EP1 Heavenly Spear


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Show Notes for EP1 – Heavenly Spear.


Story Notes:

Heavenly Spear
Izanami and Izanagi on the Floating Bridge of Heaven. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.)

Izanami and Izanagi, tasked with the creation of the lands below are given the gift of the Jewelled Spear of Heaven. They thrust down this Heavenly Spear into the sea below from their vantage point on the Floating Bridge of Heaven they see the brine which falls from it form into the first island. The island of Onogoroshima. And from there the create the First Eight Islands of Japan.

The first eight islands made related in the Kojiki are Awaji Shima, Iyo, Okigashima, Tsukushi, Ikinoshima, Tsushima, Sado Island and Yamato.

The Nihongi gives a different list of islands birthed by these Spirits. Izanami being the mother of (in order of birth), Ohoyamatonotoyoakitsushima, Iyo, Tsukushi, Oki and Sado Island, Koshi, Ohoshima, Kibi no Ko, Tsushima and Iki.

Heavenly Spear
Book cover of Afoot in Japan.

Poem Notes:

Today’s poem is by Yasumi Roan. He was an experienced traveler for his time, writing and publishing the book known as the Ryoko Yojinshu which would later be reprinted as Afoot in Japan. His work includes detailed tips for the places he visits, as well as numerous poems on a myriad of different subjects. Within his works, he even included printed talismans to protect those who may encounter danger whilst out on the road.

His poem goes as follows:

首中は
自由 をせんと
思ふまし
ふ自由 せんとすれば
自由ふぞ

Douchu ha
jiyu o sento
omoufumashi
fujiyu sento sureba
juyu fuzo

Do not think
“I’ll go as I please!”
When taking a journey.
Rather, I think, “I may have some problems.”
And you’ll be free as a bird.

References

  • Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing. 
  • Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press. 
  • Wilson, W.S. (2016) “Afoot in Japan: A nineteenth century guide to walking the back roads.” Shambhala Publications.

Feature Image: Izanami and Izanagi by lady-voldything on deviantart.

You can listen to the full episode over on Anchor here: Japan Archives, or wherever you listen to Podcasts.

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Be sure to check out Heather’s blog on lifes little adventures here: HeatherOverYonder.

Heavenly Spear