Yamato Takeru


Yamato Takeru, Yamatotakeru

Prince Yamatotakeru (日本武尊, やまとたける)
(also known as Yamato-dake), originally Prince Ousu (小碓命, おうすのみこと) was a Japanese legendary prince of the Yamato dynasty, son of Keikō of Yamato, a legendary monarch who is traditionally counted as the 12th Tennō or Emperor of Japan. The tragic tale of this impressive figure is told in the Japanese chronicles Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. One of his sons later became Chūai, traditionally counted as the 14th Emperor of Japan.

His historical existence is uncertain but those books date his life to the 4th century AD. Details are different between the two books and the version in Kojiki is assumed to be loyal to the older form of this legend.

According to traditional sources, Yamato Takeru died in the 43rd year of Emperor Keiko's reign (景行天皇43年). The possessions of the dead prince were gathered together along with the sword Kusanagi; and his widow venerated his memory in a shrine at her home. Sometime later, these relics and the sacred sword were moved to the current location of Atsuta Shrine.

Yamato Takeru is believed to have died somewhere in Ise Province. According to the legend the name of Mie Prefecture was derived from his final words. After death his soul turned into a great white bird and flew away. His tomb in Ise is known as the Mausoleum of the White Plover.
A statue of Yamato Takeru stands in Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, Ishikawa.
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Yamato takeru no mikoto
やまとたけるのみこと / 倭建命

Other names:
Ousu no mikoto (Kojiki, Nihongi), Yamatooguna no miko (Kojiki), Yamatooguna (Nihongi).

A son of Emperor Keikō, and father to Emperor Chūai. Yamatotakeru's mother was Ōiratsume of Inabi in Harima, the daughter of Wakatakekibitsuhiko, ancestor of the clan known as Kibi no Omi.

Together with Wakatarashihiko (Emperor Seimu; in Nihongi, called Wakatarashi) and Prince Iokinoirihiko, Yamatotakeru was one of three princes sired by Emperor Keikō. Accepting to his father's command to campaign in the western provinces, he disguised himself as a woman and killed the leading warrior "brave" (takeru) of the local tribes known as kumaso. As the warrior lay dying, he christened Ousu with the name Yamatotakeru, meaning "brave of Yamato."

After subduing various regions in the west, Yamatotakeru returned home, and then left on another campaign, this time to the east. There, he was saved from fire by the "grass-mowing sword (kusanagi)" presented to him by Yamatohime no mikoto, and he was delivered from disaster at sea by the sacrificial death of his queen Ototachibanahime no mikoto, thus completing his mission to pacify the unruly kami and rebellious tribes.

source : Mori Mizue. Kokugakuin University.

. 吾嬬神社 Azuma Jinja, Kameido Tokyo .
where 日本武尊 Yamato Takeru and his wife, 弟橘姫 Princess Ototachibana Hime, are venerated.
Former 吾嬬権現社 Azuma Gongen no Yashiro
In the compound is a huge kusunoki 樟 camphor tree with bifurcated stem.

Yamato Takeru went to the the North of Japan. He lost his wife Oto Tachibana-Hime during a storm when she sacrificed herself to soothe the anger of the sea god.
The shrine was built there and two 供養箸 ritual chopsticks placed in the ground. Legend knows that these two chopsticks grew into the camphor tree.
- Azuma no Mori renri no azusa 吾嬬の森連理の梓
- The Conjoined Camphor Trees by the Azuma-no mori Shrine

. Retreat on the day of the wild boar (imigomori ) .
at Hioka shrine in Harima, to honor his mother


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Kusanagi no ken 草薙の剣 The sword Kusanagi
on a Nebuta float from Aomori

The Imperial Sword of the Billowing Clouds
one of the three Imperial regalia of Japan.

The sword's name is "Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi" (sword of heavenly gathering of clouds), and it is also known as "Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi" (grass cutting two-edged sword) when it was used by Yamato Takeru to cut grass to make an escape route when he was surrounded by fire in one of the Ainu subjugation campaigns.

. Japanese Swords 日本刀 and Daruma  


H A I K U - R E N K U

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Shrine Sakaori no Miya 酒折宮 (さかおりのみや)
in Kofu 甲府市の東部

Yamato Takeru, the deity of linked verse (renga 連歌) is enshrined here.
He is said to have composed the first renku together with an old man, caretaker of the lights, of his army.

It is the famous kata-uta 片歌(かたうた)
This kind of linked verse has the form of
5 7 7
5 7 7
katauta (片歌, "poem fragment", "half song")

Yamato Takeru at Shrine Sakaori no Miya
source : www.museum.pref.yamanashi.jp

Yamato Takeru no Mikoto then came into Kai Province (Yamanashi Prefecture) and rested in Sakaori Palace. When dusk fell, he was served dinner. Seeng the lights that were being lit, he asked his servants in a song,

新墾(にひはり) 筑波を過ぎて 幾夜か寝つる

Since I passed Tsukuba
And Niibari,
How many nights have I slept ?

While no one was able to reply, the man in charge of the lights sang back,

計(かがな)べて 夜には九の夜 日には十日を

Counting the days -
Of nights there are nine nights,
Of days there are ten days.

Yamato Takeru no Mikoto praised this reply.

With Japanese and more text
source : (Hiraizumi Kiyoshi)

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. Photo Album of Taro Kunugi, Facebook

Thank you, Taro san, for sharing your photos !

- Homepage of the Temple 酒折宮
- source : sakaorinomiya.jp

3 Chome-1-13 Sakaori, Kofu, Yamanashi
- reference : Sakaori-no-miya -





- - - - - More from my files :

足柄山 Ashigarayama and the Sakagami 坂神 "Deity of the Slope" -

At shrine Awa no miya 安房の浮宮
The Knife Ceremony and Fujiwara Yamakage 藤原山陰

Eating pickles at Kayatsu shrine 萱津神社

At shrine Kehi Jingu 気比神宮

Statue at shrine Mitsumine Jinja 三峰神社

At Mount Tsukuba 筑波山

At Usui Pass 碓氷峠, Usui-tōge

. At the slope Tsuetsukizaka 杖突坂 in Mie .

. Myoogi Jinja 妙義神社 Shrine Myogi Jinja . - Gunma


- #yamatotakeru #OtotachibanaHime-


Anonymous said...

This is very interesting, thanks a lot.
a friend from Taiwan

Gabi Greve said...

Myoogi Jinja 妙義神社 Shrine Myogi Jinja

It was founded in 537 and is thus one of the oldes shrines in Japan.
The Mountain Deity itself is enshrined here.
The Deity is venerated for protecting from fire, bring a good harvest and also for good business and prosperity. So many famous Daimyo Lords came here to worship and donate buildings and treasures.
日本武尊 Prince Yamato Takeru is also enshrined here.

This shrine is located near the eastern foot of Mount 白雲山 Hakuun-zan, one of the peaks of Mt. Myogi.
When Yamato Takeru climbed 白雲山 Mount Hakuun-zan , he founded a shrine to venerate the deity
Hagoso 波己曽(はごそ)神, and the mountain was named after it, 波己曽山 Hagoso-zan. This name later changed to Myogiisan.
Hakoso Jinja 波己曽神社 / 波己曽(はこそ)神社 Hakoso Shrine
More about the Tengu from Nikko

Gabi Greve said...

群馬県 Gunma 藤岡市 Fujioka

At the riverpool あいのかま Ainokama in the gorge 鮎川の蛇喰 Jabami valley of the river Ayugawa there lived a wicked 悪鬼王 Demon King, who took human lives for his offerings.
The hero Yamato Takeru came to punish him.
kioo 鬼王 Kio, Ki-O, the Demon King


Gabi Greve said...

Mount Ryokamisan, at the northern end of the Okuchichibu Mountains, is 1,723 m high.
Also known as 八日見山 Yokamiyama, 竜頭山 Ryukamiyama (Dragon Head) and 鋸岳 Nokogiridake.
The name Yokamiyama dates back to Yamato Takeru, who 見 looked this mountain for 八日 eight days when he climbed Mount Tsukuba .

Gabi Greve said...

22 legends to explore
one is here

Gabi Greve said...

Meguro目黒 Tokyo

At the shrine Ōtori-jinja 大鳥神社 Otori Jinja in Meguro, Yamato Takeru is venerated as a deity.
In the left hand he holds a hinawa 火縄, rope to make fire, in the right hand the sword Kusanagi no Tsurugi 草薙の剣.
This is said to be the features of Fudo Myo-o, made by Ennin.

Gabi Greve said...

Yamanashi 山梨県 Legend
富士吉田市 Fuji Yoshida

日本武尊 Yamato Takeru
When 渡辺四郎 Watanabe Shiro was about 19 years old he said on a fine day "We have to cut the mulberries, because it will rain tomorrow."
Nobody believed him, but it happened this way. And a few more times he could see the future.
People soon came to see him and ask o-ukagai オウカガイ his oracle advise from his estate deity, Fudo Myo-O.
The Shinto priest 羽田吉章 Haneda Yoshiaki made an offering of a stone sanctuary for Yamato Takeru and they could have a 石占 stone oracle there.
While Shiro san was away in the war, his wife took over with the stone oracles.

Gabi Greve said...

Tokyo Kasumigaseki district 霞ヶ関 "fog gate" , "gate of mist"
established by Yamato Takeru

Gabi Greve said...

Nihon no sennin 日本の仙人 Japanese Immortals and Hermits
He is listed as Nr. 01.

Gabi Greve said...

Komagome 駒込 Komagome districts "groups of horses, crowds of horses"
There are two districts with this name, one in 文京区 Bunkyo ward and one in nearby 豊島区 Toshima ward.
Yamato Takeru, who was surprised to see the many horses of his allies gathered here for his Eastern Expedition and had used the many trees to bind the horses on them.
He called out: uma komitari 馬込みたり "So many horses have come together here!"
The komi later changed to gome.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Gunma 群馬県
hanasaki ishi 花咲石 - ハナサキイシ Hanasaki Stone
Yamato Tekeru was on his way to Northern Japan to fight 悪勢(おぜ)Oze, a bad grouop of people.
In the mountains lived majin 魔神 a bad deit (Oze), which did not follow the orders of the Imperial Court but brought trouble to the villagers.
This bad deity was overpowered and burned. His daughter was a pure girl, but the soldiers of Takeru captured and killed her. Her maid servant cried herself to death and her soul became a stone. The stone was called Hanasaki "Stone of flowering blossoms".
The stone is now a historical landmark in 片品村 Katashina village.
Another version of the legend tells of the wife of Oze, which had hidden in a cave. The enemy set fire to the cave and she died in the flames. Her dead body begun to grow into a large stone, with the pattern of rainbow-colored botan 牡丹 peony blossoms.
After her death, the villagers begun to get ill and have misfortunes, so they built a red torii 鳥居 Shrine gate and venerated the place as
This part of Katashina village is called 花咲 Hanasaki Hamlet.