Accession of Emperor Bidatsu
Emperor Nunakura no Futotamashiki [Bidatsu] was the second child of Emperor Amekunioshiharakihironiwa [Kimmei]. His mother was called Empress Ishihime. Empress Ishihime was the daughter of Emperor Takeohirokunioshitate [Senka]. The Emperor did not believe in Buddhism, and loved literature and history.
29th year. The Emperor was made crown prince.
32nd year, fourth month. Emperor Oshikuniharakihironiwa [Kimmei] died.
First year, summer, fourth month. On the third day, the crown prince became the Emperor. The Empress was named Empress Dowager.
That month, Oi Palace in Kudara [in Kawachi] was made. Senior General Mononobe no Yuge no Moriya was made Senior General, as before. Soga no Umako no Sukune was made Senior Minister.
The Messengers from Goguryeo
Fifth month. On the first day, the Emperor asked the crown prince and Senior Minister, saying, “Where are the messengers from Goguryeo now?”
The Senior Minister said, “They are in the foreign guest house in Sagaraka.”
The Emperor heard this, and pained in anguish to a considerable degree, and changing his countenance sighed, “How sad, these messengers’ had already been announced to the previous Emperor.” Then he dispatched the myriad ministers to the foreign guest house in Sagaraka, and they examined the records and presented the tribute items, and then sent them to the capital.
15th day. The Emperor took the documents of Goguryeo and bestowed them on the Senior Minister. Then he summoned many historians and ordered them to read and decipher them. At that time the many historians, though spending three days time, could not read them. Then, the ancestor of Fune no Fubito Ojinni could read them and decipher them for the Emperor. Therefore the Emperor and the Senior Minister praised him, saying, “How diligent you are, Jinni! If you did not love study so, then who could read and decode these? You should serve from now on nearby in the palace.”
Then he said to to the scribes of Yamato and Kochi [east and west] (plural), “You all endeavor in study, so why can’t you read this document? Though you are many, you are not the match of Jinni.”
Also, the documents presented by the Goguryeo were written on the feather of a crow. The letters and the feather were both black, so they could not be known. Jinni steamed the crow feathers in a rice pot, then pressed a silk sheet on the feather, and completely sketched out the letters. The court thought it wonderous.
Sixth month. The ambassador from Goguryeo asked the deputy ambassador and others, “In the time of Emperor Shikishima [Kimmei], you all went against my counsel, and deceivingly split up the tribute, and lightly passed it on to people of low status. How could you all make this mistake? If the King of this country hears of it, certainly you will be put to death.”
The deputy ambassador and the others spoke together saying, “When we return to our country, if the ambassador reveals our mistake, and this will be an unfortunate thing. We should kill him to shut his mouth.”
That night, the plan leaked. The ambassador knew it, and changing his clothes, by himself went into hiding. He went into the garden of the foreign guest house, and didn’t know what to do. At that time one of the brigands came and took out a cane, and struck the ambassador on the head, and then fled. Then another brigand came out, and approaching the ambassador from the opposite side, hit him on the head and the hands, then fled. The ambassador still would not talk and stood on the earth, wiping the blood from his face. Then another brigand holding a sword suddenly came and stabbed the ambassador in the stomach, then fled. The ambassador was afraid and laid prostrate in a bow. Afterwards another brigand came and killed him, then departed.
The next day, the Head Receptionist for Foreign Guets, Yamato no Aya no Saka no Ue no Atai Komaro, and others, asked what happened. The deputy ambassadors lied, saying, “The Emperor granted a wife to the ambassador. The ambassador defied the order, and would not receive her. The lack of manners was great, so we killed him for the Emperor.” Then they gave him a proper burial.
Autumn, seventh month. The messengers from Goguryeo went home. The year was 572.
Naniwa Drowns Goguryeo Messengers
Second year, summer, fifth month. On the third day, messengers from Goguryeo stayed at the coast of Koshi. Their ship foundered, and many drowned.
The court was suspicious of their getting lost again, and so did not have a feast for them, and sent them back. By imperial order Kibi no Amano Atai Naniwa was made to send them off.
Autumn, seventh month. On the first day, at the beach in Koshi, Naniwa and the messengers from Goguryeo took conference together, and from the boat of the escort envoy Naniwa two sailors, Oshima no Obito Iwahi and Saoka no Obito Mase, were ordered to ride on the boat of Goguryeo, while two men from Goguryeo were ordered to ride on the envoy’s escort boat. By riding on each others’ boats, they prepared against villainy.
Then the boats went out at the same time, and proceeded for some ri. Then the escort envoy, Naniwa, feared the great waves, and took the two men of Goguryeo and threw them into the sea.
Eighth month. On the 14th day, the escort envoy Naniwa returned and reported, “At sea a giant whale came, and bit the ship and the paddles. Naniwa and the others feared the whale would swallow the ship, and could not go further into the sea.” The Emperor heard this, and knew it was a lie, and set this servant in the palace, and would not release him to his country.
Third year, summer, fifth month. On the fifth day, messengers from Goguryeo stayed in the beach at Koshi.
Autumn, seventh month. On the 20th day, the messengers from Goguryeo came to the capital and reported, “Last year together with your escort messenger we returned to our country. We arrived first, and in our country according to the manners regarding messengers we had a feast for Oshima no Obito Iwahi and the others. The King of Goguryeo also warmly received them. But the ship of the escort messenger never came. Therefore he [the king] again prudently sent messengers along with Iwahi and the others to ask why our messengers have not come back.”
The Emperor heard this and counted Naniwa’s crimes, saying, “First, he deceived the court. Second, he drowned the messengers of a neighboring country. Now he will be greatly punished, and not allowed to return to his country.” Then his punishment was decided.
Winter, tenth month. On the ninth day, the Emperor dispatched Senior Minister Soga no Umako to the country of Kibi to increase the number of tabe at the miyake of Shirai. Accordingly the name register of the tabe was given to Shirai no Fubito Itsu. On the 11th day, the Emperor pronounced that the younger brother of Funa no Fubito O Jinni, Ushi, would be granted the title Tsu no Fubito.
11th month. Silla dispatched messengers who submitted tribute.
Establishment and Death of the Empress
Fourth year, spring, first month. On the ninth day, Prince Mate of Okinanaga’s daughter Princess Hirohime was made Empress. She gave birth to one boy and two girls. The first was called Imperial Prince Oshisaka no Hikohito no Oe (also known as Imperial Prince Maroko). The second was called Imperial Princess Sakanobori. The third was called Imperial Princess Uji no Shitsukai.
That month, a consort was established, the daughter of Kasuga no Omi no Nakatsukimi, called Ominago no Otoji (she was also called Kusurikonoiratsume). She gave birth to three boys and one girl. The first was Imperial Prince Naniwa. The second was Imperial Prince Kasuga. The third was Imperial Princess Kuwata. The fourth was Imperial Prince Omata. Secondly, there was an lady in waiting, the daughter of Ise no Oka no Obito Oguma, called Unako no Otoji. She gave birth to Imperial Princess Futo (also called Imperial Princess Sakurai) and Imperial Princess Arate (also called Imperial Princess Tamura).
Second month. On the first day, Senior Minister Umako no Sukune returned to the capital and reported about the miyake.
Third month. On the 11th day, Baekje dispatched a messenger with tribute, and it was greater than in usual years.
The Emperor, as Silla had not yet restored Gaya, proclaimed to the crown prince and the Senior Minister, “Don’t be lazy about Gaya.”
Summer, fourth month. On the sixth day, the Emperor dispatched Kishi no Kane to Silla, Kishi no Itabi to Gaya, and Kishi no Osahiko to Baekje.
Sixth month. Silla dispatched a messenger with tribute, and it was more than usual. Also they sent tribute for the four villages of Tatara, Sunara, Wada, and Hatsuki.
That year, the Emperor ordered a geomancer to divine lands for the houses of Prince Ama and Prince Itoi. The results were favorable, so a palace was built in Osata. This was Sakitama Palace.
Winter, 11th month. Empress Hirohime died.
Establishment of the New Empress
Fifth year, spring, third month. On the tenth day, an order requested that an Empress be established. An imperial proclomation established Toyomike Kashikiya-hime no Mikoto as Empress. She gave birth to two boys and five girls. The first was Imperial Princess Uji no Kaidakono (also called Imperial Princess Uji no Shitsukai). This princess married Shotoku of the eastern palace [residence of the crown prince]. The second was called Imperial Princess Takeda. The third was called Imperial Princess Oharida. She was married to Imperial Prince Hikohito no Oe. The fourth was called Imperial Princess Umori, also called Imperial Princess Karu no Mori). The fifth was Imperial Prince Owari. The sixth was called Imperial Princess Tame. She was married to Emperor Okinagatarashihihironuka [Jomei]. The seventh was called Imperial Princess Sakurai no Yumihari.
Sixth year, spring, second month. On the first day, the Emperor declared that the hinomatsuri be and kisaira be be established.
Summer, fifth month. On the fifth day, the Emperor dispatched Prince Owake and Oguro no Kishi to carry his orders to Baekje. (Envoys who received the Emperor’s orders to go to the three kingdoms of Korea were called mikotomochi. This was probably the custom in the past, now they are just called messengers. Other places are the same as this. Where Prince Owake was from is unclear).
Winter, 11th month. On the first day, the King of Baekje attached to the returning Prince Owake and others some number of sutra scolls, along with a risshi, a zenshi, a nun, a master of jugon, an maker of Buddhist statues, and a temple-builder, six people in all. The Emperor set them in Naniwa at the Temple of Prince Owake.
Revolt of the Emishi
Seventh year, spring, third month. On the fifth day, Imperial Princess Uji was appointed to reverence duty at Ise, but she was raped by Imperial Prince Ikehe, and when this was made clear she was released from her charge.
Eighth year, winter, tenth month. Silla dispatched Ji Jiljeong Nama with tribute, and he also brought a Buddhist statue.
Ninth year, summer, sixth month. Silla dispatched Ando Nama and Silso Nama with tribute. It was not received and returned.
Tenth year, spring, intercalary second month. Some thousands of Emishi revolted on the borders. Therefore the Emperor summoned their Hitogo no Kami [chief] Ayakusu and others (Hitogo no Kami were O-emishi, great emishi) and proclaimed, “You Emishi, in the time of Emperor Otarashihiko [Keiko], those who should have been killed were killed, yet he pardoned those who deserved it. Now I will follow this precedent, and want to put to death the ringleaders.”
Ayakusu and the others were afriad, and went down into the flow of the Hatsuse river, and faced Mt. Mimoro [Miwa], and smeared their mouths with the water while swearing, “We Emishi, from now on, our children and our children’s children (One old story says for 80 generations) will clean our hearts and serve heaven without fail. If we break this oath, all the gods of heaven and earth, and the imperial miracle, will wipe out our seed.”
11th year, winter, tenth month. The Sillans dispatched Ando Nama and Silso Nama with tribute. It was not received and returned.
Summoning of Nichira
12th year, autumn, seventh month. On the first day, the Emperor declared, “In the days of the previous Emperor, Silla overthrew our territory [Gaya]. (In the 23rd year of Emperor Amekunioshiharakihironiwa, Gaya was overthrown by Silla). Therefore it is said that Silla overthrew our country’s domain. The previous Emperor planned to restore Gaya, but before it was achieved he died, and this aim was never completed. Therefore I am the one who must assist this divine plan and restore Gaya. Now in Baekje the kuni no miyatsuko of Hi no Ashikita, the son of Arishito, Tatsusotsu Nichira, is clever and brave. Therefore I want to plan with him.” Then he dispatched the Kuni no Miyatsuko of Ki, Oshikatsu, and Kibi no Ama no Atai, Hashima, to call him from Baekje.
Winter, tenth month. Ki no Miyatusko Oshikatsu and the others came back from Baekje. They reported to the court, saying, “The ruler of Baekje begrudges the loss of Nichira, and will not yield to the order.”
That year, he again sent Kibi no Ama no Atai Hashima to summon Nichira from Baekje. Hachima had already reached Baekje and first wanted to go to see Nichira in private, and alone went to his the gate of his house. Suddenly from within the house came a Korean woman who said in Korean, “Put your root inside mine.” Then she went back into the house. Hashima understood this meaning and followed her inside.
Then, Nichira came to meet him, and taking his hand made him sit down, and secretly told him, “I secretly hear that the ruler of Baekje doubts the imperial court, that after he sends me, I will be stayed and not return. So he grieves sending me and will not receive the order. When you make the order, you should present it strictly and boldly. Press my summons by the Emperor.” Hashima followed this plan and summoned Nichira.
Then, the ruler of Baekje was afraid and in awe of the court, and did not dare to defy the order. He sent Nichira, Onsotsu、Tokusotsu、Yeono、Ganoji、Chamgwan, Isasolchagandeok、Susudeung, and some number of others [these appear to be ranks, not names].
Nichira and the others arrived at the miyake of Kibi no Kojima, and the court dispatched Otomo no Arateko no Muraji to comfort their fatigue.
Then he also dispatched the ministers to the foreign guest house in Naniwa and made them attend on Nichira. At that time Nichira was wearing armor and riding a horse, and he arrived at the gate, and proceeded before the hall, and going forward and back he kneeled, and sighed, “In the days of Emperor Hinokuma no Miya ni Amenoshitarashirashime [Senka], my lord Senior General Otomo no Kanamura, for the state, sent the kuni no miyatsuko of Ashikita in Hi, Archer of the Bureau of Justice, Arishito, across the sea. I, his son, Tatsusotsu Nichira, heard the Emperor’s summons, and in fear and awe came to the court.” Then he took off his armor and gave it to the Emperor.
Then the Emperor had a foreign guest house built in Ato no Kuwa no Ichi, and made Nichira live there, and provided him with whatever he wanted.
Betrayal of Nichira
Then the Emperor dispatched Ahe no Me no Omi, Mononobe no Nieko no Muraji, and Otomo no Arateko no Muraji to ask Nichira about the administration of the country. Nichira replied, “For the Emperor to rule the realm and administrate it, he must protect and nourish the people. How is suddenly raising soldiers not going to lead to loss and destruction in reverse? Therefore now take counsel with those who serve the court, the omi, muraji, and the two miyatsuko (the two miyatusko were the kuni no miyatsuko and the tomo no miyatsuko), down to the people, so all are in complete prosperity, and make it so there is no poverty. Do like this for three years, with sufficient food and sufficient arms, make the people pleased. Then they will fear neither fire nor water, and likewise will help relieve the troubles of the country. Afterwards make many ships, and line them up in all the ports, and make visitors look upon them to make them fear. Then, send a skilled messenger to Baekje, and summon their King. If he doesn’t come, summon the Prime Minister or a prince to come. Then in their heart you will make them respect the Emperor, and afterwards you can inquire about their crimes.”
In another statement, he said, “The people of Baekje plan, saying, ‘We have 300 ships and want to ask for [a settlement in] Tsukushi.’ If they truly come and make this request, you should pretend to give it to them. Then when Baekje wants to make a new country, certainly they will first load their women and children on the boats and send them. Watch for that time, and in Iki and Tsushima set many troops in ambush, and then kill them all. Do not be deceived in strategic positions, fortify and build bases.
When the Onsotsu and Sankan wished to return to their country, (in an old book, Onsotsu and Sankan are listed apart), the spoke to Deoki and the others saying, “The plan is, when we are past Tsukushi, you all secretly kill Nichira, and we will tell our King, and he will grant us a high rank. To yourselves, your wives, and your children, the glory will go on afterwards.” Deoki and the others all agreed to this plan.
Sankan and the others departed from Chika, then Nichira himself from Kuwaichi no Mura moved to the foreign guest house in Naniwa. Deoki and the others day and night planned together, and wanted to kill him. At that time, Nichira’s body shone like a fiery blaze. Therefore Deoki and the others were afraid and did not kill him. In the 12th month, on the last day of the year, he lost his glow and they killed him.
Nichira resurrected and said, “This is something done by my servants, not by Silla.” When he finished speaking he died. At that time a messenger from Silla had come, therefore he said this.
The Emperor ordered Senior General Nieko and Arateko no Muaji to bury him in O district, on the west of the hill. His wife and child and servants all lived in Ishikawa, but Otomo no Arateko no Muraji said, “If you all live in one place, I fear it will give rise to incident.” Then his wife and child lived in Ishikawa, in Kudara village, and his sailors lived in Ishikawa in Otomo village. Also they caught Deoki and the others, and bound them, and set them in Kudara no Kawata village in Shimotsu, and dispatched many ministers to ask about the incident.
Deoki and the others confessed to their crime, saying, “It’s true. The Onsotsu and Sankan instructed us and made us do it. We are all lower ranked than they, and did not dare defy them.” Therefore they put them in prison and reported to the court. They dispatched a messenger to Ashikita to summon the relatives of Nichira, and they were given Deoki and the others to punish as they saw fit. At that time the Kimi of Ashikita received them and killed them all, and threw their bodies to Mimejima (Mimejima is maybe Himejima). Nichira was moved and buried in Ashikita.
After this, people living by the sea said, “The Onsotsu’s boat met with high winds and sank in the sea, and the Sankan’s boat first drifted to Tsushima, and from there he was able to return.”
Soga Umako Converts to Buddhism
13th year, spring, second month. On the eighth day, the Emperor dispatched Naniwa no Kishi Itabi to Silla. Itabi then went to Gaya.
Autumn, ninth month. Kafuka no Omi (name not written) brought one stone Maitreya statue from Baekje. Also Saeki no Muraji (name not written) brought one other buddhist statue.
That year, Soga no Umako no Sukune asked for these two statues, and dispatched Kuratsukuri no Suguri Shimetatsuto and Ikebe no Atai Hita to go around the four quarters looking for people who were practicing Buddhists. Then in Harima they found a monk who had returned to secular life, called Koma no Eben. The Senior Minister made him a master, and made Shimetatsuto’s daughter Shima become a monk, calling her Zenshin no Ama (she was 11). Also he made two nuns to be Zenshin no Ama’s disciples. The first was the daughter of Ayahito Yabo, Toyome, and she became Zenzo no Ama, the second was the daughter of Nishikori no Tsufu, Ishime, and she became Ezen no Ama. Tsufu is read tsu-fu, 都符. Umako on his own followed the buddhist doctrine, and revered these three nuns. The three nuns were given to Hida no Atai and Tatsuto with orders to provide their food and clothing.
Also he set up a Buddhist hall in the east of his residence, and placed the stone Maitreya there, and the three nuns did Daiei no Ogami. At thist time Tokuto found a Buddhist relic in the imoi [rice offering], and gave the relic to Umako no Sukune. Umako no Sukune tested the relic, and placed it atop an anvil, and hit it with an iron hammer. The anvil and the hammer completely broke, but the relic did not. Then he threw the relic into some water, and according to the wishes of his heart it floated and sank.
Therefore, Umako no Sukune, Ikebe no Atai Hita, and Shime Tatsuto came to believe the Buddhist doctrine, and were not remiss in their study. Umako no Sukune made another Buddhist hall at his residence in Ishikawa. The Buddhist doctrine started out in this way.
14th year, spring, second month. On the fifteenth day, Senior Minister Soga no Umako no Sukune built a pagoda at the north of Ono Hill and did Daiei no Ogami. Then he took the relic gotten by Tatsuto and put them inside the capital of one of the pagoda’s pillars.
24th day. Senior Minister Soga fell ill. He asked a diviner about it, and the diviner replied, “The illness is at the desire of the Buddhist god worshipped in your father’s time.”
Then the Senior Minister dispatched a younger person to report the divination to the Emperor. He replied, “It is as the diviner says, worship the god of your father.” The Senior Minister received the proclomation and bowed down to the statue, and his lifespan was lengthened. At that time, there was a plague in the country, and many people died.
Imperial Rejection of Buddhism
Third month. On the first day, Senior General Mononobe no Yuge no Moriya and the minister Nakatomi Katsumi said to the Emperor, “Why do you not heed our words? From the time of the previous Emperor, in all the realm a plague is spreading, and the people are being extinguished. Is this not because of Senior Minister Soga and the Buddhist doctrine?”
The Emperor answered, “It is clear that the Buddhist doctrine should be rejected.”
On the 30th day, Senior Minister Mononobe no Yuge no Moriya went of his own accord to the temple, and sat on a chair, and cut down the tower, and set a fire, and burned the Buddhist statue and the Buddhist hall. Then he took the burned Buddhist statue and threw it into Naniwa resevoir. That day, there were no clouds but there was wind and rain. The Senior General, wearing his rain clothes, verbally abused Umako no Sukune and his followers, made them feel shamed and disgraced.
Then, he dispatched Saeki no Miyatsuko Mimuro (also called Oroge) to summon Zenshin and the other nuns being supplied by Umako no Sukune. Therefore, Umako no Sukune did not dare go against the order, and in sadness and with crying summoned the nuns, and attached them to Mimuro. Then he took the three nuns’ clothing and confined them, and then whipped them at the station of Tsubaki Ichi.
The Empeor wanted to resore Gaya, and made Prince Sakata no Mimiko a messenger. At that time, the Emperor and the Senior Minister got tumors, and therefore could not dispatch him. The Emperor proclaimed to Imperial Prince Tachibana no Toyohi, “Do not go against the order of the previous Emperor, and work to restore Gaya.” Then, the pox was spreading, and many people in the country died. The people with the pox said, “It’s like our bodies are on fire, and being struck, and broken.” Then they cried and died. The old and young said secretly, “It’s the sin of burning the Buddhist statue.”
Summer, sixth month. Umako no Sukune said to the Emperor, “My sickness has still not healed. If you don’t rely on the power of the three treasures, curing it will be difficult.”
Then, the Emperor said to Umako no Sukune, “You can follow the Buddhist doctrine yourself, but it is forbidden for others.” Then the three nuns were returned to Umako no Sukune. Umako no Sukune received them with great joy, admiring them and bowing his head to these three nuns. He built a new temple and invited them inside and provided nourishment.
By one book, Senior General Mononobe no Yuge no Moriya, Omiwa no Sakau no Kimi, and Nakatomi no Iware no Muraji planned together to abolish the Buddhist doctrine, and wanted to burn the pagoda, and get rid of the buddhist statue. Umako no Sukune expostulated and did not go along with it.
Death of the Emperor
Autumn, eighth month. On the 15th day, the Emperor became sick and died in the palace. At that time a palace for the temporary burial was built in Hirose.
Senior Minister Umako no Sukune wore a sword and did his eulogy, and Senior General Mononobe no Yuge no Moriya heard it and laughed, saying, “He looks like a sparrow shot with a hunting arrow.” Then, Senior General Yuge no Moriya shook his hands and feet and did his eulogy (trembling means trembling). Senior Minister Umako no Sukune lauged and said, “He should have attached a bell.” Therefore the two servants came to hate each other.
At that time Miwa no Kimi Sakau ordered his Hayato to guard the place of the temporary burial. Imperial Prince Anahobe wanted to take control of the realm and said indignently, “Why do you serve at the garden of a dead king and not serve at the place of the living king?”