Toyotama-hime (Japanese: 豊玉姫) is a goddess in Japanese mythology who appears in Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. She is the daughter of the sea deity, Watatsumi, and the wife of Hoori. She is known as the paternal grandmother of Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan.

Toyotama-hime with her younger sister Tamayori-hime
Major cult centreKaijin Shrine
Personal information

Toyotama marries the prince Hoori, but returns to the sea when he breaks the vow not to spy on her while she goes through childbirth. The child she gave birth to was Ugayafukiaezu.

Name edit

Toyotama-hime's name is believed to mean "a miko (shrine maiden) who makes rich pearls attract divine spirits," in which toyo (豊) stands for "rich" and tama (玉) stands for "pearl".[1]

Myth edit

Hoori meets Toyotama
—illustration by Evelyn Paul[2]

The account of Toyatama-hime and Hoori appear in the Kojiki[3][4][5] and the Nihon Shoki.[6][7]

Toyotama-hime was the daughter of the sea deity Watatsumi. The palace where they reside is said to be as if made from fish scales and supposedly lies undersea.[a]

She makes a fateful meeting with the hunter prince, Yamasachi, also known as Hoori ("Fire-Subside"). The prince came in search of the fishing hook he lost at sea, borrowed from his elder brother Umisachi ("Luck of the Sea").[10][11]

When the princess came to draw water from the well, the prince was already waiting, having climbed a katsura tree[12] (or cassia tree[13]) that towered above the well. The prince asked for a drink of water and made a gesture of spitting jewels into the vessel. The princess was captivated by his beauty. Her sea deity father recognized him as the descendant of the heavenly gods and arranged a banquet. Toyotama married the prince, and they lived in the place for three years.[14]

At the end of three years, Toyotama's husband let out a sigh and revealed his unfinished quest for the lost fish hook, which needed to be returned to his brother. After the hook was found caught in the sea bream's (tai fish's) throat, Toyotama's husband was set upon a one-fathom long crocodile (or shark) to return home and, with the advice from the seagod, subjugated his elder brother.[15]

Toyotama, who had accompanied her husband to the land above sea, announced her pregnancy. The prince built for her a child-delivery hut (parturition house) thatched with cormorant feathers, which was not completely thatched when she went into labour. Toyotama requested Hoori not watch while she gave birth to their child. Toyotama then gave birth to a son, who was named Ugayafukiaezu ("Cormarant-Thatch-Meeting-Incompletely"[16]) or "Heavenly Male Brave of the Shore".[17][19]

Unfortunately, Hoori's curiosity got the better of him and he attempted to spy on his wife. To his surprise, rather than seeing his wife as he knew her, he witnessed an enormous wani (crocodile, or in ancient usage also meant shark) cradling his child (one Nihongi version claim she was a dragon, Tatsu). This creature was none other than his beloved Toyotama who had shape-shifted to give birth. After catching her husband spying on her, she was utterly ashamed that he broke his promise. Unable to forgive Hoori, she abandoned him and their child by returning to the sea. Following her departure, she sent her younger sister Tamayori ("Jewel-Good") to help raise the child in her absence.[20] As Ugayafukiaezu grew of age, he married his aunt and eventually conceived a child, Jimmu, who became the first Emperor of Japan.[21]

Parallels edit

Some commentators have noted a parallel between Toyotama-hime and the princess Oto-hime in the tale of Urashima Tarō, the boy who saves a turtle.[22] Toyotama rode a sea turtle to return from the sea to give birth, according to the Nihon Shoki.[23]

The transformation of Toyotama into a crocodile form draws parallels with the Melusine legend of continental Europe and selkie legends of Scotland and Scandinavia.[24]

Japanese scholar Hiroko Ikeda, in her index of Japanese folktales based on the international Aarne-Thompson Index, indexed the myth as type 470C, "The Lost Fish Hook (Umisachi Yamasuchi)": one of two brothers (one a fisherman, the other a hunter) loses the fisherman's hook and, on his quest, meets and marries the daughter of a marine Dragon King; later, he regains the fish hook and is given a jewel to control the tides; at the end of the tale, the hunter's wife asks him not to see her while she is giving birth, but he breaks the taboo and finds a crocodile (wani) in her place.[25][26] According to Ikeda, the tale has circum-Pacific distribution, that is, similar tales are found among ethnic groups that inhabit the Pacific Ocean shores.[27]

Legacy edit

Popular culture edit

  • Throughout Japanese media, human-dragon hybrids (former on their mother's side as the case with Toyotama) are commonplace, notably in video games such as Popolocrois, Fire Emblem and Breath of Fire.
  • In the Japanese anime Sekirei, there is a Sekirei named Toyotama that fights using a traditional wooden staff.
  • Samantha Shannon’s novel, “The Priory of the Orange Tree”, is loosely based on this legend.

Science edit

The extinct crocodile genus Toyotamaphimeia was named after this deity, in direct reference to this myth.

Genealogy edit

Toyotama-hime[38]Utsushihikanasaku [ja][39][40][41][43]Furutama-no-mikoto [ja]
Tensori no Mikoto [ja][42]Ugayafukiaezu[37][44]Tamayori-hime[38]Azumi people[43]Owari clan
Yamato clan)
Hayato people[42]Itsuse[44]Inahi[44]Mikeiri[44]Jimmu[44]Ahiratsu-hime[45]
Imperial House of JapanTagishimimi[46][47][48][45]
  • Red background is female.
  • Green background means groups
  • Bold letters are three generations of Hyuga.

See also edit

Explanatory notes edit

  1. ^ Luck of the Mountains makes the trip there by entering a woven bamboo boat, which is sunk into the sea according to "one version" in the Nihon Shoki.[8] The Kojiki does not explicitly say that he was plunged underwater, so the reading is that he was let "sail for a little while".[9]

References edit

  1. ^ Nishimiya, Kazutami (1979). Shinchō Nihon Koten Shusen 27: Kojiki. Shinchōsha. 豊玉毘売. ISBN 4-10-620327-8. OCLC 6543492.
  2. ^ Davis 1912
  3. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, Kojiki, pp. 117–119
  4. ^ Shirane (tr.) 2012, "Luck of the Sea and Luck of the Mountain", pp. 23–26
  5. ^ Takeda (ed.) 1977, Kojiki, pp. 68–74
  6. ^ Aston (tr.) 1896, Nihongi II, pp. 47, 61, 95–108
  7. ^ Ujiya (tr.) 1988, Nihon shoki, pp. 74–89
  8. ^ Aston (tr.) 1896, p. 96
  9. ^ Shirane (tr.) 2012, p. 23
  10. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, Kojiki, pp. 117–119
  11. ^ Shirane (tr.) 2012, "Luck of the Sea and Luck of the Mountain", pp. 23–26
  12. ^ Shirane (tr.) 2012, p. 24
  13. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, p. 121
  14. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, pp. 121–122
  15. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, pp. 122–125
  16. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, p. 127
  17. ^ Shirane (tr.) 2012, p. 26
  18. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, p. 127 and note 10
  19. ^ Full name rendered "Heaven's-Sun-Height-Prince-Wave-limit-Brave-Cormorant-Thatch-Meeting-Incompletely".[18]
  20. ^ Chamberlain (tr.) 1882, pp. 127–128
  21. ^ Shirane (tr.) 2012, epilogue summary, p. 26
  22. ^ Kawai, Hayao (1988), The Japanese psyche: major motifs in the fairy tales of Japan, Spring Publications, Incorporated, pp. 93, 154
  23. ^ Aston (tr.) 1896, Nihongi II, p. 104: "Toyo-tama-hime herself arrived, riding on a great tortoise, with her younger sister Tama-yori-hime"
  24. ^ Ashkenazi 2003, p. 167
  25. ^ Ikeda, Hiroko (1976). "Type Indexing the Folk Narrative". In Adrienne L. Kaeppler; H. Arlo Nimmo (eds.). Directions in Pacific Traditional Literature. Essays in Honor of Katharine Luomala. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press. pp. 347–348. ISBN 0910240205.
  26. ^ Ikeda, Hiroko (1971). A Type and Motif Index of Japanese Folk-Literature. Folklore Fellows Communications. Vol. 184. Suomalainen tiedeakatemia. pp. 121–122.
  27. ^ Ikeda, Hiroko (1976). "Type Indexing the Folk Narrative". In Adrienne L. Kaeppler; H. Arlo Nimmo (eds.). Directions in Pacific Traditional Literature. Essays in Honor of Katharine Luomala. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press. pp. 347, 348. ISBN 0910240205.
  28. ^ a b c Borgen, Robert; Ury, Marian (April 1990). "Readable Japanese Mythology: Selections from Nihon shoki and Kojiki" (PDF). The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese. 24 (1). American Association of Teachers of Japanese: 61–97. doi:10.2307/489230. JSTOR 489230. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  29. ^ a b "万幡豊秋津師比売命 – 國學院大學 古典文化学事業". Retrieved 2023-01-17.
  30. ^ a b "Encyclopedia of Shinto - Home : Kami in Classic Texts : Futodama". Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  31. ^ a b
  32. ^ a b "タクハタチヂヒメ". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-01-17.
  33. ^ a b "栲幡千千姫命(たくはたちぢひめのみこと)ご利益と神社". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-01-17.
  34. ^ a b "Ninigi". Mythopedia. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  35. ^ a b c d e Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697, translated from the original Chinese and Japanese by William George Aston. Book II, page 73. Tuttle Publishing. Tra edition (July 2005). First edition published 1972. ISBN 978-0-8048-3674-6
  36. ^ a b c d e "According to the 'Kojiki', the great 8th century A.D. compilation of Japanese mythology, Konohana Sakuya-hime married a god who grew suspicious of her when she became pregnant shortly after their wedding. To prove her fidelity to her husband, she entered a benign bower and miraculously gave birth to a son, unscathed by the surrounding flames. The fire ceremony at Fuji-Yyoshida recalls this story as a means of protecting the town from fire and promoting easy childbirth among women."
  37. ^ a b c "みやざきの神話と伝承101:概説". 2021-08-04. Archived from the original on 4 August 2021. Retrieved 2022-06-12.
  38. ^ a b c Akima, Toshio (1993). "The Origins of the Grand Shrine of Ise and the Cult of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Ōmikami". Japan Review. 4 (4): 143. ISSN 0915-0986. JSTOR 25790929.
  39. ^ a b "Explore Azumino! - Hotaka Shrine". Explore Azumino!. Japan Tourism Agency. Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  40. ^ a b
  41. ^ a b "Mt. Hotaka also have deities enshrined, and these deities are as their tutelaries : JINJA-GAKU 3 | HIKES IN JAPAN". 2020-10-01. Archived from the original on 2020-10-01. Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  42. ^ a b c Tsugita, Masaki (2001) [1977]. 古事記 (上) 全訳注 [Complete Translated and Annotated Kojiki, Part 1]. Vol. 38. 講談社学術文庫. p. 205. ISBN 4-06-158207-0.
  43. ^ a b "Ofune Matsuri – A Unique Festival in Nagano, Japan! - Festivals & Events|COOL JAPAN VIDEOS|A Website With Information About Travel, Culture, Food, History, and Things to Do in Japan". Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  44. ^ a b c d e The History of Nations: Japan. Dept. of education. Japan. H. W. Snow. 1910.
  45. ^ a b "Ahiratsuhime • . A History . . of Japan . 日本歴史". . A History . . of Japan . 日本歴史. Retrieved 2023-12-10.
  46. ^ Norinaga Motoori (2007). The Poetics of Motoori Norinaga: A Hermeneutical Journey. University of Hawaii Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-8248-3078-6.
  47. ^ Gary L. Ebersole (1992). Ritual Poetry and the Politics of Death in Early Japan. Princeton University Press. pp. 108–109. ISBN 0-691-01929-0.
  48. ^ The Kojiki: Records of Ancient Matters. Tuttle Publishing. 19 June 2012. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-4629-0511-9.
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External links edit