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