Tenadzuchi

Tenadzuchi
Tenadzuchi with her husband and daughter by Toyohara Chikanobu.

Tenadzuchi

Tenadzuchi ( 手名椎 / 手摩乳命) is a Shinto spirit seen in the texts of the Kojiki and Nihongi in relation to their dealings with Yamata no Orochi. She is the wife of Ashinadzuchi and mother to Kushinadahime in both the Nihongi and Kojiki.12

The Spirits name can be rendered as Hand Stroking Elder, Fast Growing Rice Elder or Armless Elder. The image of legless could suggest a serpentine nature to her amd the Fast growing Rice is indicitive of an agricultural spirit2

There are several versions for the same event within the Nihongi for this part of the Shinto narrative. The first states that Susano-o comes across the spirit and her husband as they lament over their daughter who is soon to be eaten by the Dragon Yamata no Orochi. The dragon comes ever year to eat one of their children and Kushinadahime is to be the next victim. Susano-o states that he can help them if they allow him to wed their daughter and so they agree. Susano-o then asks Tendzuchi and her husband to brew up some sake ready for the Dragons arrival so it may become drunk and fall asleep.1 This version of events is the same as the Kojiki, the only addition being that afterwards Susano-o states she is to be the head of his mighty hall giving her the title Master of the Halls of Inada and Master of Suga.2

Tenadzuchi
Susano-o and the Weeping Family, by Toyohara Chikanobu.

After this ordeal Susano-o marries her daughter and they have a son together, he then makes Tenadzuchi and her husband Masters of his sons Palace, naming them Inada no Miyanushi (Palace/Shrine Masters).1

The next version states then when Susano-o arrives he finds Tenadzuchi, here called Inada no Miya-nushi Susa no yatsu-mimi, and her husband lamenting. In this version, their daughter is not yet born, but as her birth is near Yamata no Orochi will soon arrive to take it to eat. After the dragon is killed, the child is born with the name Inagami Furukushinadahime, and taken to be raised in Izumo. When grown her and Susano-o marry.1

The final version retold in the Nihongi states that Susano-o asks to marry Tenadzuchi’s daughter, and so is requested to kill the dragon.1

Footnotes

1. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.
2. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.

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