Futsunomitama (布都御魂)

Futsunomitama is a divine sword described in the "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) and mythology. It is also called Futsunomitama no Tsurugi (sword) or Futsumitama no Tsurugi. It is also called Sajifutsu no Kami or Mikafutsu no Kami, and the word "futsu" in these names indicates the sound of cutting something off with a sword.


Takemikazuchi no Kami (The god Takemikazuchi) used this sword to pacify Ashihara no Nakatsukuni (the Central Land of Reed Plains). On the Jinmu tosei (Eastern expedition of the Emperor Jinmu), when the emperor failed to kill Nagasunehiko and was beleaguered in the Mount Kumano, Takakuraji presented the Futsumitama sword to the Emperor Jinmu. The spiritual power of the sword awakened the army from the poisonous air and revived them to win the war, so it is said that the sword was very useful in the conquest of the Yamato Province. The sword has the power to defeat Araburu Kami (malignant gods).

During the reign of Emperor Jinmu, Futsunomitama was enshrined in the Imperial court by Umashimaji no Mikoto who is said to be the founder of the Mononobe clan. In the reign of Emperor Sujin, Ikagashiko no Mikoto of the Mononobe clan transferred the sword to the Isonokami-jingu Shrine where it was worshipped as a goshintai (object of worship housed in a Shinto shrine and believed to contain the spirit of a deity). The enshrined deity of the Isonokami-jingu Shrine is Futsunomitama no Okami which is said to be a divine spirit of Futsunomitama.

Futsunomitama was later buried in the kinsokuchi (tabooed land) at the back of the haiden (a hall of worship) of the shrine, but in 1874 it was excavated by Masatomo KAN, the chief priest of the shrine at the time, and enshrined in the honden (main shrine building) and it is still worshipped today as goshintai.

The object excavated by Masatomo KAN was a single-edged iron sword that was curved to the opposite side to the ordinary Japanese swords. It had a ring pommel at the handle. The length of the sword is about 85 centimeters, although it varies slightly from record to record.

The Kashima-jingu Shrine also has a huge straight sword named Futsumitama no Tsurugi (sword) or Futsunomitama no Tsurugi. Its origin is unknown, but it is estimated to have been made in the days between the end of Nara Period and the early Heian Period. It is designated as a national treasure and exhibited in the treasure hall of the Kashima-jingu Shrine.
Kashima-jingu Shrine National Treasure

Literary works in which Futsunomitama appears

Futsunomitama appears in Michiyo AKAISHI's manga comic "Towa kamo shirenai" (May Be Eternal). Hitsugi, a guardian of miko (a shrine maiden), took the Futsunomitama that was enshrined in the Kashima-jingu Shrine and cut the stone torii (shrine gate) to create kekkai (barrier). Later, when Hitsugi used the sword to cut lava to stop an eruption of Mount Fuji, the sword was destroyed.

[Original Japanese]