Jimmu tosei (Eastern expedition of the Emperor Jinmu) (神武東征)

Jimmu tosei (Eastern expedition of the Emperor Jinmu) is a tale in Japanese myth of the expedition of the first Kamuyamatoiwarebiko (Emperor Jinmu) of the Imperial family who departed from Hyuga, conquered Yamato and succeeded to Kashiwara no Miya (palace at Kashihara).

Some understand that this is completely fictitious, while others believe that this myth is based on the historical fact that a power in Kyushu moved to Yamato to build the Yamato Dynasty. It seems difficult to prove Jimmu tosei academically unless trustworthy written documents of the time are found.

A similarity to the later Empress Jingu and her son Emperor Ojin is pointed out because in both stories an emperor in Kyushu conquered Yamato. A mythologist Shoei MISHINA also pointed out the similarity to the myth of national foundation of Goguryeo (kingdom of Korea).

Story line
In "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters), Kamuyamatoiwarebiko conferred with his elder brother Itsuse where they should move to rule Ashihara no Nakatsukuni (the Central Land of Reed Plains) better and decided to head for east. Leading the army on ship, he left Hyuga for Tsukushi and when they arrived at Usa (present-day Usa City) in Toyo Province, Usatsuhiko and Usatsuhime built a temporary palace and served meals. They moved to Okadagu where they spent a year. Then they moved forward to Takeri no miya in Aki Province where they spent seven years and at Takashima no miya in Kibi Province eight years.

When the army anchored at Shirakata no tsu (Bay of Shirakata) in Naniwa Province (near present-day Higashi Osaka City. There was a bay at that time), Nagasunehiko had been waiting for the landing of Kamuyamatoiwarebiko with his army. In the battle with Nagasunehiko, Itsuse was shot by Nagatsunehiko's arrow. Itsuse said, "We are the sons of Hi no kami (the Sun Goddess i.e. Amaterasu Omikami), so we shouldn't fight facing the sun (the East). We should move to fight with the Sun on our back (facing the West)." So they moved toward the South, but Itsuse died when they arrived at Onominato in Kii Province.

When Kamuyamatoiwarebiko arrived at Kumano, a huge bear appeared and immediately disappeared. Then, Kamuyamatoiwarebiko and his army fainted. Then, Takakuraji from Kumano came to them with a sword and Kamuyamatoiwarebiko woke up immediately. When Kamuyamatoiwarebiko received the sword, a rough deity in Kumano was cut down naturally and all the fainted army awoke.

Kamuyamatoiwarebiko asked Takakuraji how he received the sword. Takakuraji said that Amaterasu and Takamimusubi appeared in his dream. Two deities called Takemikazuchi and said, "Ashihara Nakatsukuni is in an uproar, and our children are in trouble. You are the one who pacified Ashihara no Nakatsukuni, so you should fall from the heaven again." Takemikazuchi answered, "Instead, I will provide the sword that I used in pacification." Then he said to Takakuraji, "I will make a hole on the roof of the warehouse and throw in the sword, so you should bring it to the child of Amatsukami (god of heaven)." When he woke up and looked into his warehouse, the sword was there as described, so he brought it to Kamuyamatoiwarebiko. The sword is called Mikafutsu no kami or Futsu no mitama, and it is now enshrined at Isonokami-jingu Shrine.

By the order of Takagi no kami, yatagarasu (Japanese mythological big crow) was sent as a guide to lead from Kumano to Uda in Yamato Province.

In Uda, they met brothers Eukashi and Otoukashi. Kamuyamatoiwarebiko sent the yatakarasu first to ask the brothers whether they would serve him or not, but the older brother Eukashi shot a whistling arrowhead to chase the bird away.

Eukashi tried to gather the army to fight against Kamuyamatoiwarebiko but failed. So he pretended to serve Kamuyamatoiwarebiko and built a palace with a trap that the ceiling would fall once a person entered. The younger brother Otoukashi reported this trick to Kamuyamatoiwarebiko. So Kamuyamatoiwarebiko sent Michinoomi no mikoto, the ancestor of Otomo Muraji, and Okume no mikoto, the ancestor of Kume no Atai, to Eukashi. Preparing arrows on their bows, two deities urged Eukashi, "If you honestly serve Kamuyamatoiwarebiko, enter the palace to prove your loyalty." Eukashi was caught in the self-set trap and died.

When the army reached Oshisaka, Yasotakeru (numerous fighters) of Tsuchigumo were waiting for them. Kamuyamatoiwarebiko gave them a feast and made them accompanied by 80 cooks who secretly had swords. On a sign, they killed Yasotakeru all together.

After that, the army fought against Tomibiko (another name of Nagasunehiko) and brothers Eshiki and Otoshiki. Then Nigihayahi no mikoto appeared, submitted Kamuyamatoiwarebiko a symbol item as the child of Amatsu kami, and served him.

Kamuyamatoiwarebiko made rough deities obey him and succeeded to the throne at the palace of Kashiwara at Unebi (the Kashihara Imperial Palace in the southeast of Mount Unebi).

After coronation, he married Himetataraisukeyorihime, a daughter of Omono Nushi, and had three children (mihashira): Hikoyai no mikoto, Kamuyaimimi no mikoto, and Kamununakawamimi no mikoto (later Emperor Suizei).


According to "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), when Kanyamato Iwarehiko (Kamuyamatoiwarebiko) was 45 (age by the traditional Japanese system), or some 1,792,470 years after Amatsuoya Ninigi descended to the earth, he said that there were numerous disputes in the far land and heard from Shiotsuchinooji about a beautiful province in the east, so he set out for the eastern expedition to build the capital.

In the battle against Nagasunehiko, a golden kite (a bird of prey) flied over to the tip of Kamuyamatoiwarebiko's arrow. The glittering golden kite mesmerized Nagasunehiko's army, who couldn't fight any more.

Nagasunehiko sent a messenger to Kamuyamatoiwarebiko to tell him that Nagasunehiko worshiped Kushitama Nigihayahi no Mikoto who fell from the heaven on Amenoiwafune Ship, and there should not be two Amatsu kami, thus Kamuyamatoiwarebiko should be a fake. Kamuyamatoiwarebiko and Nagasunehiko showed each other their symbols as a child of Amatsu kami, so both of them were proved to be genuine. Nagasunehiko still refused to stop fighting, so Nigihayahi killed Nagasunehiko and submitted to Kamuyamatoiwarebiko.

There are two main theories on the place of departure of Jinmu tosei as the original tradition, although these relate to the descriptions of the myth.

Southern Kyushu theory
This theory argues that Takachiho in Hyuga literally refers to Takachiho in Hyuga Province (Miyazaki Prefecture).
The basis of this theory is as follows:

Hyuga refers to Hyuga Province.

This theory is divided, however, into groups depending on what Takachiho refers to, i.e. Takachiho-no-mine Mountain, Takachiho Gorge, and so on.

Fusosha's history textbook takes the same theory as the former government-designated textbook, but the map in Fusosha edition specifies Takachiho-no-mine Mountain on the coast near Miyazaki City, and the Kanmu troop tuned back near Kanmon-kaikyo Strait and headed east. In addition, the text describes that the troop departed from Miyazaki Prefecture (which does not face the Seto Inland Sea) and proceeded in the Seto Inland Sea.

North Kyushu theory
This theory argues that the tradition indicates the place of departure is on the northern part of Kyushu region.
The basis of this theory is as follows:

The text indicated Hyuga instead of Hyuga Province which was said to be named based on the word of Emperor Keiko, thus the province should not exist before the enthronement of Emperor Jinmu; the name of the place should be read Himuka instead of Hyuga, meaning it is facing East or South, or it is an eulogistic name.

Takachiho means a high mountain, and it can be proved by the fact that there are several mountains called Takachiho.

In "Kojiki," Takachiho in Himuka described in tensonkorin (the descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess) is a place opposite to the cape Kasasa that faces Korea.

Emperor Jinmu headed for the expedition on the ship, so it can't be the present-day Takachiho-no-mine Mountain.

If they started from Southern Kyushu, they had to pass Kanmon-kaikyo Strait twice where the sea flow is faster than that in Bungo-kaikyo Strait, making the description quite odd.

The port of call Oka no minato is considered to be Onga in the northern Kyushu.

Northern Kyushu is the only place that makes the eastern expedition arrive at Yamato. If they headed east from Southern Kyushu, they would arrive at the South side of Shikoku.

The route passed through the north side of the Seto Island Sea.

Southern Kyushu was the base of Kumaso (a tribe living in the ancient Kyushu district).

The Jinmu troop left Himuka in Chikushi, passed through Oka no minato (Fukuoka Prefecture), Ei no miya in Aki (Hiroshima Prefecture), and Takashima no miya in Kibi (Okayama Prefecture), and arrived at the Osaka Bay from where they attempted to penetrate into Nara Basin.

The Jinmu Army landed on Kusaka (Higashi Osaka City) was defeated in the first battle against the army of Nagasunehiko. In this battle, the eldest brother Itsuse injured his shin by an arrow.

They gave up invading from the west and made a detour around the Kii Peninsula to penetrate from the east. During the detour, Itsuse died of the wound at O no minato and was buried in Kamayama (Kamayama jinja Shrine in Wada, Wakayama City).

The army defeated Nagusatobe headed further east, but their ships were wrecked by the storm in Arasaka-no-tsu (Kumano City, Mie Prefecture) on the border between Kumano (Wakayama Prefecture) and Ise.

Following the yatakarasu's guide, the army went through the Kumano mountain and arrived at Ugachi mura in Uda (Utano-cho, Uda County, Nara Prefecture). There they defeated Eukashi and attempted to invade into Nara Basin. They fought some more severe fights against Shikitsuhiko and other enemies and they broke through the defense line in Mt. Aokaki by the Shiinetsuhiko's operation to invade Nara Basin. In the Basin, they further fought against Nagasunehiko, but Umashimade, a son of Nigihayahi, slew his uncle Nagasunehiko and submitted to Jinmu. The Jinmu army continued to suppress the resistance and concluded to pacify Nara Basin.

[Original Japanese]