E92 The Descent of Ninigi
Show Notes for episode 92 of our Podcast – The Descent of Ninigi.
The grandchild of Amaterasu was known as Ninigi, or Amatsuhikohohoninigi for his full name. This boy was a child through the sun kami’s son Masayaakatsukatsuhayahi Amanooshihomimi and his wife Takuhatachihime
A meeting is held by Ninigi’s grandfather Takamimusubi (grandfather on his mothers side) as they wish to instate Ninigi as the ruler of Japan, however, they wish to try and find a way to subdue the evil kami which still reside on the land, and so the kami Amenohohi is sent down.
Three years pass with no word from Amenohohi as he decided to gain the favour of Ōkuninushi who currently ruled over Japan and so it is decided his son Ohoseihi will be sent. However, he followed in the footsteps of his father and made no report back up to Heaven.
Takamimusubi again causes a meeting to occour again asking who they could send down to subdue Japan. This time Amewakahiko is chosen, and he is gifted a deer bow and arrows before he leaves.
This kami decides to marry Shitateruhime and remain in Japan, again making no report up to Heaven and so Takamusubi sends down the pheasant Nanaki to see what is going on.
Amewakahiko seeing the pheasant shoots at the bird as it rests in a tree, the arrow flying straight through its chest to land in Heaven infront of Takamimusubi. This kami, seeing blood upon the arrow thinks it to mean Amewakahiko is fighting the evil kami down in Japan as he was tasked to do, and so he decides to throw it back down to Japan. The arrows hits Amewakahiko killing him immediately, and the laments of his wife reach up to Heaven and his body is placed into a mortuary house in Heaven.
His friend at the time Ajisukitakahikone goes to Heaven to give his condolences but is mistaken for his dead friend, and so angered by this he takes up his sword and cuts down his friends mortuary house, with it falling to Japan and becoming Moyama.
And as they say, third time is the charm, with Takamusubi calling another meeting with Futsunushi being decided as the person who will go down to Japan. Takemikadzuchi also comes forth from his home in the Rock Cave Amaterasu once hid in saying he will also accompany him. And so they go together.
The two of them approach Ōkuninushi stating that Takemimusubi wishes to send down his grandson to rule over Japan and wonder if he will allow this to happen.
Ōkuninushi replies saying he will first need to ask his son Kotoshironushi, with his son finally replying that his father should allow this to be done. And so Kotoshironushi withdraws from the world (ie. dies), and his father follows, gifting the spear that he subdued the land with to the two kami saying it should be given to Ninigi. And with that Ōkuninushi ‘withdraws,’ implying he departed for Yomi.
And so with that Futsunushi and Takemikadzuchi subdue all of Japan ready for the arrival of Ninigi.
There are so alternative writings in the nihongi which state that the only kami who refused to submit was the Star-Kami Kagase-wo (this interestingly is the only star kami mentioned in Japanese mythology) and so Takehadzuchi comes down to subdue the Star Kami.
Once this is all done the kami return up to Heaven to make their report with Ninigi descending down soon after arriving on the peak of Takachiho in Kyushu.
There are alternative writings here, so many in fact I have decided just to mention one of them, saying that it was to be Amaterasu’s son who was to come down and rule Japan, however during these events Ninigi had been born and so his asked his mother to send Ninigi instead. She consented and gives his the three Sacred Treasures to descend to Japan, with an entourage consisting of Ameno Koyane, Futodama, Ameno Uzume, Ishikoridome and Tamayanooya.
A little confusingly here in the nihongi, it then say after this Ninigi went from The Floating Bridge of Heaven, finally giving us a location of it being on the twin summits of Kushibi, eventually making his way to Japan where he came across Konohananosakuyahime.
She was the daughter of the kami Ohoyamatsumi and Ninigi favouring her, made her his wife. After their first night together she became pregnant, but Ninigi was unable to believe it was his child after only one night. And so Konohananosakuyahime constructed a doorless house and went to live inside.
She then makes a declaration saying that if this is Ninigi’s child fire cannot hurt them, if it isn’t then it shall perish in fire, and so she sets fire to the house. The children survive the fire and she gives birth to three boys, Honosusori, Hikohohodemi and finally Honoakari.
It is then said that after a long time Ninigi finally passed away and was buried in his misasagi in Hiuga, Kyushu.
- Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.
- Chamberlain, B. H. (1932) “Translation of the Kojiki.” Kobe: J.L. Thompson & Co.
- Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.
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