Continued from Part 1


Historically, there was tension between the Izumo and Yamato regions. We’ll touch more on this in a later story.









Continued in Part 3


A.K.A. Onamuji–refresh yourself on the stories of Okuninushi starting here and here.













According to the Kunibiki legend, there’s a good reason why Mihonoseki looks like Koshi.

Continued in Part 2

trials-shrines

Carrying on from where we left off, there was a gap of time between when Onamuji was revived the first time after his burning encounter with the red boar boulder, and when he was smashed inside a tree. As creative a murder method as that was, I can’t say I’ve found anything indicating which tree it is or what form it would be in now. Nor have I gone romping through the woods looking for suspiciously cut trees or tried replicating the set-up myself–as the saying goes in Japan, ii ko wa mane shinaide ne–“good kids won’t try this at home!”

In that time after his first revival, he was living with Yagami in semi-hiding in Owaimi Shrine, in modern-day Hino-cho, Tottori.

Click for source–and more photos! Pretty ginkgo leaves…

After his second revival, there was a brief detour I left out before Onamuji went to Ne-no-Kuni, but there wouldn’t have been any time to sit back and let his brothers start getting creative again. Speaking of wasting time, Suseri wasted no time in staking her claim on her husband, and then took his well-being into her hands right away.

On his first nights in Ne-no-Kuni, Susano-o had him sleep in rooms filled with poisonous pests, but Onamuji was protected by Suseri’s centipede, wasp, and snake-warding scarves. Since she lived among them it is not surprising that she’d have developed methods for keeping them from bugging her (ha!). She is still associated with this today at Tono Shrine in Daisen-cho, a shrine dedicated to her. Every April they hold a big festival to ward off poisonous pests and other unwanted bugs, and it is said that special sand from the shrine has this effect, too.

Though she was his second wife, Suseri would remain known as Okuninushi’s primary wife, and she was known for being quite jealous. Perhaps some of Okuninushi’s other wives stuck around longer despite Suseri, but Yagami was too delicate to last long. Later Japanese literature seems to suggest that another women’s jealousy was a legitimate cause of death, after all.

That may or may not make modern-day readers feel any more comfortable with Yagami abandoning a baby in the fork of a tree, though. Nevertheless, it seems it was a safe birth, and the child was well-adjusted enough to celebrated as a god of safe births and long life. Ki-no-mata was also known as Mii (referring to a well), and that is why a shrine in Izumo dedicated to him is called Mii Shrine. The three wells on the shrine grounds are said to have the provided the water Yagami used during childbirth. This page has a whole bunch of pretty pictures of the shrine, including of the wells and a statue of Yagami with newborn Ki-no-Mata/Mii.

There are more famous springs associated with Yagami and her journey, though! Those are yet to come.

The most recent installment of the Kojiki manga I wrote was rather long, but seeing as a lot of it takes place in the Underworld, I won’t be introducing that here (I staying in the world of the living, thanks).

That said, was Susano-o the lord of the Yomi, where his mother he so wanted to see was residing? Or is Ne-no-Kuni a different place? The interpretations of this vary. Some say he took over some sort of job for Izanami in the land of the dead, other say Ne-no-Kuni is different Underworld from Yomi and they just happen to share the same exit (which strikes me as funny that Onamuji/Okuninushi could escape so easily, seeing as Izanagi supposedly plugged that up). I’m inclined to say Yomi and Ne-no-Kuni are entirely different both just happen to be dark places under the normal realm, because although Izanami had become part of Yomi and, being a rotting corpse, could not reintegrate with this world, there was no such trouble for Okuninushi and Suseri. Whatever the case may be, the San’in region’s links to the Underworld(s) stand, and in addition to Yomotsu Hirasaka in southeastern Matsue, there is another cave in Izumo that, at least according to the Izumo Fudoki, claims a link to Yomi.

Back to the world of the living!

trials-shrines

Well, temporarily, seeing as we’re about to discuss the site of one of Onamuji’s deaths. Unwilling to settle for uncreative methods of killing their younger brother, the 80 nasty older brother kami first had him go boar hunting so as to run him over with a burning stone that is said to be a boar. This stone boar just so happens to be enshrined in Nanbu-cho, Tottori, or what would have been the land of Hoki back in the day (right in between Inaba, where they had all traveled to try to wed Yagami, and Izumo, where they were from).

Akaiwa Shrine, which literally means “red boar boulder” (赤猪岩), is dedicated to Okuninushi, and in the back of the shrine they have a fenced off boulder said to have been the one that burned him to death. It’s never said to have crushed him–it was the burns that did it. Such was how Umugi and Kisagai were able to heal him with skin treatments, which some say were based on ancient folk remedies used in real life. We’ll briefly touch of the two of them again in later stories.

Click for source–and more photos!


Here is the infamous boar… or… boulder. Boulders? Click for source, and more pictures!

Boars being boulders is not a terribly strange idea in the world of Japanese mythology. Ishinomiya Shrine, in the Shinji district of Matsue on the south banks of Lake Shinji, is another Okuninushi Shrine with similar features. The origins of the shrine can be found in the Izumo-no-Kuni Fudoki. Besides generally being an encyclopedia of all things Japan at the time they were written (8th century, same as the Kojiki and Nihonshoki), part of their purpose was to name all of the geographical features of Japan and provide reasoning for those names. We can perhaps assume this takes place once he’s already comfortably living at the foot of Mt. Uka. I’ve paraphrased the story below:

One day, Okuninushi, the lord of the land, went boar hunting with his dog. They were chasing two boars, but then those two boars turned to stone. The dog also turned to stone. The end.

So… cool story?

Beside the name left behind (Shinji (宍道) is derived from Shishiji, “the path the boars took” (猪の道)), we also have more boulders left behind!


It’s hard to tell, but there is quite a drop here–watch your step!


Okuninushi’s dog


Okuninushi’s dog


A boar… looks big enough to feed a lot of kami.


A boar… they don’t always look like this, but Shinji is still known for the boars that live there.

This story highlights yet another animal relationship Okuninushi had–he got along with dogs, too. Although images of Onamuji/Okuninushi with the White Hare of Inaba are the most ubiquitous, he is also frequently associated with rats, seeing as they saved his life. Therefore, some Okuninushi or En-musubi shrines tend to have rats–especially white rats–incorporated in to the art. As seen at Kanayago Shrine, though, they can also signify good luck just due to being numerous. (However, Kanayago, the god(dess) of iron-working, hated dogs.)

Back to the story of Onamuji being repeatedly picked on by his brothers and revived by his mother, when Umugi extracted milk from the clams, that wasn’t all she used–she also drew water from Shimizui–the “pure water well” nearby the site of the red boar boulder.

Click for source–and more photos!

Next time, we’ll look at some shrines associated with Okuninushi’s family (though I am not aware of any dedicated to his nasty brothers–or his saintly mother, for that matter).

Continued from Part 10






Recall how the White Hare served as matchmaker for these two.




This son would wind up being named after “a fork in a tree,” Ki-no-mata-no-kami.

For as long as this story was, there are surprisingly few places to introduce associated with it–but places exist nearby nonetheless! After all, Shinto shrines can be associated with very surprising things.

I’m planning on some more short stories, especially with material from the Izumo Fudoki, to intersperse with the following Kojiki stories. Okuninushi will continue to be a main character–after all, being the lord of the land has a way of propelling one into main character status in many legends.

Learn about the sites associated with this legend!
Akaiwa Shrine, Shimizui, and Ishinomiya Shrine
Oiwami Shrine, Tono Shrine, and Mii Shrine
Yunokawa Onsen
And good old Yomotsu Hirasaka, the entrance to Yomi

Or start reading the next story!
The short story of a lovestruck (and stuck) Crocasharkagator
(Or you can continue following Okuninushi’s adventures)

Or see the Kojiki a.t.b.b. masterlist!
The Kojiki Myths in Manga Form

Continued from Part 9

Yes, this setting should look familiar.











Continued in Part 11

Continued from Part 8













Continued in Part 10

Continued from Part 7











Continued in Part 9

Continued from Part 6








After all, young Susano-o did.



Continued in Part 8

Continued from Part 5


That’s totally in reference to Kumano Taisha.







Yup. That’s totally a reference, too.
Continued in Part 7