Hitakami no kuni (日高見国)

Hitakami no kuni is a province ruled by Emishi (a group of people) as a local sphere of influence, which was located in the present-day Tohoku region (the Kitakami-gawa River basin in Iwate Prefecture) and described in "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan).

In A.D. 97, TAKENOUCHI no Sukune made a tour of inspection in Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly Kanto region) and reported, "There is Hitakami no kuni in the east where Emishi live and it is a vast and fertile land, so we should conquer there." It is described that Yamatotakeru was dispatched and pacified the region. It is assumed that the province was around the Kitakami-gawa River basin, and the name of the river is said to come from "Hitakami."

In one norito (Shinto ritual prayer) "Oharae no kotoba," Ohoyamatohitakami no kuni appears as another name of Japan. A mythologist, Takeo MATSUMURA, argued that "Hitakami" means above the sun, and Yamato Province was called the province above the sun (province of the rising sun) because it was to the east from Hyuga Province where the grandson of the sun goddess descended. According to this theory, the Jimmu tosei (eastern expedition of the Emperor Jinmu) moved the capital to Yamato Province and "Hitakami no kuni" started to be referred to as the region to the east of Yamato Province, so it finally came to be referred to as the Kitakami-gawa River basin.

The former name of the province, Hitachi no kuni, is said to be corrupted from "Hitakami no kuni eno michi" or "Hitakamimichi" (the road to Hitakami).

[Original Japanese]