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Lafcadio Hearn

1 Thick solid sliding shutters of unpainted wood, which in Japanese houses serve both as shutters and doors.

2 Tanabiku.

3 Ama-terasu-oho-mi-Kami literally signifies 'the Heaven-Shining Great- August-Divinity.' (See Professor Chamberlain's translation of the Kojiki.)

4 'The gods who do harm are to be appeased, so that they may not punish those who have offended them.' Such are the words of the great Shinto teacher, Hirata, as translated by Mr. Satow in his article, ~ The Revival of Pure .Shintau.

SHINKOKU is the sacred name of Japan - Shinkoku, 'The Country of the Gods'; and of all Shinkoku the most holy ground is the land of Izumo. Hither from the blue Plain of High Heaven first came to dwell awhile the Earth-makers, Izanagi and Izanami, the parents of gods and of men; somewhere upon the border of this land was Izanami buried; and out of this land into the black realm of the dead did Izanagi follow after her, and seek in vain to bring her back again. And the tale of his descent into that strange nether world, and of what there befell him, is it not written in the Kojiki?

1 The most ancient book extant in the archaic tongue of Japan. It is the most sacred scripture of Shinto. It has been admirably translated, with copious notes and commentaries, by Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain, of Tokyo.

2 The genealogy of the family is published in a curious little book with which I was presented at Kitzuki. Senke Takanori is the eighty-first Pontiff Governor (formerly called Kokuzo) of Kitzuki. His lineage is traced back through sixty-five generations of Kokuzo and sixteen generations of earthly deities to Ama-terasu and her brother Susanoo-no- mikoto.


IT is forbidden to go to Kaka if there be wind enough 'to move three hairs.'

Now an absolutely windless day is rare on this wild western coast. Over the Japanese Sea, from Korea, or China, or boreal Siberia, some west or north-west breeze is nearly always blowing. So that I have had to wait many long months for a good chance to visit Kaka.

1 Such are the names given to the water-vessels or cisterns at which Shinto worshippers must wash their hands and rinse their mouths ere praying to the Kami. A mitarashi or o-chozubachi is placed before every Shinto temple. The pilgrim to Shin-Kukedo-San should perform this ceremonial ablution at the little rock-spring above described, before entering the sacred cave. Here even the gods of the cave are said to wash after having passed through the seawater.

2 August Fire-Lady'; or, 'the August Sun-Lady,' Amaterasu-oho-mi-Kami.

Seki wa yoi toko, Asahi wo ukete; O-Yama arashiga Soyo-soyoto! (SONG OF MIONOSEKI.)

[Seki is a goodly place, facing the morning sun. There, from the holy mountains, the winds blow softly, softly - soyosoyoto.]


THE God of Mionoseki hates eggs, hen's eggs. Likewise he hates hens and chickens, and abhors the Cock above all living creatures. And in Mionoseki there are no cocks or hens or chickens or eggs. You could not buy a hen's egg in that place even for twenty times its weight in gold.

1 Mionoseki

2 Zashiki, the best and largest room of a Japanese dwelling - the guest- room of a private house, or the banquet-room of a public inn.


KITZUKI, July 20, 1891.

AKIRA is no longer with me. He has gone to Kyoto, the holy Buddhist city, to edit a Buddhist magazine; and I already feel without him like one who has lost his way - despite his reiterated assurances that he could never be of much service to me in Izumo, as he knew nothing about Shinto.

1 Fourteenth of August.

2 In the pretty little seaside hotel Inaba-ya, where I lived during my stay in Kitzuki, the kind old hostess begged her guests with almost tearful earnestness not to leave the house during the Minige.

3 There are ten rin to one sen, and ten mon to one rin, on one hundred to one sen. The majority of the cheap toys sold at the matsuri cost from two to nine rin. The rin is a circular copper coin with a square hole in the middle for stringing purposes.

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