“So sa no wo …. found an old man and woman …. asked them, “who are ye and why do ye lament thus?” the answer was, “I am an Earthly Deity, my name is Ashina-adzuchi… My wife is Tenadzuchi…This girl is our daughter, her name is Kushiinada-hime*” (source)
The god Haya-Susa no wo, having been banished from heaven for his misdeeds, descends to earth and alights on the bank of a river in the province of Idzumo. He observes a chopstick floating down with the current:—
“His Augustness Haya-Susa no wo, thinking that there must be people living farther up the stream, went in quest of them, and found an old man and an old woman weeping, with a young maiden set between them. He asked of them, ‘Who are ye?’ The old man replied, ‘Thy servant is a deity of earth, and his name is Ashinadzuchi, son of the great God of the Mountain. My wife’s name is Tenadzuchi, and my daughter is called Kushinada hime.’ He further inquired, ‘Why weep ye?’ He answered, saying, ‘I have had eight children, girls; but the eight-forked serpent of Koshi came year after year and devoured them. It is now the time of its coming, and therefore do we weep.’ ‘Describe to me this serpent,’ said Haya-Susa no wo. ‘Its eyes are as red as the winter cherry. It has one body with eight heads and eight tails. Moreover, its body is overgrown with moss, pines, and cedars. Its length extends over eight valleys and eight hills. Its belly is always all bloody and inflamed to look upon.’ Then his Augustness Haya-Susa no wo said to the old man, ‘If this be thy daughter, wilt thou give her unto me?’ ‘With reverence be it said,’ replied the old man, ‘I know not thy honourable name.’ ‘I am the elder brother of the Sun Goddess, and have now come down from heaven,’ replied Susa no wo. Then the deities Ashinadzuchi and Tenadzuchi said, ‘In that case, with reverence we offer her to thee.’ Haya-Susa no wo straightway took that young maiden and changed her into a many-toothed comb, which he stuck into his hair, and said to the deities Ashinadzuchi and Tenadzuchi, ‘Do ye brew some saké of eight-fold strength. Also make a fence round about, and in that fence let there be eight doors, at each door let there be eight stands, on each stand let there be a saké-tub, and let each saké-tub be filled with the saké of eight-fold strength. Then wait.’ So having prepared everything in accordance with his august bidding, they waited, Then the eight-forked serpent came, indeed, as had been said, and bending down one head into each of the tubs, lapped up the saké. Hereupon it became drunken, and all the heads lay down to sleep, when straightway Haya-Susa no wo drew his ten-span sword from his girdle and slew the serpent, so that the river had its current changed to blood. Now, when he cut the middle part of the tail the edge of his august sword was broken. Wondering at this, he pierced it and split it open, when he found that within there was a great sharp sword. He took this sword, and thinking it a wonderful thing, reported his discovery to the Sun Goddess. This is the great sword Kusanagi #(Herb-queller).”
一、Mikushi-azuke-no-gi – Entrusting of the comb The bride entrusts a comb,a symbol of a woman in ancient ages,to the groom. With this, they are united as one and promise to trust and help each other in their new life going forward. This is a unique rite in Akasaka Hikawa.
This rite is based on the myth when Susanoo-no-mikoto, the ancient god of the storm enshrined in Akasaka Hikawa, defeated Yamata-no-orochi, the dragon serpent with eight heads and eight tails, to save Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto,the goddess also enshrined in Akasaka Hikawa. When Susanoo-no-mikoto was to face Yamata-no-orochi, he changed Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto into the comb and put her into his hair. Susanoo-no-mikoto then successfully slew the dragon and got married to Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto. – source: Akasakahikawa shrine
On legends relating to the kusanagi herb ( see Wikipedia entry Kusanagi):
- Photos at Kusagina topped rice
- Susanoo_und_Yamata_no_Orochi (Japanese Kojiki and German bilingual version)
- Legend of the Yamato no Orochi has an elderly couple and Kushinada hime in this version
- Kojiki’s Ashinadzuchi and Tenadzuchi in Japanese
- Wikipedia entry Yamato no Orochi:
After expulsion from Heaven, Susanoo encounters two “Earthly Deities” (國神, kunitsukami) near the head of the Hi River (簸川), now called the Hii River (ja:斐伊川), in Izumo Province. They are weeping because they were forced to give the Orochi one of their daughters every year for seven years, and now they must sacrifice their eighth, Kushi-inada-hime (櫛名田比売 “comb/wondrous rice-field princess”, who Susanoo transforms into a kushi 櫛 “comb” for safekeeping). The Kojiki tells the following version.
- A translation calling ashinadzuchi a deity may be found at Romance of Japan:
Quoth Susa-no-wo: Aged stranger, I will gladly slay the loathly dragon, if thou wilt but give to me this thy beauteous daughter in marriage.
With all reverence be it said, replied the father.
I am ignorant of thine august name.
Thou beholdest in me, boasted Susa-no-wo, none other than the brother of the glorious Sun Goddess Amaterasu, Heaven-descended ruler of Yamato.
Whereupon the deities Ashinadzuchi and Tenadzuchi made no further ado, but assented joyously to his request.
Forthwith Susa-no-wo took the maiden from the arms of her honourable parents and transformed her into a many-toothed comb which he thrust into his dishevelled hair. He then bade the aged crone brew a great quantity of sake of eightfold strength, and fashioned a rampart of pointed logs wherein he hung eight goodly doors. At each portal he set a vast vat which he filled with the sake of eightfold strength. Then, with the utmost deliberation, he awaited the coming of the dread monster.
After a little the great serpent came lumbering its enormous carcase over hill and ravine until it reached the rampart of pointed logs. Here it paused at the portals and lapped up the liquor with its eight forked tongues. Whereupon it became unseemly drunken, laughing hilariously, slashing and cavorting its several tails like one bewitched, until, overcome little by little by a great drowsiness, it lay down to sleep.
- To see the relative position of Ashinadzuchi and Tenadzuchi on the Emperor’s family tree above Jinmu Ten’nou (source: Wikimedia) click here.
- An Interpretation of the Origin of the God’s Names in Kojiki — the case of Ashinadzuchi and Tenadzuchi –, 13-22
- Kotobank.jp: 脚摩乳 Ashinaduchi