Second : None of the poem was composed in Yamato

 This is the second poem in Man'yoshu. It is said to be composed by Great King Jomei in Yamato. But that is not necessarily one and only interpretation.

MYS2. Emperor Jomei composed this poem when he climbed Mount Kagu and viewed the land.

yamato ni wa
murayama aredo
ama no kaguyama
kunimi o sureba
kunihara wa
keburi tachitatsu
unahara wa
kamame tachitatsu
umashi kuni so
yamato no kuni wa

Many are the Hills,
the mountains of Yamato,
yet when I ascend
heavenly Kaguyama,
the peerless mountain,
when I look down on the land:
where the land stretches,
hearth smoke rises everywhere;
where the water stretches,
water birds fly everywhere.
Ah a splendid country,
this land Yamato
of bounteous harvests
(Translated by Helen Craig McCullough)

 Fig.2. Japan map & Fig.3. Asuka map   Fig.2. Japan map & Fig.4. Kaguyama map(Beppu map)

1)   There are no scenery in Yamato at Asuka in general.
  First, the word "toriyorou, " is, in Japanese, meant peerless mountain which stands out from the others. But there is no such a particular feature in Kaguyama hill in Yamato. It attracts least attention among the Three Hills of Asuka(Yamato) . Evidently, the top of lower hill of Kaguyama commands a poor view.
  Therefore, in no case should the sea watch from Kaguyama hill in Yamato at Asuka. Similarly, seldom should gulls do seen at Asuka. Specifically, none of the smoke does mean.
(Kaguyama-hill is 162 meters high, Ruins of Fujiwara Palace is 75 meters high, and Mt.Nizyou is 517 meters high above the sea level.)
  Thus the ordinary interpretation of this poem differs in the facts of geography.

 Fig.3. Asuka map & Fig.5. Asuka View from Amakasi-no-oka hill

  Second, it is difficult, if not impossible, to read for "Yamato" both""and "" with two Man'yo-kana words.
 First "Yamato" is written in "." But this case has no precedent. Normally ", toko" can not pronounce ", to" in the reading methods of Man'yo-kana. Commonly it should take last syllable "ko" in ", toko" . But "yamako," makes no sense. Another pronounce of "" is "tune." If you take last syllable of ", tune" by the methods of Man'yo-kana, the word would be read as "yama-ne,,." This reading is very natural, because there are, for example, family name "yamane ", and local name "Shimane Provence ". If it can be read so, this phrase can be interpreted as to stand out from other mountains.
 Second Yamato is written in "." But there is no precedent of this "Yamato." In no case could this word understand as Yamato. On the other hand, under the methods of Man'yo-kana, "" can be read as "ha." In this case, the word "hamato,," means seaside.
  In conclusion, neither of two words can be read as "Yamato". And there is no reason to believe that this poem was composed at Asuka in Yamato by Great King Jomei.

2)     It is necessary for us to put new point of view provided that this poem was not composed in Yamato. This section seeks to pursue this problem.
  First, it is the focus for "Akitsu-shima, " instead of Yamato. It appears as "Oho-yamato Toyo no aki-dzu(tsu)-shima," in Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters,). In ancient ages, "Oho-yamato Toyo," is a part of "Oita Prefecture" in "Kyusyu." "Aki-tsu," mean "Beppu Bay". One of the traces is the existence of "Aki-machi", the town that situated at the entrance of Beppu Bay. "Akitsu-shima," means "Kyusyu," island to be seen from the sea.
  Therefore, it is possible to think that this poem was composed in "Beppu."

  Second, it is the next focus for "Ama no Kaguyama,." Through ancient times, according to "Wamyou-sho " etcetera, "Beppu Bay " has been known as a part of the place called "Ama." The trace is the existence of the place name of "North and South Ama-be Gun."
  The aim of the next investigation is to search out whether Mt.Tsurumi, the outstanding mountain in Beppu, had been called "Kaguyama" or not. One trace is the Fire God "Ho no Kagu Tsuchi ( )" in "Honowo-honome Shrines" which exist at the plain and the mountain side. The other trace is "Lake Kagu-ra-me ." The roots of both word is "Kagu," which seems to mean sacredness.
  Therefore, it is possible to think that Tsuchi-gumo people had refered to Mt.Tsurumi as "Kagu-yama" before they were ruled by Ama people. "Kagu-yama" must be a sacred volcano worshipped by "Tsuchigumo people" in Jomon period.

  Fig.6. Honowo-honome Shrine
  Fig.7. Lake Kagurame

  In fact, Mt.Tsurumi had historical eruption in A.D.867 which was recorded in "Sandai-zituroku ." That violent eruption had cut off the peak of Mt.Tsurumi that had been supposed to have almost 2000 meters high, and it's melted stones flowed into the river, and exterminated fishes. It is said Mt.Tsurumi had been higher than Mt.Yufu on the record of "Honowo-honome Shrine." In addition, Mt.Tsurumi was a famous volcano that numerous violent eruptions had recorded in "Remnants of Iyo-Fudoki."
( Mt. Tsurumi is 1375 meters high, Lake Kagurame is 600 meters high, and Mt.Yufu is 1583 meters high above sea level.)

  On the other hand, Kaguyama hill in Yamato is called "Ame no Kaguyama,, Rain of Kaguyama," because on the hill the rite for rain has performed so that it was revered by people. There is no existence of the name place "Ama " in Yamato. Absolutely there is no volcano at Aska.
  Such a comparison made it clear that this poem is difference to two interpretation. Furthermore, it become clear that we can refer to Mt.Tsurumi as "Ama no Kaguyama,."

3)     Compared to the conventional interpretation, this new interpretation is claimed to be more productive. All scenarios are commanding that this poem was composed in Beppu.

Fig.8. The view from Hamato
Fig.9. The view from Torigoe

  First, Mt.Tsurumi is the outstanding mountain. Before violent eruption, it must had been peerless.
  Second, in Beppu, steam smokes of Hot Springs constantly rise, especially well in winter. Beppu in Oita Prefecture is very famous in Hot Springs. In addition, we can always watch gulls in nearside of the sea in winter.
  Third, each steps of this poem involve old place names in Beppu, such as Ama, Noboritate, Hara and Akitsu. Especially finding the old place name Noboritate I convince that this poem is composed in Beppu, not in Yamato. In addition, the common place names, or family names are included in this poem, such as Yamane , Murayama , Kunimi , Kunihara , Unabara , and Hamato .
  Finally, for these reasons, the author of this poem come to Beppu from the sea, stay in hot spring, and go out for land-viewing to the highest point.

yamane ni wa
murayama aredo
Ama no Kaguyama
kunimi o sureba
kunihara wa
keburi tachitatsu
unahara wa
kamame tachitatsu
umashi kuni so
Hamato no kuni wa

The peerless mountain,
in many ridge of mountains,
the volcano of Ama no Kaguyama.
yet I ascend to Noboritate,
Look down on the land :
where the land stretches,
smoke rise everywhere ;
where the marine stretches,
gulls fly everywhere.
Ah, a splendid country,
this land Hamato

  "Noboritate, " is one of a sample of old place names, which means situated by the side of cliff and having a fine view.

4)     Similarly to other poems, the interpretation of this poem allows us to make clear the points as follows.

1. The trustworthy part of a poem is the poem itself. The poem is the primary material.
2. "Tyusyaku,, note to the poem" is not the primary material. That is a secondary material that suggest "the interpretation of the anthologist when he compiled the book."
  We have thought for years that this poem was composed in the period of Great King Jomei (A.D 593-641). If this poem is thought to be a land-viewing song ("Kunimi uta, ") , it must be composed by Ama tarishihoko depicted in Sui shu.

  With these interpretations, we gain much wider recognition about this poem.
(Translated by Yukio Yokota. Revised by Hajime Ohwada.)

Works Cited

Brocade by Night
"Kokin Wakasyu" and the Court Style in
Japanese Classical Poetry

Helen Craig McCullough

Stanford University Press

Pre-Heian Song and Poetry

Ian Hideo Levy,
A translation of Japan's premier anthology of classical poetry
Volume one

University of Tokyo Press
Princeton University Press

Vol.1, Book1, pp.38

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Created by "Yukio Yokota"
Copyrighted by "Takehiko Furuta"