Yatsukamizu Omitsuno

Hear about Yatsukamizu Omitsuno on Episode 9 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

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Yatsukamizu Omitsuno

Yatsukamizu Omitsuno

Yatsukamizu Omitsuno (八束水巨津野)1, or simply Omizunu (淤美豆奴神, or 意弥都奴 – Great Water Master2) is a Shinto deity mentioned in several different texts.

Name and Ancestry

Carlqvist, referenced below, states that ‘Omitsuno’ was a 5th generation decendant of Hayasusanoo,1 however when looking at the Kojiki it is clear he is a 4th generational descendant. In the Kojiki he is shown to be the son of Fukabuchinomizuyarehana and Amenotsudoechine. Through his marriage to Futemimi he had a child known as Amenofuyukinu.2

The components of his name likey relate to water to some degree, with ‘o mitsu’ meaning ‘big water’. The ‘ya tsuka mizu’ could mean ‘many tsuka (measurements) of water.1

In Fudoki his name represents the fertility of Hinokawa river alluvial plains and the same type of text relate him to a tale detailed below.2

Izumo Fudoki

He is most well known for the story concerning him in the Izumo Fudoki set in Izumo Province.

The tale relates how Yatsukamizu Omitsuno finds this place too small, comparing it to a strip of narrow cloth. And so he looks across the ocean and finds places whose land is in excess.

First he sees Silla, and taking land from it using a hoe and dragging it with rope to Izumo he ties it to Kozu, which becomes Kidzuki Cape. He ties the rope to Sahime Mountain, the rope became Sono Long Beach.

Next he took from Saki Country, and tying it to Taku it became Sada Country. Then was Yonami Country, which he took from and tied to Unami, which became Kurami Country. Finally he took from the Tsutsu Cape in Koshi Province. The land he tied to Izumo became Miho Cape, and the rope he used became Yomi Island, the rope he tied to Hikami High Mountain.

Now satisfied he shouted ‘Owe!’ which is apparently why one district in Izumo Province was called Ou. He then thrusts he staff into the ground on an earthern mound to the north-east of the District Office in Ou.1

Footnotes

1. Carlqvist, A. (2010) “The Land Pulling Myth and Some Aspects of Historical Reality”. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. 37, No.2, pp.185-222.
2. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.

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