Scroll 24 - Empress Kogyoku

Accession of Empress Kogyoku


Empress Ametoyotakara Ikashihitarashihime [Kogyoku] (Ikashihi is read i-ka-shi-hi, 伊柯之比) was the great-granddaughter of Emperor Nunakura no Futotamashiki [Bidatsu], the granddaughter of Imperial Prince Oshisaka no Hikohito no Oe, and the daughter of Prince Chinu. Her mother was Princess Kibitsu.
The Empress followed the old ways in her method of administration. In the second year of Emperor Okinagatarashi Hironuka [Jomei], she was made Empress. In the 13th year, tenth month of his reign, Emperor Okinagatarashi Hironuka [Jomei] died.
First year, spring, first month. On the 15th day, the Empress became sovereign. Senior Minister Soga no Emishi was made Senior Minister as he was before. The Senior Minister’s son Iruka (also called Kuratsukuri) took command of the administration, and his power surpassed that of his father. Therefore, the rebels and bandits feared him, and even if a thing was dropped in the road no one dared to pick it up.

Correspondence with Baekje


On the 27th day, the messenger dispatched to Baekje, Dainin Azumi no Muraji Hirafu, camed riding from Tsukushi on a post horse, saying, “The country of Baekje heard that the Emperor died, and dispatched condolence messengers. I was going along with this messenger, and together we came to Tsukushi, but I wanted to go to the funeral, therefore I came first alone. However that country is now in a great revolt.”
Second month. On the second day, Azumi no Yamashiro no Muraji Hirafu, Kusakabe no Kishi Iwakane, and Yamato no Aya no Fumi no Atai Agata were dispatched to where the condolence mesenger from Baekje was to ask the circumstances of that country. The messenger told them, “Bakeje’s ruler said to me, ‘Saesang is always making trouble, and I want to attach him to the returning messengers.’” The Empress will not allow it.
Then the servants of the messenger from Baejke said, “Last year, in the 11th month, Daisahei Jijeokdied. Also the messenger from Baekje threw the messenger from Kunlun into the sea. This year in the first month, the mother of our king died, and the the son of the younger prince Gyogi, along with his four older sisters from the same mother, and Naisahei Gimi, with 40 high-ranking officials, were banished to an island.”
On the sixth day, messengers from Goguryeo stayed at the port in Naniwa. On the 21st day, the Empress dispatched all the ministers to the district of Naniwa to examine the tribute gold and silver and other presents from Goguryeo.

The messenger, after the submission of tribute was finished, said, “Last year in the sixth month, the younger prince died. In Autumn, in the ninth month, the Senior Minister Irigasumi killed the great king, and also killed Irigeosesa and some 180 or so other people. Then the younger prince’s child was made king, and Dosuryugimryu from the same family was made Senior Minister.”
On the 22nd day, the Empress held a feast for the guests from Goguryeo and Baekje in the district of Naniwa. Then she proclaimed to the Senior Minister, “Tsumori no Muraji Oama will be messenger to Goguryeo, and Kunikatsu no Kishi Kuina will be messenger to Bakeje (Kuina is read ku-hi-na, 倶[比田]那), and Kusakabe no Kishi Mato will be messenger to Silla, and Sakamoto no Kishi Nagae will be messenger to Gaya.”On the 24th day, the Empress summoned Gyogi and made him stay in the house of Azumi no Yamashiro no Muraji. On the 25th day, the Empress held a banquet for the guests from Goguryeo and Baekje. On the 27th day, the messengers from Goguryeo and Baekje went back to their countries.
Third month. On the third day, there were no clouds but rain. On the sixth day, Silla dispatched a congratulatory messenger and a condolence messenger. On the 15th day, the Sillan messengers returned home. That month, there was heavy rain.
Summer, fourth month. On the eighth day, Ambassador Gyogi bowed in the court with his retainers following. On the tenth day, Senior Minister Soga summoned Gyogi of Baekje and others to his house in Unebi, and spoke with them personally, and gave them one good horse and 20 iron bars. However, he did not summon Saesang. That month, there was heavy rain.
Fifth month. On the fifth day, in the country of Kawachi Gyogi was summoned to the front of the granary of Yosami and made to watch riding-arrow shooting. On the 16th day, the tribute ships from Baekje along with the ship of Kishi arrived at the port in Naniwa. Probably Kishi had been sent as messenger to Baekje before. On the 18th day, the messengers from Baekje presented their tax. Kishi made a report.
On the 21st day, one of Gyogi’s retainers died. On the 22nd day, Gyogi’s child died. At that time Gyogi and his wife feared the death was a bad omen, and did not attend the funeral. The custom of Baekje and Silla was that when someone dies, the parents, brothers, husband or wife, and sisters cannot look upon the corpse for a long time. Looking at this custom, it is not benevolent, and no different from beasts. On the 23rd day, the rice began to be ready for harvesting. On the 24th day. Gyogi and his wife moved to the house of Kudara no Oi and dispatched men to bury the child in Ishikawa.

The Drought, Construction of Kudara Temple


Sixth month. On the 16th day, a little rain fell. That month, there was a great drought.
Autumn, seventh month. On the ninth day, a rare star went into the moon. On the 22nd day, the Empress had a banquet for Daisahei Jijeok and the other messengers from Baekje in the court. By one book, the messenger from Baekje was Daisahei Jijeok, his child Tatsusotsu (name absent) and Onsotsu Gunseon. It was ordered that powerful men perform sumo in front of Gyogi. Jijeol and the others retired after the banquet was finished, and bowed at the gate of Gyogi. On the 23rd day, Senior Minister Soga no Iruka’s young servant captured a white sparrow chick. That day, the captured white sparrow was put in a cage and sent to Senior Minister Soga.
On the 25th day, all the ministers counseled together, saying, “Like the village priest instructed, a cow and a horse were killed, and we worshiped all the gods, and frequently moved the markets around, and prayed to the river god, but still no rain falls.”
Then Senior Minister Soga told them, “We should at all the temples have extracts of the Daijo sutra read. Kega should be performed according to Buddhist explanation, and humbly we will pray for rain.”On the 27th day, at the southern courtyard of the great temple, they set up statues of a Boddhisatva and the Four Heavenly Kings and asked a lot of monks to recite the Daiun sutra. At that time Senior Minister Soga held the incense and lighting it on fire issued his request. On the 28th day, a little rain fell. On the 29th day, they could not pray for rain, so they stopped the reading of the sutra.
Eighth month. On the first day, the Empress visited the areas around the Minabuchi river, and stepped and bowed to each of the four quarters, and raised his her head to heaven and prayed. Then there was thunder and heavy rain, and it continued for five days and saturated all the realm. One book says, for five straight days it rained, and the nine grains were abundant. Then the people of the country all cheered the Empress, saying, “What a virtuous Empress.”
On the sixth day, the messengers from Baekje and other attending officials returned home. The Empress granted them one great ship and three other boats (morogifune is read mo-ro-gi-fu-ne, 母慮紀船). That night, the lightning sounded in the southwest and there was wind and rain. The boats ridden by the attending officials smashed against the shore and were broken apart. On the 13th day, the rank of Shotoku was bestowed upon the hostage from Baekje Tatsusotsu Jangbok, and those of middle status or below were granted one grade of rank. They were awarded gifts of different values. On the 15th day, boats were awarded to attending official from Baekje and they set out. On the 16th day, the messengers from Goguryeo returned home. On the 26th day, the messengers from Baekje and Silla returned home.
Ninth month. On the third day, the Empress proclaimed to the Senior Minister, “I want to build a great temple, so draft the people of Omi and Koshi into labor.” (It was the Great Temple of Kudara). Also all the countries were made to build ships. On the 19th day, The Empress proclaimed to the Senior Minister, “From this month, through 12 months, I want to build a palace. You should take materials from all the countries, and to the east up to Totomi and the west up to Aki, draft peole into labor.”On the 21st day at the border of Koshi, some thousands of Emishi naturalized.

Funeral of Emperor Jomei, Construction of Soga Family Tombs


Winter, tenth month. On the eighth day, there was an earthquake and rain. On the ninth day, there was an earthquake. That night, there was another earthquake and it was windy. On the 12th day, the Empress had a banquet for the Emishi in the court. On the 15th day, Senior Minister Soga invited the Emishi to his house and they exchanged words of friendship. That day, The boat of the condolence messengers and congratulatory messengers from Silla stayed at Iki. On the 24th day, in the evening, there was an earthquake. That month, the summer ordinances were enacted. There were no clouds but rain.
11th month. On the second day, there was heavy rain and thunder. On the fifth day, thunder sounded in the northwest. On the eighth day, thunder sounded five times in the northwest. On the ninth day, the weather was warm like spring. On the tenth day, it rained. On the 11th day, the weather was warm like spring. On the 13th day, there was thunder in the north and it was windy. On the 16th day, the Emperor had the feast of first fruits. That day, the crown prince and the Senior Minister also each attended at the feast of first fruits.
12th month. On the first day, the weather was warm like spring. On the third day, thunder sounded five times during the day and twice at night. On the 9th day, it there was thunder twice in the east and it was windy and rainy. On the 13th day, the funeral of Emperor Okinagatarashi Hihironuka [Jomei] began. That day, Shotoku Kose no Omi Tokuda said the eulogy in place of Imperial Prince Omata. Next, Shotoku Awata no Omi Hosome said a eulogy in place of Imperial Prince Karu. Next, Shotoku Otomo no Muraji Umakai said a eulogy in place of the Senior Minister. On the 14th day, Okinaga no Yamada no Kimi said the eulogy for the hitsugi [crown prince]. On the 20th day, thunder rang three times in the Northeast. On the 21st day, Emperor Okinagatarashi Hihironuka [Jomei] was buried at Namehasama Hill. That day, the Emperor moved to Oharida Palace. According to one book, she moved to the a temporary palace in the southern courtyard of the east palace. On the 23rd day, Thunder rang once during the night. It sounded like something being ripped apart. On the 30th day, the weather was warm like spring.
That year, Senior Minister Soga no Emishi set up shrines to his ancestors at Takamiya in Kazuraki and made people do a Yatsura dance, and made a song that went “blah blah blah.”
Also he raised the people of the country and the 180 be and had them build a preemptive tomb in Imaki, and it was called Omisasagi, the great tomb, and it was the tomb of the Senior Minister, and another was called Komisasagi, the small tomb, and it was the tomb of [his son] Iruka no Omi. He wished that after his death people not be made to labor. Also he completely assembled the Kamitsumiya no Mibu (Mibu is read mi-bu,美父) [serfs of Prince Shotoku] and made them do forced labor at the tomb.
Then Imperial Princess Kamitsumiya no Iratsume was indignant and then sighed, saying, “Soga no Omi administrates the country at his whim, and is rude in many points. Heaven does not have two suns, and the country does not have two rulers: why does he make us [those bestowed upon Kamitsu no Miya] do forced labor?” This was the beginning of her resentment, and in the end they were destroyed together. The year was 642.

Rejection of the Tribute of Baekje


Second year, spring, first month. On the first day at morning, there were five colors of great clouds and they filled the sky, only there were none in the east-northeast. Also, one color of blue fog rose up in the surroundings. On the tenth day, there was high wind.
Second month. On the 20th day, the peach blossoms began to bloom. On the 25th day, it hailed and the flowers and leaves of the trees and grass were damaged. That month, there was wind, thunder, and freezing rain. The winter ordinances were enacted. The priestesses in the country broke tree branches and took them, and hung cotton from them, and waited for when the Senior Minister was crossing a bridge, then they shook the tips of them and said words to some god. The number of the priestesses was many, so what they said could not completely be heard.
Third month. On the 13th day, there was a fire at the foreign guest house for Baekje in Naniwa and at some of the people’s houses. On the 25th day, there was frost that damaged the flowers and leaves of the trees and grass. That month, there was wind, thunder, and freezing rain. The winter ordinances were enacted.
Summer, fourth month. On the seventh day, there was high wind and rain. On the eighth day, there was wind and it was really cold. On the 20th day, the west wind blew and it hailed, and it was cold. People had to wear three layers of clothing. On the 21st day, the Viceroy of Tsukushi sent an urgent message to the Empress: “The son of the ruler of Baekje, the younger prince, Gyogi, has come with tribute messengers.” On the 25th day, people in the country of Omi said, “Hail fell, and its size was one inch in diameter.”On the 28th day, the Empress moved from the temporary palace to Asuka no Itabuki to the new palace.
Fifth month. On the 16th day, there was a lunar eclipse.
Sixth month. On the 13th day, the Viceroy of Tsukushi sent an mounted messenger to the Empress saying: “Goguryeo has dispatched messengers to come to the court.” The myriad ministers heard this and said, “Goguryeo has not sent messengers to come to court since 639, but now they come.” On the 23rd day, Baekje presented a boat as tribute, and it was docked in the port of Naniwa.
Autumn, seventh month. On the third day, the Empress dispatched many ministers to the district of Naniwa to examine the tribute goods of Baekje. Then, the ministers asked the tribute messenger, “The tribute presented by your country is less than usual. The goods to send to the Senior Minister are no better than those returned in a previous year. The goods to send to the myriad ministers have not come at all. These are all in defiance of precedent – what is going on?” Then the Ambassador Tatsusotsu Jasa and the Deputy Ambassador Onsotsu Gunseon replied together, “Right away we will adjust them.” Jasa was the son of the hostage Tatsusotsu Muja. That month, the waters of the Lake Manda gave off a great odor, and the surface of the water was covered with small insects. The insects mouths were black and their bodies red.
Eighth month. On the 15th day, the waters of Lake Manda changed to like a blue syrup, and dead insects covered the surface of the water. The flow of the ditches stopped up and froze, and the thickness of the residue was three or four inches. The fishes large and small stank like summer rot. Therefore they could not be eaten.

Burial of Emperor Jomei, Iruka Designs against Yamashiro no Oe


Ninth month. On the sixth day, Emperor Okinagatarashi Hihironuka [Jomei] was buried in Oshisaka Tomb. In one book, Emperor Hironuka is called Emperor Takachi. On the 11th day, the Empress Dowager Kibi no Shima died. On the 17th day, the Empress proclaimed that Haji no Saba no Muraji Ite oversee the funeral of the Empress Dowager. The Empress, from when the Empress Dowager became sick until the funeral, did not leave her bedside, and saw to her nursing without ceasing. On the 19th day, she was buried at Mayumi Hill. That day, there was heavy rain and hail. On the 30th day, construction of the tomb of the Empress Dowager was finished. Also silk in varying amounts was bestowed upon the omi, muraji, and tomo no miyatsuko. That month, the waters of Lake Manda changed to white and stopped stinking.
Winter, tenth month. On the third day, the Empress held a feast for the myriad ministers and tomo no miyatsuko in the palace courtyard there was conference on the bestowing of ranks. Then she proclaimed to the kuni no miyatsuko, “In keeping with the imperial orders of the past, there will be no changes or amendments. You should work in your appointment and take care in your administration.” On the sixth day, Senior Minister Soga no Emishi did not attend court because he was sick. Privately he presented a purple headcap to his son Iruka, and cemented him in the rank of Senior Minister. Also he called his [Emishi’s] younger brother Senior Minister Mononobe. This Senior Minister’s grandmother was the younger sister of Mononobe no Yuge no Muraji, therefore by his mother’s assests he took power in the world. On the 12th day, Soga no Iruka planned to get rid of the princes of Kamitsumiya [Shotoku] on his own and set up Furuhito no Oe as Emperor. At that time, there was a popular song that went: “blah blah blah.”
One book says Soga no Omi Iruka deeply resented that the name of the princes of Kamitsumiya was powerful in the realm and planned to overthrow them. That month, the waters of Lake Manda returned to blue.

Iruka Destroys Yamashiro no Oe


11th month. On the first day, Soga no Omi Iruka dispatched Shotoku Kose no Tokuda no Omi and Dainin Haji no Saba no Muraji to ambush Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe and the others at Ikaruga. By one book, it was Kose no Tokuda no Omi and Yamato no Umakai no Obito who were made the shoguns of this attack force. Then, the slave Minari and some tens of servants came out and defended. Haji no Saba no Muraji was shot and died, and the soldiers were all afraid and retreated. The men in the army talked to each other saying, “Just one of Minari is worth 1,000 men.”
Yamashiro no Oe took horse bones and threw them into his bedchamber, then leading his conosrt and children and their siblings, was able to escape through a break in the siege and hid at Mt. Ikoma. Miwa no Fumiya no Kimi and his servant Tame no Muraji and his daughters, Uda no Moroshi and Ise no Abe no Katafu, followed him. Kose no Tokuda no Omi and the others burned Ikaruga Palace, and in the ashes saw the bones, and mistakenly said that the prince was dead, and released their seige of the place and withdrew.
Then, Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe and the others stayed in the mountains for four or five days, and were not able to get anything to eat. Miwa no Fumiya no Kimi suggested, “We should move toward the granary of Fukakusa, and then take horses and make for the countries in the east, and with the mibu raise an army and return to fight. In this we will surely prevail.”
Then Imperial Prince Yamashiro and the others replied, “If we do as you say, we will certainly be victorious. However my feelings are that I not wish ten years of toil upon the people. I am just one man, so how can I make hardship for 10,000??Also in future generations, I do not want the people to say that they lost their mothers and fathers for my sake. How is it that after a victorious battle, one can be called genius? Sacrificing my body to strengthen the nation, is that not genius?”
Someone from far off saw that the princes of Kamitsumiya were in the mountain, and returned to tell Soga no Iruka. Iruka heard this and was greatly afraid, and quickly raised an army to see if the princes were in the mountain, and told Takamuka no Omi Kunioshi, “Quickly make for the mountain and search for and capture the prince.”
Kunioshi reported, “I protect the Emperor’s palace, and I do not dare go outside.”Therefore Iruka decided to to go himself.
Then, Imperial Prince Furuhito no Oe came panting asking, “Where are you going?” Iruka told him the place and reason. Then Imperial Prince Furuhito said, “Rats stay alive in their hole, but if they lose their hole they die. Therefore Iruka stopped, and dispatched soldiers and others to search in Ikoma, but they could not find them.
Then, Yamashiro no Oe and the others went out of the mountain and returned to Ikaruga Temple, and the shoguns and their soldiers quickly surrounded the temple. Then Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe made Miwa no Fumiua no Kimi say to the shoguns, “If I raise soldiers to fight Iruka, I will surely win. However for only one person’s fight, I do not wish to cause injury to the people. Therefore I will grant to Iruka this one body.” Then in the end his brothers and consort all at once hanged themselves and died. At that time there were five colors of curtains and umbrellas, and various musics played, and smoke shone in the sky and hung down on the temple. Many people looked up and saw this and sighed, and then pointed to Iruka. Then the curtains and umbrellas changed into a black cloud, and therefore Iruka could not see them.
Senior Minister Soga no Emishi heard that Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe and the others had died because of Iruka, and was enraged, saying, “Alas! What kind of fool is Iruka, to do such violent acts. If you do those kinds of things, what will become of your own life?”
At that time people decoded the earlier popular song, saying, “On top of the stone refers to Kamitsumiya, and the little monkey is Hayashi no Omi (Hayashi no Omi refers to Iruka). Cooking rice, this means the burning of Kamitsumiya. Come on and eat the rice, little goat man refers to the fact that Yamashiro no Oe’s hair was messed like that of a mountain goat. It was also said, “This showed the abandonement of the palace and concealment in the mountains.”
That year, the crown prince of Baekje Yeopung took four honey-bee hives and released themn for raising at Mt. Miwa, but they did not multiply.

Alliance of Nakatomi no Kamatari and Naka no Oe


Third year, spring, first month. On the first day, Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji was made head of Shinto. Over and over he refused and would not take the post, and fell ill and withdrew to Mishima. At that time Imperial Prince Karu had some leg disease and couldn’t attend at court, and as Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji had friendly relations with Imperial Prince Karu, he went to the palace and waited on him in his quarters. Imperial Prince Karuko knew deep down that Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji’s status was high, and that it would be hard to get by offending him, and so sent his cherished consort Ahe no Uji to clean out a separate hall, and spread a new elevated bed, and there was nothing not provided to him, and he the respect he was shown was so profound it stood out.
Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji was moved by this treatment and said to a servant, “Receiving such deep benevolence has exceeded what I thought before. Who would not make him ruler of the realm?” It is said that a servant was made to be his messenger. The servant then told the Imperial Prince what had been said, and the Imperial Prince was greatly pleased.
Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji was a man of loyalty and correction and had a heart to aid others, and he resented that Soga no Omi Iruka had lost the order of lord and vassal, old and young, and coveted rule of the state in his heart, so he had made contact with all the princes of the imperial house to search for who could become successful as ruler. His heart leaned to Naka no Oe, however he had not had a chance to get close to him and learn his soul.
By chance Naka no Oe was in Hoko Temple beneath a zelkova tree playing soccer when his shoe came off when he kicked the ball, so Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji took it in the palm of his hand and kneeled offering it to him. Naka no Oe replied by kneeling and humbly taking it. From then on there was good relations between them and they spoke of their feelings, and nothing was hidden between them. However they feared others would dislike their frequent meetings, and they took in their hands Chinese documents, and studied the teachings of Confucious and the Duke of Zhou from Minabuchi. Then on the road, when going back and forth, they walked shoulder to shoulder and made secret plans, but there was nothing in which they were not in agreement.
Then, Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji counseled him, saying, “When planning great deeds, nothing is like support. Ask Soga no Kurayamada no Maro’s oldest daughter to be your wife. Afterwards explain the plans to her, for I want you to give her the plan. because on the road to success, no way is shorter than this.” Naka no Oe heard this and was greatly delighted, and went along with this counsel.
Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji went as matchmaker to seal the deal, but the oldest daughter was in the space of one night stolen away by some family. Some family refers to Musa no Omi. Therefore Kurayamada no Omi was desperate, and looked up and down and did not know what to do. Then his younger daughter saw her father’s anguish and worried, and asked him, “Why are you depressed?” Her father told her the reason. Then she said, “I want you not to despair. I will present myself, and it will not be too late.” Her father was overjoyed, and offered this dauther instead. This dauther served with a true heart, and hid nothing. Nakatomi no Kamako no Omi then made Saeki no Muraji Komaro and Kazuraki no Wakainukai no Muraji Amita go to Naka no Oe and say etc etc.

Ominous Songs and Signs


Third month. An owl gave birth to a child in the granary at the house of Senior Minister Toyura in Otsu. (Iidoyo is a boshi [This explains the wording used for "owl."])
The people of Yamato country said, “Recently, a man of Uda district called Oshisaka no Atai (name absent) was going to take one of his children and play in the snow. They climbed Mt. Uda and there saw purple mushrooms growing. Their height was six inches, and they filled four cho. Then he made his child harvest one, and returned and showed it to his neighbors. They all said they didn’t know anything about it. He suspected that it was posionous. Then Oshisaka no Atai and his child boiled it and ate it, and it had a great aroma and flavor. The next day they went again to see them, but there was not one there. Then Oshisaka no Atai and his child, because they ate this mushroom, were never sick and had long lives. Some people said, “Probably common people don’t know about the shisho [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganoderma_lucidum Ganoderma lucidum] and mistakenly called it a mushroom.”
Summer, sixth month. On the first day, Otomo no Umakai no Muraji presented a white flower to the Empress. This flower’s length was eight feet, and while it had separated roots it came together at the top. On the third day, people in the district of Upper Shiki said, “A man in Mt. Miwa saw a monkey taking a nap, and took it by the arm, so as not to harm it. Then the monkey, continuing to sleep, said, ‘blah blah blah.’
The man was shockedat the monkey’s song, and relased it and departed. Several years after this, Soga no Kuratsukuri made the princes of Kamitsu Miya conceal themselves at Mt. Nikomayama, and this was a sign of that.”
On the sixth day, within the flowers at Lake Tsurugi, there was one that had two stems. Senior Minister mistakenly thought, “This is a sign of the coming pinnacle of Soga no Omi.” Then he had it drawn in gold ink and presented it to the six buddhas of Great Hoko Temple.
That month, the priestesses in the country broke the branches and leaves of trees they had taken, and hung some tree cotton from them, and waited for when the Senior Minister was crossing a bridge, shook them and said some divine words. The priestesses were too many, and it could not be heard what they said. Old people at that time said, “It is a sign of a change.”
At that time, a folk song had three verses. The first was “Blah blah blah.” The second was “Blah blah blah.” The third was “Blah blah blah.”

The Scam Artist of Azuma


Autumn, seventh month. At the Fuji river in the country of Azuma a man called Obe no O recommended observing insects to the people of the village, saying, “These are the gods of Tokoyo. If you observe these gods, you will be rich and have long life.”
The priestesses then decieved the people with divine words saying, “By watching the gods of Tokoyo, the poor will become rich, and the old will return to youth.” Therefore they recommended that the people throw away their assets, and they lined up wine and vegetables and the six domesticated animals [horse, cow, sheep, pig, dog, chicken] on the roadside, and were made to chant “New riches come.”
Then the capital and in the country people took the Tokoyo insects and placed them in clean seats, and sang and danced seeking good fortune, and threw away rare treasures. However they got no profit, and the loss was extreme. Then, Kazuno no Hada no Miyatsuko Kawakatsu knew that evil people had decieved them, and struck Obe no O. The priestesses seeing this were afraid and stopped recommending people to worship. At that time people made a song going, “blah blah blah.” The insects had always lived in Tachibana and in Hasoki trees. Hasoki is read ha-so-ki, 褒曾紀. Their length was about four inches, and they were about as bug as an index finger, and their color was green with black spots, and their shape was just like a silkworm.

Fortification of the Soga Clan Residence


Winter, 11th month. Senior Minister Soga no Emishi and his child Iruka no Omi built houses next to each other at Umakashi Hill. Then the Senior Minister’s house was called the capital of Ue no Mikado, and Iruka’s house was called Hasama no Mikado (hasama is read ha-sa-ma, 波佐麻). Their sons and daughters were called miko [Imperial Prince], and a wall was constructed outside their houses, and beside the gate they made an armory. At each gate they placed one water tank and ten or so hooked poles [used to pull down sections of wall or building] to prevent against fire, and made strong men hold weapons and protect the house.
The Senior Minister made Naga no Atai in Oionoyama build Hokonuki Temple, and also built a house in the east of Mt. Unebi, and dug a lake and made a castle, and made an armory and stored up arrows. Also he had 50 soldiers who surrounded him as bodyguards when he went in and out. These strong men were called Azuma no Shitobe, the Eastern Company. The people of the clan who attended on the gates were called Oya no Kowarawa. The Aya no Atai completely attended on their two gates.
Fourth year, spring. On the first month, at the hilltops, and near the rivers, and inbetween the palaces and temples, from far away one could see things and hear the screeches of monkeys. There were ten or twenty of them. However if one drew near and looked, things could not be seen, however the echos of the screeches could still be heard, but no figures could be seen. At that time people said, “This is the work of the Great Goddess of Ise.” In an old book, it says that that year the Empress moved the capital to Naniwa, and this was a sign of the getting rid of Itabuki Palace.
Summer, fourth month. On the first day, the monks who had gone to Goguryeo to study said, “Kuratsukuri no Tokushi who studies with us has made friends with a tiger, and is learning its devices. One is turning bare mountians into green ones, and one is making yellow earth change into clear water, and various other mysterious arts, so many that they can never all be taught. Also the tiger bestowed on him a needle, saying, ‘Verily verily, tell no one of this. With this, there is no disease that you cannot cure.’ The result was like these words, and there was no gap in what it could not heal. Tokushi always hid this needle inside of a pillar. Then after a while the tiger broke the pillar and took the needle and departed. Goguryeo knew that Tokushi wanted to return, so killed him with poison.”

The Isshi Incident


Sixth month. On the eighth day, Naka no Oe no secretly said to Kurayamada no Maro no Omi, “On the day that the three kingdoms of Korea submit their taxes, you must recite their report to the ministers.” In the end he wanted to make a plan to kill Iruka. Maro no Omi gave him the go ahead. On the 12th day, the Empress was in Daigoku hall, and Furuhito no Oe was attending on her. Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji knew that Soga no Iruka no Omi had many suspicions, and day and night held a sword, and instructed the performers to make him release it. Iruka no Omi laughed and took off his sword, and went in to attend at his seat. Kurayamada no Maro no Omi went forth to read the report from the three kingdoms of Korea.
Then, Naka no Oe gave warning to the gate guards to all at once block off passage through the 12 gates and stop people’s coming and going. Then he summoned the gate guards to assemble in one place and was going to supply them with presents.
At that time, Naka no Oe had already taken his long spear and was beside the hall in secret. Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji and the others took their bows and arrows and were going to support and protect him, Then he made Ama no Inukai no Muraji Katsumaro give a box that held two swords to Saeki no Muraji Komaro and Kazuraki no Wakainukai no Muraji Amita, and say to them “Effort, effort! Suddenly strike!” Komaro and the others drank some water with their rice, but out of fear threw it up. Then Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji spoke to them and encouraged them.
Kurayamada no Maro no Omi was afraid because he was almost at the end of the document he was reading, and Komaro and the others had not come, and his body was drenched in sweat, and his voice trembeled and his hands shook. Kuratsukuri no Omi thought it suspicious and asked, “Why do you shake like that?”
Yamada no Maro replied, “I am afraid being so near to the Empress, and without thinking perspire.”
Naka no Oe saw Komaro and the others were afraid of Iruka’s power and hesistated, so he screamed, “Go!” Then together Komaroko and the others went out without thinking, and cut Iruka in the head and shoulder. Iruka was was surprised. Then Komaro no Muraji swung his sword and cut one of Iruka’s legs. Iruka drew near to the Empresses seat, and lowering his head said, “Those who succeed to the Emperorship are the children of heaven. I know of no sin, but if there is let it be investigated.”
The Empress was greatly shocked, and said to Naka no Oe, “I do not know of such doings. What thing is this?”
Then Naka no Oe prostrated himself and said, “Kuratsukuri exerts himself in overthrowing the Emperorship, and will end the line. How can the Imperial descendents be overthrown in exchange for Kuratsukuri?” Soga no Omi Iruka was also called Kuratsukuri. The Empress got up and went into the hall. Then Saeki no Muraji Komaro and Wakainukai no Muraji Amita killed Iruka no Omi.
That day, there was heavy rain, and the water filled the courtyard. Then, they covered the body of Kuratsukuri with screens and matting. Furuhito no Oe ran into the private hall and proclaimed to the people, “The Koreans killed Kuratsukuri no Omi (saying therefore it was a plan of the Korean administration). How my heart aches.” Then he went inside the bedchamber and closing the gate did not come out.
Naka no Oe then went into Hoko temple and made it a fortress and fortified it. All the imperial princes, all the princes, all the ministers, omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, and kuni no miyatsuko, completely everyone was in attendance. Messengers bestowed the body of Kuratsukuri no Omi to Senior Minister Emishi. Then Aya no Atai and others collected the members of their clan, and made an army and took up arms, and were going to rescue the Senior Minister and make a military camp.
Then Naka no Oe made the Shogun Kose no Tokuda no Omi explain to the rebels for the first time since the opening of heaven and earth the relationship of lord and vassal, so that they knew of it, and Takamuka no Kunioshi told the Aya no Atai, “We, because of what we did to Kimi Tairou (Iruka) may be put to death. The Senior Minister will today or tomorrow certainly be killed. However why do you follow them and fight for no reason? Cetainly you will be punished.” At these words they dropped ther swords and threw down their bows and fled, and the rebel retainers following them dispersed. On the 13th day, Soga no Omi Emishi and the others were about to be put to death, and completely burned the Record of the Emperors and Record of the Country along with rare treasures. Fune no Fubito Esaka quickly took the Record of the Emperors that was to be burned and presented it to Naka no Ooe. That day, Soga no Omi Emishi and Kuratsukuri’s corpses were buried in their tombs, and all wept. Then, some preson explained the first line of the folk song, saying, “The song goes ‘blah blah blah.’
On the 14th day, the Empress gave up the throne to Imperial Prince Karuko and made Naka no Oe crown prince.

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