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124. Ugaya-fukiaezu-no-mikoto



Ugaya-fukiaezu-no-mikoto 鵜草葺不合命

Section 29 - The Parturition-House of Cormorant's Feathers

Explaining that it would not be fitting for a child of a heavenly deity, i.e. her husband, Hiko-hohodemi, to be born in the ocean Toyotama-hime-no-mikoto (122), Ōwatatsumi's daughter, now came from her natural habitat of the sea to dry land to tell Hiko-hohodemi that she was close to giving birth to his child. Construction of a parturition hut using cormorant feathers as thatching was started, but before it could be completed her labour pains began and she want into the incomplete hut. Just as she was about to give birth she told her husband that when people of other lands, including herself, give birth they revert to their original forms, and she therefore did not want Hiko-hohodemi to watch her delivery.   He, like Izanagi before him, was unable to resist temptation, and so terrified was he at the sight of Toyotama-hime turning into a crocodile just as she was giving birth and then crawling and slithering around that he fled. The new mother was shamed at having been seen, and although she had intended to go back and forth from sea to land she withdrew into the sea and closed the sea border. The newborn child's name reflects the circumstances of the uncompleted parturition hut. Though still embittered at Hiko-hohodemi for having peeked at her, Toyotama-hime nevertheless still felt affection for him and sent her younger sister, Tamayori-hime-no-mikoto (123) to act as nursemaid to their child. Hiko-hohodemi lived on to the age of 580 and his tomb is to the west of Mt. Takachiho.

Section 30 - The Children of Ugayafukiaezu

Ugayafukiaezu wed his aunt, Tamayori-hime, and they bore a child, AItsuse-no-mikoto (125A), followed by Inahi-no-mikoto (125B), Mikenu-no-mikoto (125C), and then last, but emphatically not least, Kamuyamato-iware-hiko-no- mikoto (125D). This latter is the family name of Emperor Jinmu, the first of Japan's legendary emperors, who is said to have reigned from 660 to 585 B.C.

This brings Book 1 of the Kojiki, The Age of the Gods, to an end, and with it my loose retelling of its major episodes. However, my interest in Ugayafukiaezu is far from over, and this is thanks not to the Kojiki but to the Nihon Shoki. In its chapter on Jimmu, the latter has the first emperor saying when he had reached the age of 45 that "Of old our Heavenly Deities Taka-mi-musubi no Mikoto and Oho-miru-me no Mikoto, pointing to this land of fair rice-ears of the fertile reed-plain, gave it to our heavenly ancestor, Hiko-ho no ninigi no Mikoto. Thereupon  Hiko-ho no ninigi no Mikoto, throwing open the barrier of Heaven and clearing a cloud path, urged on his superhuman course until he came to rest. ... Many years elapsed. From the date when our Heavenly ancestor descended until now it is over 1,792,470 years." (Aston, p110).

The Nihon Shoki tells us that Ninigi became heir to the throne when he was 15. Assuming that he ascended to the throne at the same age in 660 B.C.  then he would have been 45 in 630 B.C. 1,792,470 years prior to that would have been 1,793,100 B.C. In a footnote Aston describes the 1,792,470 years as "an imitation of the great number of years ascribed to the reigns of the early Chinese monarchs." (p110). Be that as it may, a whole sub-genre, perhaps best described as alt.Shintō, has flourished around such comments: I will be looking at it in more detail in due course.



Main Shrines

Udo Jingū     鵜戸神宮          

Miyazaki-ken, Nichinan-shi, Miyaura 3232    


Miyazaki Jingū     宮崎神宮      

Miyazaki-ken, Miyazaki-shi, Jingū 2-4−1


Sugo Ishibe Jinja     菅生石部神社

Ishikawa-ken, Kaga-shi, Daishōjishikiji 81-2

石川県加賀市大聖寺敷地 81-2

Ukawa Jinja     鵜川神社

Niigata-ken, Kashiwazaki-shi, Miyaba-chō 4-9


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