The Shinansha

The Shinansha

The Shinansha, also known as The South Pointing Carriage is a Japanese Folktale relating to China.


The Emperor pondering.

One day the mother of Emperor Kotei was out walking, looking at the North Star vivid flashes of lightning came from it in all directions and she had a vision fortelling her that her son would be a great man.

Kotei grew up to become Emperor where he became troubled by the rebel Shiyu who wished to take the throne, attacking the Emperor and his forces numerous times. The Emperor declares war and the two sides battle on the plains of Takuroku.

Shiyu summons forth fog as he is a magician and so he and his forces retreat, finding amusement in the disorientation of the Emperors army.

On the back of a dragon.

For a time after this, the Emperor tries to devise a way to conquer the magician, eventually leading him to create The Shinansha (Artefact) which always points south. And so declaring war again he attacked Shiyu and his forces. Once again fog is summoned forth, but using the Shinansha the Emperors army do not become disoriented and push Shiyu and his forces back the swollen river.

Using his magic again he and his forces cross the river and retreat to a fortress.

Once more the Emperor finds himself with having to overcome an obstacle, but, after seeing a Spider use a leaf to cross the river he finds inspiration and invents the first boat. They cross the river and finally defeat Shiyu and his forces.

The tale ends with Kotei bringing peace to his realm, reigning for 100 hundred years until one day he sees a Dragon flying down to him. He takes this as a sign his time is up and mounting the Dragon is taken to Heaven, his Empress also jumping on the back of the creature.1


1. Ozaki, Y.T. (1903) “The Japanese Fairy Book”. Westminster: Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd.

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