at this temple, called Mi kayu ura, or "Divination by gruel." On the 16th day of the 1st moon, a quantity of beans of the species called adzuki (phaseolus radiatus) having been boiled in the presence of the gods, a roll of 64 tubes of fine bamboo, each inscribed with the name of a kind of seed-crop, was lowered into the semi-fluid mass, and from the way in which the beans entered the tubes, the priests drew inferences as to the probability of the particular crops being successful or the reverse. The peasants then knew what it would be best to sow during the year.

The temple of Kasuga is situated on the flank of a hill, and is surrounded by a wooden arcade, closed on the outside, and pierced by several gateways, the main entrance being on the south. Inside of this first enclosure is a second one, raised on a terrace, which is likewise surrounded by an arcade, with a principal gate in front, to which access is given by two flights of steps. The ordinary layman performs his obeisance in front of this gateway, and only priests are allowed to enter further. There is no oratory (haiden), but the four chapels of the gods are ranged in a row, beginning with that of Take-mika-dzuchi on the right, and then in the following order to the left, Futsu-nushi, Ama-no-koya-ne and the goddess. The material of which the buildings are constructed is chiefly wood, painted red, and pictorial decoration has been applied very sparingly, as must have been unavoidable in the case of a temple which used to be rebuilt every twenty years.

The temple of Oharanu, near Kiyauto, was founded in 810, after the removal of the capital from Nara to its modern site in the province of Yamashiro, and is dedicated to the same gods as the temple of Kasuga. The court apparently found it convenient to be able to invoke the gods [p.402] without having to make a long journey of two days to Nara and back on each occasion. The buildings are on an insignificant scale, which shows that the temple was a mere make-shift.

According to the Ceremonial Regulations (Jiyauguwan gishiki) the service was performed twice in each year, namely, on the first day of the monkey in the 2nd and 11th moons.

Before the celebration of the service, orders were given to the Divination Office to fix a day, hour and locality for a "purification" to be performed. On the day preceding the purification a sort of tent was erected near the river (i.e. the Kamo-gaha at Kiyauto), and at the hour appointed the priestess who had been selected for the occasion proceeded to the place of purification in a bullock-car. The procession was magnificent and ordered with extreme precision. It consisted of nearly one hundred and forty persons, besides pointers. First went two municipal men-at-arms, with white staves, followed by two citizens and eight officials of rank. They were succeeded by the bailiff of the priestess' official residence with four attendants, after whom came ten corporals of the Guard of the Palace gates and a few men from the other four Imperial Guards. Next came the car of the priestess herself, with eight attendants in brown hempen mantles, two young boys in brown, and four running foot-pages in white dresses with purple skirts. A silk umbrella and a huge long-handled fan were borne on either side of the car by four men in scarlet coats. Ten more servants completed her immediate retinue. Then came a chest full of sacrificial utensils, and two carriages containing a lady who seems to have acted as a sort of duena to the priestess, and the Mikado's messenger, surrounded by attendants in number suited to their rank. Close behind them were borne two chests full of food-offerings, and four containing gifts from the Mikado intended for those members of the Fujihara family who attended on the occasion. Seven carriages carried the female servants of the priestess, each of them being a lady of rank, and therefore accompanied by half-a-dozen followers of both sexes. Two high officials of the provincial government of Yamashiro awaited the procession at a convenient point, and conducted it to the spot chosen for the ceremony of purification. A member of the Nakatomi tribe presented the nusa, consisting of a white wand with hemp-fibre hanging from its upper end, the symbol of the primitive [p.403] offerings of greater value, and a Diviner9 read the purification ritual. After the ceremony was over, refreshments were served out, and the Mikado's gifts distributed. The priestess then returned to her official residence.

On her journey to the temple of Kasuga the priestess was preceded by various priests, diviners, musicians, cooks and other functionaries of inferior grade, who set out one day earlier in the charge of an officer of the Minister of Religion. At the boundary of the province of Yamato she was received by officers of the provincial government, who accompanied her to the temporary building erected for her accommodation on the banks of the Saho-gaha. During the day the rite of purification was performed on the western side of the temple, and the offerings placed in readiness for the final ceremony. At dawn on the following day officials of the Ministry of Religion superintended the cleaning of the shrine by a young girl (mono-imi), who had been carefully guarded for some time previous from contracting any ceremonial uncleanness, while other officials (kandomo) decorated the buildings and set out the sacred treasures close to the shrines and by the side of the arcade round the innermost enclosure. Everything being now in readiness, the high officers of state who had come down from the capital for the service entered by the gate assigned to them, and took their seats in the outer court, followed by members of the Fujihara family of the 6th rank and under. The priestess now arrived in a palanquin, with a numerous retinue of local functionaries, infantry and cavalry soldiers, and followed by porters carrying the offerings of the Mikado, his consort, the heir-apparent and of the priestess herself. Next came race-horses sent by the Mikado's consort, by the heir-apparent and from the Six Guards of the Palace, the rear of the procession being brought up by a crowd of lesser officials and men-at-arms. The palanquin of the priestess was surrounded by a large body of guards, torch-bearers and running pages, umbrella- and screen-bearers, and women and girls on horseback.


After them came the chest of sacrificial vessels, a number of servants, three chests full of food-offerings, six chests of clothing for the gods, with carriages containing some of the Mikado's female attendants, the priestess' duena and some young girls. On arriving at the north gate on the west side of the temple enclosure, the men got off their horses and the women descended from their carriages. The priestess then alighted from her palanquin, and passing between curtains, held by her attendants in such a way as to render her invisible to the crowd, entered the waiting room prepared for her inside the courtyard, followed by the women of the Mikado's household. The Mikado's offerings were now brought forward by the Keeper of the Privy Purse, and laid on a table outside the gate, while the women of the Household entered the inner enclosure, and took their places in readiness to inspect the offerings. In a few minutes they were joined by the priestess, who had changed her travelling-dress for sacrificial robes. The Keeper of the Privy Purse now brought the Mikado's presents in through the gate, and placing them on a table in front of the midzu-gad or inner fence, saluted the chapels by clapping his hands four times, alternately standing upright and bowing down to the ground. On his retiring, the same ceremony was performed by the persons charged with the offerings of the Mikado's consort and heir-apparent, after which the offerings of the Fujihara and other noble families were deposited on lower tables, with similar ceremonies. The Kandomo, or subordinate officials of the Ministry of Religion, next carried up the Mikado's offerings and delivered them to the mono-imi, who carried them into the chapel. The Kandomo then spread matting on the ground in front of each of the four chapels, and members of the Fujihara clan who held a sufficiently high rank carried in and arranged the tables destined to receive the food-offerings. Two barrels of sake were then brought in and placed between the first and second and third and fourth chapels, in a line with the tables, a jar of sake brewed by the priests being also placed in front of each chapel. This over, every one quitted the enclosure, making way for the women of the household, who uncovered the food-offerings and poured out two cups of sake for each deity. The liquor appears to have been of the turbid sort called nigon-zake. All the preparations being thus complete, the high officers of state and the messengers sent by the court entered the enclosure and took their [p.405] seats. Four saddle-horses intended as offerings to the gods and eight race-horses were now led up in front of the temple, preceded by a major-general of the Guards and the Master of the Horse. A superior priest, with his brows bound with a fillet of paper-mulberry fibre (yufu-kalzura), then advanced and read the ritual, bowed twice, clapped his hands four times and retired. The congregation afterwards withdrew to the Nahorahi-deit, or refectory. Where the food-offerings were consumed by the participants in the solemn act of worship, and the sansai, or thanksgiving service, was conducted by the Ka-Momo of the Ministry of Religion.

The sacred horses were then led eight times round the temple by the grooms of the Mikado's stables, who received a draught of sanctified sake as their reward. The general of the body-guard next directed some of his men to perform the dance called Adzuma-mahi, and when they had finished, a meal of rice was served to them with much ceremony by the Mikado's cooks. At the command of the Vice-Minister of Religion the harpists and flute-players were summoned to perform a piece of music, called mi koto fuwe ahase, the concert of Harp and Flute; the flutes played a short movement alone, and were then joined by the harps, whereupon the singers struck in. An officer of the Ministry of Religion sang the first few bars, and the official singers finished the piece. This was followed by one of the dances called Yamato mahi, performed in turn by the principal priests of the temple, by members of the Fujihara family and by the Vice-Minister of Religion himself. After the sake-cup had been passed round three times, the company clapped their hands once and separated. The priestess changed her robes for a travelling dress and returned to her lodging in stately procession as before. A Secretary of the Council of State then presented to the Minister of State a list of non-official persons of rank who had attended at the service, and the gifts of the Mikado were distributed to them as their names were called out by a clerk, after which everybody adjourned to the racecourse and the day was wound up with galloping-matches.

The procedure at the half-yearly festivals of Ohoharanu was almost exactly the same.



The Yengi Shiki gives lists of the articles required to be supplied at the two festivals of Kasuga, either as offerings or in their preparation. The cost was defrayed chiefly out of the revenues of the temples of Kashima and Kadori, which contributed between them 500 pieces of tribute-cloth (tsuki-nuno), 800 piece of excise-cloth (chikara-imno), 600 pieces of commercial-cloth (aki-nuno), 600 catties of hemp and 600 sheets of paper. These articles were forwarded to the Ministry of Religion, and deposited in the government store-houses as a fund for the celebration of these services. Other offerings were provided at the expense of the several departments of the government, as for instance, the horses came from the Mikado's stables, and the matting from the Kamon no tzukasa.

In the ritual a mirror, sword, bow and spear are enumerated among the presents, but as no provision is made in the regulations for furnishing these articles, it seems probable that the same sword, bow and spear were brought out year after year and used again, while the mirror was no doubt permanently placed in the temple in front of the gods. It must not be forgotten that in the beginning of the 10th century, when these regulations were drawn up, the practice of the Shintau religion had become a matter of form, and it seems likely that the mirror seen until a few years back in every Shintau temple had then already assumed its place before the shrine. In the regulations for the conduct of the service of the Wind-gods at Tatsuta, the use of the same saddle on the horse-offering year after year, until it became too old and ragged for the purpose, is specially ordered.

The 'bright cloth, glittering cloth, soft cloth and coarse cloth' consisted, according to the Yengi regulations, of 7 feet of ashiginu (coarse silk), 28 feet of tribute cloth, 86 feet of bleached cloth and 12 pieces (each about 12 yards in length) of commercial cloth, all being fabrics of inferior quality and representing a very small value in money. The 'things wide of fin and things narrow of fin,' i.e. large fish and small fish, are represented by bonito, tahi (Serranus marginalis), haliotis and cuttle fish (sepia), six catties of each. 'Weeds of the offing and weeds of the shore' are represented by six catties of me (Halochlea. sp.). For 'things of the mountains and plains'—'even to sweet herbs and bitter herbs,' beans of two sorts (daidzu, Glycine hispida and adzuki, Phaseolus radia- [p.407] tus), oranges and miscellaneous fruits were offered. Of ordinary rice and mochi rice 8 to (about 11 bushels) each, and of sake 1½ koku (about 58 gallons) were allowed. Besides these offerings there were provided a large number of coarse earthen-ware dishes and cups of various kinds, the very form of which is now forgotten in most cases, nothing but their names having been preserved.

The principal service was followed by the sansai, or thanksgiving for the feast, at which the food-offerings were consumed. The Yengi Shiki states the amounts of the various articles supplied for this service, but we have no account of the ceremonies observed. Nor are any details given about the ceremonies of 'purification' (harachi); which preceded the brewing of sacred sake for use at the festival (properly called mi ki), nor of the service of the fire-places where the mi ki was manufactured, although we learn incidentally that such ceremonies were performed in connection with the principal service.


[Note.—The words in italics are supplied in order to complete the sense of the original.]

The sovran who is called "According to his great word"1 says in the great presence of the four pillars of sovran gods, namely, dread Mika-dzuchi's augustness who sits in Kashima, Ihahi-nnshi's augustness who sits in Kadori, Ama-no-koya-ne's augustness and the lady-deity who sit in Hirawoka.

He says: In accordance with the request which the great gods have deigned to make, the builders have widely set-up the House-pillars on the bottom-most rocks of Kasnga's Mikasa yama, and have made-high the cross-beams to the plain-of-high-heaven, and have humbly2 fixed it as their Shade from the heavens and their Shade from the sun;—as to the divine treasures which are set-up, humbly providing a mirror, a SWORD,3 a bow, a spear and a horse;—as to clothing, taking4 bright cloth, glittering cloth, soft cloth, coarse cloth, and ranging-in-rows the first-fruits of the tribute,5 set-up by the regions of the four quarters; as to things of the blue-sea-plain—things wide of fin and things narrow of [p.408] fin, weeds of the offing and weeds of the shore; as to things of the mountains and wilds—even to sweet herbs and bitter herbs, as to liquor, raising-high the beer-jars, filling and ranging-in-rows the bellies of the beer-jars, and piling up the various things like a range of hills—namely the great offerings which he sets-up, having fixed upon such-and-such an officer, named so-and-so, as Kannushi (priest), humbly fulfils the praises of the sovran great deities, by saying take them tranquilly and peacefully as peaceful and sufficient offerings.

He says: O humbly fulfil your praises, saying: in consequence of my having done this, humbly praise the court of the sovran peacefully and tranquilly, and as a satisfactory and luxuriant age, and humbly bless it unchangingly and eternally, and deign to prosper also the princes and councillors of the various places and houses6 who share in this administration and serve, and cause them to serve tranquilly in the court of the sovran like the perpetual growth of luxuriant trees.

[Note.—The rituals of Ohoharano, Hirawoka, etcetera, are similar to this.]


1 [glyphs] iumera ga oho mikoto ni mase, with which the ritual commences, presents considerable difficulty. Mabuchi got over this by simply changing mase into matu, so that the altered passage meant 'it is the great word of the sovran.' But apart from the apparent want of connection between such a sentence and that which immediately succeeds it, the fact that this phrase oho mikoto ni mase occurs several times in the Sen-miyau, or Royal Announcements, in the Shiyoku Nihohgi, and in the Ruwizhiyuu Kokushi, and always in such a context that it must be translated as a compound noun, prevents us from accepting his emendation. In an Announcement of Ohowi no Mikado (750-764) occurs the sentence mata oho wikoto m mase nori-tamahaku, again the oho mikoto ni mase deigned to say, where the expression under examination is clearly used as a synonym for sovereign. An Announcement of Shiyanmu Tenwau of the year 743 opens with [glyphs] sumera (ga) oho mikoto ni nuise mawoshi tamahaku, the sovereign(s) oho mikoto ni mase deigns to report, i.e. to his mother, the ex-Mikado Genshiyau. Besides these two undoubted cases of the use of this term to denote the Mikado, there are four other passages which are most probably to be read in the same manner. In the Announcement by which the Mikado Geomei Teiiwau makes known her accession to the throne on the death of her son and predecessor Monmo, she relates first that in the previous year he had desired to abdicate on account of ill-health, and had addressed her in the following words: Are mi mi tsukanukikn matu ga yuwe ni itoma yate mi yama woaametamahamu to stu Kone ama tiu hitmgi no kuravri ha olw mikoto ni maw ohomathi jnathitt woam tamafu beshi: [p.409] Because my horse is fatigued I intend to take leave and order-aright my disease. Thou shalt deign to be oho mikoto ni mate and order-aright the seat of the successor of heaven's son, or more freely, "Thou shall be oho mikoto ni mase and occupy the throne of the sun's descendant." In all the copies of the Shiyoku Nihongi, MS. or printed, the Chinese characters are [glyphs], but [glyph] is evidently a mistake, and Motowori is right in reading [glyph] instead. The phrase occurs again, 1st in a joint Announcement of Shiyaumu Tenwau and his daughter Kaukeil Teiiwau in 749, on the occasion of his resigning the throne to her, 2nd in an Announcement issued by Shiyaumu Tenwau proclaiming his accession in 724, and 3rd in his Announcement of the year 729 by which the chronological style was altered from Zhinki to Tenbiyau. In the first of these the MSS. and printed books have to instead of ne, which is Motowori's emendation; but as the former makes no sense at all, while the correction does, it may fairly be accepted. There is no kana in either the second or third of these cases, but in the second [glyphs] is evidently the subject of the verb noritamahaku which follows immediately, and it is therefore necessary to read sumera mikoto no oho vukoto ni mase, by comparison with the first three examples concerning which there is no doubt whatever. In the third case we have [glyphs] without any kana at all. It would be possible to read oho mikoto ni masu sumera ha, and to translate, "I, the sovran, who am the great augustness," but there is absolutely no evidence in favour of such a reading. I do not know of any passage where the Mikado is called a 'great augustness,' 'oho mikoto,' and the term mikoto is never used except as part of a title or as an abbreviated way of speaking of the person who bears that title, after he has been previously mentioned in the same passage. So that we are driven to read mae here, as in the other cases. In the Ruwizhiynu Kokushi, bk. 36, p. 7, there is an undoubted case of the use of this term [glyphs] sumera ga oho mikoto ni mase Ihatsukuri no yama no misasagi ni mawoshitamahaku, "the sovran oho mikoto ni mase deigns to report to the tomb on mount Ihatsukuri," and it is found also at the beginning of the Hirano Ritual.

It remains to inquire what is the literal meaning of Oho mikoto ni mase. The last word is the only one which presents any difficulty. Motowori suggests that [glyph] is merely a 'borrowed character,' used to express quite a different ma from that which it usually means, and that this ma is identical with the root which we find reduplicated in the expression mamani, in accordance with, in ma ni ma ni, an old form of the same, and also in makase, to leave to, to submit to. The whole phrase would then signify 'submitting to' or 'in accordance with the great command,' and he supposes that it may have been so constantly used of the Mikado as to sink finally into the condition of a mere epithet, and so have become a title; just as some of the attributive phrases called makwra-kotoba, abandoning their original function of epithets, came to denote the substantives to which they had originally been prefixed. This suggestion is not wanting in plausibility, especially as we find the term joined to the preceding word sumera (or sumera mikoto) as often by ga as by no. Though there seems good reason to believe that [p.410] no was a particle of apposition (not to say a verb) before it became a possessive particle, ga in the early Japanese is almost always a possessive particle, and never became appositive. In the passage quoted from the Ruwizhiyyuu Kokushi, and in the two rituals where the expression under discussion occurs, the particle ga is used, with a sense, as it were, of the original meaning, while in only one place it is preceded by no, which might be understood either as possessive or appositive.

2 Maturi is here rendered by 'humbly,' its real character being that of an auxiliary verb, originally meaning 'to serve.' From being used as a verb expressing humility on the part of the speaker, it became a mere mark of polished speech, like safurafu and haberu of the written language, and maun in the modern colloquial language. (See Aston: Grammar of the Written Language, 2nd edit., p. 174.)

3 The words for sword and bow in the original are hakashi and tarashi. The authority for reading [glyph] as hakashi is firstly the tradition among the Shintau priests that it is to be so read in this place, and secondly a passage in the Nihongi (see bk. 7, p. 12, verso) in a name [glyphs] which is followed by the explanatory note [glyphs], august sword is here called mikahashi. Hakashi is the root of hahakasu, a form of haku, to wear, and means, therefore, a 'thing worn.' Tarashi is probably a corruption of torashi (which is adopted by Hirata as the better reading, in spite of the voice of tradition), which in like manner is the root of a 'lengthened form' of toru, to take, to grasp, and in the sense of a 'thing to grasp' might very well be used to denote a bow. The term 'lengthened form,' which Japanese grammarians are very fond of using to denote forms ending in afu or asu instead of u (only in the case of verbs of the first conjugation), must be cautiously used. There are examples in the modern colloquial language of the introduction of a redundant syllable ka, as in Uukara-kam for Uukaram; fukurakosu for fukurasu; chirakatu for chirasu; juyakam for fuyasu: ikarakasu for ikaram, which seems to be simply due to natural impulse towards the employment of emphasis, of which matsugu for masugu; matsuhira (pronounced mappira) for mahira are other examples. But the archaic forms in asu and afu may be explained in another way. In a certain number of verbs this termination in afu is due to the suffixing of the verb afu, to meet, used as a substitute for the adverb 'mutually'; thus tatakafu, to fight, is tataki-afu, to beat mutually; katarafu, to persuade, is katari-afu, to tell to each other; hakarafu, to manage, is hakan-afu, to weigh together, in the metaphorical sense; mukafu, to be opposite, is muki-afu, to be mutually turned towards; tsugafu, to pair, is tsugi-afu, to be connected together. Ihafu, to celebrate, is probably ihi-afu, to talk of together, and perhaps utafu, to sing, is uchi-afu, to beat time together. Just as the root aht-, which originally was prefixed to verbs in the same way as afu is suffixed, i.e., in the sense of 'mutually,' frequently occurs, sometimes even in the poems of the Manyefu, with no meaning at all, so it seems not improbable that the practice of adding -afu to the root of a verb and dropping the final vowel of the root, came to be pretty general, without the speaker having any consciousness [p.411] of its real signification. To prefixes like ahi-, uchi-, tori-, ma-, the original meaning of which is patent, and sa, i the derivation of which is not yet known, the term ornamental prefix may be applied, and -afu in like manner might be called an ornamental suffix. In some cases the ornamental form has been accepted for ordinary use in the modern language, to the explosion of the simpler, as negafu, to pray for, formerly negu, and tamafu, to deign, formerly tofu, while in sumu and umafa both are used concurrently. The termination -asu seems to have come into use in a similar manner. Just as in the modern spoken tongue causative verbs are often inflected at the choice of the speaker, as if they belonged to both conjugations, so in the old language there was much confusion between verbs of the first and second conjugations (yo dan no hataraki and ni dah no hataraki), of which the confusion between verbs in -su and -seru is only a particular case. Such forms as

tatasu, to stand, to start;
karasu, to reap;
watarasu, to cross;
kikasu, to hear;
tohasu, to ask;
shinubasu, to love;
nagekasu, to lament;
wemasu, to smile;
omohosu, to think;
morasu, to guard;
kumasu, to draw (water);
obasu, to wear (a girdle);

were probably at first causative verbs used honorifically, and as it is the well-known tendency of all honorific epithets and phrases to descend in the social scale, until they come to be used without distinction of persons, so it became a common practice to use this corrupted causative form in -su indifferently, merely for the purpose of ornament. Innumerable examples are to be found in the Mauyefushifu, and because they are so common in the old poetry, it is considered a sufficient explanation to say that they are poetical forms; but it can hardly be supposed that in any language special forms were invented for use in poetry. The most reasonable explanation of 'poetical forms' is the fact that variety of expression is one of the principal means of giving ornament to a composition, and that synonymous and alternative forms were retained in poetic diction, after they had been discarded for the sake of convenience in plain prose and conversation.

4 Ni tsukakematsurite, here freely rendered 'taking,' is the equivalent of the modern conversational 'ni shite,' which is used in the sense of choosing one out of many things offered or present for selection. Taukahe-matsuru is seen at once to be a compound of tsukaheru, to be employed, and matsuru, to serve, used as an auxiliary verb, as in the compound tatematsuru, to set up humbly, to offer to a superior. In the modern form of this word the syllable he has been dropped, and it has become tsukamatswra, used as a polite substitute for suru, to do.

5 The word rendered 'tribute' is mi-tsugi, a compound of the usual honorific prefix mi, and tsugi, root of tsugu, to continue (t.v.), used as a substantive, that which is continued in order to supply a constant want, i.e. anything supplied (without payment) for the support of another. In the modern language there is a verb mitsugu derived from mitsugi, which means to contribute towards [p.412] the support of a person whose income is insufficient for his needs. 'Contribution' best renders the etymological signification, but 'tribute' more fitly expresses the portion of produce paid to the sovereign by way of income.

6 By 'places' is meant departments of the government, and by 'houses' the families to which the princes and the Mikado's councillors belonged.


According to the Riyau no Gige, or Exposition of Administrative Law, there were two Oho-imi no matsori, the object of which was 'to cause the waters of the mountain gorges to change into sweet waters and to fertilize the young rice-plants, so that a full harvest might be reaped.' One of these was at Hirose, dedicated to the goddess Waka-uka-no-me; the other at Tatsuta, dedicated to the Wind Gods. No satisfactory explanation has yet been given of the name Oho-imi. We learn from the Yengi Shiki that both services were celebrated twice in each year, on the 4th days of the 4th and 7th moons, first when the rice-plant was springing up, and afterward when it was ripe, but this can only mean the early variety called wase. The Zhinzhiya Keimou identifies Waka-uka-no-me with the Food-goddess of the Gekuu temple in Ise. Other names of this goddess are Toyo-uke-bime, child of Waku-musubi the Vegetative Producer (i.e. the growth of plants personified), who was the offspring of Ho-musubi, god of Summer-heat, and Hani-yama-bi-me, goddess of earth10; Oho-getsu-bi-me, under which name she is regarded as the child of Izanagi and Izanami11; Uka-no-mi-tama, child of Susanowo and the daughter of the God of Mountains, Oho-yama-tsu-mi12; Oho-mi-ketsu kami in the Praying for Harvest, Uke-mochino kami13; Toyuke in the 'History of the Foundation of the temple of the sovran deity Toyuke,' Toyouke no kami in the Kozhiki14, Toyo-uka-no-me no mikoto as the goddess of sake, which is prepared from rice, Oho-uka no kami in the Catalogue of Temples and Toyo-woka-hime no kami in the Kagura-uta. Hirata15 and Mabuchi16 agree in identifying the goddess of Hirose with the Food-goddess of Ise.


The text of this Ritual is probably corrupt, at least the latter portion of it. The phrase "Sovran gods who dwell in the entrances to the mountains of the six Farms of Yamato" is nonsense, for the six Farms were not situated in the same localities as the temples of the entrances to the mountains, as can be seen from the passages in the 'Praying for Harvest,' where their worship is spoken of. The gods of the 'entrances to the mountains' were worshipped for the sake of the timber which grew under their care, and had nothing to do with the supply of water, for which the 'gods who dwell in the partings of the waters' are worshipped. Nor is it consonant with the functions of either the Farm or Forest gods that they should be besought "not to inflict bad winds and rough waters." It was natural enough in worshipping the goddess of food to offer up prayers also to the gods of the farms where the rice was to be grown under her protection, and likewise to the gods of water, without whose aid irrigation of the growing rice was impossible, and as the goddess of food was at the same time the goddess of trees, we can perhaps see how the worship of the forest gods may have come to be conjoined by mistake with hers. Motowori thinks that the original norito of this extremely ancient service must have been lost, and replaced much later with one composed by ignorant priests, who borrowed a piece from the Praying for Harvest and a phrase or two from the service of the gods of wind (i.e. about bad winds and rough waters), and mixed the Farms, Forests and Waters together in one petition.

It appears from a passage in the regulations for conducting the regular services that a harahi or purification was performed in connection with this service, probably before its celebration, in order to purify the principal persons who were to take part in the ceremony, as we have seen was done before the Kasuga service, where the priestess ad hoc underwent lustration. The list of articles to be expended for the Hirose service contains the item "2 kin and 5 riyau (a little over 8 lbs.) of hemp, of which 5 riyau are for this service and the 2 kin for the purification." The remaining articles in the list were apparently intended either for offerings, or to be used in some way or other in connection with their presentation. Worship was also celebrated on the same day at the temple of the six imperial domains and at the fourteen temples of the Mikado's timber-forests, the allowance of cloth and [p.414] other few articles being extremely small, but each god received a spear-head and a mantlet. No account of the ceremonies is to be found in books.


He declares the name of the sovran god whose praises are fulfilled at Kahahi1 in Hirose. Declaring her name as the Young-food-woman's augustness (Waka-uka-no-me no mikoto), who rules2 over the food, he fulfils praises in the presence of this sovran deity. He says: Hear all ye Kannushi and Hafuri the fulfilling of praises, by sending the princes and councillors to lift up and bring the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness.

He says: Deign to declare in the presence of the sovran deity that as to the great offerings which are set-up—he deposits in abundance and offers up, as to clothing—'bright cloth, glittering cloth, fine cloth and coarse cloth, the five kinds of things,3 a mantlet, spear and horse; and as to liquors, raising-high the beer-jars, filling and ranging-in rows the bellies of the beer-jars, in soft grain and in coarse grain;4 as to things which dwell in the mountains—things soft of hair and things rough of hair;5 as to things which grow in the great-field-plain—sweet herbs and bitter herbs, as to things which dwell in the blue-sea-plain, things wide of fin and things narrow of fin, down to weeds of the offering and weeds of the shore.

He says: Declare in the presence of the sovran deity that if the sovran deity with peaceful and tranquil heart accepts as peaceful offerings and sufficient offerings the great offerings thus set-up, and if the sovran deity will deign to perfect and bless in many-bundled ears the sovran deity's harvest-fields in the first place and also the late-ripening HARVEST which the children,6 princes, councillors and great people7 of the region-under-heaven, shall make by dripping the foam from their arms and drawing the mud together between the opposing thighs, in order that it may be taken by the sovran grandchild's augustness with ruddy countenance as his long food and distant food, he will draw hither the [p.415] first-fruits both in liquor and in husk, even to a thousand plants and many thousand plants, and piling them up like a range of hills, will offer them up at the autumn service.8

He says: Hear all ye Kannushi and Hafuri. He sets-up the great OFFERINGS of the sovran grandchild's augustness, bright cloth, glittering cloth, soft cloth and coarse cloth, the five kinds of things, down to the mantlet and spear, in the presence of the sovran gods also who dwell in the entrances of mountains of the six farms9 of the province of Yamato. As to the setting-up of offerings in this way, if the water which the sovran gods deign to send boiling down the ravines from the entrances of the mountains which they rule be received as sweet water, and ye10 will deign to bless the late-ripening harvest which the great people of the region under heaven have made, and deign not to inflict on it bad winds and rough waters, the princes, councillors, functionaries, down to the male and female servants of the six farms of the province of Yamato, will all come forth on the [number]11 day of the [number] month of this year, to set-up the first fruits in juice and in the husk, raising-high the beer-jars, filling and ranging-in-rows the bellies of the beer-jars, piling-up the offerings like a range of hills, and plunging down the root of the neck cormorant-wise in the presence of the sovran gods, will fulfil praises as the morning sun rises in glory.


1 Kahahi, the name of the village in Hirose department where the temple stands, is evidently a contraction of haha-ahi, the meeting of streams. The Yamato-gaha runs past the back of the grove, and is met by a small brook which flows along the side of the temple.

2 Motamru: Motowori objects to the final syllable -ru, but if the so-called lengthened forms are primarily honorific, then the regular causative verb belonging to the 2nd conjugation must have been the original form, and motam, for which he contends, a corruption. See note 2 on hakashi in the Kasuga Ritual. Mochi, to rule over, in the sense of having a certain department committed to one's charge; as Tama-tsn-mi no kami rules over the mountains and Wata-tsu-mi no kami over the sea, so this goddess has charge of the Food, i.e. the Mikado's food.

3 The phrase rendered 'the five kinds of things' might also be 'the things of five colours,' and in the list of articles to be furnished as offerings we find the entry 'thin coarse-silk of five colours, 15 feet of each,' which seems to correspond closely to the language of the Ritual. But it is hardly safe to draw too strict an inference from such a coincidence, for in many cases the norito speaks of offerings which are not provided for by the Yengi Shiki, and omits to mention several of those that are actually presented.


4 'Soft grain' is the grain of rice divested of its husk and ready to be boiled for food; 'coarse grain' is paddy, or rice before it has been hulled.

5 Birds and beasts, that is, game of various kinds.

6 Mi-ko, august child, is the old Japanese designation of a child of the Mikado, and is used as the equivalent of the Chinese Shin wau, Prince of the Blood.

7 The Chinese characters [glyphs] here translated 'great people' are variously read by different editors and commentators. Nobuyochi and Mabuchi have ohotakara, the Deha-bon edition of the Yengi Shiki has ohomu takara, while Motowori and Hirata both adopt the reading oho mi takara. The solitary passage in support of this last reading, quoted from the Gouka no Shidai, in reality proves nothing at all. This is part of a proclamation of amnesty for ordinary offences, which says: "In consequence whereof he (the Mikado) deigns to pardon. Let each return to his own home, and not repeat his offence, but becoming oho mi takara duly furnish tribute." It is clear, however, that the char. [glyphs] might be translated literally, 'imperial treasure,' loyal subjects who pay their taxes regularly being naturally regarded as treasures by their sovereign, but we need not infer from this single example that this was the usual term employed to denote the Mikado's people. Hori suggests oho mi tami, great people, which is a more likely reading.

8 The original of this passage can only be construed by omitting, as Motowori suggests, the seven char. [glyphs] (in the Norito Kau, vol. 1, p. 81, line 8; in the Norito Shiyaukun, part 1, page 9 verso, line 8).

9 The gods who dwell in the entrances of the mountains are gods of the forests, to whom altogether fourteen temples were dedicated, named in the Catalogue of Temples, and all situated within the province of Tamato. See note 41 to the Praying for Harvest. They had nothing to do with supplying the rice-fields with water or protecting them from wind storms. This last section is evidently a hash of the three petitions at the end of the Praying for Harvest, made by a priest who was ignorant of their real meaning and purport. This is one reason for thinking that the art of composing norito had been quite lost by the time when the Yengi Shiki was compiled.

10 Na ga mikoto, lit., thy augustness, must be taken as addressed to the gods of the mountains, and therefore rendered by the plural pronoun. The older texts and Mabuchi read Mimashi mikoto, which seems hardly so good.

11 In the original is the char. [glyph] sore no, which is used in Japanese just as we leave a blank to be filled up with the required number.


In the Catalogue of Temples contained in vol. ix. of the Yengi Shiki are two entries of temples at Tatsuta, in Heguri department of the [p.417] province of Yamato; firstly, one containing two shrines to Ame no mi hashira and Kuni no mi hashira, both [glyphs] or 'famous gods' (na-tataru kami) and ranking as greater shrines (see Praying for Harvest p. 105) entitled to take part in the Tsuki-nami, or so-called monthly services, and in the Nihi-name or Harvest Festival; secondly, a smaller temple containing two shrines dedicated to Tatsuta hiko and Tatsuta hime, Youth and Maiden of Tatsuta. The first of these is evidently the temple at which this Ritual was used, and it exists to this day on the same spot, at a village called Tatsuno, marked on most of the maps of the province of Yamato. Other temples to the gods of wind are in Naka department in the province of Idzu, called Kuni no mi-hashira no Zhin-zhiya, at Yamada in Ishikaha department in the province of Kahachi, called Shinaga no Zhinzhiya, and in the grounds of the temple of the Sun-goddess in Ise there is also a shrine to the god of wind. In the Kozhiki17 only a single god of wind is mentioned, Shina-tsu-hiko no kami, said to have been begotten by Izanagi and Izanami. The Nihongi,18 on the other hand says that after Izanagi and Izanami had begotten the country of many islands, Izanagi said: "The country which I have begotten is completely beclouded and filled up with morning-mists." The breath with which he then blew away the mists became a god, called Shinatobe no kami and also Shinatsu-hiko. This is the god of wind." But the text of the Ritual shows clearly that there were two wind-deities, one male and one female, who are first called Ame-no-mi-hashira and Euni-no-mi-hashira, Heaven's Pillar and Country's Pillar, and are afterward called the youth-deity and maiden-deity (hiko-gami and hime-gami). From this it may safely be concluded that Shinatsu-hiko is the name of the male and Shinatobe that of the female god of wind, he being the equivalent of me, woman (b and m being constantly interchanged), and to=tsu, the generic particle. To and tsu are also interchangeable, as shown for instance in several passages in the Manyefushifu, where mato is written with [glyphs], a pine tree, usually read matsu. Shina is for shi-naga, long breath, shi being an obsolete word for breath, seen in tama-shi-hi, soul = precious-breath-fire, shinuru, to die=shi inuru, breath departs, shinaga-dori, long-breathed bird, applied to a species of duck.19 Long-breathed youth and Long-breathed maiden, [p.418] as we may most euphoniously render these names, are very appropriate epithets for gods of wind, which is always blowing and never seems out of breath, but the teachers of Shintau are not content with such an obvious idea. They base their explanation of the name upon the assumed verity of the myth, and say that it was necessary for Izanagi, in blowing away the mists which obscured the land, to continue the emission of breath for a long time, and hence the appellation given to the gods who were evolved from his breath. It is more difficult to explain the names Heaven's Pillars and Country's Pillars. Heaven and Country are more often used as correlatives in the earliest Japanese literature than Heaven and Earth. The ancient Japanese most have imagined the sky to be extremely light and buoyant by nature if they looked upon the wind as the sole agent which prevented it from falling to the ground, yet this is the explanation given by Motowori, and adopted by his followers. If hashira originally meant pillar, then the epithet 'country's pillar' is not easy to understand. The wind might be supposed to support the sky, but not the earth. The only way out of the difficulty is to conjecture that the first idea was to call the wind ten chi no hashira, as being a pillar planted on the earth and bearing the heavens on its summit, and that this phrase when translated into norito language became ame no mi-hashira and kuni no ini-hashira, thus bringing the names into harmony with the more ancient recognition of the winds as a pair of gods. It seems clear from the Ritual itself that these names were given to the wind-gods by the Mikado who founded the temple of Tatsuta, and who, there is reason to believe, was Tenmu Tenwau (678-686), so that there would be nothing surprising in the epithets having in reality originated from the Chinese expression ten-chi, heaven and earth.

It is true that that the word hashi in the sense of 'bridge' and 'ladder' (the ordinary word hashigo for staircase or ladder is compounded of this hashi and ho, an archaic form of ki, tree or wood), and hashira seem to be closely allied, and at first to have signified generally anything which fills up and bridges over a gap. The Japanese do not seem to have held the theory that the sky is shaped like an inverted bowl placed over a flat surface, but rather that it was a flat thing generally equidistant from the earth. Inhabitants of flat countries might naturally adopt the former view, while it would be a fact daily making [p.419] itself patent to a race of active mountaineers and huntsmen that there is no real limit to the horizon, whenever they climbed a hill and saw laying it their feet localities and objects which were invisible to them before they ascended. Thus they might have conceived of the wind as something that filled up the gap between earth and heaven, and also is the means of transit from one to the other, by observing the flight of birds for long distances borne by the wind, and the elevation in the air of dust, dead leaves and other objects. For this reason it appeared quite natural to believe that the Sun-goddess, when sent forth from the south by her father Izana, to assume her sovereignty over the kingdom of heaven, should travel thither by the Ame no mi hashira, the thing that bridged over the distance from heaven, in other words the wind. The interpretation which makes out this ame no mi hashira by which she ascended, to have been a solid pillar of earth, which in the early days of the world united it to the sky, but afterwards, flat on its side and became a sand-spit in the province of Idzumo, is a modern invention for the purpose of the explaining the cosmogony of the teachers of 'pure Shintau.'

The institution of the worship of the wind gods is usually attributed by the commentators to Souzhin Teiwau, although no such fact is recorded in either the Nihongi or Kozhiki. They found this view upon the phrase Shikishima ni ohoyashima-guni shiroshim-ahishi sume wa ma no mikoto in the Ritual, which they take to mean the sovran grandchild's augustness who ruled the great-eight-island-country at Shikishima,' and they say that Shikishima is the same as the ancient department or hundred of Shiki in Tamato, where the residence of that Mikado is said to have been situated. There was another Mikado, namely Kinmei Tenwau (540-571), whose palace was called Shikishima no Ohomiya, the great House of Shikishima, and it would be more reasonable, if the question were to be decided by the mere name, to attribute the foundation of the temple to this sovereign. In the Manyefuskifu we find Shikishima used as the makura-kotoha, or recognized epithet, of Yamato no kuni, which in those passages means the whole of Japan, and not the province of Yamato by itself. If we give to this expression its most natural and obvious meaning of 'spread-out islands,' then its employment as an epithet for the whole country is seen to be extremely apt, and its application to Oho-ya-shima-guni, another of the [p.420] poetical names of Japan would be perfectly natural. We should of coarse expect to find the particle no after Shikishima in such a case, but there was a certain indefiniteness in the use in early, Japanese of the particles no and ni, which appear to have been more or less interchangeable. The phrase in the original might consequently be used to denote any Mikado who ever sat on the throne of Japan. Mabuchi and Motowori were led to interpret this passage as referring to a previous Mikado by the verb shiroshmeshi being put in the past tense, shiroshi-meshishi, but this termination shi is evidently an error. Even if it were necessary here to denote past time, shi would not be correct, and under any circumstances shiroshimesu must have been the original form used, just as we have tsukuru mono and not tsukurishi mono just afterwards. They took the first part of the Ritual to be a recital of events which had occurred long previously to its composition, but it was clearly composed for the first celebration of the worship of the gods of Talsuta, and used without alteration ever afterwards. In the Nihongi (Shifuchiyuu, bk. 29, p. 8 verso) we have the positive statement that Tenmu Teuwau in the 4th year of his reign (676) 'sent two persons from the court to worship the Wind-gods at Tatsuno in Tatsuta, and two others to worship Oho-imi no kami (the goddess of Food) at the bend of the river in Hirose,' the meaning of which is probably that the temples of the Wind-gods and the goddess of Food were then founded at those places. Some Japanese scholars think that they recognize in this Ritual indications of its having been composed about the time of Tenmu Tenwau, and certainly neither it nor the Hirano Ritual appears to belong to the oldest of these compositions. The few archaic words which it contains are to be found in poems of the Manyefushifu fifty or sixty years later.

It is interesting to note that we have in this Ritual a legend (for it is nothing more) of the way in which the winds first came to be worshipped. During a succession of years violent storms, such as even now frequently visit Japan in the autumn and do considerable damage to the ripening rice, had destroyed the crops, and after the diviners had in vain endeavoured to discover by their usual method who were the workers of the calamity, the gods revealed themselves to the sovereign in a dream, and directed that temples should be raised in their honour and certain offerings made to them. The offerings demanded are of coarse [p.421] such as would be acceptable to human beings, it being beyond the power of insight of the first worshippers of the unseen to suppose that the beings whom they dreaded and desired to propitiate could wish for anything different from the articles usually offered at the graves and shrines of departed ancestors, namely, whatever was most useful to mankind itself in that primitive age.

We know nothing of the ceremonies and forms observed in the worship of the Wind-gods previous to the 10th century, when the rules contained in the Yengi Shifu were framed. From them we learn that the envoys sent by the Mikado to represent him at the celebration of the service were a prince and a minister of the 5th rank or upwards, and two officials of the Ministry of Religion, of not above the 6th rank, accompanied each by a diviner and two Kandonw. Either the governor of the province or his lieutenant had charge of the arrangements. Each department (kohori) in the province of Yamato had to take its turn in furnishing a couple of loads of food-offerings. The cost, as well as that of rice, sake and rice in ear, was defrayed out of the taxes of the province, but all the other articles were supplied by different departments of the Mikado's household. The list of articles in the Shizhi-sai shiki corresponds very nearly with the offerings named in the Ritual. The 'bright cloth, glittering cloth,' etc., are represented as in the preceding Ritual, with the addition of China-grass. In addition to the spear and mantlet, for which the iron and deer-skins were needed, it appears that bows and arrows were offered up, and a certain quantity of slender bamboo stalks, feathers for winging them and horn for arrow-tips was therefore supplied. Each deity received a horse and saddle; new saddles were not presented every year, but the old ones were made to last as long as possible on successive occasions. The varnishes mentioned in the directions were intended for the 'golden thread-box, golden tatari and golden skein-holder,' which so far from being made of the precious metal were merely painted wood. Lastly, the food-offerings of the produce of mountain, plain and sea are the same as on all other occasions.


He says: "I declare in the presence of the sovran gods whose liaises are fulfilled at Tatsuta.


"Because they had not allowed, firstly the five sorts of grain1 which the sovran grandchild's augustness, who rules the spread-out islands,2 the country of many islands,3 takes with ruddy countenance as his long and lasting food, and the things produced by the great4 PEOPLE, down to the least leaf of the herbs, to ripen, and has spoilt them not for one year, or for two years, but for continuous years, he deigned to command: As to the heart of the god which shall come forth in the divinings5 of the men who are learned in things, declare what god it is."

"Whereupon the men learned in things divined with their divinings, but they declared that no heart of a god appears.

"When he had heard this, the sovran grandchild's augustness deigned to compare them, saying: 'I thought to fulfil their praises as heavenly temples,6 without forgetting and without omitting, but let the gods, whatever gods they be, that have prevented the things produced by the great people of the region under heaven from ripening and have spoilt them, make known their Heart.'

"Hereupon they made the sovran grandchild's augustness to know in a great dream, and made him to know their names, saying: 'Our Names, who have prevented the things made by the great people of the region under heaven from ripening, and have spoilt them, by visiting them with bad winds and rough waters, are Heaven's Pillar's7 augustness and Country's Pillar's augustness.' And they made him to know, saying: 'If for Offerings which shall be set-up in our presence there be furnished various sorts of offerings, as to clothes, bright cloth, glittering cloth, soft cloth and coarse cloth and the five kinds of things, a mantlet, a spear, a horse furnished with a saddle, if our House8 be fixed at Wonu in Tachinu at Tatsuta, in a place where the morning sun is opposite and the evening sun is hidden, and praises be fulfilled in our presence, we will bless and ripen the things produced by the great people of the region under heaven, firstly the five sorts of grain, down to the least leaf of the herbs.'

"Therefore hear, all ye Kannushi and Hafuri, my declaring in the presence of the sovran gods that, having fixed the House pillars in the place which the sovran gods had taught by words and made known, in order to fulfil praises in the presence of the sovran gods, the sovran grand- [p.423] child's augustness has caused his great offerings to be lifted and brought, and has fulfilled their praises, sending the princes and councillors as his messengers."

He says: "As to the great offerings set-up for the youth-god,9 I set-up various sorts of offerings, for clothes, bright doth, glittering cloth, soft cloth and coarse cloth, and the five kinds of things, a mantlet, a spear, a horse furnished with a saddle, for the maiden-god10 I set-up various sorts of offerings, providing clothes, a golden thread-box,11 a golden tatari,12 a golden skein-holder,13 bright cloth, glittering cloth, soft cloth and coarse cloth, and five kinds of things, a horse furnished with a SADDLE; as to Liquor,14 I raise high the beer-jars, fill and range-in-a-row the bellies of the beer-jars; soft grain and coarse grain; as to things which dwell in the hills—things soft of hair and things coarse of hair; as to things which grow in the great-field-plain—sweet herbs and bitter herbs; as to things which dwell in the blue-sea-plain—things broad of fin and things narrow of fin, down to the weeds of the offing and weeds of the shore. And if the sovran gods will take these great offerings which I set-up, piling them up like a range of hills, peacefully in their HEARTS, as peaceful offerings and satisfactory offerings, and the sovran gods, deigning not to visit the things produced by the great PEOPLE of the region under heaven with bad winds and rough waters, will ripen and bless them, I will at the autumn service set-up the first fruits, raising-high the beer-jars, filling and ranging-in-rows the bellies of the beer-jars, and drawing them hither in juice and in ear, in many hundred rice-plants and a thousand rice-plants. And for this purpose the princes and councillors and all the functionaries, the servants of the six FARMS of the country of Yamato, even unto the males and females of them, have all come and assembled in the fourth month of this year, and plunging down the root of the neck cormorant-wise in the presence of the sovran gods, fulfil their praises as the sun of to-day rises in glory."

"Hear, all of ye the mandate: Kannushi and Hafuri, deign to receive the great offerings of the sovran grandchild's augustness, and set them up without omission."


1 The five sorts of grain of the Japanese are rice, millet (panicum Italicum), bailey and two sorts of beans, adzuki or Phaseolus radiatus, and daidzu or Glycine [p.424] hispida. This differs from the Chinese enumeration, in which hemp is given instead of one of the sorts of bean. In the Kozhiki the five kinds of grain are said to have sprung from the dead body of the Goddess of Food, Ohogetsu-hime; rice from the eyes, millet from the ears, adzuki from the nose, barley from the private parts and daidzu from the fundament. Hirata in the Koshi Seihun gives a slightly different form of the myth. The expression 'five sorts of grain' is evidently an imitation of Chinese phraseology, and its occurrence here is an indication of the comparatively late date of this norito.

2 Spread-out islands, Shiki-Shima. This is generally explained to mean the palace of Sunzhin Tenwan, which tradition says was in the department of Shiki in the province of Yamato, now divided into Shiki no kami and Shiki no shimo. Reasons for thinking this view erroneous, and for regarding Shikishima as a general epithet of Japan, and hence capable of being used with respect to any Mikado, have been given in the introduction to this ritual.

3 Oho ya shima guni, the Country of Many Islands. Ya originally signified 'many', but was afterwards adopted as the numeral 'eight,' and hence in the myth of the birth of the Japanese archipelago eight islands are always mentioned, though not the same set of eight in each form of the myth. In the Kozhiki the gods Izanagi and Izanami beget in succession, Ist, Ahaji, or the island on the road to Aha; 2nd, Iyo, an island with one body and four faces, i.e., the island of Shikoku, divided into the four provinces of Alia, Tosa, Iyo and Sanuki; 3rd, the triplet of Oki, a group which lies north of the province of Idznmo; 4th, Tsukushi, an island with one body and four faces, i.e., the island of Kiunhiu, or Kinkoku, originally divided into four regions, namely, Tsukushi, which now forms the modern Chikuzen and Chikugo, Toyo, the modern Buzen and Bungo, Hi, consisting of the modern provinces of Hizen, Higo and a part of Hiuga, and Enmaso, the modern Satsuma, Ohosumi and southern half of Hiuga; 5th, Iki; 6th, Tsushima (which probably means 'port island', as containing the port of call for boats going from Japan to Korea); 7th, Sado, formerly famous for its mines, and 8th, last of all, Oho-yamato-Akitsushima, i.e., the main island of Japan. It is worth while noting how many of these names have in the course of time come to be extended in application. Tsukushi and Iyo were parts only of the islands which were afterwards called by their names; Enmaso was the modern department of So in Ohosumi, and Tamato, applied later to the whole of Japan, originally meant only the province which still bears that name. Tamato-kotoba is the old Japanese language (or rather the words of which it is composed), and not, as some persons still seem to imagine, the language spoken in that province. Six forms of the myth are given in the Nihongi with slight variations, such as the birth of Koshi (now divided into the five provinces of Wechizen, Kaga, Noto, Wetsnchiu and Wechigo) separately from the main island, the inclusion of Ohoshima, which is one of the departments of Snhau forming an island by itself, and Kibi no Kozhima, a part of Bizen, also formerly an island. (See Kozhiki Den, vol. 5, p. 1, et infra; vol. 1, p. 6 verso, et infra.)


4 'Great' (oho) is a mere honorific, like mi (rendered by 'august'), applied to the people because they belong to the Mikado. A little farther on the same epithet is applied to the dream in which the wind gods make themselves known to the Mikado.

5 The word ura, which in one of its secondary uses signifies divination, means primarily that which is behind, and hence is invisible, e.g. the mental feelings of a person, in which sense it is equivalent to kokoro, which may be employed to denote the mental part of man and most of its modes of operation, such as will, sentiment, intention, meaning. The art of finding out that which is hidden was called ura-waza or ura-goto, and then for shortness' sake simply ura. Thus from this use of ura to mean 'heart,' it was transferred to the means of discovering the intentions of another, especially the intentions of a god, i.e. divination, and the verb ura-nafu, to divine, was formed from it by adding nafu, to spin. (See note 20 to the Praying for Harvest.) Various modes of divination were in use among the ancient Japanese, of various degrees of solemnity. One of these has already been described in the introductory remarks to the service of the gods of Kasuga. Another, to which allusion is made in the Manyefushifu, consisted in stepping out into the road, and listening to the fragmentary talk of passers-by, from which omens might be interpreted. This was called Tsuji-ura, or divinings in the roads; the word has lost its primitive meaning in the present day, and is now applied to the 'mottoes' placed inside sweetmeats, with which we are familiar in Europe also. As this sort of divination was usually practised at night it was also called yufuke tohi, 'questioning the evening passers-by,' and yufu ura 'evening divination,' under which names it is frequently alluded to in the Manyefushifu. In its earliest form the ceremony consisted in planting a stick upright in the ground to represent the god of roads, who according to the ancient myth was the transformation of the staff of Izanagi, which he threw from him when returning from the lower regions, in order to prevent the demons from pursuing him any further. Offerings were then made to this god, and he was besought to give an answer to the question propounded. A passage alludes to the custom of carrying a stick when going out to perform the yufuke tohi.

Tsuwe tiuki mo
Tiukazu mo yukite
Yufuke tohi

I go and question the evening oracle, (unconscious) whether I carry a stick or not.

(vol. 3, pt. 2. f. 28, line 3), and the presentation of offerings is indicated in the following stanza from the same (vol. 11, pt. 2, f. 6, 1. 9).

Amnaku ni
Yufuke too tofu to
Nusa ni oku ni,
Wa ga koromode ha
Mala zo tmgubeki.
As I have not met her, my sleeves which I deposited as offerings
in order to question the evening
oracle will have to be used

The meaning of tsugu is not quite certain. One commentator thinks that the lover has ripped up his clothes and reduced them again to the state of mere cloth which he deposited as offerings in order to question the evening oracle will have to be used again, [p.426] to offer to the god, and that tsugubcki means that he will sew the pieces together again after obtaining an answer. But the other view, with which the translation above given accords, namely, that as he is unable to meet his love, it will be necessary to continue the offering until he gets a favourable answer, is more plausible. Sometimes the answer was deceptive.

Yufuke ni mo
Ura ni mo noreru
Koyohi dani
Kimatanu kimi wo
Itau to ka matamu.
When may I expect you,
who do not come,
even on the night which
was told by the evening
oracle and by the divination too.

The woman in this case has tried both ways of finding out when her lover will come, the 'evening oracle' and divination by scorching either a deer's shoulder-blade, or a tortoise-shell, and both have promised that she shall see him on a certain evening, but he disappoints her after all. The following extracts also illustrate this practice, which seems to have been very common in ancient times, ten or eleven centuries ago. The poet Yakamochi in reply to a lady writes:

Tsukuyo ni na
Kado ni idetachi
Yufuke tohi
A ura wo zo seshi
Yukamaku wo hori.
On a moonlight night
I stood at the house-door,
questioned the evening oracle
and performed foot-divining
because I longed to go to you.

(M. Y. S. 4, pt. 2, f. 21 verso, 1. 1.) A ura is the same as ashi ura, which Ban Nobutomo thinks may have consisted in walking up to a string stretched across the road, and drawing omens from the position of the feet when the string stops further progress, but this is simply a conjecture.

Kotodama no
Yaso no ckimata ru
Yufuke tofu;
Ura-masa ni nore
Imo ni ahamu yoshi.

(Bk. 11, pt. 1, f. 84, 1. 6)
Ima sara ni
Kimi ka wa wo yobu
Tarachine no
Haha no mikoto ka
Memo tarazu
Yaso no ehimata ni
Yufuke ni mo
Ura ni mo zo tofu
Shinubeki wa ga yuwe,

I question the evening oracle
in the many road-forkings
of the language-spirit;
tell me truly
how I shall meet my love.

Does he now call me
after all, or does
my august mother
who suckled me,
ask the evening oracle for me
in the many road-forkings,
or ask by divination,
for me who must die.

(M. Y. 8, 16, f. 19, 1. 8.) This is part of a lament by a holy whose husband is far away. She pictures herself dying broken-hearted, and wonders whether he is near her pillow to call her back, as the Japanese custom [p.427] is, in her last moments, and whether her mother, anxious about her welfare, is after this moment consulting the oracle or inquiring of the diviner. In bk. 17, pt. S, 6. 8, 1. 6 we have the following extract from a naga-uta written in kana.

Skita gohi ni
Omohi urabure
Kodo ni tachi
Yufuke tohitsutsu,
Feeling melancholy with
hidden longing,
I stand at the house-door,
questioning the evening oracle.

(See also vol.14, pt. 2, f. 5 verso, 1. 12).

Generally, however, this sort of divination was performed by going away from the house, as in the following naga-uta.

Ki no kuni no
Hama m yoru tofu
Hirohamu to iftite,
Imo no yama
Se no yama koyete
Yukishi kimi Ita
Yu ki nuuamu to
Tamahoko no
Michi ru idetaehi
Yufu ura wo
Wa ga tohishikaha,
Yufu ura no
Ware ni noraku;
Wagimoko ya
Na ga matsu kimi ha
Oki tsu nami
Ki yoru shira tama
He tgu nami no
Yosuru shira tama
Motomu to zo,
Kimi ga ki masanu,
Hirofu to zo,
Kimi ha ki masanu,
Hisa naraha,
Ima nanuka bakari;
Ima futsuka bakari
Aramu to zo,
Kimi ha kikoahishi,
Na kohl so wagimo.
When I went out
and stood in the road,
and asked the evening oracle
when he would come back
who went over the sweetheart's mount
and the lover's mount,
saying that he would
pick up the ahabi shells
which come ashore
in the "Region of woods,"
the evening oracle said to me:
he for whom you wait
is searching for
the white shells which
come near on the waves
of the offering, the white shells
which the shore waves
bring near.
He does not come,
he picks them up.
He does not come.
if he be long,
'twill be but seven days;
if he be quick,
'twill be but two days.
He has heard you.
Do not yearn,
my sweetheart."

(M. Y. S., bk. 18, pt. 2, f. 16.)

In the Ohokagami (vol. 5, t, 6 from the end) an instance of yufuke tohi is 'elated as follows: "Her mother, impelled by some unknown motive, when she [p.428] was yet quite young, went out into the Second Broad-street and performed the yufuke tohi (questioning the evening oracle), when a woman with dreadfully white hair who was passing by stopped, and said: 'What are you doing? If it is questioning the evening oracle that you are bent on, then may everything yon can think of fall out as you wish, and may your fortunes be broader and higher oven than this Broad-street; "and so saying she departed altogether."

The book from which this is taken dates from the beginning of the 11th century. In the Shifu gai seu, or Collection of Rubbish is preserved the following stanza used by women in addressing the god who gave the oracle:

Yufuke no kami ni
Monfi tohi-ba,
Michi yuku hito yo
Ura masa ni se yo.
When we ask things
of Funadosahe,
the god of the evening oracle,
deliver the oracle truly,
ye who go along the way.

The women used to go out in threes to the nearest cross-road, and repeat this stanza thrice. They marked out a certain portion of the road, and scattered rice about it as a charm against demons. Then each turning towards a separate road drew her finger along the edge of a box-wood comb which she carried, and they inferred good or evil fortune from the words uttered by the first person who happened to pass that way. The use of the box-wood comb was a sort of pun, the word tsuge meaning both 'box-wood' and 'tell,' and drawing the finger along the teeth was a request to the god to speak out. Ban's work on divination, the [glyphs], mentions several other ancient methods, such as katna no wa no ura, divining by the boiler-bed, kome tira, rice divination, ashi-ura and uhi'ura, foot and stone divination, of which little more is known than the mere names.

Shitodo dori was a method of divination in which a species of bird played a prominent part, but whether it resembled the Chinese method of divination by observing the direction in which certain birds fly and their number, is not known. Another method, koto-ura, was employed at the temple of the Sun-goddess in Ise, with the object of ascertaining whether the priests who are to take part in a religions service and the tables and vessels used in presenting the offerings are pure or not. At midnight on the night preceding the service a priest (called a mi kamu no kono uckiudo, evidently a person of peculiar sanctity) sat with a harp outside a certain gateway of the temple. Turning towards the shrine he prayed that the goddess would enable him to discover by divination whether the above persons and things possessed the requisite purity. He then struck the harp thrice with a piece of yew wood in the form of a shiyaku (Chin. hwuh), a loud "Hush!" being uttered each time, and then uttered the following three verses, by which all the gods were besought to descend from heaven and give answer to the question put.


Ahari ya
Aiobi hatuto mausanu,
Ah! ah!
we do not merely amuse ourselves;


Asakura ni
Ama tsu kami kuni tsu kami,
on to your splendid seat
gods of heaven and gods of the country descend.


Ahari ya
Asobi hastito matuanu
Asahtvra ni
Naru Ikadzuchi mo
Ah! ah!
we do not merely amuse ourselves;
on to your splendid seat
sounding Thunderbolt also


Ahari ya
Asobi ha m to inausami
Asakura ni
Uha tsui ohoye shita isu ohoye

Matcihi tamahe.
Ah! ah!
we do not merely amuse ourselves;
on to your splendid seat
upper great elder brother and lower
great elder brother
deign to come.

The names of all the priests were then called over one by one, and the question was asked, "Is he clean or unclean." The same priest as before repeated the words, and striking the harp again, tried to whistle by drawing in his breath. If the whistle was audible, the person whose name had been called was considered to be free from impurity, and vice versa. The same proceeding was observed with respect to the persons who had prepared the offerings, and the boxes, pails, ladles, tables, pottery and food-offerings. Afterwards the priest struck the harp again three times, with a solemn "Hush!" and intoned similar verses, in which the gods who had been called down were asked to return to their abodes. This ceremony is first mentioned in the Calendar of the Sun-goddess' Temple drawn up about the end of the 8th century, but the minute details are taken from a Calendar of the end of the 12th century, and there is nothing surprising in the use of the Chinese shiyaku or courtier's tablet, which had been part of ceremonial dress for several hundred years. Everything else in the proceedings, and certainly the verses, seems purely Japanese.

The most important mode of divination practised by the primitive Japanese was that of scorching the shoulder-blade of a deer over a clear fire, and finding omens in the direction of the cracks produced by the heat. It is alluded to in the following verses from the Manyefuahifu,

Muttuhi no ni
Urahe kata yaki
Masade ni mo
Noranu kimi ga na
lira ni ide ni keri.
On Musashi moor
I burnt the divining shoulder-blade,
And distinctly too
Your name which they would not tell me
Has appeared in the divination.

Urahe is explained to be a contraction of tira ahase, hase being naturally contracted into he and the two a coalescing; but it is simpler to regard ahe- as the transitive verb corresponding to the i.v, ahi- to meet. The meaning of the [p.430] expression is that the seeker after divine guidance as to the right conduct to be followed, by means of the process called divination ascertains whether his own mind is in harmony or unison with that of the god or gods appealed to. The verse is supposed to have been the composition of a girl whose parents are about to give her in marriage, but refuse to disclose beforehand the name of her husband, and she has recourse therefore, to divination by scorching the shoulder-blade of a deer. Being written entirely in kana, with the exception of the words musecuhi no and na, there is no dispute about the reading of this verse. It is to be found in bk. 14, pt. 1, folio 12 verso, Biyakuge edition.

Ofu shimoto
Kono moto-yama no

Ma shiba ni no
Noranu uno ga na
Kata ni idemu kamo
My love's name
which I tell not even to the grass (or,
   not grudgingly even)
of this tree-mountain
where grow many trees
will appear in the shoulder-blade!

(lb. folio 12 verso.)

There is a play on the words shiba ni, which mean 'to the grass' and 'frequently,' or they may perhaps be read shiha ni, grudgingly. The allusion to divination by means of the shoulder-blade of a deer is here not very distinct, but kata cannot be satisfactorily explained in any other way.


Watatmmi no
Kashikoki michi wo
Yasukeku mo
Naku nayami kite,
Imada ni mo
Mo naku yukamu to,
Yuki no ama no
Hotsute no uralie wo
Kata yakite
Yukamu to suru ni,
Ime no goto
Michi no soraji ni
Wakare iuru kimi.
When I had toiling come
without enjoying ease
along the awful road
of the sea-possessor,
and yet again was
about to go
after burning the shoulder-blade
for the divining for a fair wind
by the fishermen of Iki,
in order to go untroubled,
thou didst depart from me,
in the sky of my road
like a dream,

(lb. vol. 16, f. 34.)

This seems to be a lament by a traveller to Korea, who on arriving at the island of Iki lost his companion by death while they were awaiting for a bur wind. Hotsute is explained by ho, sail, and te, as used in haya-te, a gust; hence the compound may mean a wind that suits the sails, a fair wind. Here the reference to scorching a shoulder-blade is distinct, but the animal from which it was taken is not mentioned. It is clear, however, from the following passage from the Kozhiki that the shoulder-blade of a deer was used: "He summoned Ame-no-koya-ne no mikoto and Futo-dama no mikoto, and caused [p.431] them to pull out completely the shoulder of a stag of Ame-no-ka-yama, and taking kahaka [the name of a tree] of Ame-no-kagn yama, to perform divination." Nothing is here said about scorching the bone, which part of the process is known from the verses previously quoted and from a passage in a Chinese account of Japan which dates from the latter part of the third century, A. D. This account is to be found in the appendix to the Wei che, in the San kwo che, History of the Three States, but it is more conveniently referred to in a collection of passages from Chinese works bearing on Japan called Wi shiyou Nihofi den in the first Tohime of which book it is to be found, on the reverse side of folio 10. The Chinese author, in describing the custom of the Japanese, says: "They have the custom, when entering upon an undertaking or starting on a journey, or saying or doing anything of importance, of scorching a bone, and by divining, to discern good and evil. They first announce what is to be divined, and the language used is the same as in divination by the tortoise-shell. They discern the omens by observing the cracks produced by the fire." The last sentence but one is an allusion to the Chinese practice of muttering over the tortoise-shell the question which it is required to answer. It is interesting to notice that a similar method of divination was in vogue among the Kirghiz. In Pallas' Reise durch Verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs, vol. 1, p. 898, he says: "There is a sort of diviners called Jauuruntschi, who from the shoulder-blade of a sheep predict the future, and can answer all sorts of questions. It is said that the shoulder must be simply scraped with a knife, and not touched with the teeth, because it would thus become unfit for the purposes of magic. When a question has been proposed to the diviner, or he has proposed something mentally to himself, he lays the shoulder-blade on the fire, and waits until the flat side gets all kinds of cracks and splits, and by means of these lines he divines." The Chinese history of the Mongol dynasty called Yuan relates that Genghis Khan used to 'scorch the shoulder-blade of a sheep and compare the results thus obtained with those of the astrological diviners, whose advice he always sought before undertaking an expedition,' so that the Kirghiz method was also formerly practised by the Mongols. Another Chinese work (the [glyphs] which appears to have been reprinted in Japan about two centuries ago) says: "The western barbarians use divination by the sheep. They scorch the shoulder-blade of a sheep on a fire of worm-wood, and observe the cracks." Those western barbarians are explained in Dr. Williams' Dictionary to be 'the wild tribes in Turfan and west of China generally.' Lubbock (Origin of Civilization, p. 168) mentions that the Lapps have this method of divination by a shoulder-blade, and quotes Klemm to the effect that it also exists among the Mongols and Tunguses of Siberia and the Bedouins. In the Okngi seu written about the middle of the 12th century, a tradition is quoted to the effect that 'the savages of Mutsu practised divination by scorching the shoulder-bone of a deer (vol. 6, § 8), and the Shintau priests of Yahiko in Wechigo (near Kihigata) had a similar tradition concerning their own temple. The Ichi-no-miya Zhiyunkei shi of Tachibana no Masayoshi (dated 1696) [p.432] contains the following account of a similar practice then observed at the temple called Hatsumu no Zhin-zhiya, the chief Shintau temple of Kandzuke, not far from the town of Takasaki. The shoulder-blade of a deer presented by the villagers of Akibata is taken out, carefully polished, and divided into slips about five inches in length. These are placed on a tray and touched with an awl heated in purified fire, and omens are discerned from the extent to which the point penetrates the bone, complete penetration being accounted a fortunate omen and vice versa. This practice seems to be a survival from the ancient method of divining by the cracks in the scorched bone. It is interesting to note the existence of this sort of divination amongst so many different races of central and eastern Asia. The substitution in Japan of the tortoise-shell for the deer's bone seems to have taken place as early as the 8th century at least, for it is alluded to in a poem which was composed about 730 (M. Y. S. 16, f. 19), and in the Riyau no Gige there is a note explaining that divination was performed by 'scorching a tortoise (shell) and discerning good and evil omens from the lines across and up and down the scorched shell.' It is said that the tortoise-shell has been used for this purpose by the islanders of Hachi-jiyau from the earliest times, and it is evident that a maritime people would find the tortoise-shell more convenient than the deer's shoulder-blade, especially as the neighbouring sea abounds in turtle, and the island is inhabited by no species of wild quadrupeds except rats.

6 What gods were in the earliest ages regarded as 'heavenly' and what as 'country' gods is unknown, but the Riyau no Gige makes an attempt to give a definition of the two Chinese terms Tenzhih and Jigi, which were in old Japanese translated by ama tsu yashiro and kuni tni yashiro or kami (see Wa miyau Seu, bk. 2, f. 1). Among the former it ranks the Sun-goddess and the other goddess worshipped in Ise, the god of Kamo near Kiyauto in Yamashiro, those of Sumiyoshi or Sumiuoye between Ohosaka and Sakahi, and the god worshipped by the kuni no miyatsuko of Idzumo; and as representatives of the latter it names the gods of Oho-Miwa in Yamato, of Oho-yamato and of Katsuragi no Kamo in Yamato, and lastly Oho-namuchi no mikoto in IJzumo. That this division is wrong seems clear from the fact that the god of Kamo in Yamashiro is identical with the god of Kamo in Yamato; Koto-shiro-nushi, who is worshipped at the latter place, being simply the 'intelligent spirit' (nigi mi tama) of Aji-suki-taka-hiko-ne, to whom the former temple is dedicated. It is of course impossible that the same god can have belonged to both classes at once. Of the two goddesses of Ise, the Sun-goddess must evidently be ranked in the first class, but Ukemochi no kami, the personification of the earth as 'the supporter,' can only belong to the second. The gods of Sumiyoshi were chiefly sea-gods, and therefore more earthly than heavenly in their nature, while the god worshipped by the hereditary chieftains of Idzumo was Susanowo, who was evidently a human being, though not a native of Japan. Among the deities classed by the Gige as 'earthly,' those of Oho-miwa, namely Oho-mono-nushi the 'intelligent spirit' of Oho-namuchi, and of Katsuragi no kamo are deified human beings, while the deity [p.433] of Oho-yamato, called Oho-knni-mitana, is probably the earth looked upon as the abundant giver of food. It is impossible to discover what principle of classification was here acted upon by the compilers of the Gige, and it is most natural to suppose that the original meaning of the terms Ama tsu yashiro and Kuni ttu yashiro was no longer remembered in their time. In fact, they were simply trying, by the aid of such lights as they possessed, to explain the two Chinese terms tenzhin and jigi, which they seem to have misunderstood. According to the orthodox Chinese view, these two expressions simply signify the two spirits of Heaven and Earth, and if Ama tsu yashiro and Kuni tsu yashiro, which the Wamiyau Seu gives as their equivalents in Japanese, really correspond to them, then the Japanese terms can only mean the Sun as the Celestial deity and the Earth as Terrestrial deity. A second interpretation is that ama tsu yashiro denotes all gods of supernatural origin, while kuni tsu yashiro should only be applied to deified human beings. A third view is that which looks on the latter class as the gods of the race which Zhinmu Tefiwau found in possession of the land, and Ama tsu kami (or yashiro) as those whose worship was brought from beyond the sea by his ancestor, the ancient idea concerning foreigners having been that they descended from heaven. But on the whole, the safer conclusion is that the two expressions at first meant only Amaterasu-oho-mi-kami and Uke-mochi no kami, the Sun and the Earth, and that when their original signification was afterwards forgotten, various erroneous interpretations were put upon them.

7 See Introductory remarks.

8 Mi ya, House, has now various meanings, palace, temple, prince of the imperial family by special patent. Anciently it was also applied to a tomb, which suggests how a chieftain who had once inhabited a palace, passed at death into a tomb which was at the same time a temple. In the Manyefu, toko mi ya, eternal house, is several times applied to tomb.

9 The youth-god, that is Shinatsu-hiko no nukoto, the 'long-breathed youth', which is the other name of the god of wind.

10 The maiden-god, that is Shinatobe no mikoto, 'the long-breathed maiden'. These are the pair of wind-gods spoken of in the preceding part of the Ritual as Heaven's Pillars and Country's Pillars; see also introductory remarks.

11 Wo-ke, a thread-box. Wo is 'thread', but as hemp-fibre in ancient times was the chief material used for that purpose (as it continues in modern times to be considerably employed) the character [glyph], which properly means 'hemp', was used to denote thread in general. Wo in tama-no-wo, bead-string, and perhaps wo, tail, are identical with it. Ke is usually a wooden vessel made by forming a thin board or a stout shaving into a circle and applying a flat bottom, to which the nearest European approach in form is a shallow band-box; ke is found in woke, pail (which is probably the same word), and in kushi-ge, casket (literally, comb-box). Wogoke is the modern term in use for the ancient woke, and the article known by this name is applied to the same purpose, namely, that of holding hempen thread used for coarse needlework.


12 Tatari, supposed to have been formed of a flat stand 3-6 Japanese inches square, with an upright piece of wood in the centre, 1 ft. 1.6 inches high, Japanese measure.

13 Kasehi, Kase is 'skein', and hi is commonly translated 'shuttle', but it probably had originally the wider meaning of something to wind a skein on. In the Daizhin gun shiki amongst the treasures of the goddess two kasehi are mentioned, one of gold, the other of copper, '9.6 inches long, the length of the handles 5.8 inches'. In the Manyefu, vol. 6, p. 56, verse line 3, we have

Wotome ra ga
Umi wo kaku tofu
Kate no yama.
The mountain of the skein
[holder] on which the
maidens hang the twisted thread.

There is a play here on the first half of kasehi and the name of a mountain. The kaseki kept at the sun-goddess' temple in Ise is simply a sort of reel in the shape of a letter H the upright strokes being curved to hold the thread which was wound round it, and the horizontal stroke representing the te or handle.

From this point the offerings are common to both deities.


1 The etymology of norito is not quite certain. It is evident, however, that nori is the verb nor it to say, which occurs in the modern na-nori-, to say one's name. Mabuchi thinks the complete expression should be norito-goto, the last element of which is of course koto, word, and he considers to to be a phonetic corruption of te, contracted from tabe, to give, so that the whole would mean 'words pronounced and given,' that is, given by the gods to the priests. Motowori disputes this derivation (K. Zh. K. D. Vm. 48, Ohob. Kot. Gosh. n. 11 verso) and shows that there is no evidence that the norito were ever supposed to have been taught to the priests by the gods. He endeavours to prove that the true etymology is nori-toki-foto, and asserts that toki as well as nori means 'to say,' 'to pronounce,' so that it nay be used of speech addressed by an inferior to a superior, as well as vice versa. A more modern opinion is that nori-goto was the original form into which a redundant syllable to has been introduced for euphony's sake. It is difficult to accept this last view. Motowori's certainly appears the least open to objection, and the only point against him is that toku properly means 'to unfold,' 'to explain,' and that 'say' is a meaning consequent upon the association of toku with the Chinese character [glyph].

2 See Note 44 to the translation of the Ritual infra.

3 Shiyoku Nihon Kouki, vol. xix.

4 [glyphs] vol. ii. p. 19.

5 Ihahi means 'to talk together' (ihi-ahi), and therefore to rejoice in company, to celebrate a festival, to worship; so that Ihahi-nitshi means 'the master who celebrates' or 'who worships.'

6 Kozhiki Den, vol. xviii. p. 46.

7 Spelt phonetically.

8 Motowori and Hirata call this god-hero Ame-no-koya-ne.

9 Miyazhi, the term in the original here rendered "diviner," is a contraction of miya-nushi, master of the House, the person who sacrificed to the hearth god in the Mikado's palace. Tozhi, the later meaning of which is woman, was originally the person who discharged the same function in the house of a subject. It was evidently the head of the household who at first performed these sacrifices and the office was afterwards delegated to another.

10 K. Zh. K. D. vol. 6, p. 61.

11 Ib. vol. 5, p. 50.

12 Ib. vol. 9, p. 50; Nihongi Shifachiyuu, vol. 1, p. 14 verso, p. 22 verso.

13 Ib. p. 26 verso; p. 28.

14 Vol. 16, p. 80 verso.

15 [glyphs] 13.

16 Norito-kau, vol. 1, p. 28 verso.

17 K. Zh. K. D. vol. 6, p. 41.

18 Nihongi Shifuchiyuu, vol. 1, p. 16.

19 The [glyphs] is the original authority for this explanation of shina.