Accession of Emperor Kotoku
Emperor Kotoku was the younger brother of Empress Toyotakara Ikashihitarashi Hime [Kogyoku] by the same mother. He was Buddhist and took the Shinto gods lightly, as when he cut down the tree of Ikukunitama Shrine. His personality was virtuous and he loved scholars, and he did not discriminate between lower people and higher, and often bestowed benevolent edicts.
In the fourth year, sixth month, 14th day of the rule of Empress Toyotakara Ikashihitarashi Hime [Kogyoku], she wanted to Naka no Oe to succeed to the throne, and proclaimed etc etc. Naka no Oe withdrew, and spoke to Nakatomi Kamako no Muraji. Nakatomi Kamako no Muraji consulted him, saying, “Furuhito no Oe is your older brother, and Imperial Prince Karu is your uncle. If now Furuhito no Oe is made Emperor, this is counter to the humble heart that a younger brothrer should hold. You should make your uncle respond to the wishes of the people, is this not best?”
Then Naka no Oe thought deep and deemded this counsel good, and secretly reported it to the Empress. Empress Toyotakara Ikashihitarashi Hime [Kogyoku] then bestowed upon Imperial Prince Karu the imperial stamp and rank, and said, “Ah, Imperial Prince Karu.” Etc Etc. However Imperial Prince Karu refused over and over again, withdrawing himself in favor of Imperial Prince Furuhito no Oe (also called Imperial Prince Furuhito no Ochi). He said, “Oe no Mikoto is the child of an Emperor [Jomei], and is already advanced in years. For these two reasons, he should become Emperor.”
Then Furuhito no Oe left his seat and hesitated, and crossed his arms and refused, saying, “Why do you make labor of following the Emperess’s holy charge by passing it to me? I want to go into the priesthood at Yoshino, and work toward enlightenment, and pray for the Emperor’s happiness.” Then he finished refusing, and took out his sword, and threw it on the ground, ordered his servants all to throw down their swords. Then he went between the buddhist hall and the pagoda at Hoko Temple, and cut his hair and beard, and put on a kesa. For this reason Imperial Prince Karu could no longer refuse resolutely, and he climbed the dais and became Emperor.
At that time, Otomo no Nagatoko (his cognomen was Umakai) no Muraji put on a golden quiver and stood to the right of the dais, and Inukami no Takerube no Kimi took a golden quiver and stood to the left of it. Then the hundred offices of omi, muraji, kuni no miyatsuko, tomo no miyatsuko, and all the 180 be lined up and bowed.
That day, title was given to Empress Toyotakara and she was called Sumemioya no Mikoto, the Empress Dowager. Naka no Oe was made crown prince. Ahe no Maro no Omi was made Minister of the Left, and Soga no Kurayamada Ishikawa no Maro no Omi was made Minister of the Right. A great brocade cap was bestowed upon Nakatomi Kamako no Muraji and he was made Minister of the Interior, and his fief was increased, etc etc. Nakatomi no Kamako no Muraji was truly loyal in his heart, and based on his power as senior minister he presided over the commisioners. Therefore the promotions and demotions he made and the things he established and abolished all went according to plan, etc etc. The monk Min and the scribe Takamuka no Genri were made the country’s high counselors.
On the 15th day, golden books were beswoted on Senior Ministers Ahe no Kurahashi Maro and Soga no Kura no Yama no Ishikawa no Maro. One book says they were bestowed with refined gold. On the 19th day, the Emperor, Sumemioya no Mikoto, and the crown prince summoned the myriad ministers to the great zelkova tree and they swore allegiance. Then swearing to the gods of heaven and earth they said, “The heaven covers us and the earth holds us up. The Emperor’s way is but one. In these later days people’s hearts have became light and the order of lord and vassal is lost. The Emperor lent his hand to us and put to death the violent rebels. Now together we shed our heart’s blood, that from the lord will not hold two administrations, and servants will not betray the court. If we break this oath, there will be disaster in the heavens and on earth, and demons will kill the people – this is as clear as the sun and moon.” Then the fourth year of Empress Toyotakara Ikashihitarashi Hime [Kogyoku] was made the first year of Taika.
Proclomation to the Messengers of Goguryeo and Baekje
First year of Taika, autumn, seventh month. On the second day, the daughter of Emperor Okinagatarashihi Hironuka [Jomei], called Imperial Princess Hashihito, was made Empress. Also two cocubines were set up. The first was Princess Otarashi, daughter of Senior Minister Ahe no Kurahashi Maro. She gave birth to Imperial Prince Arima. The second was Chi no Iratsume, the daughter of Senior Minister Soga no Yamada no Ishikawa no Maro.
On the tenth day, Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla all sent messengers to present tribute. The messengers from Baekje were also charged with being the messengers to present the tribute of Gaya. Only the ambassador of Baekje, Sahei Yeonbok, came down with something and stayed in the foreign guest house at the port, and did not enter the capital. Kose no Tokoda no Omi proclaimed to the Goguryeo ambassador, “The bright, divine, honorable, and heavenly Emperor of Yamato proclaims, ‘The exchange of messengers dispatched by the Emperor to Goguryeo and those dispatched by the divine children of Goguryeo has a short past but a long future. Therefore may they continue to come and go with warm and peaceful hearts.’”
Then he proclaimed to the messenger from Baekje, “The bright divine honorable heaven Yamato Emperor proclaims, ‘In the beginning in the generations of my distant imperial ancestors, the country of Bakeje was made one of our imperial territories, like three strings weaved into a cord. Sometime before now Gaya was granted to Baekje as a fiefdom. Afterwards Miwa no Kurukuma no Kimi Azumahito was sent to inspect the borders of Gaya. At that time the King of Gaya pointed out the borders according to imperial proclomation. However, there is deficiency in this tribute. Therefore we return it. Gaya’s exports will be inspected at by the Emperor himself. From now on, you should clearly distinguish which taxes are from which country. You, minister, and others come again with face unchanged [by age], and quickly make a clear report. Now I will again send Miwa no Kimi Azumahito and Umakai no Miyatsuko (name absent) with you.’” Also the Emperor commanded, “I shall send the wife and children of Kiho Tatsusotsu Uisa [to Baekje].”
On the 12th day, the Emperor proclaimed to Senior Ministers Ahe no Kurahashi no Maro and Soga no Ishikawa no Maro, saying, “I will, following in the footsteps of the sage-kings of old, rule the realm. Also, be true in your administratino of the realm.” On the 13th day, the Empreror proclaimed to Senior Ministers Ahe no Kurahashi no Maro and Soga no Ishikawa no Maro, “You should ask the ministers and all the tomo no myakko one by one what to do to make the people happy.”On the 14th day, Senior Minister Soga no Ishikawa no Maro said to the Emperor, “First observe the rituals to the gods of heaven and earth, and afterwards hold counsel on administrative matters.” That day, the Emperor dispatched Yamato no Atai Hirafu to the country of Owari and Inbe no Ahito Komaro to the counry of Mino to levy offerings for the gods.
Appointment of Eastern Governors
Eighth month. On the fifth day, the Emperor appointed the the governors of the eastern provinces. Then he proclaimed to all the governors, “According to the dictate of the gods in heaven, starting now we will continue to govern the 10,000 countries. For all the state and its people and those who they have been entrusted with, be they great and small, you are charged to make family registers for all, and to inspect the dimensions of the fields. As for the profits of the gardens and lakes, waters and land, reap their profits together with the people. Also the governors shall not pass judgement on crimes in their countries, nor not take bribes from others and thus impoverish the people. When coming to the capital, they shall not come with a large retinue of people, however servants may accompany the kuni no miyatsuko and koori no miyatsuko. When coming on official business, they may ride the horses for official use and eat the rice that is for official use. For those at the rank of assistant or above, obey the law and certainly you will be rewarded, break it and your cap rank will be lowered. For those below the rank of matsurigotohito who take bribes from others, they will be fined twice the amount, and according to the severity of the crime be punished. The retinue for a principal is nine people, for an assistant it is seven people, and for a scribe it is five people, and if this limit is broken the master and those following will be punished. If there is someone who seeks recognition, and though not originally a governor, tomo no miyatsuko, or agata no inaki, and lies in their suit saying ‘In the time of my ancestors, we were entrusted with an imperial territory, and ruled over some district,’you governors will not simply report that lie to the court, but first judge what is true and afterwards make the report. Also, in open areas you should built armories, and there collect and store the districts’ swords, armor, bows, and arrows. For countries on the border and those touching the borders of the Emishi, you should count the number of these weapons, and lend them to their original owners. Dispatch messengers in the six districts of the country of Yamato to make family registers and inspect all the rice fields (that means inspecting the dimensions of fields in use, their population, and their age). You governors, hear this clearly and then retire.” Then they were given silk and cloth in various amounts by the Emperor.
Placement of Court Bell and Box, Appointment of Buddhist Masters
That day, a bell and a small box were set in the court, and the Emperor proclaimed, “If someone has a suit, and they have a tomo no miyatsuko, that tomo no miyatsuko should first make a judgment and then report, or if they have a senior member of their family, the senior member should first make a judgment and then report it. If the tomo no miyatsuko or senior member does pronounce a judgement, then place a suit in the box and that crime will be punished. The person in charge of collecting the suits will at dawn take them and submit to me in the inner court. I will mark the year and month and also show them to the myriad ministers. If they are remiss in making judgements, or if they make a mistake, then the person who made the suit should strike the bell. That’s why I put a bell and a box in the court, so that the people of the realm could know my intentions. Also, concerning the law about marriage, if an free man and an free woman have a child, it shall be attached to the father, and if an free man takes a slave and has a child it will be attached to the mother, and if an free woman marries a slave man that child will be attached to the father, and if the slaves of two houses have a child it will be attached to the mother. The children of the servants at temples will follow the same law as for free men, unless the person is specially designated as a slave, in which case it will follow the law for slaves. Now may the people see this for the beginning of a system of legislation.”
On the eighth day, the Emperor dispatched messengers to the great temples and summoned the monks and nuns to assemble, and then he proclaimed to them, “In the 13th year of Emperor Niame no Shitashirashimeshishi of Shikishima Palace [Kimmei], King Myeong of Baekje presented the Buddhist law to our Emperor. At that time the myriad ministers did not want to follow it, though Soga no Iname no Sukune alone believed the Buddhist law. The Emperor ordered Iname no Sukune to attend on that law. Then in the days of Emperor Niame no Shitashirashimeshishi of Osata Palace [Bidatsu], Soga no Umako no Sukune, out of filial piety for the customs of his father, continued to respect their teachings of benevolence. But the other ministers did not believe in them, and the teaching was going to be destroyed. Then the Emperor ordered Umako no Sukune to believe in this law. In the days of Empress Niame no Shitashirashimeshishi of Oharida Palace [Suiko], in his service for the Empress Umako no Sukune made an embroidered Buddhist image six jo high and a copper Buddhist statue six jo high, spread the teachings of Buddhism, and respected the monks and nuns. I also wish to worship this correct teaching and brightly open the great scheme. Therefore I name the monk grandmaster Maek, Bokryang, Hyeun, Sangan, Ryeongun, Hyeji, the monk and temple master Min, Dodeung, Hyerin, and Hyemyo as the ten masters. Also, Master Hyemyo is assigned to Kudara Temple as its temple master. These ten masters should teach and guide the other monks, so that they become enlightened by the doctrine. Also, temples built by anyone from the Emperor down to the tomo no miyatsuko that can no longer continue to function will receive my support. Now I will appoint a Comissioner of Temples and an Abbot. Also, when moving between temples, examine the monks and nuns, the slaves, the condition of the fields, and making it clear report it to me.” Then he set Kume no Omi (name absent), Miwa no Shikobu no Kimi, and Nukatabe no Muraji Oi as hozu.
Prohibition of Land Sale, Movement of Capital to Naniwa
Ninth month. On the first day, the Emperor dispatched messengers to all the countries to take care of weapons. One book says, from the sixth month to the ninth month he dispatched messgengers in the four directions to collect weapons. On the third day. Imperial Prince Furuhito plotted treason with Soga no Taguchi no Omi Kawahori, Mononobe no E no I no Muraji Shiinomi, Kibi no Kasa no Omi Shidaru, Yamato no Aya no Fumi no Atai Maro, and Echi no Hada no Miyatsuko Takutsu. One book says, Furuhito no Oe. This Imperial Prince was in Mt. Yoshino, therefore he was called Imperial Prince Yoshino no Hitsugi. Shidaru is read shi-da-ru, 之娜廔.
On the 12th day, Kibi no Kasa no Omi Shidaru confessed to Naka no Oe, saying, “Imperial Prince Yoshino no Furuhito is plotting treason with Soga no Taguchi no Omi Kawahori and others. I am included.” One book says, Kibi no Kasa no Omi Shidaru said to Senior Ministers Ahe and Soga, “I am involved in a treasonous plot with Imperial Prince Yoshino, therefore I confess.” Naka no Oe accrodingly dispatched Uda no Emura no Furu and Koma no Miyashiri leading some number of soldiers to attack Imperial Prince Furuhito no Ochi and the others. One book says, in the 11th month, on the 30th day, Naka no Oe dispatched Ahe no Kosohe no Omi and Saekibe no Komaro leading 30 soldiers to attack Furuhito no Oe, and they killed Furuhito no Oe and his children. Then his consort hanged herself. One book says, in the 11th month, Imperial Prince Yoshino no Oe plotted treason, but it was discovered and he submitted to being put to death.
On the 19th day, the Emperor dispatched messengers to all the countries to take a census. Thus he proclaimed, “From the past, for every emperor past, there were established markers on his people [nashiro], so that their names would hang down to future generations. The omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, and kuni no miyatsuko each establish their vassals, and work them as they see fit, dividing up the mountains and sea, forests and fields, and lakes and paddies of the countries and distrcits and each taking them as his own assests, and then fighting each other without ceasing. Some people rule over tens of thousands of fields, and others in their entirety have only a needle of land. When submitting taxes, the omi, muraji, and tomo no miyatsuko first collect their own part then afterwards divide out part as taxes. In repairing the palace and constructing tombs, each leads his own people and they follow in that plan. In the Book of Changes it says, ‘Burden the top and make prosper the bottom. According to the system, fortune will not be lost and the people will not be injured.’ Now the people’s lot is unchanged, and powerful ones divide up the water and land and take it for their own, then sell it to the people and year after year demand payment. From now on, the sale of land is prohibited. No one may become a false owner by annexing that of the helpless.’ The people greatly rejoyced.
Winter, 12th month. On the ninth day, the Emperor moved the capital to Naniwa, to Nagara Toyosaki Palace. The old people all said to one another, “From spring to summer, that the rats all moved toward Naniwa, and that was a portent of the Emperor’s proclomation.” On the 24th day, people in the country of Koshi said, “In the sea a rotten log floated off to the east. The mark left in the sand looks like a rice paddie.” The year was 645.
The Taika Reforms
Second year, spring, first month. On the first day, after the ceremonies for the new year had finished, the Emperor issued a reform proclamation, saying:
First, the koshiro people established by past emperors as well as the miyake everywhere, and also the kaki people of the omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, kuni no miyatsuko, and mura no obito and their tadokoro everywhere are hereby abolished. Also food and riches will be given to anyone above the rank of minister, each in different amounts. Cloth and silk will be given to the officials and the people in different amounts. It is also proclaimed that the ministers will be made to administrate the people, and if they exert themselves in this administration the people will depend on them. Therefore the importance placed on their profits is for the people.
Two. For the first time I will administrate the capital and establish in the interior countries the governors [under the name kuni no mikotomochi], the magistrates [under the name koori no mikotomochi], the pass blockades, outposts, the guards, the post horses, and the message horses, and there will be constructed signal bells, and [guards] set at the mountain and river boundaries. In the capital, there will be one chief per ward, and one supervisor per four wards. They will be in charge of examining the households and watching that no wrong is done. These ward supervisors will be taken from the people in the ward; those who are clear in their doings and strong in value, those who can sustain the time of their appointment. For the chief of a ward or township, they will be people of that ward or township of upright disposition and strong base. If there are none in the district that can be chosen, it is allowed to take men from the neighboring ward or township. In the interior countries, the east boundary is the Yokogawa river at Nabari, the south boundary to Mt. Senoyama in Ki, (se is read se,制), the west to Kushibuchi in Akashi, and the north to Mt. Osakayama in Sasanami in Omi; these are the interior countries. For the districts, 40 townships make a large district, less than 30 townships and more than four townships make a medium district, and three townships makes a small district. The district magistrates will be taken from among the kuni no miyatsuko, men who are clean in their doings and can handle the duties of their time will be made oazukari [magistrates] or shoazukari [assistant magistrates], and those strong in base, literate and able to do math will be assistants and clerks. The provision of post horses and message horses will always depend on the number of markings on the posting bells. In all the countries, as to the provision of bells, they will be held by the principal, and if he is absent, by his assistant.
Three. For the first time household registers, tax registers, and rice field distribution laws will be made. Around 50 households will make a township, and in each township will be set one chief. The chief is in charge of examining the households, advancing farming and sericulture, stopping illegal activity, and encouraging and forcing the people in tax payment and forced labor. If the mountains and valleys are steep, and in a wide area people are sparse, they will be established as is convenient. All rice fields are to have length of 30 paces, and width of 12 paces, this will be called a dan. 10 dans make a cho. The tax on a dan is 2 bundles and 2 handfuls, thus on a cho 22 bundles.
Four. The old system of tax and forced labor is abolished, and now there will be a tax on rice paddies. All will submit silk, rough silk, thread, and silk thread along with regional products. For one cho of field, the tax is one jo of silk, for four cho it will be one hiki. Its length shall be four jo and width 2.5 feet. For rough silk it is two jo, for 2 cho it is one hiki with length and width the same as for silk. For cloth it is four jo with length and breadth the same as for silk and rough silk, that is one hashi per cho. (For silk and silk thread no mention of weight is seen.) Also there is a tax on households of cloth, one jo two shaku. All the tax includes salt and food offerings according to the region from where they are submitted. As for the horses for official use, if they are middle-grade, one should be submitted per 100 households, but if they are good horses, then one per 200 households. If the horses are bought, their price will be 1 jo 2 feet of cloth from each one household. For arms, each person must submit swords, armor, bows, arrows, banners, and drums. For forced labor, I amend the old system of one person per 30 households (one person will be a caretaker) to one person per 50 households, (one person will be a caretaker). They are to be sent to all the public functionaries. Also every 50 households they will submit provisions for one laborer. One household will submit of one jo, two feet of cloth and five scoops of rice in additional tax. Ladies in waiting are to be tributed from each district from the older and younger sisters and daughters of shoazukari [assistant magistrates] or higher; those girls who are outstandingly attractive (with one manservants and two female servants to attend them). Every 100 households will supply provisions for one lady in waiting. The cloth and rice submitted as additional tax will follow the same model as for forced labor.
That month, the Emperor went out to the temporary palace of Koshiro. He dispatched messengers to proclaim in the districts and countries that the armories were to be repaired. The Emishi surrendered of their own accord. One book says, the Emperor destroyed the granary of the koshiro in the village of Sayabe in Naniwa and made a temporary palace.
Second month, 15th day. The Emperor visited the east gate of the palace, and made the Minister of the Right Soga proclaim, “The bright divine honorable heaven Yamato root-child Emperor proclaims to the ministers, omi, muraji, kuni no miyatsuko, tomo no miyatsuko, and all the people: ‘I hear that the wise rulers of the people hung a bell at their gate and thereby observed the greivances of the people, and made buildings in the thoroughfares to hear the slanders spoken on the roads. They even sought themselves the explanations of the grass and trees and made them their guides. Therefore I made an edict previously stating, “In the past administrations of the realm, the court had flags of righteousness and soshiri. Thereby the way of governing passed through [the realm] and people came with their remonstrations.” All this broadly investigated the opinions of those below. In the writings of Master Guang it says, “The Emperor Huangdi established the conferences of the bright hall and from saw [the opinions] of the wise from the top, and Emperor Yao had street buildings that asked people and heard [the opinions] of the people from the bottom; Emperor Shun had flags to mark those who proclaimed goodness and thereby their doers did not go unknown, and Emperor Yu had drums built in the court to prepare for the seeking of desires; King Tang had the garden of the collected roads thereby observing the wrongs of the people, and King Wu had the pen of Ling Tai so that the wise ones could advance. By this the sage emperors and luminous kings posessed and did not lose, they gained and did not perish.”
Hanging a bell, providing a box, or appointing a person to collect petitions is to make those with greivances and remonstrations put their petitions in the box, and I have proclaimed that the person who collects the petitions will report them to me every morning. I can receive this report and then show it to the ministers and make them investigate it without delay. If the ministers or others are indolent or show lack of zeal, or engage in factionism, and I again will not listen to remonstrance, then the person with a greivance suit can strike the bell. I made a proclomation like this. Already a bright and straight-hearted person who holds in his heart the spirit of the country has made a serious remonstrance showing [the administration’s] neglect and placed it in the box provided. Therefore now it shall be shown to the black [haired] people. It says: “The people who serve in the country’s administration and come to the capital are stayed by the various functionaries and made to do forced labor, etc etc.” I am like one wounded with great anguish at this; how could the people think it would come to this? However it has not been long since the capital was moved, and people are returning as visitors. Even so we cannnot not compel them, the forcing of people to labor. Always I am thinking about this and cannot sleep in peace. I see this petition and it is difficult to rest my peacefully. Therefore according to the words of this remonstration, forced labor from place to place will be abolished. In the past it was proclaimed, “The person with the remonstration should write their name.” Those who do not follow this proclomation are not seeking personal profits, and thereby are aiding the country. Whether people say their name or not, let them remonstrate my forgetfulness.’”
Also it was proclaimed, “In the assemblies of the country and people, there are many things that they sue for. Now I will make myself understood, so listen well. Those who want a decision in a matter of doubt and come to the capital court and assemble, let them not retire and disperse in the monring, but collect and wait in the court.” Goguryeo, Baekje, Gaya, and Silla each sent messengers to submit tribute. On the 22nd day, the Emperor returned from the temporary palace of Koshiro.
Punishment of Eastern Governors
Third month. On the second day. The Emperor proclaimed to the kuni no miyatsuko of the eastern countries, “Assembeled ministers, omi, muraji, kuni no miyatsuko, tomo no miyatsuko, and all people, you should receive my order. The ruler, existing in the space of heaven and earth and ruling the 10,000 people should not do his task alone, and needs the support of the ministers. Therefore generation after generation my imperial ancestors and those of all the ministers together administrated the country. I also want the protection of the gods and to rule together with the ministers. In the past ministers from good families were made to rule the 8 regions of the east. Already the kuni no miyatsuko were appointed, and six followed the law, and two violated it, and of the defects and merits of each I have heard. I praise those that follow the law, but hate those that violate it. When it comes to governing, whether one be lord or vassal, first make yourself correct, and afterwards correct others. If you are not correct, be you lord or vassal, you will receive disaster. How is this not true? You lead in rightuosness, and how will others dare to be evil? Now according to my previous orders [the kuni no miyatsuko will be] judged.”
On the 19th day, the Emperor proclaimed to the court messengers from the eastern countries assembled at the court, “To the collected ministers and kuni no miyatsuko, tomo no miyatsuko, and all the people, all should obey me. Last year, in the eighth month, I myself instructed you, saying, ‘One should not take things, be they public or private, by force. You can eat the food of your division, and can ride horses of your division. If you go against my instruction, those above the rank of assistant will have their cap rank lowered, and those below scribe will be beaten or caned. Those who obtain things in such ways will be fined twice what they take.’ This was already announced. Now I asked those messengers assembled at the court and all the kuni no miyatsuko, for the appointment of kuni no miyatsuko, ‘who is following my instruction and who is defying it?’
Then the messengers assembled at the court together said, ‘Hozumi no Omi Kui is a transgresor, and at the households of the people he asked for things, and then regretted it and returned them, but did not return them all. His assistants Fuse no Omi (name absent) and Kose no Omi Shitanm, the mistake of these two is that they did not correct that of their superior, etc etc. In all these lower bureaucrats there is this mistake.
Kose no Tokone no Omi is a transgressor, and sought things from the people’s households, and in regret returned them, but did not return them all, and furthermore he took the horses of the tabe. His assistants E no I no Muraji and Oshisaka no Muraji (name absent), these two are at fault for not correcting the mistake of their superior, and along with him sought their own profit, and futhermore they took the horses of the kuni no miyatsuko. As for Utena no Atai Sumi, although at first he warned his superior, in the end he became corrupt as well. His lower attendants are also at fault.
Ki no Marikita no Omi is a transgressor, for he sent men to the Asakura no Kimi and the Inoue no Kimi, these two places, and decieving them made them come leading horses for him to look at. Furthermore he made the Asakura no Kimi make swords, and also got the bows and cloth of the Asakura no Kimi. Also for the things sent to the kuni no miyatsuko ‘s place in exchange for weapons, he did not clearly return them to their owners, and wrongly gave them to the kuni no miyatsuko. Also in the place that he was charged with someone robbed him of his sword, and also in Yamato country someone robbed him of his sword. Ki no Omi’s assistants Miwa no Kimi Okuchi, Kawabe no Omi Momoyori and others are also at fault. These lower officials, Kawabe no Omi Shihatsu, Tajihi no Fukame, Mozu no Nagae, Kazuraki no Sakikusa, Naniwa no Kuikame (Kuikame is read ku-hi-ka-me,倶[田比]柯梅), Inukai no Ikimi, Iki no Fubito Maro, and Tajihi no Ome, these 8 men are all at fault.
Azumi no Muraji (name absent) is a transgressor, and when Watoko no Fubito was sick, told the kuni no miyatsuko to send him the goods that were supposed to come to the capital, and futhermore took the horses of the hot water guild. His assistant Kashiwade no Omi Momoyori is a transgressor, for he put the things exchanged for grass inside his house, and furthermore took the horses of the kuni no miyatsuko and exchanged them for other horses and came. The two brothers of Kawabe no Omi, Iwatsutsu and Yumaro, are also at fault.
Ochi no Muraji (name absent) is a transgressor, and defied my earlier proclomation. The earlier proclomation was ‘The kuni no miyatsuko in the place he is appointed, shall not judge the suits of people in that place.’ He thoughtlessly defied it, and on his own judged the suits of the people of Uto and the matter of Nakatomi no Toko’s slaves. Nakatomi no Toko is also a criminal.
Kishita no Omi (name absent)’s crime is that in the country of Yamato his administrative sword was stolen due to his lack of caution.
Omidori no Omi and Taniwa no Omi (names absent) are poor administrators but not criminals. Inbe no Konomi and Nakatomi no Muraji Mutsuki are at fault.
Hata no Omi and Taguchi no Omi (names absent) are not at fault.
Heguri no Omi (name absent) is a transgressor, as the suits of the people of Mikuni are still uninvestigated.’
I have looked at these facts, and Ki no Marikita no Omi, Kose no Tokone no Omi, and Hozumi no Kui no Omi, you three are indolent and stupid. When hearing of people going against my proclomations, how can you not feel troubled? A minister, whether lord or vassals, shepards the people, and if you demonstrate correct conduct yourself, how can they dare to not be corrected? If the lord or vassal has an improper heart, he will receive the guilt. What good is regret? Now for all the kuni no miyatsuko, according to the severity of their offense, I am thinking of their punishment. Also the kuni no miyatsuko who violated my proclomations and sent treasures to their governors, and in the end sought their mutual profit, and always having a corrupt heart. This must be corrected.
However though I think this way, this is the first year in the new palace when we make offerings to the gods, and also now is the faming month, and it is not proper to use the people for labor, but to build the new palace it is unavoidable. Thinking deeply on these two things, I issue pardons for all but the worst offenses. From now on, governors and magistrates, exert yourself and persevere, and do not simply do as you please. Dispatch messengers to all the countries and release all those banished or in prison.
Also, Shioya no Konoshiro (konoshiro is read ko-no-shi-ro, 挙能之慮), Kamikoso no Sakikusa, Asakura no Kimi, Maroko no Muraji, Mikawa no Otomo no Atai, Susukuo no Atai (four names are absent), these six men accorded the order of the Emperor. I am pleased by their hearts. Also, I abolish the miyake of the administrative offices everywhere, and also the lending rice of Kibi no Shima no Sumemioya Ireashi of various places, and her miyake will be divided and given to the ministers and the tomo no miyatsuko. Also for the temples which are absent from the registers, fields and mountains will be given them.”
The Crown Prince Cedes his Fief
On the 20th day, the crown prince sent messengers to the Emperor to report “In the generations of Emperors past, they administrated the entire realm. In these later days, it was been divided, to the detriment of the task (of governing). The Emperor’s imperial line can shepard the 10,000 people’s fate, and heaven and man respond to each other, and the administration is made new. Therefore I congratulate and honor it, and place it on my head, and prostrating myself speak to the Emperor. Now the bright divine eight-island country Emperor inquires of me, ‘These omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, and kuni no miyatsuko who own the koshiro no iribe as established by past emperors, and the Imperial princes privately owning the mina no iribe [nashiro], and mina no iribe of imperial ancestor Oe (this refers to Hikohito no Oe) and his miyake, should they still be like in the past or not?’ I humbly recevie the Emperor’s order, and reply saying ‘The heavens do not have two suns, and the realm does not have two kings. Therefore all the realm is unified, and the useage of the 10,000 people should only be by the Emperor. Separately the iribe and the jikifu, there may easily be targeted for corvee labor and should accord with the previous declaration. For those outside of it, there is the danger they will be used privately, therefore I submit my iribe of 524 people and 181 miyake.
Regulations for Burial and Tomb Sizes
On the 22nd day. the Emperor proclaimed, “I hear the lord of the western lands warns the people saying, ‘In olden days when we buried people, a high place was made a tomb. No earth was packed and no trees planted. The coffin was sufficient for the bones to rot, and the clothes sufficient until the flesh rotted. Therefore I will put to use these hills of uncultivated land, such that later generations will not know where they were. Do not place in them gold, silver, copper, or iron, but rather clay goods, like the ritual lacquer vehicles and straw dolls of olden days. The coffin’s gaps should be laquered over three times, and don’t put pearls in the mouth of the corpse. Do not place jeweled shirts or jeweled boxes. These are the customs of fools.’ He also said, ‘The purpose of burial is to hide, I want people not to be able to see.’
Recently my people are in poverty because they are made to construct tombs. Now I will put in place a system, and make a distinction between high people and low. For the Imperial family and above, the tomb’s interior length will be nine feet, and width five feet, and the exterior length nine hiro, and height five hiro, and 1,000 people will be made to work on it, and finish in seven days. At the time of the funeral the shroud will be white cloth, and use a carriage to transport the coffin.
For the tombs of high-level ministers, the interior length, width, and height will be similar to the above. The exterior will be of length seven hiro and height three hiro, and will use 500 people who will complete the work in five days. At the time of burial the shroud will be white cloth, and the coffin will be carried (probably a vehicle carried on the shoulders).
For the tombs of lower-level ministers, the interior length, width, and height will be similar to the above. The exterior length will be five hiro, height 2.5 hiro, and 250 people will complete the work in three days. At the time of the funeral the shroud will be white cloth, and the coffin transported as above.
For the tombs of ranks Dainin and Shonin, the interior length will be seven feet, the height and width four feet, and they will not raise a mound but keep it flat, and 100 people will complete the work in one day. From Dairai to Shochu, the tombs will be similar to those of the Dainin. They will use 50 people and be completed in one day. From prince to Shochi, the tombs should use small stones. The curtains will be white cloth. When a commoner dies, they will be buried in the earth. The shroud should use rough cloth, and not delayed for even a day. From Imperial Prince down to the common people, a temporary burial hut will not be built. In the capital area and in all the countries, one place should be established for burying, and not dirtily scattering burials around different places. When someone dies, strangling yourself, or strangling other people, or forcing the sacrifice of the dead man’s horse, or putting jewels inside the tombs for the deceased, or cutting your hair or stabbing your thighs while saying a eulogy for the deceased, all the old customs like these are completely forbidden. One book says, do not bury them with gold, silver, silk brocade, or colorful silk with them. Another book says, from the myriad ministers to the common people, do not use gold or silver. If you break the proclomation and commit a crime of something forbidden, certainly that family will be punished.
Also, there are those that see but say they didn’t, and who didn’t see but say they saw, and those who heard but say they didn’t, and who didn’t hear but say they heard. Like these are many who do not speak or show correctly, and use artifice to decieve others. Also, there are many slaves who, if their masters are poor, decieve them and independently attach themselves to a powerful family in search of a better lifestyle. The powerful families force them to stay by buying them off, and do not return them to their original masters.
Also there are many cases where wives who are divorced by their husbands and after several years see fit to marry another. Then the previous husband, after three or four years, seeks the assets of the later husband for his own profit. Also there are frequent cases where powerful men seek to marry the daughters of others, but before he goes to that house, the girl marries another person. Then the powerful man gets angry and seeks the assets of both houses for his own gain. Also there are many incidents where people are jealous of wives whose husbands died and after 10 or 20 years they become the wife of another, or of girls who first become of marrying age, and make them do purification. Also, there are wives who are hated and divorced, and out of shame become kotosaga slaves. Kotogasa is read ko-to-sa-ga, 居騰作柯. Also, there are those who often hate their wives who have affairs with others, and go to the bureacrat seeking a decision. They must get three bright witnesses and together show their statement, then afterwards they can consult, for why should there be frivolous suits?
Also there are people who are made to do forced labor in the border provinces and on the day they finish and return to their homeland, they suddenly become sick and lie down on the road and die. Then [the people whose] houses are by the road say “Why are people made to die on the road?” Then they stay the dead man’s companions and make them perform cleansing. Threfore even if an older brother lays down and dies on the road, in many cases the younger brother will not collect the body. Also, there are people who drown in the river near people and then those people say, “Why am I made to come upon a drowned man?” Then they stay the drowned man’s companions and make them perform cleansing. Therefore even if an older brother drowns in the river, many younger brothers will not aid him. Also there are those made to do forced labor and cook their rice on the road, and then [the people whose] houses are by the road say, “Why can people cook rice at whim on the road?” Then they force them to do cleansing. Also there are people who ask to borrow a pot to cook rice, and then something hits the pot and it gets overturned and the owner of the pot forces them to do cleansing. Things like this are the customs of fools. Now all of it is prohibited, and not allowed ever again.
Also, there are people who are heading to the capital and are afriad that their horses are tired and will not be able to go, and so pay two hiro of cloth and two bundles of hemp to men in the countries of Mikawa or Owari, and ask them to feed and raise the horses, and then go into the capital. On the day they return to their homeland, they send a shovel. Then the men of Mikawa and others have not fed the horses, and instead let them starve to death. If it is a fine horse, then they covet it, and make up stories about how it was lost to theives. If it is a mare that becomes pregnant in their house, then they force cleansing and snatch away the horse. These things have been heard.
Therefore now I make the following regulation: When someone leaves a horse at any of the horse-raisers along the highway countries, they should go with the person hired to report to the village chief and bestow the items of payment. Then on the day they return to their homeland, no further recompense is needed. If some damage has been done, then he will not get anything. Going against this edict will be a serious crime. It is prohibited for market commisioners, necessary road [masters], or ferrymen to collect tribute, and rice fields will be provided for them. Beginning with the central countries and extending to those in the four directions, at the month of agricultural work, let all begin work early on their fields. It is not appropriate for them to eat delicacies or drink wine. Honest and pure messengers should report this to the central countries. The kuni no miyatsuko in the four directions also should choose good messengers to cause work to proceed in accordance with my proclomation.
Amendment of Names and Public Offices
Autumn, eighth month. On the 14th day, the Emperor proclaimed, “In the beginning, it is by heaven and earth and yin and yang that the four seasons are not confused with each other. Also it is heaven and eath that are the source of all things, and among all things it is man that is the most spiritual. Within the most spiritual, the sage is made the ruler of men. Thus the sage ruler is the Emperor, and according to heaven rules, and the desire for people to get their respective places never leaves his heart. At first princes, the omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, and kuni no miyatsuko divided the be and gave them their names. Also the people of these be mixed with each other and were made to live in the countries and provinces. Consequently father and son have been made to take different surnames, and older brother and younger brother different lineage, and husband and wife have different names from each other, and within one household there are five or six divisions. Therefore there are suits of conflict that overflow in the country and fill the court, and in the end no decision has been seen, and within them the confusion grows. Therefore, beginning now with the ruling emperor and the omi and muraji and others, the be that they have will completely be abolished and those people citizens of the state. Those who have borrowed the names of princes and become tomo no miyatsuko, or by the power of their ancestors’ names become omi or muraji, they may deeply not grasp my intention and hearing this think “the name borrowed by my ancestors will become extinct.” Therefore I make this statement to make known my heart.
The children of the ruler succeed each other in ruling, and I believe that, as for the name of the current emperor and the names of the imperial ancestors, I cannot forsee that they will be forgotten in the world. Yet the name of the ruler is given lightly to the names of rivers or fields or to common people. This is truly dreadful. The names of rulers will like the sun and moon drift far away and the name of descendents will together with heaven and earth go for a long time. Thinking like this, I therefore make this statement. For all the ministers who have from the first served the imperial descendents, omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, and people of whatever clan, (one book says, royal people of whatever name), may they listen. Now as for the circumstances of service of you all, I amend the law and ancient occupations and remake the public offices [lit. hundred bureaus], and will confer grades of rank and office. Now the governors who will be dispatched and the kuni no miyatsuko of those provinces, hear me. Last year the administrators attached to the court assembly shall follow the previous distribution, and the numerous rice fields which are collected will be provided evenly to the people, without giving rise to bias. In the provision of fields, they should be provided to the people whose houses are near or adjoining those fields, and it is necessary that priority be given to those nearby. Like this follow well. All the taxes should be collected only from men. Forced laborers will be one for every 50 households. The borders of the countries should be observed and written in a document or a map then brought and showed to me. The names of the countries and provinces will be decided when you come. As for the countries that can build enbankments or dig ditches, and the amount of land made into fields, it will be provided evenly. Hear and understand this statement.”
Ninth month. Shotoku and national advisor Takamuka no Kuromaro was sent to Silla to make them send as tribute a hostage. In the end, the tribute from Mimana was discontinued. Kuromaro was also called Genri. That month, the Emperor went to the temporary palace of Kawazu. One book says, the detached palace. That year, the rats in the country of Koshi day and night made columns together and moved toward the east.
Third year, spring, first month. On the 15th day, archery was performed in the courtyard. That day, Goguryeo and Silla each sent a messenger to submit tribute.
Summer, fourth month. On the 29th day, the Emperor proclaimed, “(The phrase 惟神 means to follow the way of the gods, or to possess the way of the gods.) Therefore, my children will administrate the realm. Hence, since the beginning of heaven and earth, the country has been a monarchy. Since the beginning of rule of the country by our imperial ancestor, there has been great sameness in the realm, and no bias one way or the other. However recently it has begun that the name of gods and emperors have become the clan names of omi or muraji, or seperately the different classes of miyatsuko. Therefore the hearts of the people are led firmly holding a hardened bias, and a deep sense of I and you has been born, and each protects his name. Also the foolish omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, and kuni no miyatsuko make these their surnames, and the names of gods and rulers in the end according to people’s feelings falsely attached here and there and to random places (here and there means to people). Then the god’s name and the ruler’s name is therefore the object of bribes, and is inserting the slaves of other people, and this sullies the name that was clean. Consequently the heart of the people is not in tune and administration of the country is difficult. Therefore now now as a god of heaven I am fated to be able to resolve this, and to make it understood and threby rule the country and rule the people, soon and later, today and tomorrow, one after the other I will issue proclomations. However simply relying in the sage-like power of the Emperor, the people follow old customs and certainly will have a hard time waiting before the proclomatinos are issued. Therefore beginning with the imperial princes but on down to the ministers and people, I will return their taxes.”
That year, Ogori was destroyed and a palace was built. The Emperor was at Ogori palace and then decided on a rule for ceremonies. The regulation stated, “All people of rank must by the hour of the tiger make lines to the left and right outside of the south gate and wait until the sun comes up. Then they will bow repeatedly and attend in the the central room. If someone comes late, they will not be allowed inside to attend. At the hour of the horse, they will leave at the sound of the bell. The person who strikes the bell will hang a red cloth before themselves. The bell stand will be in the central courtyard.”
The craftsman Daisen Yamato no Aya no Atai Aratai Hirafu mistakenly dug a canal that stretched to Naniwa, and this new canal caused trouble for the people. Then someone presented a remonstrance to him. The Emperor declared, “I reckessly listened to Hirafu’s lies and had this canal dug. I am to blame.” The work was stopped that day.
Winter, tenth month. On the 11th day, the Emperor went to the hot springs of Arima. The Ministers of the Left and Right and the upper ministers all followed him.
12th month, last day of the year. The Emperor returned from the host springs of Aruma and stopped at the tempeorar palace of Muko. Muko is the name of a place. That day, there was a fire in the palace of the crown prince. At that time the people were are greatly surprised and thought it strange.
Introduction of the Seven-type Thirteen-rank Cap System
That year, the system of cap ranks using seven types and 13 ranks was enacted.
The first rank was called Orimono. It had two ranks, greater and lesser. It was woven and embroidered on the border. The clothing color was deep purple for both ranks.
The second was called Nuimono. It had two ranks, greater and lesser. It was woven, and this cap’s border and color were the same as the Orimono rank cap.
The third was called Murasaki. It had two ranks, greater and lesser. It was made of pruple material and embroidered on the border. The clothing color was light purple.
The fourth was called Nishiki. It had two ranks, greater and lesser. The greater Nishiki cap was made of daihakusen and it was embroidered on the border. The lesser Nishiki cap was made of shohakusen, and daihakusen was embroidered on the border. For the clothing color both used scarlet.
The fifth was called Aoki. It was made of blue silk, and had two ranks, the greater and the lesser. The greater Aoki had daihakusen embroidered on the border. The Lesser Aoku cap had shohakusen embroidered on the border. The clothing color for both used dark blue.
The sixth was called Kuroki. It had two ranks, the greater and lesser. The greater Kuroki cap had wheel-pattern brocade embroidered on the border. The lesser Kuroki cap had diamond patter brocade embroidered on the border. The clothing color for both used green.
The seventh was called Kenmu. It was the initial rank, also called Ryushin. It was made of black silk and had dark blue embroidered around the border.
Also, there was the cap of tsubo. It was made of black silk. This cap on the back had a laquer net and the hair ornament had different heights based on rank and was shaped like a cicada.
From lesser Nishiki up the hair ornament was made of gold and silver, and the Aoki hair ornament was made of silver, and the greater and lesser Kuroki hair ornaments were made of copper. Then Kenmu cap had no hair ornament. These caps were worn at the great events and when receiving foreign guests, and at the saie in the fourth and seventh months.
Silla sent Senior Minister Daisan Kim Chunchu and others to accompany the scholar Kotoku Takamuka no Kuromaro and Middle Shosen rank Nakatomi no Muraji Oshikuma to come to court and tribute one peacock and one parrot bird. Chunchu was made a hostage. He was very beautiful and smiled often.
Also, Netari Castle was built and households established at the barrier. The old people at that time said to each other, “For several years the rats have all moved to the east, this was a sign of the castle being built.”
Introduction of 19-grade Cap System, Promotion of Min and Takamuka
Fourth year, spring, first month. On the first day, the new year’s events were finished. That night, the Empreror visited Saki Palace in Naniwa.
Second month. On the first day, student-monks were sent to the three Kingdoms of Korea. On the eighth day, Senior Minister Ahe asked the four types of okonaibito to come to Shitenno temple, and got four Buddhist statues and had them set inside the tower, and then built a Ryojusen statue by stacking up drums.
Summer, fourth month. On the first day, the old caps were gotten rid of. The Left and Right ministers still wore their old caps. That year, Silla dispatched messengers with tribute. Iwafune Castle was made to defend against the Emishi. Also people of Koshi and Shinano were selected to first be the members of the barrier settlement.
Fifth year, spring, first month. On the first day, they had the new year ceremonies.
Second month. They instituted a system of 19 grades of cap rank. The first was Daishiki, the second Shoshiki, Daishu, Shoushu, Daishi, Shoshi, Upper Daike, Lower Daike, Upper Shoke, and the tenth was Lower Shoke. The eleventh was Upper Daisen, then Lower Daisen, Upper Shosen, Lower Shosen, Upper Daioutsu, Lower Daioutsu, Upper Shootsu, Lower Shootsu, and the 19th was Ryushin.
That month, The Emperor named Takamuka no Genri and the monk Min as national advisors and set up the eight cabinet bureaus and public offices.
Suicide of Senior Minister Yamada
Third month. On the 17th day, Senior Minister Ahe died. The Emperor visited the gate of Suzaku and did goai and was very sad. The Empress Dowager and the crown prince, along with the ministers, competely followed him in weeping. On the 24th day, Soga no Omi Himuka (styled Himuka Asana Musashi) slandered Senior Minister Kura no Yamada to the crown prince, saying, “My cousin Maro is waiting for the crown prince to go the beach in amusement, then he will do some damage to him. This rebellion is not far off.” The crown prince believed him. The Emperor sent Otomo no Koma no Muraji, Mikuni no Maro no Kimi, and Hozumi no Kui no Omi to where Senior Minister Soga no Kura no Yamada no Maro was at, and they asked him whether it was true or not. The Senior Minister replied, “I will only reply to this matter before the Emperor himself.”The Emperor then again dispatched Mikuni no Maro no Kimi and Hozumi no Kui no Omi to investigate this rebellion plot. Senior Minister Maro said the same thing as before. The Emperor then was going to send soldiers, and surround the house of the Senior Minister. The Senior Minister and his two sons, Hoshi and Akai (also called Hada) took the road of Chinu and fled, heading to the border of Yamato country.
The his oldest son, Koshi, was already in Yamato (it is said in the house of Yamada). Suddenly he heard his father had escaped and went out to meet him beneath a large zelkova tree in Imaki as he drew near went into the temple. Then he asked the Senior Minister, saying, “I ask to go out directly and oppose the coming soldiers.” The Senior Minister would not let him.
That night, Koshi resolved that he was going to burn the palace, and collected soldiers. The palace in question was Oharida Palace.
On the 25th day. The Senior Miniser asked his oldest son Koshi, saying, “Do you love yourself?”
Koshi replied, “I don’t.”
The the Senior Minister said to the monks of Yamada temple and his oldest son Koshi, and the 10s of men there, “How can a serving man so easily go against his lord? How can he lose his filial piety for his father? This temple was originally not made for me, but for the Emperor. Now I am being slandered by Musashi, and fear I will be put to death. However when I go to Yomotsu, I wish to still be loyal when I retire. I came to this temple to ease my passage.” When he had finished speaking, he opened the door to the Buddhist altar and made an oath, saying, “I wish that when I am reborn, I do not grudge my liege lord.” When he finished the oath, he strangled himself and died. Eight of his wives and children that followed him in sacrificial death.
That day, Otomo no Koma no Muraji and Soga no Himuka no Omi leading soldiers pursued the Senior Minister. Shogun Otomo no Muraji and the others went to Kuroyama, and Haji no Muraji Mu and the Uneme no Omi Omimaro came racing from Yamada temple, saying, “Senior Minister Soga, along with his three sons and dauther, have all strangled themselves.” Then the Shogun and the others returned to Tajihi no Saka. On the 26th day, Senior Minister Yamada’s wife and children and his retainers strangled themselves in mass. Hozumi no Omi no Kui captured one group of the Senior Ministers servants and Taguchi no Omi Tsukushi and tied their hands and put collar-boards on their necks. That night, Ki no Omi Maro, Soga no Omi Himuka, and Hozumi no Omi Kui, with their army, surrounded the temple. The they called Mononobe Futsuta no Myakko Shio and made him behead the Senior Minister. Then Futsuta Shio drew his great sword and stabbed the body and raised it up, then screamed and beheaded it.
On the 30th day, those killed for association with Senior Minister Soga no Yamada were Taguchi no Omi Tsukushi, Miminashi no Dotoko, Takata no Shiko (Shiko is read shi-ko, 之渠), Nukatabe Yue no Muraji (name absent), Hada no Atera, and others, all together 14 people. Nine others were strangled, and another 15 were banished. That month, the Emperor dispatched a messenger to collect the assets of Senior Minister Yamada. From among them, there was an excellent manuscript with a note saying it was for the crown prince, and a valuable treasure also left to the crown prince.
The messenger returned and told the circumstances of the collection. At that time the crown prince first knew that the Senior Minister’s heart was pure, and came to regret his action, and thought it sad without ceasing. Then he appointed Himuka no Omi to become viceroy of Tsukushi. People in the world said, “It’s a concealed banishment.”
The crown prince’s consort, Princess Soga no Miyatsuko, on hearing that her father the Senior Minister had been beheaded by Shio, felt pain in her heart, and hated hearing the name Shio. Then the nearby attendants to Princess Miyatsuko started saying Kitashi instead of Shio. However Princess Miyatsuko, because of the pain in her heart, ended up dying. The crown prince heard that Princess Miyatsuko had died and cried profusely, and was sad. Then Nonaka no Kawahara Fubito Mitsu came forth and sang, “blah blah blah.”
The crown prince, while saddened, praised him saying, “A good song. A sad song.” Then he gave him a harp and made him sing, and gave him four bolts of silk, 20 hashi of cloth, and 2 bags of cotton.
Summer, fourth month. On the 20th day, Shoshi Kose no Tokobuko no Omi was promoted to Daishi and made Minister of the Left. Otomo no Nagatoko no Muraji (styled Umakai) was granted the rank of Daishi and made Minister of the Right.
Fifth month. On the first day, the Emperor dispatched Lower Shoke Miwa no Kimi Shikobu and Upper Daisen Kanimori no Muraji Tsunomaro to Silla. That year, the King of Silla sent Satakuho Sasen Kim Dachuk as a hostage. His retinue numbered 37 people (one monk, two jiro, one jo, one tatsukanro, five natsukanro, ten artists, one interpreter, and 16 various attendants, totalling 37 in all).
Appearance of the White Pheasant
First year of Hakuchi, spring, first month. On the first day the Emperor’s carriage visited Ajifu Palace and did the rituals for the new year (Ajifu is read a-ji-fu, 阿膩賦). That day, the Emperor’s carriage returned to the palace.
Second month. On the ninth day, Kusakabe no Muraji Shikobu, governor of Anato, presented a white pheasant to the Emperor, saying, “Nie, a relation of the kuni no miyatsuko Obito, caught it in the ninth day of the first month at Mt. Onoyama.” Then he asked the Prince of Baekje about it, and he said,
“In the 11th year of Yongping during the reign of Emperor Ming of the later Han, white pheasants were seen here and there. Etc etc.”
Then he asked the monks, and they said, “We’ve never seen or heard of this. There should be amnesty in the realm, to make the people’s hearts glad.” Then Doto the Monk said, “Of old, Goguryeo wanted to make a temple, but did not know where to built it. Then at one place a white deer came, so in that place the temple was made and called Baeknokwon Temple, and it was used to promulgate Buddhism. Also a white sparrow was seen in one rice paddy owned by the temple. The people of the country said, ‘It’s lucky.’ Also, the messengers dispatched by Tang came carrying a dead three-legged crow. The people of the country said, ‘It’s lucky.’ Even these things are said to be lucky, and it is so with the white pheasant.”
The monk Min said, “This is a lucky thing, and rare. I have humbly heard that when the king’s virtue flows in the four directions, a white pheasant appears. Or when the king’s ceremonies to the gods are not out of order with each other, and his banquets and clothing are frugal they come. Or when the king is clean, white pheasants come out of the mountains. Or when the king is a benevolent sage they are seen. Also during the Zhou dynasty during the reign of King Cheng the family of Yuechang came with tribute of a white phesant saying, ‘We heard from the old people in our country, “For a long time there has been neither wind or rain, flooding or waves, for three years.’ That means in China there is a sage, and we come to his court. Therefore we have thrice the number of interpreters with us.’ Also, in the Jin dynasty during the reign of Emperor Wu, in the first year of Xianning at Songzi a white pheasant appeared. It is a lucky omen, and amnesty should be granted in the realm.” Then the pheasant was released in the garden.
On the 15th day, soldiers were set up in the courtyard the as if it were the new year’s ceremony. The ministers of the left and the right and the public officials made four lines outside the purple gate. Then Awata no Omi Iimushi and four men were made to take the vehicle which held the pheasant to the front. Then the ministers of the left and the right led the public officials, the prince of Baekje Pungjang along with his younger brothers Saeseong and Chungseung, the royal doctor of Goguryeo Mochi, and the scholar attending the court of Silla, and others into the central courtyard. Then the four men Mikuni no Kimi Maro, Ina no Kimi Takami, Miwa no Kimi Mikaho, and Ki no Omi Omarokida were made to change places and take the pheasant’s vehicle to the front of the hall. Then the left and right ministers waited in front of it, and Prince Ise, Mikuni no Kimi Maro, and Kura no Omi Okuso seized the rear of the vehicle and they placed it before the Emperor’s seat.
Then the Emperor summoned the crown prince, and together they took it and examined it. The crown prince retired and bowed, and made Senior Minister Kose say some happy words, “The ministers and public officials offer their congratulations. By our leige, because of his pure and even virtuous rule of the realm, this pheasant appeared in the west. May the liege through 1,000 autumns and 10,000 years govern in purity the four directions and the eight islands. The ministers, public officials, and all the people wish that they, with loyal heart, can attend to their works.” Thus he said happy words and bowed.
Then the Emperor said, “When the sage appears in the world and pacifies the realm, heaven replies with a lucky sign, they say. In the western country during the time of King Cheng of Zhou and in the Han dynasty during the time of Emperor Ming, a white phesant appeared. In our country of Yamato, during the time of Emperor Homuta [Ojin] a white crow made its nest in the palace, and during the time of Osazaki no Mikado [Nintoku] a ryuuma appeared in the west. From ancient times until now, the appearance of lucky signs in response to virtues have been of many. They say the phoenix, kirin, white pheasant, and white crow, if these beasts or even the grass and trees, or anything which can respond, appears as a sign, it is good fortunate for all that live in heaven and earth. For an enlightened sage ruler to get one of these signs, it truly is the proper. However I am too shallow, so how can I receive it? Probably this is for the ministers, omi, muraji, tomo no miyatsuko, and kuni no miyatsuko who aid in governing and exert themselves in loyalty and follow the regulations. Therefore let it be that from the ministers to the public officials, they with clean and pure intentions revere the gods of heaven and earth, such that all receive this good omen and extinguish themselves for the realm.”
Then he added, “As for the countries and districts in all four directions, being entrusted by heaven I unite them under one sky. Now from the country of Anato of my imperial ancestors, this good omen appeared. Therefore I issue great amnesty in the realm, and pronounce a new era called Hakuchi.” Then he issued a ban on releasing hawks for hunting in the country of Anato, and gave from the ministers on down to the scribes gifts in different amounts. Then he rewarded Governor Kusakabe no Muraji Shikobu with the rank of Daisen and supplied him with many gifts, and further gave the country of Anato three years release from taxes and forced labor.
Construction of Buddhist Statues
Summer, fourth month. Silla dispatched messengers with tribute. In one book, it says that in the time of this Emperor that the three countries of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla sent messengers every year with tribute to submit.
Winter, tenth month. For the ground of the new palace, people who had their hill tombs destroyed or were relocatedwere given gifts in different amounts. Accordingly the Emperor dispatched the Commisioner on Craftsmen Aratai no Atai Hirafu and made him the set up markers for the borders of the palace. That month,construction began on a six-bolt Buddhist tapestry with its attendents, beings of the eight classes, and some other 36 statues. That year, Aya no Yamaguchi no Atai Okuchi received an imperial order and carved 1,000 buddhist statues. Also, the Emperor dispatched Yamato no Aya no Atai Agata, Shirakabe no Muraji Abumi, and Naniwa no Kishi Agura to the country of Aki and made to make two Baekje-style ships.
Second year [of Hakuchi], spring, third month. On the 14th day, the six-bolt tapestry and the others were completed. On the 15th day, the Empress Dowager called the ten buddhist masters to perform saie.
Summer, sixth month. Baekje and Silla dispatched messengers with tribute and goods.
Winter, 12th month. On the last day of the year, the Emperor summoned over 2,001 monks and nuns and made them read the Issai-kyo sutra in Ajifu Palace. That night, they burned over 2,700 white lanterns in the courtyard and were made to recite the Antaku sutra and the Dosoku sutra. Then the Emperor followed from Ogori Palace and moved into the new palace. It was called Naniwa Nagara Toyosaki Palace.
That year, The Sillan tribute messenger Sasan Jiman arrived in Tsukushi wearing clothes of Tang. The court hated that this custom had casually been adopted, and criticizing him sent him back. At that time, Senior Minister Kose said to the Emperor, “Now if we do not attack Silla, afterwards we will certainly regret it. This attack need not be in earnest. From Naniwa port to Tsukushi cover the surface of the sea with floating boats, then invite the Sillans and ask what their offense is and they should easily give in.”
Dispatch to Tang, Death of Min
Third year, spring, first month. On the first day, the ceremonies for the first day of the year took place, and the imperial carriage went to Ogori palace. From the first month to the third month, the distribution of fields was completed. All the field lengths were 30 paces to make a dan, and ten dans to make a cho. The tax on a dan was 1.5 bundle, and on a cho was 15 bundles.
Third month. On the ninth day, the imperial carriage returned to the palace.
Summer, fourth month. On the 15th day, the Emperor invited the monk Hyeeun into the palace and made him lecture on the Muryoju sutra. Hyeja was made the lecturer, and 1,000 other monks were made his pupils. On the 20th day, they finished the conference. From this day until the ninth day it rained. People’s buildings were damaged and the rice shoots were injured. People, cows, and horses drowned a lot. That month, family registers were made. 50 households were a sato, and in each sato there was one chief. The master of the household was always made ie no kami. All the households were put in groups of five for mutual protection, and one of them was made chief for supervision of their interaction. Silla and Baekje dispatched messengers with tribute and goods.
Autumn, ninth month. Construction of the palace finished. The condition of the hall is unable to be put into words.
Winter, 12th month. On the last day of the year, the Emperor had all the nuns and monks come into the interior palace and perform a saie, and they presented many alms and lit lights.
Fourth year, summer, fifth month. On the 12th day, the Emperor dispatched Upper Shosen Kishi no Nagata to Tang as ambassador, and his deputy ambassador was Upper Shootsu Kishi no Koma (Koma was also called Ito), and the student-monks Dogon, Dotsu, Doko, Ese, Kakusho, Bensho, Esho, Sonin, Chiso, Dosho, Joe (Joe was the oldest son of the Interior Minister), Andatsu (Andatsu was the child of Nakatomi no Kome no Muraji), and Dokan (Dokan was the son of Kasuga no Awata no Omi Kudara) and the students Kose no Omi Kusuri (Kusuri was the child of Toyotari no Omi and Hi no Muraji Okina (Okina was the child of Matama) also went with him. One book adds the student-monks Chiben, and Gitoku and the students Sakaibe no Muraji Iwatsumi, in all 121 people who rode on the ship. Murohara no Obito Mita was the messenger who saw them off. Also he dispatched Lower Daien Takata no Obito Nemaro as ambassador (also called Yatsukahagi) and Upper Shootsu Kanimori no Muraji Omaro as deputy ambassador, along with the student monks Dofuku and Gikiyou, in all 120 people, on a different boat. Haji no Muraji Yatsute was the messenger who sent them off.
That month, the Emperor visited the monk Min’s house, and asked him about his disease. Then directly from the Emperor’s mouth he received words of gratitude. One book says, in the fifth year, seventh month, the monk Min got sick in Azumi temple. Then the Emperor visited him and asked about his illness, and gave him his hand, saying, “If the master dies now, I will die the next day.”
Sixth month. Bakeje and Silla sent messengers with tribute and goods. The major roads were repaired in various places.
The Emperor heard that the monk Min had died and dispatched a condolence messenger and sent many gifts. The Empress Dowager and the crown prince all dispatched condolence messenters to the monk Min’s funeral. In the end for the master the Emperor ordered the artists Koma no Tatebe no Komaro, Funato no Atai, and others to make many buddhist stautes and Bodhisattva stautes and set them in Kawahara temple. One book says in Yamada temple.
Autumn, seventh month. At the bay of Satsuma in the straits of Takeshima, the boat of the Tang messengers Takata no Nemaro and the others sank and they died. Only five men tied themselves to a board and drifted by chance to Takeshima. They did not know what to do. Then one of the five, Kadobe no Kane, took bamboo and made a raft, and they made it to Shitokeshima. The five men spent six days and nights without anything to eat. For this Kane was rewarded with rank and gifts.
Death of Emperor Kotoku
That year, Hitsugi no Miko [the crown prince] said, “I want to move to the capital in Yamato.” The Emperor would not permit it.
Then the crown prince spoke to the Empress Dowager and Empress Hashihito, and leading all the imperial princes they moved to Yamato, Asuka no Kawabe, to a temporary palace. At that time, the ministers and public officials all followed their move. Then the Emperor resented this and wanted to abdicate the throne, and ordered they made a palace in Yamasaki, and then sent a song to Empress Hashihito “blah blah blah.”
Fifth year [of Hakuchi], spring, first month. On the first day, that night the rats made for Yamato. On the fifth day, the purple cap was bestowed on Nakatomi Kamatari no Muraji and his fief was increased.
Second month. The Emperor dispatched Upper Daikin Takamuka no Fubito Genri as supervising ambassador to Tang. One book says in Summer, fifth month, he dispatched Lower Daike Takamuka no Genri as supervising ambassador to Tang. The ambassador was Lower Shokin Kawabe no Omi Maro and the deputy ambassador was Lower Daisen Kusu Shienichi, along with the judge Upper Daiotsu Fumi no Atai Maro and Miya no Obito Amida (one book says judge Lower Shosen Fumi no Atai Maro), Upper Shootsu Oka no Kimi Yoroshi, Okisome no Muraji Oku, Lower Shootsu Nakatomi no Hashihito no Muraji Oyu (Oyu is read o-yu, 於喩), and Tanabe no Fubito Tori on two boats, and spending several months they took the road through Silla and arrived in Laizhou. Then they went to the capital and spoke with the Emperor. Then, the superintendent of the crown prince’s guards Guo Sanju asked about the country of Yamato’s geography and the names of the country’s first gods. They all responded to the questions. Then the supervising ambassador Takamuka no Genri died in Tang.
“According to Iki no Hakatoko, the student-monk Emyou died in Tang and Chiso and Chikoku died at sea. Chiso, in the year of 665, riding a boat of Silla, came home. Kakusho died in Tang. Gitsu died at sea. Joe, in the year of 690 rode home with Liu Degao. Myoi, Hosho, and the students Hi no Muraji Okina and Kookon with 12 people, and also the foreign-born Japanese Han Zhixing and Zhao Yuanbao, came home with the messengers this year.”
Summer, fourth month. Two men and two women of Tokara and one woman from Shae were blown adrift and arrived in Hyuga.
Autumn, seventh month. On the 24th day, the messenger to the western sea Kishi no Nagata and others came home with the messengers of Silla and Baekje and arrived in Tsukushi. That month, the messenger to the western sea and others were praised for meeting the Emperor of Tang and receiving a lot of manuscripts and precious things. The rank of Lower Shoke was given to Upper Daisen ambassador Kishi Nagata with a fief of 200 households and the clan title Kureuji. Upper Shootsu and deputy ambassador Kishi Koma was promoted to Upper Shosen.
Winter, tenth month. On the first day, the crown prince heard the Emperor was ill and attended on him with the Empress Dowager and Empress Hashihito, and they led all the imperial princes, ministers, and others to Naniwa Palace. On the tenth day, the Emperor died in his bedchamber. A temporary burial palace was built in the south courtyard. Upper Shosen Mozuno Haji no Muraji Tsuchitoko was in charge of the temporary burial palace.
12th month. On the eighth day, the Emperor in was buried in Osaka no Shinaga Tomb. On that day, the Crown Prince attended on the Empress Dowager and they moved to live in Yamato Kawabe in a temporary palace. The old people all said, “When the rats moved to Yamato, they moved at the proclomation of the Emperor that the capital was going to move.” That year, Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla all sent condolence messengers.