Kumaso (a tribe living in the ancient Kyushu district) (熊襲)

Kumaso is a name for the family that appear in "Kojiki" (Records of Ancient Matters), "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), and the Japanese mythology. The family was based in the southern part of Kyushu District, resisting Yamato sovereignty (the ancient Japan sovereignty), and the name is said to have meant the area. In Nihonshoki, it was written as Kumaso (熊襲), while in Kojiki, it was written as Kumaso (熊曾).

Various theories

They are a tribe who lived from Kuma County, Higo Province (around the present Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture, the upper reaches of the Kuma-gawa river) to Soo County, Osumi Province (around the present Kirishima City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is a different area from the present Soo County, Soo City). Today it is generally considered that after they became followers of Yamato sovereignty, they served as 'Hayato' (an ancient tribe in Kyushu) (Sokichi TSUDA and others). Akizo NAKAMURA, a scholar of Hayato, advocated a theory that the base of Kumaso was only the regions of Miyakonojo and Soo from the archeological difference of Kuma and Soo regions, and 'Kuma' was a eulogistic name to indicate dauntlessness.

Moreover, Konan NAITO, Sokichi TSUDA, and Mitsusada INOUE claimed that Kunakoku mentioned in Gishiwajinden (literally, an 'Account of the Wa' in "The History of the Wei Dynasty") was the province of Kumaso. However, this theory does not necessarily correspond to a theory of Yamatai Kingdom located in Kyushu area.

It is generally known that they were subjected to Yamato administration by the fifth century and became Hayato.

A myth of Kuni-umi (the birth of Japan)

According to a myth of Kuni-umi in Kojiki, Kumaso was told as one of the four areas of Tsukushi no shima Island (Kyushu), which was born after Shikoku and before Iki Island, and its another name was said to be 'Takehiwake.'

Next, Tsuku no shima Island was born. This island also had one body and four faces. Each face had a name. Tsukushi Province was called Shirahiwake. Toyo Province was called Toyohiwake. Hi Province was called Takehi Mukahi Toyokujihinewake. Kumaso was called Takehiwake.

A myth of obedience

It is a myth told in Kojiki and Nihonshoki, which concerns the process of the southern Kyushu's serving Yamato sovereignty.

A myth of Yamato Takeru

Kojiki contains a tale in which Yamato Takeru, an Imperial prince of Emperor Keiko, subjugated Kumaso Takeru (Kawakami Takeru). In addition, Nihonshoki tells a legend of Emperor Keiko's subjugation that had been conducted before Yamato Takeru. Especially the former is famous as a myth in which Yamato Takeru, who called himself Osu no Mikoto in those days, dressed up as a woman, sneaked into a bedchamber of Kumaso Takeru brothers and killed them, then he was given the name of younger brother Takeru at that time.

A myth of Emperor Keiko's Kyushu conquest

It is a myth described in Nihonshoki.

[Original Japanese]