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"His-Augustness Heaven-Plenty Earth-Plenty-Heaven's Son-Height Prince-Rice-Ear-Ruddy-Plenty"    "



Main Shrines

Kirishimamine Jinja     霧島峯神社          

Miyazaki-ken, Kobayashi-shi, Hosono 4937    


Takachiho Jinja     高千穂神社      

Miyazaki-ken, Nishi-usukigun, Takachiho-chō, Mitai 1037


Nitta Jinja     新田神社

Kagoshima-ken, Satsumasendai-shi, Miyauchi-chō 1935−2


Tsukudo Jinja     築土神社

Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kudanshitakita 1-14-21


Ninigi-no-mikoto  邇藝命

The Auust Descent from Heaven of His Augustness the August Grandchild


As the section title indicates, august events are about to happen and the some of the names are equally august, if augustness is measured by length...


Now that the Earthly Deities/Izumo had submitted to the Heavenly Deities/Yamato, Amaterasu and Takagi-no-kami (an alternative name for Takami-Musubi-kami) no longer felt the necessity of consulting Omoikane and the other kami and instructed the heir apparent, Masaka-a-kamiatsukatsu-hayabi-ameno-oshino-mimi (59A), a mere 11 kanji in the original name, to "descend to and dwell in and rule over the Central Land of Reed-Plains." However, as did Itsu-no-ohabari in Section 23, the heir apparent recommended that his son go in his place. This son, Ame-nigishi-kuni-nigishi-matsu-hikohiko-hono-ninigi-no-mikoto (114), a round 20 kanji in the original, who had been born as his father was getting ready to descend, was of illustrious heritage indeed. Not only was his father the son of Amaterasu and/or Susano-o, but his mother, Yorozu-hata-toyo-akitsu-shihime-no-mikoto (107), was of even more exalted descent, being the the daughter of Takami-Musubi-kami (2). The same parents also bore Ameno-hoakari-mikoto (113A). 

Ame-nigishi-kuni-nigishi-matsu-hikohiko-hono-ninigi-no-mikoto's name is now shortened to Hiki-hono-ninigi and he is instructed to descend and rule the "Luxurious Reed-Plain-Land-of-Fresh-Rice-ears." (Chamberlain p 129). However, just as he was about to descend, a Deity whose radiance shone upwards to Takama-no-Hara and downwards to the Central Land of Reed Plains appeared at the eight forking road of heaven, effectively preventing his descent. Recalling the resourcefulness that Ameno-uzume-mikoto (68) had displayed in coaxing Amaterasu out of the Rock Cave of Heaven and thus restoring light to Heaven and Earth, Amaterasu and Takagi-no-kami despatched her to find out who it was preventing Hiki-hono-ninigi's descent. 


She  quickly elicited that it was an earthly deity named Saruta-hiko-no-kami (115), and that he had come to offer his services as an escort to Hiki-hono-ninigi. In a footnote, 11, p138, Philippi says "Although the Kojiki version of this episode is without drama, in the Nihon Shoki Saruta-biko appears clearly as a hostile figure who intended to oppose the descent of the Heavenly Deities. See Aston, I, 77-78." I have looked at the Aston text and found no reference to any clear hostility on the part of Saruta--hiko. True, and perhaps implying that she expected to meet hostility, "Ame-no-Uzume forthwith bared her breasts and, pushing down the band of her garment below her navel, confronted him (i.e. Saruta-hiko) with a mocking laugh." (Aston, p77). Saruta-hiko's response was disarming, "I have heard that the child of Amaterasu no Oho-kami is now about to descend, and therefore I have come respectively to meet and attend upon him." (Aston, p77).

Philippi's footnote continues, "Matsumura (III, 559-584) shows that Sauruta-biko was a priestly figure of the earthly deities performing a magic rite to keep the heavenly deities out;  "Ame-no-Uzume was a priestly figure (a female shaman) of the heavenly deities who performed a counter-rite, spell against his evil influence." Matsumura's book was not published until 1954-1958 so Aston could not have been aware of its findings. 


Five of the kami who had assembled in front of the Rock Cave of Heaven, each of them head of a clan,--Ishikoridome-no-kami (63),   Tamaoya-no-mikoto (64), Ameno-koyane-no-mikoto (65), Futadama-mikoto (66),  Ameno-uzume-mikoto (68)--were assigned by Amaterasu and Takagi-no-kami to accompany Hiki-hono-ninigi on his descent. It was at this time that she bestowed on him what are now known as The Three Imperial Regalia of Japan. Two of these items come from the Rock Cave of Heaven episode, the mirror which had been used to lure Amaterasu out of the cave and the string of 500 magatama (comma-shaped beads). The third item is the Ame-no-murakumo-no-Tsurugi, the sword found embedded in the Yamata no Orochi's tail by Susano-o. 

Also sent along were Omoikane-kami (61), Ameno-tajikara-mikoto (67), and Ame-no-iwatowake-kami  (116). They were instructed to treat the mirror as the very spirit of Amaterasu.  The latter and Takagi-no-kami then indicated that Omoikane-kami was "to take the responsibility for the affairs of the presence (i.e. Amaterasu and Takagi-no-kami) and carry on the government." (Philippi, p140.) Next came Toyouke-hime-kami (34), followed by Ame-no-iwatowake-kami  (116), and finally Ameno-tajikara-mikoto (67). Perhaps reflecting power struggles within the Yamato Dynasty the clans for which the various kami are seen as ancestors are delineated. And so to the Descent.

On the command of Amaterasu and Takagi-no-kami, Hiki-hono-ninigi left the Heavenly Rock-Seat and pushing his way through the Myriad Clouds of Heaven arrived at a floating island next to the Floating Bridge of Heaven. From there he descended to Himuka in Tsukushi (where Izanagi had given birth to Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi, and Susano-o, Section 7). Two kami, Ame-no-oshihi-mikoto (118A) and  Amatsu-kume-mikoto (118B), armed with heavenly bows and arrows and large mallet-headed swords "stood in his august van in revererent attendance." (Chamberlain, p135). Note that both of these kami are clan ancestors. The section concludes with Ninigi singing the praises of a land where the morning sun shines directly, a land where the rays of the evening sun are brilliant, a most excellent place. "Thus saying, he rooted his palace-posts firmly in the bedrock below, raised high the crossbeams unto Tama-ga-Hara itself, and dwelt there." (Philippi, p 141) 



Section 26 - The Duchess of Saru

He, Hiki-hono-ninigi, then addressed Ameno-uzume-mikoto, telling her that as she was the only one able to make clear the identity of Saruta-hiko-kami, who served as Hiki-hono-ninigi's guide, that she should accompany him, Saruta-hiko-kami, on his return. This has been widely interpreted as meaning that they became man and wife.

Section 28 - The August Exchange of Luck

In due course Hoderi became a fisherman, Hiko-hohodemi a hunter. One day the younger brother asked the elder one to exchange the tools of their trade so that he, Hiko-hohodemi, could try fishing. Hoderi initially demurred, but finally gave his reluctant agreement after three impassioned requests from his younger brother. Hoderi's hook  in hand, Hiko-hohodemi embarked on his fishing career, but so inept did he prove to be that not only was he unable to catch a single fish  but he lost his brother's hook into the bargain. Later, Hoderi asked for his hook back, saying that its inherent luck could only be unlocked by him, in the same way that the luck inherent in Hiko-hohodemi's hunting equipment was usable only by him.  Even when Hiko-hohodemi explained that he had lost the hook Hoderi was adamant that it be returned to him, a stance he persisted in even when Hiko-hohodemi broke his ten scoop sword and made 500 hooks and 1,000 from it. Nothing but the original would do: Hoderi knew that without it he would lose the powers--social, spiritual, economic--embedded in it and accessible only to its original owner, himself.

Later, when Hiko-hohodemi was down by the sea lamenting his fate, he was approached by a kami, Shio-tsuchi (121A), who asked him why he was weeping and lamenting. Hiko-hohodemi explained what had happened and how his brother was adamant that the original fishing hook be restored to him. Saying he would offer good counsel, Shio-tsuchi put Hiko-hohodemi in a wicker boat and told him that if he let the current take take him he would come to a palace, that of  Ōwatatsumi-kami (18A), Kami of the Sea, which looked like it had been made out of fish scales. Next to the gate of the palace was a well and beside this was a magnificent katsura tree. If he were to climb this tree, Ōwatatsumi's daughter, Toyotama-hime-no-mikoto (122), would find him and offer counsel. Hiko-hohodemi went with the flow, climbed the tree, and was found by Toyotama-hime's maid, who immediately informed her mistress that there was an exceedingly lovely young man, much nobler than the master oft the house, in the katsura tree next to the well. Intrigued, Toyotama-hime went to see for herself. As with Ōkuni-nushi and Suseri-hime it was love at first sightŌwatatsumi was delighted to have Hiko-hohodemi as his son-in-law. Three years of conjugal bliss followed until one day Hiko-hohodemi let out a great sigh. As nothing like this had happened before Toyotame-hime was worried and told her father. He asked Hiko-hohodemi what the problem was and the story of the lost fishing hook came out.

Ōwatatsumi then summoned all the fish of the sea and asked if any of them had taken the hook. It turned out that it was lodged in the throat of a sea bream, from whence It was extracted, cleaned, and respectfully given to Hiko-hohodemi.  Ōwatatsumi then gave him the following instructions:

""When you give this hook to your elder brother, you must say this. This hook is a gloomy hook, an uneasy hook, a poor hook, a dull hook. [Thus] saying, give [it to him] from behind your back. Then, if your elder brother makes a high rice paddy, make a low paddy. If your elder brother makes a low rice paddy, make a high paddy.  Thus, since I control the water, within three years your elder brother  will become poverty-stricken. If he becomes bitter and angry and attacks you, take the tide-raising jewel and cause him to drown. If he pleads [with you] in anguish, take the tide-ebbing jewel and cause him to live: doing this, cause him anguish and suffering. [Thus saying] he gave him two [jewels], the tide-raising jewel and the tide-ebbing jewel." (Philippi p154).  


Sahi-mochi-no-kami (121B), a crocodile or some kind of mythic sea animal, was chosen to escort Hiko-hohodemi to the upper land where his elder brother was. Once Hiko-hohodemi set foot in the the upper land he removed the dagger he was carrying and strung it around the crocodile's neck, which then returned whence it had come. On finding his elder brother Hiko-hohodemi did exactly as he had been instructed by Ōwatatsumi, and in short order Hoderi was abjectly pleading fealty to him. 

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