大国主と国譲り【Okuninushi and the Land Offering】

Okuninushi sent all the brother gods away, and had many children with many goddesses. He also started to build his country. The God Sukuna Hikona (who later went away), and many other gods, cooperated in building the new country. After overcoming many difficulties, they succeeded. At that time, when the rice began to ripen well in the vast fields, Amaterasu in Takamagahara thought that it was her descendants that should govern the country. She sent messengers to Okuninushi and requested that he give her his country. All the messengers she sent became allies of Okuninushi and didn’t return.


She finally sent the God of Sword and Thunder, Takemikazuchi, and the God of the Flying Ship, Ame no Torifune, to Okuninushi. The conference with Okuninushi and those Gods was held at the Inasa Beach in the town of Taisha, in front of the Byoibu Iwa, a huge stone standing by the Sea of Japan. Takemikazuchi swiftly drew his sword and stuck it into the ground, with its point up, and sat on its tip. He asked Okuninushi to offer his country to Amaterasu. Okuninushi said that he was too old to think and answer, so he wanted to have his son, Yae Kotoshironushi no Mikoto (also called Ebisu, one of The Seven Lucky Gods), answer for him.


However, Yae Kotoshironushi had gone fishing and bird hunting at Mihonoseki at that time. Ame no Torifune was sent to get Yae Kotoshironushi, and he brought him back to the Inasa Beach. (There is a festival at Miho no Seki, every year, commemorating that event.) Yae Kotoshironushi said that the word of Amaterasu was venerable, and that he would give up the country. Immediately after this comment, he hid himself behind a green hedge in the sea. Takemikazuchi asked Okuninushi for someone else to speak for him. Okuninushi replied that there was his son, Takeminakata. At the moment, Takeminakata came back to Izumo.

しかし、そのとき彼はあいにく魚と鳥を捕りに美保関に行っており不在でした。そこで、天鳥船が美保関まで出向き八重事代主を因幡海岸まで連れ戻しました(美保関ではこの出来事を記念して毎年お祭りが催されます)八重事代主は天照の言葉をありがたがり、国を譲ることを承諾します。そして、その意向を伝えるやいなや、海の中の緑の生垣の後ろに隠れてしまいました。 建御雷が大国主に代わりの者をよこすよう求めたところ、彼はもう一人の息子、建御名方(たけみなかた)の名を挙げます。丁度そのとき、建御名方が出雲へ戻ってきました。

He asked who the gods were, and picked a quarrel with Takemikazuchi. He grabbed the hand of Takemikazuchi, and tried to crush it. The hand turned into a sharp sword and Takeminakata was thrown to the ground. Then Takeminakata ran away to Suwa (Nagano Prefecture)! According to that story, Izumo no Kuni must have been closely related to Nagano at that time. This would be reason to assume that Izumo no Kuni was much larger than anyone has thought.


Okuninushi then swore to Amaterasu that he would offer the country to her under the condition that she should build a huge palace for him. The palace should have a pillar that would reach to the bottom of the ground, and a roof which would reach far above Takamagahara. If the palace would be built, Okuninushi would hide himself in it forever, and his children would never be traitors, like Yae Kotoshironushi. Thus, the huge palace, Izumo Taisha Shrine, was arranged to be built. There is a statue at the entrance to Izumo Taisha that commemorates that event. The golden ball represents Amaterasu.


The Japanese myths in the Kojiki are continued to the advent of the sons of Amaterasu, and the stories of the gods of three generations in Hyuga (Miyazaki Pref.). In the Izumo no Kuni Fudoki, the topographical book of Izumo, there are many myths written, which are different from those in the Kojiki.

古事記には天照の息子たち、さらには日向の国(現在の宮崎県)の三つの世代にわたる神々にまつわる神話などが記されています。 出雲の国風土記にも多くの神話が見受けられますが、それらは古事記にあるものとは異なっています。

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