Oto Tachibana Hime (弟橘媛)

Oto Tachibana Hime was the wife of a mythical Japanese prince called Yamatotakeru. Also known as Ototachibanahime no Mikoto, Otachibanahime no Mikoto, or Tachibanano Okisaki, she is referred to as Oto Tachibana Hime in the "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters). Mention of her can be found in the section of the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) entitled "Emperor Keiko Period," as well as in the second book of the Kojiki and in Hitachi no Kuni Fudoki (literally, "the topography of Hitachi Province").

Oto Tachibana Hime according to the Kojiki and Nihonshoki
It is said that she was the daughter of Hozuminoujino Oshiyamano Sukune. She bore Yamatotakeru a son, Wakatakehiko no Miko.

She accompanied Yamatotakeru to the eastern expedition. When they arrived at Hashirimizu no umi (present day the Uraga Channel), Yamatotakeru's thoughtless words and deeds aroused the anger of Watatsumi (a tutelary of the sea). The sea became very rough and they could not go any farther.
In order to soothe the anger of Watatsumi, Oto Tachibana Hime prayed: 'I will sacrifice myself for my husband, Prince Yamatotakeru, by drowning myself in the sea. I beg you to protect his expedition to the east.'
She spread eight Sugadatami (sedge mats), eight Kawadatami (skin mats), and eight Kinudatami (silk mats) on the waves and sat on them to drown herself in the sea. Then the waves had subsided, making it possible for the ship to sail. Her comb drifted to the seashore seven days later. Near the Tokyo Bay area today, there are various place-names, such as Koyurugi, Sodegaura, and Sodegahama. They are named after the legend which says that a part of Oto Tachibana Hime's kimono outfits, such as obi (sash) and sode (sleeve), drifted to the shores.

Yamatotakeru could not forget Oto Tachibana Hime and grieved, saying, 'Ah, my wife,' at Usuhinomine (present day Usui-toge Pass) according to the "Nihonshoki" and at Sakamoto, Ashigara (Mt. Ashigara) in Kanagawa Prefecture according to the "Kojiki." We call the eastern part of Japan, 'Azuma,' named after this legendary account. This is so-called narrative about the origin of the place-name.

In the "Kojiki," before Oto Tachibana Hime drowned herself in the sea, she composed the following poem:

You who inquired after my safety when we stood amidst of the burning field of Ono, Sagamu, with mountains rising high above. You who inquired after my safety when we stood amidst of the burning field of Ono, Sagamu, with mountains rising high above.

This poem means: 'You who were worried about me when we were surrounded by the flaming fire in the fields of Sagami.'
This implies the incident in which Yamatotakeru was deceived and set fire by the Kuni no miyatsuko (provincial governor) who was in charge of Sagami Province. This poem is only recorded in the Kojiki. Her gratitude to Yamatotakeru is well expressed in this poem. Considering together with Yamatotakeru's word, 'Ah, my wife,' we can know how strong the bond between them was.

Oto Tachibana Hime recorded in the Fudoki
Oto Tachibana Hime also appears in the Hitachi no Kuni Fudoki. In the records, she is referred to as Tachibana no Okisaki and her husband, Yamatotakeru no Mikoto, is recorded as Yamatotakeru no Sumeramikoto. At Auka in Hitachi Province (present day Itako City and Namegata City in Ibaraki Prefecture), Yamatotakeru met again with Oto Tachibana Hime who came from Yamato Province.

[Original Japanese]