E54C Reigns End


Show Notes for episode 54C of our Podcast – Reigns End.

Story Notes

Reigns End
Emperor Jimmu with the kite.

So answering our little query we gave ourselves last week. The Emperor Jimmu would be 100% divine.

Today we finish our look into the Emperor Jimmu and so we pick up where we left off.

On the battlefield, against Naga-tsune-hiko and his men. Now Jimmu up until this point has been unable to defeat him, and in previous battles like we have said he even caused the Emperors brother to die from the wound sustained by an arrow.

So will the Emperor ever manage to defeat him? Let’s continue with the tale.

As we left off, Naga-tsune-hiko stood undefeated when suddenly the sky became overcast and hail began to fall in droves, and from above a wonderous bird, a kite of gold came to perch atop the Emperor’s bow. It is said that the kite was so bright, so very dazzling in splendour that it caused the enemy to become bewildered and even dazzled, greatly affecting their fighting prowess on the battlefield. And so the battle raged on, but still not much headway was made until Naga-tsune-hiko then sent a messenger to Emperor Jimmu.

“I cannot understand,” he said, “why should you be the Heavenly Child to conquer and steal the lands of everyone already here. After all, you are not the first Heavenly Child to dwell here, there are others. And one of them I even serve and treat as my lord. He goes by the name of Nigi-haya-hi and he is even wed to my sister Mi-kashiki-ya-bime. I have pondered in my heart why you come to take dominion of our lands, when you are not the first Heavenly Child.”

The Emperor had not expected such a message, after all he had been instructed by the sun-kami herself. And so he asked for proof, “I this person is in fact a Heavenly Child” he said, “then there would so some proof. So please provide it now.”

And so he did, bringing forth a heavenly arrow and quiver to show up to the Emperor. Emperor Jimmu in kind also did the same, showing his own heavenly bow and quiver. Showing once and for all the Naga-tsune-hiko that he too was also of Heavenly descent. But Naga-tsune-hiko did not wish to allow the Emperor to become his Lord, he already served another and would not give in and wanted to continue in his intentions of trying to kill the Emperor.

However, Naga-tsune-hiko’s Lord Nigi-haya-hi could see his vassal would never give in, and so decided to put him to death himself. And after he brought the remaining army to the Emperor and agreed to serve him for which the Emperor was very grateful for. Finally the murderer of his brother had been killed, even if it had not been accomplished by the Emperor or his men. (If you know some of the great clans of Japan, it is said that the descendants of this Heavenly Child was the Mononobe Clan).

After all this fighting it is said there were still others in the surrounding area that needed to be quelled. These people in these old texts are collectively called the Tsuchi-gumo. And we will give an episode in this concept eventually as the meaning of the word has greatly changed over time. Where it once meant, outcasts or ‘other’ is turned into a type of Japanese Yokai.

But back to the story, one description says (bear in mind this is a very old translation here from 1896) when they saw these people they had short bodies, with long arms and legs, and that they were of the same class as the pygmies.

The Emperor sent his men to attack the Tsuchi-gumo, entangling them in nets before slaying them all.

And after this, after all this time, the Emperor made a decree.

“Six years it has been since we began our expedition to subdue the East, and with the aid of Takamagahara (Heaven) we have accomplished our task. Of course, the other lands, those in the frontier still have not come under our rule, but where we are now is free. And so here we should make a vast and spacious capital. Let us clear the mountains and forests to build a palace, let us help the people as they live in nests or caves. Let us bring them laws and justice. And I should also, to thanks the kami of Heaven, have children to continue the Imperial Line.”

Now this he built in Kashihara at the base of Mount Unebi. (This is all still in Nara Prefecture).

With the palace being erected it is then said the Emperor, “sought afresh” a wife.

(I am unsure what happened to the previous wife, now I think about it after her brief mention we never see her again). She went by the name of Hime-tatara-i-suzu-hime, and she also was descended from heavenly kami to some degree.

Married they went on to have two children, Kami-ya-wi-mimi and Kami-nunagaha-mimi. And Jimmu now found himself finally decreed as the Emperor of Japan on 11th February 660BC (A date only officially selected in 1873). And on the same day, Michi no Omi, was given a ‘secret item’ by the Emperor which allowed him to use magic to dissipate any lingering evil kami in the area.

He gave numerous gifts now to all those who had aided him through the years, a house to Michi no Omi, a village to Ukeshi the Younger as well as numerous other things. It is even said he gave gifts to the Yatagarasu for its help, and that his descendants were the Tonomori Be. A kind of guild who were guardians of palaces or shrines.

(Don’t ask me how he had human descendants, but if dragons can do it, why not birds?)

As the Emperor grew older, he chose Kami-nanagaha-mimi as Crown Prince. Who would go on to be the second Emperor Suizei.

And eventually he succumbed to old age, dying in his palace at the age of 127, having reigned for 76 years. And he was lain to rest in his tomb north-east of Mount Unebi.

And thus ends the tale of Emperor Jimmu.

Tongue Twister

Today Heather found for us a new Tongue Twister, or Hayaguchi.


Aka maki gami
Ao maki gami
Ki maki gami

Red wrapping paper
Blue wrapping paper
Yellow wrapping paper


  • Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.
  • Ponsonby, F. (1959) “The Imperial House of Japan.” Kyoto: The Ponsonby Memorial Society.
  • Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Heavenly Spear