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Burial Mound Mania

Adam Blackrock
Adam Blackrock

Adam Blackrock first came to Japan in 1996 for the comics and giant robots, but stayed for the kofun (ancient burial mounds). The longer he stays, the more he realises how much he has yet to learn about the country, its culture, and its history. On his days off, he can often be found exploring a kofun or other archaeological site.

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Hashihaka Kofun 箸墓古墳: Part 2

2012.08.31 | カテゴリー : 未分類 | 投稿者名 :

The Imperial Household Agency has designated the Hashihaka Tumulus as the tomb of Yamato Totohimomoso-hime-no-mikoto (Princess Totohimomoso, daughter of the 7th Emperor, Korei), whose burial mound was said to have been built by men during the day, and by gods at night, according to the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Ancient Japan).

 

 

In another legend associated with the tomb, the god Omononushi-no-kamiof Miwayama is said to have
visited Princess Totohimomoso night after night.The Princess, hoping to see the god’s true form,
asked him to come during the day,to which Omononushi-no-kami replied that he would be in her comb
chest the following morning,but asked that she not cry out in surprise. When the Princess looked the
following day, a 30 centimetre-long snake slithered out of her comb chest, causing her to cry out. At this,
the snake transformed into a handsome man, who reproached the Princess for breaking her promise,
and vowed never to visit her again, before returning to Miwayama. The grief-stricken Princess took her
own life by stabbing herself with her chopsticks (hashi); hence her tomb came to be known as Hashihaka
(‘chopstick grave’).

 

Given that legend associates the tomb with a female figure, some believe that it may be the resting place of Himiko, queen of the land of Yamatai (Yamatai-koku) mentioned in ancient Chinese histories. Since even the very location of Yamatai is far from clear (some argue it was in Kyushu, while others say it was in the Kansai area), any such suggestions remain speculative, and the true identity of the occupant of the Hashihaka Tumulus remains a mystery.


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