71A. Iso Takeru

五十猛神

Lineage

Father: Susano-o-no mikoto 須佐之男命  

Main Shrines

Watatsu-jinja                      度津神社       

Nigata-ken, Sadō-shi, Hamochiioka 550-4   

 新潟県佐渡市飯岡550-4                             

Itakiso-jinja                         太祁曽神社        

Idakiso 558, Wakayama-shi, Wakayama-ken          

 和歌山県和歌山市伊太祈曽558                

In the Kojiki Iso Takeru is mentioned as Susanoo's  son but barely features thereafter. The Nihon Shoki has much more to say on him: it often gives several variants on the one episode and this one on Iso Takeru is of particular interest here.

After the Rock Cave of Heaven and his divine expulsion Susanoo  went to Silla in Korea taking Iso Takeru with him. The Nihon Shoki specifically states that this was before the encounter with the Yamato no Orochi:- "....he (Susanoo) was driven into banishment. At this time Susanoo, accompanied by his son Iso-takeru, descended to the Land of Silla, where he dwelt at Soshimori." (Aston p57).  However he decided he didn’t want to stay there and went back to Japan in a clay boat, arriving at the upper waters of the River Hi in Izumo, where he encountered the Yamato no Orochi.

 

When Iso Takeru had descended from heaven he had brought with him large numbers of seeds of many trees but did not sow them during his stay in Silla but on his return to Japan sowed them throughout the country, producing green mountains.

Another variant tells us that when Susanoo was in Silla he saw that although gold and silver existed there floating riches (i.e. ships) could not be found. Saying that this would not do for the country which his son, Iso-takeru, was to rule, he plucked out his beard and scattered it, where the hairs fell cryptomeria trees grew. The hairs from his chest resulted in thuya, a species of pine. The hairs from his buttocks became podocarpus, a genus of conifer. The hair from his eyebrows produced camphors. He then declared that the cryptomeria and camphor trees were to be used to build ships, the thuya for building "fair palaces" (possibly Shinto shrines, and the podocarpus for making coffins. (Aston p58). It seems that Iso-takeru's two sisters, Ōya-tsu-hime (71B) and Tsumatsu-hime (71C) had also been taken to Silla  for their return to Japan along with him is noted.

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© Rod Lucas 2016-2019

All text and photos by Lucas unless otherwise stated