Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto (吉備津彦命)

Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto is a Shinto god. He is also known as Kibi no Kaja.

He was Emperor Korei's son and was dispatched to the Sanyodo region as one of the four General Commanders to conquer the region.

Also known as Isaserihiko (his original name), he took the name Kibitsuhiko after subjugating Kibi Province.
(Kibitsuhiko means 'powerful man of Kibi')

According to one theory, the story of Momotaro (The Peach Boy) is based on an anecdote (the Legend of Ura) from that time, and Okayama Prefecture, where Kibi Province was located, promotes itself as 'the birthplace of Momotaro' as part of a wider PR campaign.

Description in mythology

He is said to have been born to Emperor Korei, his father, and Yamato no Kuni Kahime, his mother, at Yamato Kurodaiodo no Miya (present day Tawaramoto-cho, Shiki-gun District, Nara Prefecture). According to one theory, his mother is said to be Yamatototohimomosohime no Mikoto (although she was actually his older sister).

He was dispatched to the Sanyodo region as one of the four General Commanders along with his younger half brother, Wakatakehiko no Mikoto, in order to establish the power of the imperial government in the areas around the region. The major purpose of his expedition is believed to have been to conquer Kibi Province and to obtain its steel manufacturing technology.
(The word 'Makanefuku' (blowing steel), as the 'makurakotoba' (an epithet used in waka poetry) to describe Kibi, is said to be evidence of the fact that steel manufacturing was the main industry of Kibi Province.)

According to a historical story of Kibitsu-jinja Shrine in Okayama City, which has been passed down throughout Okayama Prefecture, Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto and his three retainers, Inukai Takeru, Sasa Morihiko, and Tome Tamaomi defeated Ura, an 'oni' (ogre) who lived in Kino-jo Castle and was terrorizing the area, and to break his curse, they are said to have sealed Ura under the iron pot of the shrine. If these retainers are placed into the story of Momotaro, then Inukai Takeru becomes the dog, Sasa Morihiko becomes the monkey and Tome Tamaomi becomes the pheasant. Also, the part about 'sealing the ogre under the iron pot' directly relates to the origins of the Narukama Shinji Ritual of Kibitsu-jinja Shrine.

There is a theory that 'Ura' was actually toraijin (immigrants, mainly from China and Korea), who had been giving steel manufacturing techniques to the former rulers of Kibi Province, or local ruling families, and out of loyalty to the former rulers, they fought against Kibitsuhiko (or Yamato rule).

After conquering Kibi Province, he is believed to have used it as a foothold to advance to Sanuki and Izumo Provinces. A Momotaro legend exists in Kagawa Prefecture as well as Okayama Prefecture; the protagonist in this Kagawa version of the legend is believed to be Wakatakehiko no Mikoto, who led the vanguard in the conquest of Sanuki Province. Wakatakehiko no Mikoto (Shimotsumichi no Omi) and his older brother, Okibitsuhiko no Mikoto (Kamitsumichi no Omi), were dispatched to Kibi Province. Since territories conquered by Wakatakehiko no Mikoto bear names that contain a Chinese character pronounced "kasa" in Japanese, he later came to be known as Kasa no Omi.

According to the tradition of Kibitsu-jinja Shrine, after that, Kibitsuhiko constructed and lived in Kayabuki no Miya at the foot of Mt. Kibi no Nakayama, and when he died at the age of 281, he is said to have been buried at the top of Mt. Kibi no Nakayama (Mt. Chausu). This Nakayama Chausu-yama Tomb (official name: Okibitsuhiko no Mikoto no Haka) is called the Misasagi (Imperial mausoleum) or Gobyo (mausoleum for nobles) by local people, and is currently managed under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Household Agency.

Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto's retainer, Inukai Takeru, is said to be the progenitor of the Inukai clan and an ancestor of Tsuyoshi INUKAI.

Shrines which enshrine Kibitsuhiko

Kibitsu-jinja Shrine: grand head shrine for followers of Kibitsuhiko, headed by Kibitsu-jinja Shrine in Bicchu Province

Kibitsu-jinja Shrine (Okayama City): Ichinomiya (the supreme shrine) in Bicchu Province

Kibitsu-jinja Shrine (Fukuyama City): Ichinomiya (the supreme shrine) in Bingo Province

Kibitsuhiko-jinja Shrine: Ichinomiya (the supreme shrine) shrine in Bizen Province

Misaki-, or Onzaki-jinja Shrine

Ushitoramisaki-, or Ushitoraonzaki-jinja Shrine

Tamura-jinja Shrine (Takamatsu City): Ichinomiya (the supreme shrine) in Sanuki Province
According to the 'Momotaro Legend of Sanuki,' the origins of the Momotaro story lie in Yamatototohimomosohime no Mikoto asking her younger brothers, including Kibitsuhiko, who were on the opposite shore invading Kibitsu, for help in defeating pirates who were attacking Sanuki. The dog ("inu" in Japanese) that appear in the Momotaro legend is believed to represent the residents of Inu-Jima Island, the monkey ("saru") those living in Saruo and the pheasant ("kiji") those in Kijigadani.

Momotaro Jinja Kinashigongen Kumano-jinja Shrine

[Original Japanese]