First published: February 9, 2014
Last updated: April 12, 2022

The webmaster is currently translating the Reikai Monogatari ("Tales of the Spirit World") and would like to share it with you.

Although trying best to be as accurate as possible, the webmaster may be mistaken in his translation. Therefore, HE SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES ARISING FROM THE USE OF THIS TRANSLATION. Your understanding on this matter will be greatly appreciated.

The Reikai Monogatari

Volume 1[1]: Volume of the Ne ("Rat")[2] in the Reishu-taiju ("Spirit the master, flesh the servant")[3] series

Author: Onisburo Deguchi

The webmaster's note:
[1] ^ Publication data:
  • Dictated at the Shoun-kaku Hall in Ayabe, Kyoto.
  • Dictated on February 8 and October 18-26, Taisho 10 (1921), plus part of his works dated January of the same year.
  • Dictated by Mr. Toyoji Toyama, Ms. Haruko Kato, Mr. Shigeo Sakurai and Mr. Masaharu Taniguchi.
  • First edition issued on December 30, Taisho 10 (1921).
  • Revised by the author on July 1, Showa 7 (1932).

[2] ^ The first sign of the Japanese eto ("sexagenary cycle") zodiac. Each series of the Reikai Monogatari (except the Tensho-chizui series) consists of 12 volumes bearing the corresponding names of the following 12 zodiac signs:
  1. ne ("rat")
  2. ushi ("ox")
  3. tora ("tiger")
  4. u ("hare")
  5. tatsu ("dragon")
  6. mi ("serpent")
  7. uma ("horse")
  8. hitsuji ("sheep")
  9. saru ("monkey")
  10. tori ("rooster")
  11. inu ("dog")
  12. i ("boar")
[3] ^ The series of the Reikai Monogatari is shown in the table below:

SeriesVolumesNo. of Books
("Spirit the master, flesh the servent")
("Cintamani," or "Wish-fulfilling gem")
("Thousands of miles of seas and
("Outstanding performance as a
living shrine of the Kami")
("Truth, good, beauty and love")
("Mountains, rivers, plants and trees")
(*) Volumes 64 Parts 1 & 2, as well as the Nyumoki ("Onisaburo's Mission in Mongolia") included.
("Auspicious signs of the Mizu-Spirit
in heaven and on earth")

Table of Contents


Basic missionary chant

How it all started

Part 1: Exploration of the yukai ("realm of lost spirits")
    Chapter 1: Training on the sacred mountain
    Chapter 2: Significance of ascetic practices
    Chapter 3: Austerities in this world
    Chapter 4: Physical asceticism
    Chapter 5: Training in the spirit world
    Chapter 6: A scene from the yachimata ("eight-way crossroads")
    Chapter 7: Judgment at the court of the yukai
    Chapter 8: Emergence of a goddess
    Chapter 9: Wilderness of weeds
    Chapter 10: Second phase of water asceticism
    Chapter 11: Miracle-working nusa ("purification wand")

Part 2: From the yukai to the shinkai ("realm of divinities")
    Chapter 12: Unity of the physical and the metaphysical
    Chapter 13: An encounter with angels
    Chapter 14: Journey into the shinkai I
    Chapter 15: Journey into the shinkai II
    Chapter 16: Journey into the shinkai III
    Chapter 17: Journey into the shinkai IV
    Chapter 18: Situation of the spirit world
    Chapter 19: A blind divine messenger

Part 3: Parting of heaven and earth
    Chapter 20: Emergence of the Sun, Moon and Earth
    Chapter 21: Making and consolidating things on Earth
    Chapter 22: Resignation of the Earth's Supreme Deity Kunitokotachi no Mikoto
    Chapter 23: A great golden bridge
    Chapter 24: Laying of the foundations for a divine age (John) and the integration of divine breaths (Christ)

Part 4: Battle to occupy the Ryugujo ("Castle of the Dragon King")
    Chapter 25: Evil scheme of the Musashi-hiko faction
    Chapter 26: Defeat of the devils' army
    Chapter 27: Desperate defense of the Ryugujo
    Chapter 28: Battle at Mt. Kunlun
    Chapter 29: Ingenious stratagem of the heavenly kami
    Chapter 30: Battle at the bank of the Yellow River
    Chapter 31: A heaven-reaching mountain in a land surrounded by the sea on all sides
    Chapter 32: Three gems
    Chapter 33: Complete destruction of Eden by fire
    Chapter 34: Battle at Mt. Sinai
    Chapter 35: Ultimate secret
    Chapter 36: Ultimate machina

Part 5: Scramble for the gem balls
    Chapter 37: Honorable gem ball of the manifest land
    Chapter 38: Quintessence of the golden water
    Chapter 39: Whereabouts of the white gem ball
    Chapter 40: Whereabouts of the black gem ball
    Chapter 41: Banquet at the grand palace I
    Chapter 42: Banquet at the grand palace II
    Chapter 43: A red-crowned white crane
    Chapter 44: An old turtle with its shell overgrown with seaweed
    Chapter 45: Whereabouts of the yellow gem ball
    Chapter 46: A single pine tree on a single islet
    Chapter 47: Fall of the Castle of Eden
    Chapter 48: Demise of Onikuma
    Chapter 49: Emergence of Lake Baikal
    Chapter 50: Emergence of the Dead Sea

A supplementary note: About the Reikai Monogatari


    This Reikai Monogatari ("Tales of the Spirit World") summarizes an outline of the explorations into the spirit world as well as the time-immemorial saga of the age of the gods where after the separation of heaven and earth[1] and the subsequent opening of the Ama no Iwato ("Door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling")[2], the Deity Kamususanowo no Mikoto tore Yamata no Orochi ("Eight-forked Serpent")[3] running rampant on earth to pieces, finally obtained the treasured Sword Murakumo and offered it to the Progenitor of Heaven[4], manifested absolute sincerity in heaven and on earth, fulfilled the Divine Reign of the Great 567 Deity[5], built the World of Pines[6] and reinstated the Progenitor of the Earth[7] as the Presiding Deity of the Earth's spirit world. The Monogatari also expounds on ku ("suffering"), shu ("source of suffering desire"), metsu ("cessation of suffering") and do ("way leading to the cessation of suffering")[8], and discloses do ("way"), ho ("law"), rei ("courtesy") and setsu ("moderation"); it was never allegorically compiled from events or phenomena of the physical world. However, it is not entirely far from the undeniable truth that events in the shin-kai ("world of divinities") or the yu-kai ("world of lost spirits") will come to appear in the physical world regardless of times or places. Thus I hope that my readers do not interpret or slight such events merely as those happening only in the shin-kai or yu-kai, and that they purify their hearts and souls, amend their words and deeds, and embody the true aim of the reishu-taiju ("spirit the master, flesh the servent") principle.
    I hear that some, among many of my fellow readers, tend to quickly interpret the activities of particular deities as their own past spiritual activities simply because one or two characters of their names appear similar to those of the deities. This is nothing less than a blatant misinterpretation. I give due warning to my readers.

        October 20, Taisho 10 (1921), 1:00 p.m.

At Shoun-kaku Hall, penned by Zuigetsu[9]  Onisaburo Deguchi

The webmaster's note:
[1] ^ For reference, see SECT. I. - THE BEGINNING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH of the Kojiki ("Records of Ancient Matters") by Basil Hall Chamberlain.

[2] ^ Opening up of the cave entrance. According to the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki ("Chronicles of Japan"), the Sun Goddess Amaterasu o-mikami hid herself in a rock cave and sealed the entrance door, turning the world into total darkness. Various deities collaborated in enticing her out with a strategem. With the cave entrance opened up and Amaterasu out, the divine light was restored to the world. See SECT. XVI. - THE DOOR OF THE HEAVENLY ROCK-DWELLING.

[3] ^ For reference, see SECT. XVIII. - THE EIGHT-FORKED SERPENT.

[4] ^ Another phrase for the Supreme Deity of Heaven.

[5] ^ Also termed the Age of Maitreya. "567" of the Great 567 Deity represents Mi(5)-ro(6)-ku(7), or Miroku, which is the Japanese transliteration of "Maitreya."

[6] ^ Equal to the Age of Maitreya. In Japan, pine trees symbolize longevity and happiness because they keep their green leaves even in the severest cold of winter.

[7] ^ Another phrase for the Earth's Supreme Deity, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto.

[8] ^ The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

[9] ^ A pseudonym of Onisaburo Deguchi. It means "Udumbara Chandra," or "Auspicious Moon."

Basic Missionary Chant

Whether the morning sun shines or clouds,
whether the moon becomes full or wanes,
should the earth sink,
should evil deities rage,
the Power of the Truth shall save the world.

The Plum Blossom of the Whole Universe[1],
shall burst open with the Divine Teachings.
The Blossom shall open, fall and bear fruit,
know the blessings of the Moon, Sun and Earth.
To save this world, the living shrines of the Kami,
shall assemble in the Plain of High Heaven[2].

The Kami shall manifest Himself in the open,
sorting out good from evil,
the Divine-Rectifying-Wondrous Deity[3] is a creator of this world,
the Great-Rectifying-Wondrous-Deity[3] has a generous heart.
Simply anything in the human world,
must be reviewed against the direct portion of the Kami[4],
errors in human acts must be rectified by chanting the Words of the Kami.

The webmaster's note:
[1] ^ The Japanese equivalent, sanzen sekai, is based on the Buddhist cosmology where the whole universe consists of a billion worlds.

[2] ^ In Japanese, Taka-ama-hara. For reference, see SECT. I. - THE BEGINNING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH of the Kojiki by Basil Hall Chamberlain.

[3] ^ The Kamu-naohi and the Oh-naohi, respectively. For reference, see SECT. X. - THE PURIFICATION OF THE AUGUST PERSON.

[4] ^ Naohi. As the quintessential soul of the highest good and beauty, it intuitively judges good and evil, and guides a human being to which it belongs in the right direction.

How it all started

    On February 9 (by Japan's old lunisolar calendar), Meiji 31 (1898), I was taken by a divine messenger to sacred Mt. Takakuma in Anao, Tamba, where I completed a weeklong spiritual asceticism. Thereafter I fully understood and learned the outline of clairvoyance[1], divine hearing[2], awareness of the minds of myself and others[3], ability to utter or impart divine words[4], and knowledge of the previous lifetimes of myself and others[5]. While I owe what I am today to the teachings of the Divine, I have undergone kaleidoscopic upheavals, and innumerable twists and turns. Rebellion by former executives of Omoto[6], estrangement of believers, misunderstanding by the authorities, persecution from religionists, all-out attacks from my kith and kin, abusive vilification and scornful derision found in newspapers and books - all of these and others baffle any written or oral description. I will indeed wholeheartedly show a part of the 24-year circumstances of Omoto since its foundation quite briefly by recalling it from my memory.
    At the Ryugu-yakata ("Palace of the Dragon King")[7], there is a clear distinction between the two major divine lineages: the henjo-nanshi ("transformed male")[8] and the henjo-nyoshi ("transformed female")[9]. The henjo-nanshi had prophesied the emergence of a divine rule, given warnings, suffered all kinds of hardships to impart divine revelations, baptized people's bodies and spirits with water and awaited the rebirth, the second coming of the Christ. John had been crying in the wilderness for almost seven years by the time she first met the Christ. The physical shrine of the henjo-nanshi is female in body and male in spirit, and she participated in the divine work of the Izu no Mitama for the first time at age 57[10]. She had entirely baptized both the spiritual and physical systems of this filthy and corrupt world with a full 20 years of water baptism spanning from January 1, Meiji 25 (1892) to January 1, Meiji 45 (1912), thereby displaying the divine scheme for remodeling the world. I think that occurrences like that great war in Europe[11] constituted a part of the commencement of the divine work by the Izu no Mitama and represented one great warning in the Whole Universe[12].
    The physical shrine of the henjo-nyoshi has the divine mission of participating in and serving the divine work of the Mizu no Mitama, and of baptizing all people in the world with fire. He participated in the divine work on February 9 by Japan's old lunisolar calendar, Meiji 31 (1898) and had almost completed a full 20 years of spiritual divine work by February 9, Taisho 7 (1918). The modern taishu-reiju ("flesh the master, spirit the servant") era, which has become infatuated with or been cumulatively deluded by almighty materialism and atheistic-anatmanistic theories, has slightly reached the realm of awakening and increasingly recognized the existence of divine spirits by day and night. I believe this is the outcome of the great divine workings in motion and never a product of human intelligence or power.
    The physical shrine of the henjo-nanshi initiated the divine work of John, which involved the laying of the foundations for a divine age. For as many as 27 years since then, she had conveyed the Kami's messages in writing with a writing brush, thereby promoting the great remodeling of both the spiritual and physical worlds. Even after entering the spiritual world, she has continued to serve the divine work.
    Next the henjo-nyoshi has the divine mission of serving the 30-year divine work, anticipating the fulfillment of the Divine Reign of the Great 567 Deity[13], leading the world to virtue and basking in the blessings of the Divine. This year marks a full 23 years of his service to the divine work. The remaining seven years will be an enormous challenge for him to complete his most critical mission.
    The Omoto Shinyu[14] says,
    "The Kami will spend 30 years scrapping and rebuilding the bodies and spirits of mankind."
    The fulfillment of the 30-year divine work of the henjo-nanshi will be January 1, Taisho 11 (1922), and that for the henjo-nyoshi will be February 9, Taisho 17 (1928). There is a line in the Omoto Shinyu that reads:
    "Scrapping and rebuilding of the body and spirit of mankind."
    When I think well about the above line, I find that it is a divine revelation for the 30-year revamping of both body and spirit with primarily a water baptism, which is the divine work to be performed by John, and also for the revamping of spirit with a body-spirit baptism, which requires around 30 years. However, 30 years as revealed by the Divine is an approximate number and never a definitive one. I do not think this time span can possibly escape expansion, contraction, fastness or slowness. In short, while the divine policy is constant and immutable, it may be inevitably subjugated to modifications, depending on the levels of self-improvement that humans as servants of the Divine can achieve for their bodies or spirits, for they are endowed with an innate mission to administer the affairs of heaven and earth.
    The Omoto Shinyu says,
    "Remodeling of the world would be brilliantly achieved if there were even a few who truly understood the heart of the Ancestral Kami of Heaven and Earth. But there is no one who understands the truths of the divine world, and the Kami cannot come out in the world forever. Mend your ways as soon as possble. Once a person begins to understand, everyone else will begin to understand. But the key people do not understand, and there must be a reason for it. The divine work will lag behind if the Kami waits for them to become naturally aware. It is utterly impossible for those body-spirits who will understand only after they are taught to play a part in the divine work because it requires heartfelt repentance...."
    One cannot completely serve the greatest divine work of all time unless one comes to understand the actual design of the Kami. The Omoto Shinyu touches on the scrapping and rebuilding of the mitama ("body and spirit") of mankind. Many people seem to think that the term mitama refers only to a person's spirit or soul. Mi of mitama indicates "physical body" or "material world," and tama, "spirit," "mind," "divine world" and others. In the universe, tama is the main source of every being with mi playing a subordinate role for the tama. It is the Deity Oh Kunitokotachi no Kami, the Progenitor of the Earth that will force through the revamping of the physical body or the material world, whereas it is the divine right of the Deity Toyokuninushi no Kami[15] to push through the revamping of the mental world or the world of spirits and divinities. Hence the spiritual world is the master and the physical world is the servant throughout the entire universe. This state is called the Reishu-taiju ("Spirit the master, flesh the servent").
    Those mitama who practice the Reishu-taiju are described as mitama of hinomoto ("spiritual origin"), while those mitama who practice the Taishu-reiju ("flesh the master, spirit the servant") are called mitama of chishiki ("self-love and self-wisdom"). The Reishu-taiju mitama are those of divinities and humans who prefer to take whatever action that suits the laws of heaven and earth, always devote themselves to the public and the world, consider it their desire to perform sacrificial deeds, exhibit the great spirit of the utmost truth, good, beauty and honesty, and serve the world-saving divine work. The Taishu-reiju mitama refer to evil deities and humans with hearts like those of wolves or jackals who indulge in self-interests and selfish desires, are not awed by gods of heaven and earth, value corporeal desires, bother their heads only with food, clothing and shelter, flock together for a profit and disperse for a profit, always act wide of the mark, attach weight to egotism, lack a sense of duty and know no mercy.
    The Great Kami of Heaven first created the two beings - Adaru-hiko[16] and Eba-hime[17] - and made them the progenitors of the human body. Having the divine Reshu-taiju tree bear the Taishu-reiju[18] fruit, the Great Kami ordered them, saying,
    "You shall not eat this fruit."
    The Great Kami tested them to see what their dispositions are like. Driven by their fleshly desires, the two eventually violated the order and incurred the wrath of the Great Kami.
    Since then woeful and fiendish airs of the Taishu-reiju have been generated in the world, resulting in the budding of evil elements in the realms of divinities and humans.
    That being said, some people may wonder aloud,
    "The Kami is omniscient and omnipotent. Why did He not nip the Taishu-reiju in the bud and remodel the progenitors of the human body? Why has He left the progenitors of the Taishu-reiju to create the wicked sphere, thereby inflicting suffering on Himself as to how to handle the challenge? We cannot help but doubt the existence of the Kami and His power."
    This is a truly ingenious and most reasonable argument."
    However, the Divine does not have the slightest sense of favouritism, nor is there any regression in His work. It goes against the sequence of natural events in heaven and on earth to alter any divine work that is once implemented as a law laid down yesterday cannot be easily changed today or an arrow released from a bow cannot come back in mid-trajectory. Herein lies the solemn authority of the Kami, not allowing the first divine generation of the age of the gods to modify or correct any divine work already launched. Additionally, no divine commands shall be changed once they are issued. Should the Kami often change commands He issues, it would plunge the universe in total disorder, paving the way for reckless indiscretion in the end. An old proverb says, "Samurai warriors never go back on their word," and the Divine, who presides over the universe, much more so.
    The Omoto Shinyu also says,
    "Even the Kami cannot beat the times. If one bides one's time, the time will come when even parched beans will flower, and similarly, the time will come when the ousted deities will be back in the world to resume their missions. Nothing is as frightening yet fascinating as the times...."
    As indicated above, there is nothing even the Divine in heaven and on earth can do about the power of "time."
    The time has dawned to fulfill the long-awaited emergence of the Maitreya Deity 5.67 billion years[19] after the separation of heaven and earth[20]. For the Maitreya Deity to descend to earth, achieve great reforms of the three realms[21] and realize the World of Pines[22], the time is drawing near to establish pillars of kami[23], to expound on ku ("suffering"), shu ("source of suffering desire"), metsu ("cessation of suffering") and do ("way leading to the cessation of suffering")[24], to disclose do ("way"), ho ("law"), rei ("courtesy") and setsu ("moderation"), to reward good and punish evil, to propagate teachings of the utmost benevolence and utmost love, to reveal heavenly rules for good reign and peace and to expand just rule throughout heaven and earth in accordance with the will of divine providence.
    Nothing gratifys me more than having been born in the several billion-year transition period to the unprecedented age of sacred reign and being blessed with the opportunity to engage in divine work.
    The Omoto Shinyu says,
    "The Kami is the all-pervading Spirit of the Universe, and man is the priest who administers the workings of heaven and earth."
    Ah, when could I ever serve the divine work of heaven ad earth other than in this era?
    Oh, let alone people in the divine land who were born in the land made happy by kototama[25], the land shone by kototama, the land of living kototama, the land helped by kototama, the land created by the Kami and the land filled with divine virtues. I am grateful for the magnitude and profundity of divine blessings and therefore feel obliged to repay the infinite debt to the Progenitor of the Earth[26].

The webmaster's note:
[1] ^ One of the six supernormal Buddhist powers.

[2] ^ One of the six supernormal Buddhist powers.

[3] ^ Based on one of the six supernormal Buddhist powers: Awareness of the minds of others.

[4] ^ In Japanese, ten-gen-tsu. This is not included in the six supernormal Buddhist powers.

[5] ^ One of the six supernormal Buddhist powers.

[6] ^ Literally, "Great Origin." It was founded by Onisaburo Deguchi.

[7] ^ It may refer to Omoto in the physical world.

[8] ^ One who is female in body and male in spirit. It may refer to Nao Deguchi in Omoto.

[9] ^ One who is male in body and female in spirit. It may refer to Onisaburo Deguchi in Omoto.

[10] ^ The ages mentioned in this sacred text are based on the kazoedoshi method of age counting where a baby is counted as one year old at birth (after only nine months in the womb) and thereafter becomes a year older at every New Year, rather than on its birthday. This results in people usually being one or two years older than by western calendar.

[11] ^ Synonymous with World War I in 1914-1918.

[12] ^ The Japanese equivalent, sanzen sekai, is based on the Buddhist cosmology where the whole universe consists of a billion worlds.

[13] ^ Also termed the Age of Maitreya. "567" of the Great 567 Deity represents Mi(5)-ro(6)-ku(7), or Miroku, which is the Japanese equivalent of "Maitreya."

[14] ^ The Divine Revelation of Omoto. It is a compilation of Nao Deguchi's Ofudesaki ("Tip of the Writing Brush") messages from Deity Kunitokotachi no Mikoto that have been edited by Onisaburo Deguchi.

[15] ^ The "Luxuriant Earth Master Deity." In the Monogatari, this deity is depicted as the wife of the Earth's Supreme Deity, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto, providing assistance to her husband.

[16] ^ Synonymous with Adam in the Bible.

[17] ^ Synonymous with Eve in the Bible.

[18] ^ Ruby characters above the term Taishu-reiju read "chishiki," or "knowledge."

[19] ^ The webmaster thinks that this number should be taken figuratively, not literally.

[20] ^ For reference, see SECT. I. - THE BEGINNING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH of The Kojiki ("Records of Ancient Matters") by Basil Hall Chamberlain.

[21] ^ The realm of divinities, the realm of lost spirits, and the realm of physical matters.

[22] ^ Equal to the Age of Maitreya. In Japan, pine trees symbolize longevity and happiness because they keep their green leaves even in the severest cold of winter.

[23] ^ In Shinto, deities are counted in pillars (e.g. three pillars of kami). Here establishing pillars of kami probably means descending/manifesting deities or gaining/fostering believers who can act as or represent deities.

[24] ^ The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

[25] ^ Literally translated as "word spirit," it refers to mystical power believed to reside in spoken words of the Japanese.

[26] ^ Another phrase for the Earth's Supreme Deity, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto.

Part 1: Exploration of the yukai ("realm of lost spirits")

Chapter 1: Training on the sacred mountain  〔1〕

    Mt. Takakuma ("High Bear") was originally named Mt. Takamikura ("Imperial Throne") in ancient times and later called Mt. Takakura ("High Throne") or Mt. Takakura ("High Storehouse") and finally corrupted to Mt. Takakuma ("High Bear"). It is a hill in the mountain recesses of Anao, a village in the Tamba region of Kyoto, and in olden days was the former site of Obata Shrine dedicated to Emperor Kaika[1] with its status officially recognized in the Engi-shiki[2]. It is also a sacred mount with village seniors' legend that when Emperor Buretsu[3] tried to pick his successor, the Prince of Anao hid himself in Mt. Takakura and spent the rest of his life there, and that not knowing the prince's whereabouts by any means, Emperor Buretsu had no choice but to scout around for a descendant of the imperial family and abdicate the throne in favor of his pick named Emperor Keitai[4]. Moreover, there has been a mystery shrouding Mt. Takakuma since ancient times:
    Golden roosters kept 1,000 koban[5] under mitsubatsutsuji[6] plants in Mt. Takakura against the shining morning or glowing evening sun.
    It is said that an unknown bird had occasionally sung to impart the mystery to villagers. Every time I climbed the mountain, I searched for mitsubatsutsuji stocks but always ended up empty-handed. In the spring of Taisho 9 (1920), I climbed the mountain again. While I was taking a rest, I found the mitsubatsutsuji growing under my feet. It was then that I was able to unravel the mystery of the message.
    The "shining morning" means that a golden age will come when the authority of the Heavenly Sun Deity will shine out far and wide to all eight corners of the world with the momentum of the rising sun and, like the glowing evening sun, cover other nations with divine virtue. It is a riddle from the divine world that divine authority and spritual virtue have been kept secret in this sacred mountain.
    "Mitsubatsutsuji" implies the Three August Deities, or the Mizu Spirit. The kototama[7] of "tsutsuji" refers to eternal immutability. As for "kept 1,000 koban under," oban[8] means "upper (class of society)" while koban, "lower (class of society)." And unshakably firm power is called "ban". In other words, koban ("small former Japanese oval gold coins") is synonymous with koban ("small banner (pataka)") or koban ("place where divine teachings become manifest"). I surmise with awe that there is a profound divine plan behind the enshrinement of the tutelary shrine[9] in Anao with its enshrined deity being Emperor Kaika. Looking back, I never think it was a mere coincidence that on February 9, Meiji 31 (1898), I was led to this mountain and ordered to go through week-long asceticism by Matsuoka the Fuyo Sennin ("Immortal Mountain Wizard in Mt. Fuji"), a messenger of Konohanasakuya-hime no Mikoto enshrined at Fuji Sengen Shrine.
    The speed at which I developed my spiritual power during the training on Mt. Takakuma at the mercy of the divine instructions was quite rapid. I thought that my spiritual research had progressed more quickly than trains, airplanes or lightning. It was like the progress in which, for example, a kindergarten pupil graduated from college and assumed the position of a doctor of philosophy instantaneously. I was able to become lucid about the past, present and future, and to perceive the secrets of the divine world to the point where I acquired complete knowledge of what would happen in the physical world in hundreds, nay, thousands of years. It is regrettable, however, that I am not allowed to disclose the details today as they all belong to the mysteries.

Chapter 2: Significance of ascetic practices  〔2〕

    Many people generally seem to regard ascetic practices for the spirit world only as going deep in the mountains and undergoing austerities and penance to renounce the world. They tend to pride themselves on the misguided completion of thorough ascetic practices where they become barefoot or naked, shut themselves up in shrines dedicated to mountain deities, fast, keep from taking baths, stop cooking food, devote themselves to offering prayers to the Kami and Buddha, and dare to perform bizarre behavior and eccentric asceticism.
    Given that every daily work is asceticism, it is the primary asceticism of humans to perform as great activities as possible in the physical world from the perspective of the truth of the physical-metaphysical congruence or the body-soul agreement. For humans to abandon activities in the human world and seclude themselves into mountain forests to become infatuated with suspicious austerities and eccentric activities even for a month is tantamount to month-long damage to society, relegating them to the status of lazy workers or idle workers for the divine world. It is imperative that the first requirement of all ascetic practices for the divine world should be devotion to activities that promote creation, evolution, progress and development in the physical world.     As is often the case with some well-bred or well-educated believers in Omoto, if one avoids hardships and takes the easy way out, saying "Kamunagara, kamunagara" ("As the Kami pleases, as the Kami pleases"), one will deserve condemnation as an extremely outragious and inexcusable person from the perspective of the divine world. Such a person not only lacks even a little sense of responsibility, but also neglects to serve the divine way that he or she is supposed to serve. Or rather he or she is always obstructing the divine work and offering his or her complaints to the divine world. This is what is called yomotsu shikobito ("wicked beings of the land of Hades")[10].
    The Omoto Shinyu says,
    "Beware of ochimusha[11] of the world as they emerge."
    One should contemplate the significance of this line. Ascetic practices for the divine world are nothing to be lightly treated or easily achieved. Some readers may retort that I am flagrantly contradicting myself when I criticize others for pushing their way into mountain forests to practice aceticism because I also practiced aceticism at Mt. Takakuma for a week. Until then, however, I had practiced grievous austerities in the secular world for 27 years. The training on the sacred mountain was the unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime real aceticism which would amount to my commencement ceremony capping those austerities.
    Some people may question my credibility and accuse me of being grandiloquent when I said that it took me only about a week to be able to see into the three major realms[12] of the spirit world, whereas it took even Siddhartha Gautama several years of asceticism at Mount Dandaka to create Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama was born as the crown prince of the Kapilavastu to King Suddhodana in ancient India. Since he was a son from a wealthy family who had never encountered the grim reality of society, he needed to undergo all manner of hardships for several years. In contrast, I was born into an extremely poor family and had since my childhood gone through all sorts of social hardships and privations. By the time I climbed to Mt. Takakuma, I had completed my asceticism in the physical world and even been acquainted to some extent with the metaphysical world.

Chapter 3: Austerities in this world  〔3〕

    While on Mt. Takakuma for training, I was ordered to undergo one-hour training in the divine realm of the spirit world in portion to two-hour training in the physical realm. But I found the one-hour training in the divine realm dozens of times more grueling than the two-hour training in the physial realm. My training in the physical realm involved wearing only an underwear kimono in a bleak wintry sky and remaining quietly and silently seated on a rock without eating a single meal or drinking a single glass of water for a week. During that time, rain fell and cold winds blew. I heard no voice of a fox or badger, not even the chirping of insects. Yet such eerie sounds as if a mountain collapsed, and unspeakably repulsive and bloodcurdling eerie voices reached my ears from time to time. It might have been a desolate or frightening sight, but actually words failed to describe it. I grew anxious to hear the live voice of any living animal or take a look at it, whether it be a fox, badger, tiger or wolf, if it appeared before me. While I was thinking that nothing would assist humans more than living creatures, a dark shadow anmimal came out of the bamboo grass by my side with rustling steps one shaku (about a foot) before me as I was seated quietly. I could not clearly recognize it in the darkness, but it seemed like an extremely large bear.
    Old villagers often told me that the guardian of this mountain was a huge bear. And they also told me that if the huge bear found a person in the night, it would tear the person limb from limb and hang the dismembered body on pine branches before leaving. My heart skipped a beat just thinking that this huge bear, alas, might tear me to death this night.
    Convinced that it was best to leave everything to the Kami, I composed myself by focusing my mind on the pit of the stomach. As a result, the huge bear, which I had thought was horrifying, actually proved to be a great help, and its roar became dear and nostalgic to me. I aptly felt that the Living Soul of the Merciful Kami dwelt in all creatures of the world.
    Even savage beasts can help one when one feels lonely, let alone mankind as the lord of creation. Alas, how disrespectful to the Kami I had been in my daily life by hating, angering, belittling, tormenting or thinking nothing of people in the world. The Spirit of the Kami dwells in every human - even sworn enemies or villains. Humans are living shrines of the Kami. Not just humans, but all the flora and fauna are also necessary strength and reliance for us, and fragments of the Kami.
    Under no circumstances can one live all by oneself. One will go against the Way of Man if one forgets the four debts of gratitude[13]. Humans should be interdependent, mutually helping one another. If a creature is called a human, it does not matter whether he or she has the mind of a demon or snake. He or she needs to be cherished. What a contradiction it would be for humans to hate, envy or compete with one another out of subtle emotions or calculation of interests? Humans are living shrines of the Kami. Where could one find kamis who would stand by one without humans?
    In the divine realm of the spirit world, deities are the primary source of strength and reliability, while in the physical realm, it is humans who are true and august living deities, providing assistance for us. As I thought this way deep in my heart, I came to strongly realize that humans are august and gracious beings, and that treating them rudely would go against the Will of the Divine in heaven and earth.
    This is how my merciful heart for all creation began to bud. It was also a basic practical training for me to serve the great honorable work of the Divine. Oh, kamunagara tamachihaemase[14].

Chapter 4: Physical asceticism  〔4〕

    Next what I felt primarily thankful for was water. During the week of the training, I was not allowed to put a single drop of water into my mouth. I got thirstier with each passing moment. It was indescribable pain and suffering. I yearned for something moist, and even for muddy water. I could have chewed some leaves to get a little moisture from them, but the no-eating/drinking order from the divine realm during the training prohibited me from putting even a single leaf nearby into my mouth. Moreover, I felt hungrier and became less energetic with each passing moment. But I could not taste even a morsel of the soil because the Kami did not allow me to. Nothing gave my knees more pain and suffering than sitting quietly on the rugged rock. The wind was piercingly cold.
    The moment I looked up at the sky, some pine needle dew was swung by the wind after the rain, and a drop of the dew fell on my lips. I licked it without thinking. This single drop of the pine needle dew tasted so good as if it were honeydew or anything beyond description.
    From the above experience, it is a shame and lack of respect for the Divine to complain about precious water heated or boiled over a fire being lukewarm or too hot.
    Not a single leaf of a tree or plant was given to me without the Kami's permission. No matter how many clothes I had, I was not allowed to wear more than the Kami allowed me to. My training was like going through the Buddhist purgatory of hunger where pretas, or hungry ghosts, are belived to reside. But it helped me awake to the benefits of water and perceive the great blessings of food, clothing and shelter. I totally owe it to this training that I have been able to enjoy my life with nothing but gratitude, neither dreaming of any extravagance nor showing any surprise or sorrow at any adversity, or rather remaining calm and unperturbed in the face of any opposition, invective, derision or other social events, for which I truly feel grateful, and which are more than I deserve.
    One thing that is more precious and thankful to humans than food, clothing and shelter is air. We will seldom die without food or drink for 10 or 20 days, but without air even for a mere few minutes, we will have only to face instant death. I thought it would be an infinite blessing of the Divine for me to be allowed to breathe air during this training.
    We need to appreciate the benefits of air, as well as the great blessings of food, clothing and shelter. What I have described so far is about the this-worldly, i.e. physical aspect of my training on Mt. Takakuma. But it still fell far short of my training in higher spiritual planes, which was tens of times, nay, hundreds of times more rigorous and difficult.

Chapter 5: Training in the spirit world  〔5〕

    The spirit world consists of the three major realms of the tenkai ("Heaven"), the jigokukai ("Hell"), and the chu-u-kai ("Bardo"). The tenkai is where righteous deities or souls of righteous people live in peace, whereas the jigokukai is a den of evil deities or where the wicked go down. And the tenkai is a divine abode of supreme good, supreme beauty, supreme lucidity, and supreme bliss. The tenkai is divided into the ten-no-shinkai ("Divine Realm in Heaven"), and the chi-no-shinkai ("Divine Realm on Earth"), with each shinkai further divided into three sub-realms, where souls of three different high to low grades dwell accordingly. Similarly, the jigokukai is divided into the ne-no-kuni ("Land of Roots"), and the soko-no-kuni ("Land of the Bottom"), with each land further divided into three sub-lands, or penal abodes of the greatest evil, the greatest ugliness, the greatest cold, and the greatest suffering where souls go down depending on the gravity or severity of their sins. I will now show you a summary diagram of the tenkai, the jigokukai and other components of the great spirit world according to the permission I was granted from the Divine.
    The general overview of the Spirit World is as follows:

("Spirit World")
Tenkai ("Heaven") / Shinkai ("Divine Realm"):
  - Three levels of ten-no-shinkai ("Divine Realm in Heaven")
  - Three levels of chi-no-shinkai ("Divine Realm on Earth")
Chu-u-kai ("Bardo") / Seireikai ("World of Ghosts"):
  - Jozaikai ("Purgatory")
Jigokukai ("Hell") / Yukai ("World of Lost Spirits"):
  - Three levels of ne-no-kuni ("Land of Roots")
  - Three levels of soko-no-kuni ("Land of the Bottom")

    The Spirit World can be broadly summarized as above. Guided by Matsuoka the Fuyo Sennin ("Immortal Mountain Wizard in Mt. Fuji"), I started out on an expedition to the Spirit World. Needless to say, only my soul went on the expedition with my physical body sitting upright on Mt. Takakuma.
    I continued to travel hundreds of thousands of ri [15] at a greater speed than airships, without setting foot on anything, for almost 10 minutes, when the Fuyo Sennin stopped suddenly, looked back at me, and said, "Finally, here we are at the gateway to the Spirit World."
    We stood at the bank of an extremely large river. This river appeared to be very deep at a glance, but it was not so when I crossed it. Mysteriously, my dark blue clothes instantly turned pure white. Is it because they were washed by the water? I did not think any part of my clothes was dipped into the water, but they all turned clean white from the lower ends up to the shoulders. I crossed this large river, whose name I did not know, to the other bank with the Fuyo Sennin. As I was watching the water flow, I was surprised to find that, mysteriously, what appeared to be the flow of the water I thought I was watching was actually millions, nay, myriads of giant serpents swarming with their heads reared up and their tongues flicked out. Then what looked like many travelers came crossing the river one after another with the bottoms of their kimono rolled up in a manner similar to what I did, probably because they thought of the river as large. Mysteriously, their clothes each changed into different colors. Some changed into black while others, into yellow or dark brown. Still others suddenly changed into other miscellaneous colors. Out of nowhere appeared five or six fierce-looking men. They stopped those individuals by calling out their names and attached what seemed like a ticket on their respective clothes. Then they urged them to stand up and leave quickly. Each of the travelers walked forward about one ri [15], when they found what looked like a government office. From there four or five guards appeared, stripping the travelers of their tickets and outer garments. Some were stripped of one garment, whereas others were stripped of two or all, depending on the changed color patterns of their clothes. Still others were stripped of no garments but were clothed with one or a few, or even seven or eight garments taken from other travelers before leaving the office with their clothes weighing heavily. I saw the guards accompany individual travelers to their designated locations.

Chapter 6: A scene from the yachimata ("eight-way crossroads")  〔6〕

    Here we are at the yachimata, or eight-way crossroads, in the nether world. In the middle of the crossroads is a government office of the Spirit World. Many frightening bull- or horse-head guards are coming out of the office. Some wear clothes made from the hides of ferocious animals. Others are stark naked with animal hide loincloths on, holding thief catchers, hand-held spears, saws, axes, iron rods, long tongs or others. Guided by the Fuyo Sennin, I was going deeper and deeper into the office. One of the guards, an ogre-faced man who looked like the head of an organisational section, welcomed us as he was walking with his long sword as a cane.
    "Thank you for coming all the way here," the guard said to the Fuyo Sennin, making a polite greeting despite his scary face. "What brings you to the nether world today?"
    Surprised by the guard's unexpected reaction, I was simply hearing them talk and respond.
    The Fuyo Sennin reciprocated the guard's greeting and said, "It is with a mission from the Great Kami that I have guided an important trainee here. In other words, this sei-rei [16] standing right next to me. This time he has missions related to the three realms of the Spirit World, namely, the physical realm, the divine realm, and the realm of lost spirits. First of all, he has come here for his training and also to inspect the nether world. This sei-rei is the soul of mitsubatsutsuji [6] plants having been kept secret since ancient times in Mt. Takakura in Tamba. It would be greatly appreciated if you would impart this message to the Great King."
    The Fuyo Sennin made the above request firmly. The guard made a light bow and hurried back into the inner recess of the office. A while later, I heard some noise that made me wonder what was going on.
    I asked the Fuyo Sennin, "What is that noise?"
    "The trainee has come to the nether world," the Fuyo Sennin replied quickly. "So they have to make preparations."
    "Who is the trainee?" I asked, wondering whom he referred to.
    "It is thee," said the Fuyo Sennin. "Whenever the sei-rei of a living, physical being comes to the underworld, it is a rule to temporarily change the interior appearance of the office. Today in particular, they seem to be dismayed at the office because there was no advance notice of our visit from the Divine Realm."
    After a while the door quietly opened over there, and the foregoing guard came out, guiding what looked like several other guards. They gave the two of us a light nod and accompanied us at the front and back through to the inner recess. Seated at the desk on the upper stage of the recess was a grey-haired extraordinary old kami. There was something dignified and gentle about him. Besides, he had quite a beautiful face.
    Crouching his back a little, the Fuyo Sennin approached the old kami on his front right and apparently reported something to him. Other judge-deities lined the middle stage like glittering stars. The old kami looked at me with a graceful, beaming smile of mercy on his face, saying,
    "I'm so delighted to have you here all the way. Please come right over."
    The old kami seated me to his front left. He, the Fuyo Sennin, and I took up a triangular position. As I was seated, I prostrated myself to show respect to the old kami. He also bowed deeply to reciprocate my respect.
    "I have headed this office, have been the King of Hell, for over three thousand years since the Kami of the Universe appointed me as manager of the ne-no-kuni ("Land of Roots") and the sonko-no-kuni ("Land of the Bottom")," said the old kami. "The Destiny of Heaven has favored me now, and my mission as the King of Hell will be completed in a little over a year. You will collaborate with me in the spiritual and physical worlds to join the Great Divine Project of the Universe. I need not explore the World of Lost Spirits as I have presided over it for ages. But you will, because this is the first time you have come here, and you also need to practically study this world for the benefit of both the physical world and the World of Lost Spirits. Otherwise, you would not be able to save the three major worlds of the Spirit World as a divine human with great mercy. It is my earnest request that you explore the Land of Roots and the Land of the Bottom before returning to the physical world. I will invite the tutelary kami of your birthplace now."
    The old kami blew his stone flute mellifluously. Out of nowhere appeared a white-garbed kami riding on a cloud and came before the three of us. The old kami blew his stone flute mellifluously. Out of nowhere appeared a white-garbed kami riding on a cloud and came before the three of us. He respectfully said something to the old kami in an undertone. Then he extended his profuse thanks to the deities seated there. After that, he thanked the Fuyo Sennin for taking care of the member of his community. Finally, he bestowed a book on me, and the moment he infused divine breath into my head, I quickly felt warm in the abdomen, especially the pit of the stomach, making me realize that infinite and boundless power was given to my whole body and soul.

Chapter 7: Judgment at the Court of Yama  〔7〕

    I was granted permission by the Great King to observe the court proceedings together with the tutelary kami and the Fuyo Sennin. I saw the Great King appear at the lofty upper stage. A few shaku (two or three feet) below was the middle stage lined by the officers of the Court of Yama with a fierce and terrifying look on their faces. At the lowest stage, which was the court of justice, many people were lying prostrate in awe. Looking around, I found the travelers crossing the river of the serpents after me already slipped in the large assembly of people waiting for court rulings. I saw not only Japanese, but also many Chinese, Koreans, Westerners and other races. This scene reminded me of the next senryu, or satirical haiku:

    Wrongdoers in paintings of Hell are all Japanese and no foreigners.

From the above senryu, I got skeptical of what I saw. I asked the Fuyo Sennin about this by whispering it in his ear. While I was not sure how he took it, he simply shook his head and would not say anything. I refrained from asking further.
    When I caught a quick glance at the Great King, his facial appearance took me by such surprise that I just about fell on the floor. I was supported by the tutelary kami and the Fuyo Sennin from both sides. Without their care, I could have fainted. The king's gentle and graceful expression on his face beaming with inviolable dignity and a beautiful, infinite smile suddenly went bright red with his eyes hugely enlarged, his mouth stretched from ear to ear, and his tongue breathing fire. Similarly, the officers of the Court of Yama also had such a horrifying look that I could not bring myself to look up at them. The entire courtroom was growing into pandemonium.
    The Great King beckoned one of the officers at the middle stage, and he came humbling himself before the king. He received a book from the king deferentially and went back to his seat. Then he began to call the name of each offender and read out their decision. The guards walked the offenders out of the court sequentially as their names were called. At the Court of Yama, the proceedings were awfully simple - the mere rendering of judgment - and there were no preliminary hearings, appeals, facilities such as the Supreme Court or defense counsel unlike proceedings in the physical world.
    "Why are the court proceedings in the underworld so simple like this?" I looked back at the Fuyo Sennin and asked.
    "There is always erroneous judgment in human courts of justice," said the Fuyo Sennin. "Humans cannot do anything about that which is invisible to the eye, and thus they need to try cases carefully time and again. By contrast, judgment in the Court of Yama is always infallible no matter how simple it may be, because it is judgment rendered by the kami who can fully see through the three major realms of the Spirit World."
    After judgment was pronounced on all the offenders, the Great King rose quietly from his seat and went back to his living room. I was again called to the Great King. As I was gingerly lifting my head, I was surprised to find that his frightening expression on his face had disappeared without a trace and turned back into one of gentleness, benevolence and beauty.
    The Omoto Shinyu [17] says as follows:
    "I have been called a 'demon kami' since olden days, and thereby hangs a tale. The bare soul of Ushitora no Konjin, I manifest myself as a superbly and indescribably gentle deity before a repented, sincere person. But when a person who is motivated by greed, who is swollen-headed, who has an ulterior motive or who harbors hostility against the Divine, even if only slightly, my facial expression soon changes into a frightening one like that of a demon or serpent."
    This particular passage reminded me of my encounter with the Great King in the underworld when I read it for the first time. In addition, when I had the honor of meeting the Foundress[18], I saw her graceful, gentle and benevolent face. I simply could not help but recall the face of the Great King.
    The Great King rose from his seat and approached me. He held my hands firmly with his eyes filled with tears and said, "Mr. Mitsuba[19], will you please take the trouble to undergo ascetic practices of the underworld now? As a messiah of both the physical and metaphysical worlds, you need to achieve practical messianic learning. I very much wish I could offer you some hot water, but taking water, hot or cold, is prohibited during the ascetic practices. Without further ado, will you please start your hands-on training?" The king's voice got even tearful.
    The tutelary kami said to the Great King, "I would be gratified if you would take care of that shrine parishioner of mine." Then the kami of Obata Shrine rode a high cloud and returned somewhere without looking back.
    The Fuyo Sennin also bowed silently to the Great King and hurried away from his seat without saying anything to me. I was a little disconcerted as I was left behind. The king's countenance underwent a drastic change with his eyes shining like a mirror and his mouth stretched from ear to ear, which was so scary that I could not turn my face toward him again. There came the officer who had rendered the king's decisions, taking a guard along with him. The guard took off my white garment and made me change into a gray one before thrusting me out of the first gate.
    Thrust out of the gate, I looked around and found that a straight narrow dirty path ahead was blocked by the dead grass, all of which stuck out like needles of ice. I could not go back, nor could I go forward. I thought about going sideways, but there was a deep and broad trench dug on either side teeming with horrible and repulsive insects. While hesitant about going forward and lost in thought, I saw some suspicious jet-black clouds emerge in the sky, between which what looked like a horrifying ogre was giving me a menacing stare. Chasing after me was a stern-faced guard in Hades wearing a persimmon colored happi coat. He was trying to stab me by means of a sharp spear with a cruciform head. I had no other choice but to move forward as if fleeing.
    Four or five cho (approx. 477 or 597 yd) ahead of me was a broad, deep, and bridgeless river. A casual glance at the river discovered that some people, whom I could hardly distinguish, were swarmed by leeches sucking blood all over their bodies in the water of what looked like dirty blood or pus. Those travelers were wailing in an anguished and rueful voice. I myself had to go over this trench, but alas, how could I leap over such a deep and broad trench without wings? Chasing after me was a red-faced guard with his facial expression transformed into one of an ogre. He was trying to stab me with his sharp spear. I was caught in such a bind that I agonized over what to do instead of weeping because I knew weeping would not provide any solution. All of a sudden I recalled the book bestowed upon me by the tutelary kami a while ago. I took it out from my inside pocket and opened it reverently. It said, "Ama-terasu-oho-kami[20], kamunagara tamachihaemase[21]" in vivid, beautiful handwriting and India ink color. The moment I involuntarily chanted, "Ama-terasu-oho-kami, kamunagara tamachihaemase," I found myself already across the trench to the other side.
    The guard was dejectedly going back the way he had come. As I resumed walking forward with a sigh of relief, it turned severely cold before I knew it, putting me in a tight spot because my limbs were frozen. Then appeared a golden light in such a place as this. While I was stunned by the sight, that orb of light suddenly descended on the ground two or three shaku (approx. two or three feet) before me.

Chapter 8: Emergence of a goddess  〔8〕

    Wonder-struck by the dazzling golden light of the rare orb, I somehow felt encouraged as I gazed at it. The larger the orb grew, the crystal clearer it became, instantly changing into a beautiful goddess. Her whole body was a golden color. She had what the founder of Buddhism described as a purplish golden skin, which was also brilliant and transparent. She wore a white dress and a scarlet divided skirt. She was brimful of love and compassion.
    "I am the kami of lavatories," the goddess said with a smile as she took my hand. "Please allow me to dedicate this to you."
    The goddess drew a scarf of about eight sun (roughly 10 inches) from her bosom and let me hold it in my left hand. Promising a reunion, she turned back into the original golden orb of light, soared high in midair, and headed deeply into the nine-layer clouds for the heavens at lightning speed.
    In those days, I wondered who that goddess was and why she bothered descending into such a desolate realm to bestow such a rare treasure upon me. But my doubts were dispelled when I visited Ayabe in northern Kyoto.
    Foundress Nao Deguchi of Omoto once said as follows:
Kin-katsu-kane-no-kami [22] is shrouded in a golden color from head to toe and is a Konjin of the Earth who has long undergone suffering and tribulation since she was abandoned in the lavatory. With her ascetic practices over, she will manifest herself in the physical world to perform great divine work. Humans could not perform true divine work unless they had such a frame of mind as to clean the lavatory with delight. Besides, people these days are enthusiastic about aiming higher for better positions, but they must show their willingness to enjoy beautifying dirty places if they are ever selected to perform divine work. Otherwise, it would be utterly impossible for them to be entrusted with the divine work of drastically washing and cleaning the whole Spirit World.
Hearing these words, plus finding them indicated in the Omoto Shinyu, I was struck with awe and admired the profundity and subtlety of the Divine Governance.
    After I parted from the goddess, I roamed over hill and dale all alone, with no sun, moon or stars visible in the sky.

    Pushing deep into the mountains, I see no sun or moon
        not even the stars, with some wolves howling.

    At the side of the cold path was a pool of dirty water that looked like a bog or pond. A thirty-something beautiful young man had sunk into it and had been infested with various kinds of vermin. His whole body below his face had totally metamorphosed into earthworms. Then, right before my eyes, even his whole face turned into tens of thousands of maggots. I involuntarily repeated "Ama-terasu-oho-kami and the tutelary kami, kamunagara tamachihaemase" a couple of times or so. Mysteriously, he returned to his original appearance as a beautiful young man and crawled out of the pool. He gave thanks to me with a delighted expression on his face.
    "This suffering befell me," the young man recounted. "Because one of my ancestors committed the sin of having sexual intercourse with a dragon woman. And as a bad successor, I also had sexual intercourse with a dragon woman. These sins put me in this predicament, but thankfully, hearing you chant the divine words, I was instantly saved, as you can see."
    Since this particular episode, I had chanted the divine name of Ama-terasu-oho-kami wholeheartedly when I moved forward. There was no Moon, no crows. Heaven and earth were filled with frost. It was severely cold as if biting my skin. My arms and legs had gone to sleep. When my breath was about to get frozen, I chanted "Ama-terasu-oho-kami, kamunagara tamachihaemase" again. Mysteriously, the divine power of kototama was so phenomenal that warmth came all over my body at once, making my arms and legs feel like being bathed in hot water.
    I could not help shedding cascading tears of gratitude, thinking that this was the proverbial grace of the Kami in hell. Walking along the path 40 to 50 cho (approx. 3 to 4 mi), I reached a cliff. I was compelled to turn back the way I came, when I suddenly realized that a sharp spearhead was dashing five to six sun (approx. 6 to 7 in) before me. I decided to leave everything to the Kami, and while I was slipping on the ice, I looked to the right and found a deep mountain torrent with a loud flow of rapid, splashing water, where a horrendous animal, which I had never seen or whose name I did not know, was clutching in its teeth a traveler fallen into the river. He was floating or sinking in the torrent, doing nothing but cry out for help. The instant I chanted the divine names again, the monster clutching the traveler in its teeth vanished like a bubble.
    The rescued traveler was named Funaki. He followed me with delight. I got a companion, and that made me feel secure to some extent. We were barely able to walk along the precarious cliff some fifty to sixty cho (approx. 3.4 to 4.1 mi), when we reached a dead end. As the two travelers treading the dim path, we were standing still there with our thoughts lost in what to do.
    "Hey, don't let them two get away!" A sudden loud voice boomed from nowhere. I began to hear a boisterous noise incessantly, with hundreds of giant-mouthed monsters, poised for attack, rushing toward us. The two of us were left with no escape and got into a panic. No matter how many times I chanted the divine names, those monsters were closing in on us, without even a hint of retreat. Mysteriously, their faces got metamorphosed into human facial features. What appeared to be the chief fiend among them came dashing at us, wielding a long sword it held. It was about to slay us in a moment, when the gold-skinned goddess in the white dress emerged again with the orb of light. "Wave the scarf I gave you," she said before vanishing in an instant. I took the divine treasure of the scarf out of my bosom and performed purification by waving it vertically and horizontally. Those monsters beat a hasty retreat in the distance. We had no time to feel pleasant relief before a serpent appeared all of a sudden. It opened its giant mouth and swallowed us at a gulp. We were groping our way forward in the serpent's abdomen. This was making us, which had suffered from the cold until then, feel warm as if bathing in warm water. Together with a deafening roar, we were falling into a bottomless abyss tens of thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands of feet below.
    When we came to, we found ourselves lying under a waterfall of hundreds of thousands of feet high. Tens of thousands of icicles stood around me. The two of us learned that we had fallen headlong into the ground nadir from this high waterfall. A mere move, even an inch or a tenth of an inch, would make one of those frozen ice swords pierce through me. I could not rise, even if I wanted to. When I looked at Funaki, my companion, he was groaning in agony as he was skewered through his torso with a long sharp ice sword like a fish on a skewer. It was with all my might that I somehow managed to chant "Ama-terasu-ohmi-kami-sama" word for word in a gasping voice. The divine blessing worked instant wonders, freeing Funaki and me from our physicall challenges. The waterfall right before my eyes disappeared without a trace, and all that was left was the overgrown snowy wilderness.
    Sticking out of the snow were different parts of the arms, legs and heads of hundreds of people. Suddenly a roar so deafening as if mountains would collapse sounded from above my head, causing chunks of snow to fall down and bury my whole body. I tried to wave my scarf, but my hands could not move easily. They were like iron-made hands. I went to great lengths to chant "Kamunagara tamachihaemase" word for word. Fortunately, this allowed me to move freely. Looking around, I found Funaki completely buried in the snow with only his hair appearing on the surface. I waved my scarf horizontally over it a few times, and Funaki got out of the snow with a painful look on his face. Again, golden light emerged from a direction of the heavens to illuminate the two of us. The snow covering the wilderness vanished all at once, turning the wilderness into a field of short weeds.
    A great many people smiling broadly prostrated themselves before me, expressed gratitude en masse for the manifestation of the messiah, and showed their willingness to work with the messiah on the divine mission of remodeling the three major realms of the Spirit World. They included business people, educators, doctors, scholars, and many others.
    The above pertains to the elementary level of the water punishment. The intermediate and advanced levels were far more severe. It terrifies me and gives me goose bumps even today just to recall what I went through in these levels.

Chapter 9: Wilderness of weeds  〔9〕

    The wilderness of weeds was awfully bleak. I found myself alone again before I knew it. I heard some mysterious rough noise above my head. I turned my face upward without thinking, when all of a sudden, what appeared to be some burnt sand jumped into my eyes. I could not open them as they felt a burning pain. My vision got totally dark, and in no time, something unknown started pulling my arms as hard as if they were about to be dismembered; it was also trying to tear my legs apart. No adjectives could aptly describe the suffering I was going through. An extremely cold ice blade closed in on me from above to cut me in half. A deafening roar came like a hundred thunders coming all at once, violently shaking the ground like sea waves moving up and down or sideways. I heard eerie, repulsive and sad voices. Though in fragments, I narrowly chanted that "Ama-terasu-oho-mikami" with all my might. I felt as if heaven and earth opened to enlighten me, with my sore eyes being cured. More mysteriously still, I was transfigured into a goddess.
    Funaki came walking back toward me from a far distance waving his divine scarf. I was elated at the mere sight of him. Both of us rejoiced in our reunion. While we were taking a rest, a wicked demon named Matsu ("Pine") appeared, trying to slash at us with his blindingly shiny ice blade. Funaki waved the scarf at him right away, and I chanted some divine names. The wicked demon fled southward quickly together with a few other demons.
     Then I heard a voice out of nowhere calling out, "To the north, to the north." My body was moving by itserlf like a machine. There appeared a goddess wearing a crown with the character "Hitsujisaru" [23], together with a gray-haired old man named Komatsubayashi ("Small Pine Grove"), handed a long thick writing brush to me before she hid herself. Oddly enough, I watched an inkstone, some India ink, and piles of sheets of Japanese writing paper quickly pop out of the tubular handle of the brush. Then I heard a voice above my head from an entity I could not see in the slightest saying, "Hold the writing brush." Two or three children appeared. They poured some water on the inkstone and started rubbing a solid ink bar against the inkstone to produce some India ink before they vanished into thin air.
     Transforming into an admirable goddess, I worked hard to let the writing brush run on the sheets of the writing paper at its mercy. Quite a long time elapsed, and to my recollection, the volumes of my writings totaled 567. The moment I heard someone's footsteps, Naka ("Center"), one of the demons that had accompanied Matsu, appeared, spearing dozens of those volumes at a time and dispersing them in the air towards the raging storm. But just as many sheets of writing paper materialized out of nowhere before my eyes. Feeling that I had to let the writing brush run on these sheets, I sat down on some dried grass in the field under the cold wind. I spread out the sheets over the quite rugged rocks and held them down with my left hand. As I focused hard on writing something, a four-eyed monster led a group of ogres in happy coats bearing such names as Hira ("Flat"), Naka ("Center"), Ki ("Tree"), Go ("Rear"), Ta ("Rice Paddy"), Take ("Bamboo"), Mura ("Village"), Yo ("Together"), Toh ("Wisteria") and I ("Well"). They grabbed all my writings away from me, stacked them on the grass two or three cho (or about 240 or 360 yards) ahead, and set them ablaze.
    There appeared a pallid man named Nishi ("West"). He pulled out an armful of my writings from the stack and brought them in front of me. Those ogres were desperately coming after Nishi but went away startled as I waved my scarf. The fire was blazing my writings to ashes. The plume of black smoke was rising in the shape of a dragon before it flashed like lightning to turn into myriad stars. Guided by the starlight, Nishi disappeared into clouds high in the southern sky, holding the writings under his arm. My appearance as the goddess reverted to my original prisoner clothes before I knew it. A cold wind started raging suddenly, making my teeth chatter. I was filled with a sense of loneliness as if something frightening had come over me.

Chapter 10: Second phase of water asceticism  〔10〕

    Cold and lonely, I chanted the divine name "Ama-terasu-oho-kami." This made my whole body warm, with the resultant divine light about to shine all over the sky, when the Fuyo Sennin popped up before my eyes. I was so happy to see him that I was approaching him for a hug, but he stopped me with a menacing look I had never seen, saying,
"Please don't. The Great King forbids it. Mr. Mitsuba, you would ruin all your ascetic training so far if you came near me. You have mostly explored the first phase. I will now open the gate to the second phase. Follow me."
Before the Fuyo Sennin finished his sentences, the gate creaked open eerily, plunging me into the second phase. He was nowhere in sight.
    I fell and tumbled down the frozen dark path, sliding into the bottom of the ground. The darkness prevented me from seeing anything. I heard indescribable voices of suffering all around me. What appeared to be a woman's painful scream rumbled in my ears from afar ahead. An acrid smell of blood stung my nose, making me so sick that I felt like vomiting. I slipped suddenly and fell headlong into the underground hundreds of feet deep. My lower back, legs, head and face bled from hitting against the jutting rocks. Astonished by the scars all over my body, I repeated "Kamunagara tamachihaemase" twice and breathed on my hands to rub them against my whole body. A divine blessing manifested itself instantly, healing all my scars and pains. I lost no time in clapping my hands to thank the Great Deity. The divine power of kototama dispelled the darkness and cleared up the sky, resulting in a lively atmosphere.
    The moment I heard another creaking sound from above, 12 to 13 men and women fell down before me and joined their hands in prayer time and again, saying, "Help us. Help us." When I waved my scarf over their heads, they rose up in a moment and started shedding tears of joy in unison, calling out, "Master Mitsuba." They included a religious person, an educator, a thinker, a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor, a drug seller, and a medical practitioner. They were all following me from behind on the icy path with plodding steps.

Chapter 11: Miracle-working nusa ("purification wand")  〔11〕

    As I trudged forward doggedly, I found a vast lake teeming with hairy caterpillars. Among them was a snake-bodied creature with a face like four horse heads combined and with its tongue flickered out. It was only the long, quite narrow ice bridge that passed over this vast lake to the other side. I had no choice but to move forward as ogres named Matsu ("Pine"), Naka ("Center"), and Hatake ("Field") were chasing after me, holding cross-shaped lances to poke me with. Ten of my followers all slid into the lake, where their bodies swelled all over as they got stung by the hairy caterpillars. They were groaning in pain and the cold. Their faint breathing gave the impression of being tantamount to dying patients. Moreover, the said monster snake held one person after another between its teeth and spat them out, torturing their flesh and bones with a strong squeeze. I also had to cross this bridge. While I was fortunate enough to cross it without much difficulty, I could not help worrying about what to do with my company. Dithering over whether or not to rescue them, I heard a gentle female voice from above my head saying, "Mr. Mitsuba," immediately followed by the descent of a purification wand. I quickly grabbed it and spontaneously chanted, "I supplicate the Great Kami of Purification for exorcism and purification." My chant transformed the vast lake into a plain at once, with the ogres and the monster snake vanishing. Tens of thousands of ethereal bodies - men and women, young and old alike - got reinvigorated as if they had undergone resurrection, and cried out in chorus, "Master Mitsuba." Such was their stentorian voice that it resounded like a roaring thunder. Tutelary deities for those individuals appeared like scintillating stars, found their shrine parishioners, and took them home with delight and excitement.
     When I felt insecure after having handed out my divine scarf to Funaki, I had the honor of receiving the purification wand from Kin-katsu-kane-no-kami (literally, the "Gold[or Metal]-Triumph[or Supremacy]-Pivot-Deity"). This encouraged me as if millions of troop reinforcements came to my rescue. I resumed a solitary journey forward through the unknown plain.
     There was a giant Western-style building towering majestically above the clouds. At the gate was a solemn officer of the Court of Yama, keeping a mirror-like eye on the environment by continuing to crane his neck back and forth and around. His subordinates appeared in droves, each giving the deceased a raw deal - a cruelty so ugly as to defy any description. Waving the purification wand, I walked into the building. Both the officer and his subordinates remained silent, pretending not to know that I was walking by. The moment I heard the scream "Yipe, yipe," I turned around to see so many women bleed from their mouths, have their abdomens stabbed with spears, have their blood in the whole body sucked by swarms of babies, or have their necks wound around by venomous serpents, all screaming and writhing in agony. The subordinates stabbed those women's heads, abdomens and any other parts of their bodies with speaheads. Their gushing blood converged to form a cascade emitting an obnoxious smell. The plight was too horrible to look at. Again, I waved the wand to the left and right and then back to the left several times. This sweeped away the whole terror. A multitude of women gathered at my feet, shedding tears; some of them kissed me on the body, saying with one tearfully delighted voice, "Thank you, Master Mitsuba. We're so much obliged to you." The whole sky instantly brightened up, and tutelary deities escorted those women home as their shrine parishioners, joining their hands in offering prayers to me before vanishing into thin air with the bright light. I heard shouts of joy in one corner of the sky. Those shouts faded into a mere whisper of the wind.

Part 2: From the yukai ("realm of lost spirits") to the shinkai ("realm of divinities")

Chapter 12: Unity of the physical and the metaphysical  〔12〕

    Stories I have told so far about my ascetic journey into this world and the afterlife while physically present in Mount Takakuma constitute only a small portion of what I have actually gone through.
    All things in the universe are governed by the principles of ken'yu icchi ("perfect match between the physical and the spiritual") and zen'aku ichinyo ("indivisble oneness of good and evil"). There exists no absolute good or absolute evil. Hence you could also say there exists no absolute paradise or absolute suffering. Suffering dwells in joy, and joy dwells in suffering. Therefore, it is actions derived from your physical or spiritual body that make you fall into the ne-no-kuni ("Land of Roots") or the sonko-no-kuni ("Land of the Bottom") to undergo endless suffering. The spirit-souls of people in the physical world are always open to communion with the Spirit World, and the Spirit World has communion with the physical world all the time. This has remained unchanged for aeons. The Omoto Shinyu ("The Divine Revelation of Omoto") says something to the effect that both heaven and hell appear out of your own physical-spiritual body, that optimism always comes with pessimism in this world, that there is no truth, good, or beauty without being detached from sin or guilt, that you cannot seek genuine pleasure without suffering, that there are no other kami than unenlightened persons (prithag-jana), and that good and evil are but two faces of the same coin, just as are right and wrong. Buddhist scriptures say that earthly desires are enlightenment, that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana, that this defiled world is the Pure Land, and that the Buddha and unenlightened beings are inherently two faces of the same coin. In light of the Way of the Kami, the truth is "the Kami and ordinary mortals are inherently two faces of the same coin."
    Great mercy in Buddhism, blessings and happiness from the Way of the Kami, and desires of ordinary mortals are essentially not much different. You could say that attributes of ordinary mortals are true to those of the Kami. You could also say that the whole attributes of the Kami are all inherent in ordinary mortals.
    Heaven/the Pure Land is essentially not a bit different from society/this world. Despite their identical nature, why are they separated into divinity vs. mundanity, purity vs. filth, right vs. wrong, and good vs. evil? In short, they are nothing but tentative symbols assigned in accordance with the extent to which appropriate activities are carried out (or not carried out) while this true nature is fully exhibited.
    Neither good nor evil is immutable; good can be evil and evil can be good, depending on the time, place and situation.
    The Michi no taigen [24] reads: "Good is something done for the public or the world whereas evil is something done for one's own self-interest. Exercising a virtue with selfless intent is good, but exercising a vice with selfish intent is evil." Doing something good only for yourself is never true good, no matter how good it is. Even when it has a little element of evil, something done for the public or the world should be regarded as good. A burst of Wen Wang's [25] anger brought about peace in his kingdom. This anger should be accepted.
    To infer from the above, small pessimism is negligible, and temporary small pessimism of unorthodox nature is unacceptable. Great pessimism and great optimism are eventually united into one. Therefore, while the Kami is a great optimist, He is also a great pessimist.
    The mediocre masses are small pessimists as well as small optimists. This society, this world, and this physical realm are areas of small suffering and small happiness while the Spirit World is an area of great happiness and great suffering. The Rishu-kyo, or the Principle of Wisdom Sutra, mentions the ultimate truth that various aspects of life in the world represent various profound verities as they are, saying to the effect that great greed or great folly may lead to samadhi (state of intense concentration achieved through meditation) or pure bodhisattva's spiritual awakening, and that sensual pleasures may open a portal to the right path.
    Those who indulge in sensual pleasures naturalistically and instinctively to the extent limited to satisfying their own egos, saying that abstinence is bad or that romantic love is sacred are mediocre people. In contrast, the one who expands these desires to cosmic proportions and fulfills them is the Kami.
    The Kami has a great desire to save all that is as He sees the masses in the whole Spirit World as His beloved children. Mediocre people love only their spouse, children, family and relations in complete disregard of others; what is worse, they seek self-gratification built on the sacrifice of others. Human body-souls are intrinsically divided portions of the Kami and are thus endowed with the power to do their work to cosmic proportions. For this reason, it is man's duty in life to develop essential endowments of wisdom, love, courage, and affinity, and put them into practice. Seen from a standard good versus bad theory, this could be termed the principle of self-actualization. Our good and bad actions translate directly into great reward or punishment activities for the salvation of society and humanity. These enormous forces and activities are thus synonymous with the Kami and the cosmic expansion of our individual egos.
     Be that as it may, it is quite important for us as we endeavor to become companions of the Kami to beautify or imparadise the present society as a whole and materialize Heaven or the Pure Land on earth by keeping from abandoning our reincarnading bodies or our carnal minds imbued and defiled with a myriad worldly desires or by hanging on to the present inequitable society defiled with the thought of suffering and adulterated with wrongdoing.

         (Dictation taken by Oni on February 8, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 13: An encounter with angels  〔13〕

     I was moving forward to delve further into the second phase of ascetic training and was about to venture into the third phase, when I suddenly heard some music too clear and sonorous for words from far above.
     I looked up at the sky to find an angel decked out in white attire and accompanied by a few attendants descending towards me. Then I felt as if I started seeing the tiny summit of Mt. Fuji tens of miles away in the distant southeast.
     The image of Mt. Fuji I was given made me think that the Fuyo Sennin came from the Japanese mountain. But when I looked at the angel as he descended in front of me, I noticed he was a dignified, gray-haired, kindly deity with his gray beard drooping to his breast.
     "On behalf of your tutelary kami, I've come to take you back," said the deity. "You should get out of here temporarily."
     Since I had struggled my way here, I asked him to grant me permission to stay and do more research.
     The deity turned down my request, saying, "The realm of divinities sees it in its best interest to expedite your training. Leave here for now."
     Before the deity finished his words, I was enveloped in a purple cloud, feeling as if I were floating upwards for what seemed to be 30 to 40 minutes. Then my knees started aching, making me realize that my body was shivering with cold.
     I wasn't much aware of the situation at that time because my mind was still groggy, but soon I clearly found myself seated on my heels in front of the cave on Mt. Takakuma.
     I remained conscious for about an hour, when I started feeling sleepy, eventually thrown back into the Spirit World. I was then greeted by the great kami of Obata Shrine as he manifested himself.
     "The Spirit World needs to address imminent challenges," said the kami, also my tutelary deity. "So does the physical realm. You need to explore the yukai ("realm of lost spirits") and the meikai ("underworld"), but your exploration of the divine realm must precede it. To this end, you have to go through both spiritual and physical training. Go right ahead with your acetic practices in the divine realm."
     "Certainly," I replied, showing my intention to obey his order.
     An unknown entity grabbed me with its huge hand as if a hawk grabbed a sparrow.
     Where I was later let go was a beatiful seashore, reminding me of Miho no Matsubara ("Pine Grove in Miho"), a 7-kilometer scenic beach lined with pine trees. I started getting a close-up of Mt. Fuji much bigger than I had seen during the second phase of my ascetic training. This made me think that I was brought alone to what looked like Miho Shrine at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Then a married couple of deities appeared there, bestowing upon me a natural stone flute and a precious stone used in chinkon, the practice of quieting the soul. I was delighted at receiving these rare objects. The moment I put them in my inside pocket, the scene changed abruptly. Strangely, I found myself seated on my heels before my tutelary kami's shrine in my home village.
     Realizing that my home was just a "stone's throw" from the mount, I felt like going back there. The thought of it made me feel cold and hungry with my legs aching; it even made me recall various things ranging from my parents and siblings to household affairs.
     "If you return to being a human," said the angel, enveloping me with a white cloth. "The Kami's grand design won't work. Stay on as a deity."
     Mysteriously, the cloth obliterated all kinds of things coming to my mind, getting me ready to take off for the divine realm. All I had then was nothing but the flute and the stone for the chinkon. Besides, I was clad in a black formal Japanese kimono for some reason. Another angel appeared next to the tutelary kami as if to report something to him.
     "The divine realm and the realm of lost spirits are currently in utter chaos," the angel warned. "If nothing is done about it, the whole world will be annihilated."
     The angel turned to me and gave me a strick order saying, "As I dictate, leave for the divine realm and ascend to the Taka-ama-hara ("Plain of High Heaven")."
     Not knowing which way I should go to ascend the Taka-ama-hara, I asked the angel saying, "What should I aim at to get there? Will any kami escort me?"
     "All I can do is escort you to the yachimata ("eight-way crossroads")," the angel replied, giving me detailed instructions. "Once you get there, wait a while. You will easily notice the direction of the divine realm, or the Taka-ama-hara, because a divinity with a bright aura stands in that direction. Where an entity with a black, nasty face stands is a portal to Hell. The path to the realm of hungry ghosts (i.e. pretas) is where an entity with a yellow face as if suffering from jaundice stands. The path to the realm of beasts is where an entity with a pale face stands. Moreover, you will end up in a realm of perennial conflicts if you choose to go in the direction of an ogre-like formidable creature with angry veins bulging on its forehead and temples.
     "The first place you had explored was the entrance to Hell," the angel continued his instructions. "It was the easiest place to explore. Now go in the direction of a divinity with a bright aura standing, and it will take you to the divine realm."
     The angel kept talking.
     "There is suffering even in the divine realm, and there is some fun even in Hell. So don't think there are only good things happening in the divine realm. The suffering you go through when you are in the Taka-ama-hara brings you corresponding benefits. When you are in Hell, however, you simply atone for your past sins and achieve no good results however hard you work. Of course you can at least pay back your soul's debt if you work hard in Hell. In addition, the physical world and the spiritual world are so correlated that they are but two faces of the same coin. What happens in the physical world happens in the spiritual world and vice versa. Similarly, what happens in the realm of lost spirits happens to physical beings in the material world. You need to be particularly aware that on the path to the divine realm are devils plotting to occupy the realm. When you explore the divine realm, devils will absolutely appear and thwart your mission. They also want to explore and occupy the divine realm by themselves. You are about to be sent to the realm to prevent their whole plot from materializing. Roads to the divine realm are both wide and narrow. Not all of them are wide. Some are so narrow that they shape like numerous gourds lined up lengthwise. This allows only one person to walk at a time, so even devils cannot overtake you. But once you are out on a wider road, devils come attacking you from all directions. Wider roads give wicked spirits more opportunities to afflict you."
     Soon the angel disappeared. I was left alone with the natural stone flute and the precious stone for the chinkon practice. Clad in the black formal Japanese kimono, I started treading the path surrounded by green mountains and blue water under the blue sky toward the realm of divinities.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 18 by the solar calendar, or September 18 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 14: Journey into the shinkai I  〔14〕

     I was alone walking somewhat hastily down a path so narrow like numerous gourds lined up lengthwise, when I heard dozens of people shout aimlessly from the top of a mountain behind me.
     I thought I had already walked two or three cho (250 - 350 yards), but when I casually looked back, I found myself back again to where I started - the eight-way crossroads. There I saw a man with a pitch-black, dirty face lying on the ground. He looked like he was going to Hell. It turned out that his physical body breathed his last just now in the physical world, and that his spiritual body was lying here. I also learned that the loud shouts I had heard were the voices of his family members and old friends trying to recall his soul. As I was watching him, the pitch-black man, who looked 35 or 36 years old, plunged under the ground thousands of feet deep as it cracked. This did not make any sense to me. I thought that a corresponding path must have been prepared to take him to Hell. That was why I wondered about the man's nosedive into the bottom. It was to me like a person in the physical world dying suddenly of cephalemia, cerebral hemorrhage or cardiac rupture without leaving a will. So I played the stone flute. Then an orb of light came down from the sky and manifested itself as the Fuyo Sennin.
     "Is it true that there is no path to hell?" I asked him.
     "This person committed wrongdoing while he was alive, especially the heinous crime of destroying the Shinto shrine dedicated to his tutelary deity," replied the Fuyo Sennin. "He bought it cheap simply because it was an old shrine, sold off metal parts, and burned wooden materials or used them as firewood. Less than a week later, he got sick in bed, developing what appeared to be the plague. His illness took his life, with his soul falling into an abyss as the ground cracked open. His sin was among the most serious, so he coughed up blood, foamed at the mouth and died in agony, grasping at the air. What's worse, a local government employee burned up his dead body with gasoline lest his illness infect other people."
     "Why do people who die in agony fall into a bottomless pit right away like this?" I asked him.
     "When people die, they usually go through transitions from the instant of death to the bardo and from the bardo to the instant of birth. The moment they breathe their last in the physical world, they are first placed in the state of death and then in the bardo - almost simultaneously. The bardo generally lasts for 49 days (i.e. seven days multiplied by seven weeks). The 50th day marks the beginning of the state of birth, where people identify their parents and siblings. In each state, all things are created including mountains, rivers, plants, trees, humans, and houses. In the state of death, souls of the deceased are reduced to the size of three-year-old children and can vaguely sense their parents and siblings without seeing or touching them, whereas in the bardo, they become spiritually aware of their feelings and affection for their parents and siblings."
     The Fuyo Sennin continued. "These souls are lost in the bardo for 49 days, so during this period their family members or close relatives need to hold memorial services for them. That is also the duty of their parents, children or siblings. These memorial services have a major impact on them as they enter the state of birth. Meanwhile, souls who have done many good deeds and those who have done many bad deeds bypass the bardo; the former goes into the state of birth right after death, and the latter falls headlong into Hell, or the ne-no-kuni ("Land of Roots") and the sonko-no-kuni ("Land of the Bottom"). Therefore, people with extremely good deeds die with their faces so beautiful as if sleeping and are instantly born again in heaven. Likewise, people with extremely bad deeds follow the course I mentioned earlier, die in agony, and go to hell at once."
     Having heard his explanation, I was about to set out for the Taka-ama-hara ("Plain of High Heaven") on a journey to the divine realm. But a weird lady with acne scars all over her face suddenly appeared in the center of the yachimata ("eight-way crossroads"). The moment she found me, she thrust out her long tongue. Goggling her particularly sunken, glistening eyes, she dashed off for the entrance of the divine realm.
     She's a weirdo. I got to follow her to find out her true identity. Driven by curiosity, I kept chasing after her. That bizarre lady was fleeing helter-skelter into a nearby forest almost as if running in the air. I eventually lost sight of her. I sat on the grass, feeling at a loss and turned off by her act tantamount to a frightened weasel emitting foul odor from its anal sacs. I was looking all around restlessly, when an eerie voice reached my ears from somewhere.
     Straining my ears and wondering, I heard a strange noise that sounded like a bird's yell or a monkey's scream. I was curious enough to see something scary, and I pushed my way along the thorny path in the direction of the sound, stepping over rocks, crossing mountain streams, and crawling up steep hills. I went through a lot before I finally reached an even field.
     There I saw that weird lady and what looked like many bizarre people surrounding her keep whispering something to one another. I lurked behind a big tree to watch what they were doing. A very fat tail appeared from the rear of the lady with acne scars all over her face as she was seated in the center of the group. She wagged her tail to the left. The surrounding people, which were actually half-human monsters, scrambled to dash off like an avalance in the direction the tail pointed to.
     The lady then wagged her tail to the right. Those countless monsters - hardly distinguished whether they were animals or humans - scrambled again to dash off in the right direction. She finally wagged her tail straight up to the sky.
     All the monsters scrambled to dash upward in the air, only to fall down like rain after a while. Some plunged into the valley and got injuired while others got scars all over their bodies as they dropped into a thicket of thorns, bleeding and agonizing in a predicament. Still others were half dead and groaning in pain from getting caught in large trees or hit their skulls as they fell, with blood gushing out to form a spring of blood.
     The weird lady looked so elated at the scene as to drink the blood of one bleeding monster after another with gusto. She quickly grew fatter and fatter. On her forehead appeared two horns, and her mouth split open from ear to ear. Her fangs gradually elongated, sharpened like swords, and began glittering.
     I wondered why I came to a place where an ogress like her was during my journey in the divine realm. I thought hard about it for a while. Yet another weird, hair-raising noise reached my ears from front to back, left to right. The situation did not make sense to me. At my wits' end, I decided to seek the Kami's help.
     I closed my eyes, sat quietly, and recited the Amatsu Norito ("Heavenly Norito Prayer") in a loud voice to deflect attention from the surrounding ghastly and especially repulsive sight. After a little while, I heard a gentle voice saying, "Open your eyes." But I kept my eyes closed because I was too disgusted by the terrifying, cruel sight before me to see it again.
     Then a louder, slightly angry voice called out, "Don't dither. Open your eyes quickly to wake up to the sublimity of the divine world." Brushing it off as a deceptive act by one of those shape-shifting apparitions, I still kept my eyes closed, pretending not to notice it and thinking deep down that it could not fool me - just eat my ass.
     "You stray soul. The time is near," said an entity. "Lose no time in opening your eyes to gaze at the actual state of the divine realm with its plans encountering difficulties. The Kingdom of the Kami is drawing near before your eyes. Pathetic are those who have no eyes to see with. Why have you not set off on an expeditionary journey to the divine realm as ordered by the Kami? You are still wandering around in the yachimata ("eight-way crossroads")."
     Hearing those words, I thought to myself that this entity was talking nonsense because I was actually exploring the divine realm and witnessing such an unpleasant event, that I had already seen through the identity of this shape-shifting old raccoon dog spirit wagging its big tail with my clairvoyance even if it thought I had no idea what it was, and that this racoon dog posing as an ogre - nothing short of an eyesore - could deceive others but not me.
     "You just don't know the Way of the Kami," the entity shouted in a slightly angry tone.
     I inadvertently opened my eyes and saw an incomparably magnificent throne appear before my eyes. In a split second, however, I was prodded by the sound of wind blowing through pine trees into realizing that I had been seated upright on my legs on the Toad Rock atop Mt. Takakuma.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 18 by the solar calendar, or September 18 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 15: Journey into the shinkai II  〔15〕

     I became painfully aware of my erroneous assumption that I had been exploring the divine realm. I amended my conduct, tempered my curiosity, and made a beeline for the world of divinities.
     I was moving forward on a narrow path all alone in quicker steps, showing single-minded determination and chanting divine prayers. There appeared, on a sudden, a twenty-something-year-old man named "Kou" [26] and a twenty-two-year-old woman named "Koto" [27]. They were following me back and forth. I felt tremendously empowered by their presence.
     The woman had already departed from the material world while the man as a physical entity was a priest at a time-honored Shinto shrine. Both of them were escorted by two guardian deities - namely, Komatsubayashi ("Small Pine Grove") and Masamori ("Right Protector"). It had been decided that Komatsubayashi would work with a particular bodily being in the divine world at a particular time.
     The narrow path gradually widened and then started narrowing down again as I was walking. It was like two opened folding fans attached at the top. Numerous paths ran like the ribs of the fans, and I was at a loss for which path to take. There was a chasm on either side of each of the paths, just as there was a space between ribs of the fans.
     The water was beautiful, and the sky was blue. It made me feel great, but I could not let my guard down in the slightest. One misstep would have ended up in a chasm. It came as a surprise to learn that the way to the Taka-ama-hara ("Plain of High Heaven") was quite labyrinthine and dangerous because I thought it was flat and safe. Of the many trails before me, I decided to choose what appeared to be the one in the middle to move ahead.
     I saw a beautiful plain ahead of me, with neither mountains nor anything surrounding it. Walking down the path, I found numerous bridges of various kinds were built. Some were dilapidated and trecherous. When I came to one of them, I chanted the divine name "Ama-terasu-oho-kami" to cross it in a single leap.
     A man and a woman, both clad in white, appeared suddenly. They metamorphosed into white foxes as I watched. "Koto" and "Kou" were coming after me. When I hurried along, I came to another bridge before I knew it. Four or five four-footed animals appeared from the approach to the bridge and abruptly threw me into the deep river running under the bridge. My two companions were also thrown into the river.
     I swam in the ditch to the left of the path to double back. The other two swam in the ditch to the right of the path to double back. The above animals came running after us, and when they were about to jump at us, two white foxes appeared suddenly to drive away the animals. The three of us doubled back to the fan-shaped area, dried our clothes, and took a rest. Then an extremely large sun appeared, drying the clothes instantly. We clapped our hands involuntarily and chanted the divine name "Ama-terasu-oho-kami" to thank her.
     This time the three of us each took a different path to move forward. The man named "Kou" chose the farthest left path while the woman named "Koto" the farthest right path. This was a backup measure because one side of each of these paths led to a plain to which we could escape in case of an emergency. I also avoided the center path and took the third path away from it. There were still ditches on either side of my path. Learning from the failure, I paid close attention to both sides and back and forth as I was moving along. There were also many ditches sideways with quite a sturdy stone bridge crossing over them. Strangely, what I had thought was a plain until that moment changed into a mountain, taking us to a scene of a mountain range.
     These mountains towered like a wall and shone like a mirror. They were so slippery that I could not afford to put my feet on them. I was at a loss, thinking that it would be a pity to double back. This led me to start wondering if I chose the path to Hell although I heard it was supposed to take me to the Taka-ama-hara ("Plain of High Heaven"). Not knowing what to do and sighing with a sense of being caught in a predicament, I chanted the divine name "Ama-terasu-oho-kami," reciting "Kamu-nagara tama-chi-ha-e-ma-se" three times.
     Mysteriously, the mountains sloped down a little gently, and I found myself halfway up one of them. As I was walking fast along the mountain path overgrown with pine trees having a trunk width of slightly over three meters, Japanese cedar trees, and Japanese cypress trees, I encountered a hugh waterfall. It was shaped like a white dragon ascending to heaven.
     I felt like purifying myself under the waterfall, so I approached it, got naked and performed ablutions. I suddenly changed into a giant serpent like this waterfall. I was deeply regreting my appearance, when a loud voice calling my name reached my ears from below. It was from a giant pitch-black serpent with the face of "Koto," the woman accompanying me. The serpent was writhing in pain and going on a rampage. A close look revealed that her big eyes were bloodshot with three comma-shaped figures in a circle appearing on the white of either eye as a blood spot. I was thinking of saving her out of sympathy while in the serpentine shape. Then the mountains quickly changed into a body of water like the Bay of Osaka. The fire-breathing female "Koto" serpent scrambled to cause waves and jump into the sea with a splash. Spitting out water, I chased after her and jumped into the sea to save her. But I found myself gradually lagging too behind to save her because it was like trying to catch up with a 30-knot warship with a 10-knot one. Soon the giant black serpent swam headlong into the far distance before she disappeared with a plume of black smoke. And the mountains and the sea were gone for some reason, and I found myself back again to the path I had started in the fan-shaped area.
     This time I made up my mind to take the narrowest path, where there was a crowd of some 50 to 60 people. They were invalids of various types - including those with bad eyesight, crippled legs or abdominal pain - praying fervently to something.
     What they were praying to by blocking the path was an old raccoon dog that had lived for kalpas. The raccoon dog masqueraded as a big Buddhist priest. These invalids were all human souls still having physical bodies in the secular world. None of their prayers had any effect on their illnesses. When I took a posture of chinkon ("quieting the soul") toward the raccoon dog priest, it vanished like smoke, and all the invalids healed from their illnesses. I learned from the Fuyo Sennin that the soul of an old raccoon dog manifested itself as a Buddhist priest to mislead people into worshipping it. With that animal soul exorcized, those people were saved, with the blind regaining their sight, the crippled being able to walk, and the souls of the inflicted being spared from joining the hell of beasts.
     All the people here were so grateful with tears of joy that they grabbed me to the extent of not letting me go even a single step. Then a voice came to me from a direction of the firmament, saying, "Move on, move on." When I played the heavenly stone flute, everything disappeared without a trace. I found myself moving forward in a place so vast and flat as the paper portion of a folding fan.

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 18 by the solar calendar, or September 18 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 16: Journey into the shinkai III  〔16〕

     If my whereabouts had been likened to a folding fan, I would have just arrived in the paper area after crossing the ribs. Breathing a sigh of relief, I lay down on the lawn nearby to take a rest. From the far north I heard an eerie voice saying to me, "Hey, hey." It was a tenuous, subtle and sorrowful voice like the buzzing of a mosquito. As I was deep in thought, four or five voices reached my ears from behind in the south trying to call and stop me. They sounded somewhat similar to those of my mother, grandmother and neighbors. I paid attention to them, and in the next breath I realized that my physical body had returned to my house in Anao.
     The following was what happened in the yu-kai ("world of lost spirits"), but I saw a spirit possessing my mother, showing an errie, quite sad and angry look on its face - namely, a facial expression combining anger and cry.
     "It is fine for you to get out and do your divine training while leaving your aging mother and her children like this," said the spirit through my mother's mouth. "But we need to protect our house handed down from our ancestors. Besides, if you no longer come back, I will have to take of my octogenarian mother and tons of farming chores all by myself. Just give it a second thought." She was trying to stop me from going. Then appeared two neighbors named Matsu ("Pine") and Masa ("True"), saying that they would take my ancestors' place to give me some advice. They joined her in persuading me to stay here.
     "You're doing your thing for the divine world or something," said Matsu and Masa, pestering Kisaburo to change his mind. "But what about your family?"
     All of a sudden, the emaciated, aging grandmother changed into a male kami, saying, "You're doing the Kami's bidding, so don't let your petty family business disquiet your mind. If the world goes on like this, it will plunge into chaos and take the inevitable road to perdition. Accept the divine order with humility for the whole world and walk away quickly." All at once, Matsu and Masa stripped me naked of my haori ("formal short overgarment") and hakama ("formal divided skirt") before snatching my natural stone flute and precious stone for the chinkon, the practice of quieting the soul, and throwing them into the pond. Then appeared Kou ("Happiness") [26], the man accompanying me. He abruptly went naked and put his clothes on me. He also took the stone flute and precious stone for the chinkon out of the pond before handing them over to me.
     Freeing myself from all obsessions, I was moving north according to the will of the Kami, only then to realize that I came back to the yachimata ("eight-way crossroads"). I was chagrined that this happened again, and I doubled back through a fan rib-shaped path to the paper area smoothly. At that time, the naked Kou escorted me back halfway through the paper area until he vanished into the blue. The same old tenuous, sorroful and repulsive voice reached my ears. I found myself unable to resist moving northward as if my body were attracted by electricity. On one side there was a big river lined with interesting, old pine trees on its banks. On my left were soaring mountains with cliffs. The river and the mountains had formed a bottleneck path that I had no other choice but to walk. When I went to the bottleneck path, a man and a woman thrusted their heads out of the ground and finally showed their whole bodies. They stood in the narrow path to block me from going forward.
     When I took a posture of chinkon ("quieting the soul") and played the natural stone flute, the man and the woman assumed a gentle expression on their faces.
     The woman gave me a bow and said, "You look like a prophet. Please come into my house. There are a lot of favors I would like to ask of you."
     At that moment a small house started appearing before my eyes. As a married couple, the man and the woman were both possessed by Yatsugashira Yatsuo ("Eight-headed, eight-tailed serpent").
     "We have captured many people journeying in the divine world according to the order of the Great Kami, and none of them has served our purpose," the couple said, followed by a favor to ask of me. "But we have just met the one we have been looking for today. To tell the truth, I am in the bloodline of the human being possessed by the Great King, the supreme ruler of the yukai ("realm of lost spirits") in the earthly taka-ama-hara ("plain of high heaven"). Walk this path northward, and you will be able to meet the Great King. Make sure to tell Him that I sent you off." [28]
     "Sure, I'll be there," I said, ready to leave the place. Then I noticed a tengu ("long-nosed goblin") with horns growing on its head and a frightening look on its face, and a white evil fox with nine blonde tails behind the couple. The couple as physical beings were really good humans of profound religious faith, but I realized that they were possessed by those awfully powerful demons. Mentioning nothing about the demons, I made a beeline for the earthly taka-ama-hara. I trudged northward for a while until I found a large wooden bridge. When I approached the foot of the bridge, I heard the mysterious cries of people and yelps of foxes. I traced them to their source and discovered that parents and their child were ganging up on four foxes in the hole to batter them to death. One fox was killed after another, and their souls possessed the woman there. Her name was Tami ("People"). The ill-fated foxes' vengeful spirits quickly caused her to start writhing in agony from what appeared to be abdominal distention. I took a chinkon posture and prayed to the Kami for the woman. Her body returned to a healthy, normal condition. The trio joined their hands in awe to thank me. But the souls of the four slain foxes adamantly refused to accept that.
     "We innocent foxes can't stand the injustice of being killed this way," said the animal spirits, giving the trio a reproachful stare. "We have to take revenge no matter what."
     The four foxes besought me to ask the Kami to grant their wish to continue their life together using Tami's physical body as a vehicle.
     Wondering what to do about it, I left it to heaven's judgement. Then appeared an angel from a corner of heaven, along with the woman's tutelary kami, saying, "There is no choice." While she was a parishoner of the tutelary deity's shrine, she was plunged into the world of animals and became a container of the foxes to take responsibility for battering the innocents to death. She committed something similar to Inari sage ("descent of Inari"), the physical-realm practice of granting oracles through fox possession - often perceived as heretical.
     I heard yet another loud shout in a slightly southwesterly direction. I quickly traced the source of the voice and found a blind old man possessed by a raccoon dog and surrounded by many vengeful ghosts. They were hurting his eyes, throwing him up in the air and abusing him relentlessly. I saw something like a rod under his shoulders. The rod was tied to him with a leash, the other end of which was was attached to the core of the pole. The racoon dog and other ghosts scrambled to tighten and release the leash, dropping the old man to the brink of the river and pulling him up to the extreme heat of the sun at high speed. He was a man named Yoko ("Flank").
     When I asked those unrequited spirits why they were giving the man such a hard time, they replied that he was extremely avaricious and amassed his fortune by foreclosing on dozens of houses and lots pledged by his borrowers as collateral. Many debtors consequently committed suicide by jumping into a well or hanging themselves; others even had to see their families split asunder. Their spirits all fell into the world of animals because of their deep-seated grudge and became companions with foxes and raccoon dogs. All these vengeful spirits and departed souls were scrambling to take the man's life from inside and outside his body by whatever means possible.
     I asked the angel why the Kami allowed those stray spirits to commit the kind of act usually found in the realm of Hell on my way to the divine world.
     "The Kami has given them permission to make an example of him," explained the angel. "That long, thick leash is a coagulate of the ropes used by the hanged. He is tainted with poison because some of his victims poisoned themselves to death. He is thrown into the river because his other victims drowned themselves. Once their revenge is over, he will fall into the world of animals where he is doomed to suffer torture."
     I felt so sorry for him that I supplicated the deity Ama-terasu-oho-mi-kami for mercy, recited the incantation "Kamu-nagara tama-chi-ha-e-ma-se," and played the stone flute. This stopped his suffering instantly and emancipated the souls of the foxes and raccoon dogs from their deep-seated grude, much to their glee. Some even regained a ruddy complexion in their faces. All of these souls were transformed into humans - men and women, young and old. Shortly afterwards, their corresponding tutelary deities appeared, expressing delight and gratitude. I also thanked the divine world for offering me this great learning opportunity before I left the site. And yet the physical body of the man, Yoko ("Flank"), would depart from the material world in about a week.
     Yet again I heard a shout in the due west. It sounded as if a monkey was bullied. Tracing the scream, I found that tens of real foxes had surrounded a man, tied him to a tree and tortured him. He could not help groaning in pain. His limbs were ripped apart, and his bones were smashed one by one. Though beaten up completely, he remained standing there with his physical body still existing in the material world. To save him, I chanted a divine name and took a chinkon posture as usual. Shortly afterwards, all the foxes laid prostrate. When I asked them why they were doing something like that, an elder among them stepped forward and said,
     "This man loves hunting in mountains more than anything else. He is a bad guy reveling in building fox traps or ensnaring foxes. Because of that, all our clan members were killed. We knew we could be trapped to death, but when we found deep-fried tofu pouches and other favorite food, we involuntarily let our guards down and fell for it. All the foxes here were killed. So we want to take full revenge on him in the realm of lost spirits by destroying this man's spiritual and physical bodies."
     "You are also to blame for getting killed," I responded. "Instead, why don't you reform yourselves to be born into the human world?"
     "Can we be born into the human world?"
     "Yes, you can."
     "That is not possible for four-footed animals like us," the elder sighed, showing despair on his face.
     "I will apologize to heaven and earth for you all."
     The moment I apologized to the gods, the ethereal body of the bullied man named Naka ("Center") quickly returned to its original state with his flesh regained and his bones fully restored, and all the various foxes were transformed into male or female humans. Some of these tens of fox souls have been working for the divine world until today while others gave up halfway through. Still others fell back into the world of animals.

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 19 by the solar calendar, or September 19 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 17: Journey into the shinkai IV  〔17〕

    The scene of the divine realm changed abruptly, taking me back to the foot of the large bridge where I had been before. I began hearing a voice reciting the great purification prayer. Feeling mystified by it, I walked down several hundred meters. Coming into my view was an old man in his fifties and his wife in her forties struggling in vain to separate from each other as they were stuck back to back. The man was reciting the divine name Tenchi Kane No Kami [29] at the top of his voice, whereas his wife was joining her hands to pray to Inari, a popular deity of rice harvest, closely associated with its messenger the fox. In the sky toward which the man was joining his hands in prayer, a tengu, a red-faced, long-nosed creature with large wings, appeared in the clouds, beckoning the old man. The woman, meanwhile, was praying to foxes and raccoon dogs, which were in turn eagerly beckoning her from the mountain. The man tried going to the tengu but could not because the woman fully stuck on his back obstructed his move. The woman also wriggled to head for the animals but could not as her back was glued to her husband. They moved two steps forward in one direction and turned back, and again moved two steps forward in another direction and turned back. They were dithering over their different faiths. I went to the scene, chanted "Kamunagara tamachihaemase" to beseech the Kami for help, and recited norito prayers. At that time I felt like I let out quite a clear and pristine voice if I said so myself.
     The man and the woman got separated from each other in a moment. They thanked me profusely for my virtuous act and kept tagging along after me wherever I went. They made a commitment saying, "We will serve the work of the divine world." Later the man was reincarnated and tried to join the divine work in the earthly taka-ama-hara ("plain of high heaven") [30]. However, he was greedy by birth, and the tengu spirit possessing him resisted leaving his body so long that he ended up as a follower of the Great Deity Pangu and plotted to occupy the earthly taka-ama-hara. For this reason, his soul incurred the wrath of the Divine and fell into hell before his physical body perished two years later. His wife, meanwhile, was reincarnated and remotely kept her faith in the Kami even at the moment of this dictation.
     The scene before my eyes changed abruptly. For some reason I found myself standing at a small crossroads. Then appeared the man I had seen before, the one possessed by the soul of Yatsugashira Yatsuo ("Eight-headed, eight-tailed serpent"). He came pulling a rickshaw.
     "Sir, ride this rickshaw," the man said. "I would like to accompany you to the taka-ama-hara."
     "I wish I could, but I'm in the middle of my ascetic practices," I declined his offer.
     I began walking westward and crossed three or four quite steep mountain slopes along the way before arriving at the bank of a wide, pristine river. Clear, limpid water was flowing in the river with old pine trees lushly lining up its bank, making it quite a scenic spot. I felt that this place was nothing short of a divine world, and I wished to stay in a place like this for a long time. As I resumed plodding down the path alone, I came to a small town. There was a small hill on my left. The surrounding mountains were purple, and the river was flowing like a kimono sash. I felt as if I were on a Buddhist lotus seat or at the center of the taka-ama-hara ("plain of high heaven"). I was often so fascinated by the landscape that I hesitated to leave there.
     I descended the mountain and went slightly north before I spotted a tiny hut. As if attracted by electricity, I found myself at the door in the twinkling of an eye. It was a mysterious coincidence that the Great King at the Court of Yama came out to greet me in his manifestation as a young woman and showed me to a small living room. I rejoiced at my reunion with him. While listening attentively to many unique stories from the King, I abruply heard a voice that sounded like the growl of a tiger or the moan of a wolf. I strained my ears to find that it was a voice reciting the Amatsu Norito prayer and the Great Purification prayer. As the voice continued, it was getting darker all around with thick clouds densely closing the sky and eventually blocking the whole sunlight. A sudden storm broke out, leveling homes and blowing away everything on the earth. It degenerated into a catastrophic scene. Among the thickening dark clouds appeared an aging ogre named Ashi ("Foot"). The ogre, possessed by an old fox named Kuro ("Black"), was lording it over the world. The river water began to roar, spewing a large dragon. Also appearing out of nowhere was a devil with his appearance hard to describe. The King's living room and its vicinity turned jet-black as they were shrouded in total darkness. It engulfed that benevolent King as well. All I could see was a glimmer of light blinking and about to go out in a gale. I hit on the idea of praying to the Kami at this moment, and I did nothing but recite the names of the deity Ama-terasu-oho-mi-kami and the tutelary deity, chanting norito prayers with poise in a refreshing voice. This cleared up the sky with not even a cloud left.
     All norito prayers are powerful divine words that soothe the hearts and minds of the deities and bring harmony to heaven, earth and humans. Their kototama can dispel all defilement and evil if it is replete with divine virtue and is crystal clear. Kototama uttered by devils will only confuse and aggravate the world. Indeed it lacks power to purify the world because it is so tainted with evil motives such as greed, jealousy, hatred, envy and rage as to blaspheme the deities in heaven and on earth. Therefore, although Japan is a blessed land thriving on the power of kototama [31], it is only those people whose body and soul are truly made pure and clean can purify the world with their kototama. In contrast, the kototama used by those people whose body and soul are defiled and filthy rather darkens the world as it contains every evil element.
     I got back to the yachimata crossroads. The evil spirits I saw a while ago, namely the ogre, the fox and the dragon, came running after me. This "Ashi" ogre, accompanied by many followers, attacked me from all directions. Each of them blew hundreds of thousands of needles, nay countless needles out of their mouths at me like an atomizer. But my body was under such divine protection that it bounced off the needles like an iron plate, causing me no pain or itch. I recited norito prayers to thank the Kami for shielding me. My reciting voice made all the evils vanish like smoke.
     To make an additional remark, the "Ashi" ogre wore an eboshi hat and a hitatare robe - the typical attire of Shinto priests - as if serving the Kami. This allowed the ogre with an intrinsically ferocious countenance to look venerable. Moreover, the dragon ascending from the river quickly transformed into a beautiful woman. This dragon-woman was entrusted by the Palace of Dragons with a mission to join the divine campaign for reforming the world, but she ruined it when she, as a woman with a beautiful body, had sexual intercourse with the "Ashi" ogre. This dragon-woman is still alive and currently serves the Kami across the river from the tiny hut. She has as many as three dragon scales on her thighs as evidence of being a dragon disguising itself as a woman. Providence of the divine world is consistent throughout the three major realms of the Spirit World, and any disruption of the providence will invariably incur retribution. For this reason, anyone violating a dragon-woman tasked with a great mission from the divine world, be it in the divine realm or in the physical domain, will face punishment from the Kami for all eternity. Heaven's vengeance befell the "Ashi" ogre, rendering his son deaf and leaving such dirty pockmarks all over the face of his daughter as if a dragon crawled flat on the ground. She died first before his son perished. The ogre was kicked down by the Earth's Supreme Deity, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto, to the bottom of a ravine because of his sin, got injured on his breastbone, and eventually perished both physically and spiritually. Similarly, the physical body of the "Ashi" ogre incurred the Great Kami's disciplinary punishment. He became emaciated day by day, finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. He ended up dead in agony from pulmonary tuberculosis.
     While the above son and daughter were the "Ashi" ogre's children with his former wife, he also had a son with the dragon-woman. The "Ashi" ogre, having lost his two children, attempted to install his remaining son as his heir, while the dragon-woman was also desperate to make him her heir. She had stern parents. They would not let go of their daughter's son because they wanted to make him successor to their family line. The "Ashi" ogre forced him away from them to own him but ended up killing him as he was ripped apart in two pieces. The child, who had died dismembered in the spiritual realm, died in agony of pulmonary tuberculosis in the physical realm, feeling apologetic to his mother when he sided with his father and to his father when he sided with his mother. Thus the "Ashi" ogre's lineage became extinct both spiritually and physically whereas the dragon-woman leads a solitary life as a widow without any heirs even today.
     Dragon-women in general are allowed to be reborn into the human world after completing their ascetic practices in the sea under extreme cold and heat conditions for a thousand years, in mountains for another thousand years, and in rivers for still another thousand years. They must take the veil or serve the Kami to lead a pure and sacred life by abstaining from sexual intercourse in their first lifetime as a human. If they break their abstinence, they will waste their three-millennium asceticism and degenerate back into a dragon body. Therefore, dragon-women do not enjoy company with men, are beautiful, have piercing eyes, and may retain a few scales somewhere on their bodies. One will incur the grudge and revenge of dragon deities if one takes advantage of various self-interests, obligations, human feelings and other circumstances unique to the human world to rape a dragon-woman or cause her to be raped. Generally, if a man violates a dragon-woman, the relationship between them as a married couple will never last long; the husband will often die young, and the dragon-woman will repeat a similar tragedy no matter how many times she finds a new relationship, exposing her violator and his descendants to the curse and suffering of dragon deities.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi [32] on October 19 by the solar calendar, or September 19 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 18: Situation of the spirit world   〔18〕

     I would now like to speak a little about how the shin-kai ("world of divinities") and the yu-kai ("world of lost spirits") are related to the material world.
     The shin-kai and the yu-kai transcend time and space, not having the slightest concept of time. Therefore, what you witness in the Spirit World may emerge in the material world in a few days, a decade or centuries. You may also be shown ancient times like centuries ago or millennia ago. The way you see the past, present and future is like seeing them all in a mirror at one time. They may look the same, but you can clearly infer their differences.
     If you are in the Spirit World, your spiritual eyes will make no distinctions such as between time and space, light and darkness, top and bottom, large and small or wide and narrow, seeing them all equally and in parallel.
     The stories I am telling you here will not always unfold in the order of what I saw in the Spirit World. There are times when I meet a person whose soul I have encountered early in the Spirit World much later in the physical world; there are other times when I meet a person whose soul I have encountered late in the Spirit World much earlier in the physical world. I have watched some characters act out the Great Divine Drama of the Whole Universe on the prestigious Spirit-World stage, and their respective peformances are manifesting themselves in the physical world over wildly different time periods.
     Despite this time variance, I believe what I once observed in the Spirit World will definitely be re-enacted as the divine drama in the material world.
     The tenkai ("Heaven"), one of the three major realms composing the Spirit World and also known as the shinkai ("Divine Realm") [33], is governed by the Great Kami Amaterasu. While I will detail her reign later, I would now like to highlight the chaotic state of Earth's divine realm. Kunitokotachi no Mikoto had heretofore ruled Earth's divine realm, but unavoidable entanglements forced him into seclusion as shown in the Omoto Shinyu ("The Divine Revelation of Omoto").
     The kami who won a popular mandate to succeed Kunitokotachi no Mikoto in ancient times was the Great Kami Pangu, a body-soul being appearing in an area currently known as China. He was quite obedient and far from a bad kami. That is why many other kamis placed high hopes on him. The world today is demarcated by various national borders into Japan, China, Russia and others, but no such distinctions existed in Kunitokotachi's divine reign.
     However, nations as a form of government have emerged since the tenson korin ("descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess"), and a country known as Japan was built. Countries were also built outside Japan as if the brine that dripped down from the end of the spear was piled up and became an island [34]. When Japan was founded and the world ramified into various other countries, the Great Kami Pangu was born in China, came to the Middle Land of Reed-Plains (i.e. Japan) and succeeded Kunitokotachi no Mikoto. He used Yatsuoh Daijin, the chief executive deity under his direct control, to govern the world from the Middle Land. He also assigned a yatsuoh monarch and a yatsugashira governor to each country to serve as chief representative of the region's soul and as chief administrator, respectively. This yatsuoh-yatsugashira system was modeled after the governing structure in Japan with the Great Kami Pangu sitting at the top and Yatsuoh Daijin coming under him. Yatsuoh Daijin supervised the yatsuoh monarchs and yatsugashira governors of foreign countries from Japan, and the Great Kami Pangu exercised comprehensive oversight of Yatsuoh Daijin's performance. Those yatsuoh monarchs and yatsugashira governors were inherently good deities. The former were ordained by Heaven to represent the soul of each nation whereas the latter assumed the role of prime minister. This is how the divine world worked until Kunitokotachi no Mikoto was reinstated in the present times.
     In the meantime, some evil vibrations from heaven and earth gathered and solidified into an evil spirit around what is known today as Russia. This evil spirit is the one which took the form of that ugly Yatsugashira Yatsuo ("Eight-headed, eight-tailed serpent") and which the Deity Kamususanowo no Mikoto subdued and led to mend its ways. Yatsugashira Yatsuo had until today striven to gradually demoralize the divine realm by letting portions of its spirit invade and possess each yatsuoh monarch and yatsugashira governor in the world. Other evil vibrations of extreme negativity gathered in India and solidified into Kimmoh-kyubi Hakumen no Akko ("White-faced evil fox with nine blonde tails"). Kimmo-kyubi also let portions of its spirit invade and possess the wife of each yatsuoh monarch or yatsugashira governor in the world.
     Yet another ogre-shaped evil spirit emerged as evil vibrations gathered and solidified in a land of Jews. This evil spirit was plotting to destroy all the systems in the divine and physical realms, become the leader of the world and plunge the entire world into one of ghosts, demons, monsters and the like. Japan, however, was such a special land of gods that it had successfully remained solemn and immutably prominent on earth, warding off any invasion by these three devils. All the yatsuoh monarchs and yatsugashira governors were deprived of their control over those evil spirits as their three-way struggle intensified; the earthly world was filled with rage, hatred, jealousy, envy, strife and other evil deeds, and this eventually erupted into uncontrollable chaos throughout the three major realms of the Spirit World.
     The Creator of the Universe in Heaven, the Great Kami of supreme benevolence and love, foresaw that at the current pace the divine realm, the earthly realm, and the realm of perverted spirits would face total destruction. He summoned Kunitokotachi no Mikoto to appear before Him and delegated him to transform the divine and earthly realms. It was also decided that Hitsujisaru no Konjin, Kin Katsukane no Kami, Ryugu no Otohime, and Hinode no Kami would play supportive roles in this grand divine mission. All the remaining kami serving Ushitora no Konjin would also join the mission in their respective capacities, with the byakko ("white foxes") working behind the scenes. Sensing impending danger, direct descendants of Heavenly Deities like Konohana-sakuya Hime and Hiko-hohodemi no Mikoto decided to aid Kunitokotachi no Mikoto in his divine work. The righteous deities' mission was making steady progress. All the other associated body-souls were destined to congregate in the taka-ama-hara ("plain of high heaven") where they would join ascetic practices of the divine realm to play their respective roles in serving the divine mission.
     Oh Kuninushi no Mikoto ("His Augustness Master-of-the-Great-Land") used to rule the Middle Land of Reed-Plains by force of arms in ancient times. Prior to the tenson korin ("descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess"), the ancestral Sun Goddess dispatched her messengers to the Middle Land three times before eventually forcing Oh Kuninushi no Mikoto into submission by military power. Oh Kuninushi exhausted all the options and surrendered his authority over the physical realm to the grandson of the Sun Goddess in compliance with the mandate from heaven. He then hid himself behind a fresh brushwood fence to rule the afterlife with Kotoshironushi, one of his sons [35].
     The descent of the grandson of the Sun Goddess in this age was to reign the physical realm of the whole planet Earth, not to rule the small swath of the planet currently known as Japan alone. Still incomplete, the world was filled with all evils including hatred, anger, grudge, jealousy and struggle. This thwarted the ambition of the Great Kami in Heaven, plunging the world into a pandemonium of the strong preying on the weak with the divine and physical realms of the Earth on the verge of almost total collapse.
     Watching the catastrophe unfold, the Great Kami in Heaven issued an order that would oblige the Great Kami Pangu to return all of his authority in the divine realm to Kunitokotachi no Mikoto, also known as "Ushitora no Konjin." The Great Kami Pangu accepted and followed His order deferentially as he realized that it was time for him to go. But Yatsuoh Daijin and the yatsuoh monarchs and yatsugashira governors under his supervision were completely made corrupt by evil deities. Unable to reform themselves, they contrived various schemes instead. Still, at least a few of them showed a slight sign of repentence.
     Against this backdrop, the time is already near when Kunitokotachi no Mikoto will unify the Earth's divine world in its entirety. What happens in the divine realm will happen in the physical realm to varying degrees on different scales. I believe that once Kunitokotachi achieves the unification, Amatsu Hitsugi no Mikoto should rule the physical world with Knutokotachi administering the netherworld while Oh Kuninushi no Mikoto should supervise the netherworld of Japan. At present, however, the Yatsugashira Yatsuo serpent evil, the Kimmoh-kyubi fox spirit, and the ogre devil are still plotting to conquer the netherworld and the physical world by using the Great Kami Pangu as a front.
     The obedient Pangu is not in favor of such rebellion against the divine world, and the evil spirits are taking the lead in seizing the taka-ama-hara, marching with a red flag hoisted high and using many other kindred spirits under their wings.
     Given the gravity of the situation, Heaven has decided to dispatch the Three Most August Deities to the physical realm to aid Kunitokotachi in putting the grand divine design into action, and temporary abodes will be built on the Lotus Pedestal hill [36] to welcome the Deities.
     Therefore, once Their abodes are completed, it can be interpreted as proof of further acceleration of the grand divine design.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 20 by the solar calendar, or September 20 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 19: A blind divine messenger   〔19〕

     I was fishing and doing other things in a pristine river. I noticed someone standing on the bank and calling me dozens of times. A close look at the man found that he was visually impaired as his eyes were almost completely closed. I wondered how he successfully came to this trecherous bank despite his eyesight.
     I got out of the river and came close to the man.
     "What did you call and stop me for?" I asked.
     "I'm a messenger from the Taka-ama-hara ("plain of high heaven") in the physcal realm. I'm here to take you there," he replied.
     "I explored the divine realm the other day, and it was a total mess," I said. "The Taka-ama-hara in the physical realm? Give me a break. I'd be better off exploring Hell."
     I went on to say, "I bet the kami sending me a blind messenger like you must be a blind one. It's like the blind leading the blind, pushing them down to the bottom of Hell. I'm not gonna go."
     "Do you see my physical self or my soul?" the messenger said with increasing pride in his voice. "My body belongs to the physical world, but my soul is precious. Besides, my soul is superior to all the gods."
     I suddenly felt inclined to go there and asked my tutelary deity for permission. Then the tutelary deity appeared with his eyes full of tears, warning,
     "You should be there because you have a mission to save the world. But once you are there, you won't be able to come back easily. You'll have to go through a lot, but the Kami will ensure your full protection. Accompany the messenger to the earthly Taka-ama-hara, also for my honor as your tutelary deity."
     The messenger and I set out to cross the great bridge ahead, moving forward without sun hats on under the growing indescribably scorching hot sky. For some reason, the sky suddenly became pitch-dark with a loud crack of thunder and a torrential downpour. It was still midday, but it was so dark with no visibility and a severe gale that I could not move an inch. This made me feel that the whole situation unfolded the moment I took my first step forward as I agreed to go to the Taka-ama-hara with the messenger, and that he might have cajoled me into accompanying him just to make me suffer in the sacred place.
     I took out my stone flue and played it. The rain gave way to sunshine, and the thunder stopped, brightening the whole sky. As I was threading my way through countless mountain passes, I encounterd various types of giant serpents and venomous snakes lying down on the narrow paths.
     The blind messenger had no qualms about stepping over those giant serpents as he was moving along. He simply kept walking on and on while remaining unfazed by the presence of vipers or wolves trying to bite him in the leg. My eyes saw all those giant serpents, venomous snakes and wolves, arousing fear in me and making me hesitate to go forward. But then it occurred to me that I would be all right if I just copied what the blind messenger was doing. I decided to step over the reptiles and the like to proceed - with great caution.
     "Happy are those who are unable to see."
     I heard the voice of an unknown entity from somewhere in heaven.
     The messenger and I reached the top of the first major mountain pass and took a rest for a while. Nothing is as painful and unfortunate as these small eyes that can see, Kisaburo thought bitterly. I worried a lot trying to guard against the great serpents and wolves. But the blind messenger blithely kept moving forward. No need to open these small eyes. They should remain closed to what's happening in the world. Even if they can see, they are better off pretending to see. This is the lesson I learned.
     Meanwhile, the blind messenger earnestly described many different things about the earthly Taka-ama-hara. He went on to talk about the yu-kai realm he had been in and the divine realm he was yet to explore.
     "How come you know all these things in detail?" I asked.
     "When I came here and actually met you, I saw some light radiating from you," he answered. "It awakened me to all the things I had never known about including the yu-kai realm. It greatly encouraged and uplifted me."
     The visually impaired man continued to say, "To tell the truth, I'm here to take you to the holy place by order of the Great Kami. The earthly Taka-ama-hara has been engulfed in dark clouds with some devils going on the rampage with various cunning plots. That is why I sneaked out of the sanctuary to meet you. The Kami alone cannot bring the situation under control. We need you there to clean up the mess in the earthly Taka-ama-hara. We'd truly appreciate it if you'd take the trouble to help us."
     I had to hear a plea for help like this after all the journey over hill and dale. I was fed up with the previous exploration of the divine realm, but having come this far, I could not turn back like a coward. I needed to follow the orders of my tutelary deity and the Great Kami by all means even though I knew I would be in for great tribulation if I were there. I encouraged myself to go to the earthly Taka-ama-hara.
     As anticipated, the devils in the holy place were right in the midst of rebellion when I arrived there as they had already gotten wind of my arrival and been terrified by it. I felt like I was about to dive into a raging inferno.

         (Dictation taken by Yoshikuni Hirose on October 19 by the solar calendar, or September 19 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Part 3: Parting of heaven and earth

Chapter 20: Emergence of the Sun, Moon and Earth   〔20〕

     The blind messenger guided me all the way to the earthly Taka-ama-hara. Suddenly, the Great Kami Kunitokotachi, supreme god of the Earth's divine world, and the Kami Waka-hime-gimi appeared right before my eyes. An invaluable magnifying glass was bestowed on me by the two deities as they authorized me to fulfill the great mission of exploring the divine realm with it.
     The view in front of me changed quickly into a majestic, towering mountain above the clouds. What looked like a cable car was running on the slope of the mountain. I felt like climbing it, and when I took my first step on the trail at the foot of the mountain, my body mysteriously started gliding up straight as if lifted by someone.
     This was none other than Mount Sumeru, or Mount Meru (the highest cosmic mountain in Buddhism) soaring infinitely high in the center of the universe. It was not a real mountain visible to the naked eye but a totally spiritual one. Therefore, I ascended the moutain spiritually, but never physically.
     I stood atop Mount Sumeru, held the magnifying glass bestowed on me by the Great Deity, and began gazing at all directions. I saw a ball of mass being coagulated out of nowhere in the chaos of the boundless universe.
     The mass shaped just like a traditional Japanese handball, with mud water floating all around its periphery. It quickly expanded as if it might spread throughout the universe. While my eyes soon failed to followed its expanse, they saw a vivid golden cylinder stand in the center of the ball.
     A while later the cylinder started rotating counter-clowckwise by itself. The mud floating around the cylinder was swirling with the increasing rotation speed. The swirl was gradually expanding wider outward, forming a big ring. The cylinder, which first rotated slowly upright, gradually tilted downward as it sped up before rotating faster than the eye could follow.
     Spewed out of the big, round sphere were dark bodies of small mass as if shaken free, and they soon dispersed throughout the universe. Then they changed into innumerable black lightless stars near and far - all appearing to be rotating counter-clockwise. As the Sun behind them began shining, those stars were illuminated in unison.
     The golden cylinder metamorphosed into a dragon. This dragon started to traverse the surface of the rapidly expanded ball of mass in all directions, giving birth to countless smaller dragons from its abdomen, mouth and entire body along the way.
     The golden dragon began cruising all over the surface of the mass, together with its countless child dragons, large and small, which came in various colors and glosses. Undulating vibrations from the largest dragon gradually solidified the muddy portions and reduced the water portions as the moisure evaporated. When each dragon wagged its tail, it gave wave patterns to the mud. Great mountain ranges were formed in the places the largest dragon had passed through while various small and medium mountain ranges appeared as the child dragons of corresponding sizes traveled along. Water accumulated in lower places, resulting in natural oceans. I learned the hallowed name of this largest dragon: Kunitokotachi no Mikoto.
     In those times, the universe was in a state similar to a little darker night with a hazy moon. A silver cylinder suddenly protruded upward from what looked like the middle of the ocean. It was quite tall. It was no time at all before the cylinder started rotating clockwise. The rotation allowed the cylinder to disperse various kinds of plant, flower and cereal seeds from its many different parts to all the mountains, plains, seas, and rivers. However, those times witnessed no generation of any living organisms such as plants, trees, insects, fish, birds, animals or humans.
     The moment the silver cylinder fell over horizontally, it shape-shifted into a large silver dragon. It began swimming near the ocean surface from west to east. This silver dragon-deity was called by the hallowed name of Hitsujisaru no Konjin.
     Showing his golden dragon body, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto (Ancestral Deity of the Earth) rushed along the solidifying ground to Hitsujisaru no Konjin from the east. The two dragon-deities saw each other face to face and looked as if they agreed to do something together. After a brief pause, the golden dragon started rotating counter-clockwise while the silver dragon clockwise. This caused a frightening sonic boom, shaking the ground violently, from which enormous luminosity was radiated.
     A big red ball jumped out of the golden dragon's mouth together with the loud reverberation. It soon soared to heaven to become the Sun. The silver dragon, meanwhile, spewed mist-like pristine water from its mouth, and the water soon shaped like a rainbow bridge between heaven and earth, with a white ball surging above the bridge. This ball became the Moon, and it soaked up water from the ground, forming a rainbow-like water tail as the groundwater volume visibly and gradually decreased.
     The golden dragon breathed out toward the sky, and the breath also looked like a rainbow bridge. The Sun beamed more brightly, radiating heat to the earth.
     The water finally receded, but the submerged mountains and plains were still soft like freshly made dumplings or Japanese mochi rice cakes. As time elapsed, the seeds that had been sown before began to sprout. First, pines began to grow on the mountains, bamboos in the wilderness, and Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) trees near and far.
     Next, Japanese cedar, hinoki cypress, podocarp and other trees grew on the mountains and in the wilderness here and there. After that, all the remaining seeds sprouted, covering the mountains, which had looked like earthenware baking pans turned upside down, with lush greenery. The scenery was simply breathtaking.
     As the earth was covered with fresh green plants and trees, the murky reddish brown sky turned indigo and limpid, and the muddy yellowish ocean water became so blue as if it were mirroring the color of the sky.
     The creation of the earth was thus completed. This eliminated the need for those Originator Kami to be dragons. The golden dragon-deity with large scales and many majestic horns shape-shifted into a sublime, noble and dignified human being. Of note was that he took on a human shape spiritually, not physically.
     In the world of the Sun, the Deity Izanagi no Mikoto appeared in human form (also spiritually), beckoninig the sublime, noble and dignified Kami over. This Kami responded to Izanagi's call by ascending to heaven to become the Great Deity Tsuki no Oh Kami so that he could reign over the celestial kingdom.
     A white dragon-deity with the most powerful strength was anthropomorphized into a male kami. He was an extremely handsome divinity with a fair completion and had what it took to be a great hero. His black hair was long enough to almost reach the ground, and his beard grew to his abdomen. His name was the Great Deity Susanowo.
     I was gazing at the male kami as I was awe-struck by his divine appearance. A white light appeared out of his body and soared high in the sky, taking him to the world of the Moon. The Great Deity Susanowo divided out a portion of himself so that it could rule the lunar realm. Its name was the Augustness Tsukiyomi no Mikoto. Now that the rulers of the Sun and the Moon were decided, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto assumed the ruler of the Earth's divine world and the Great Deity Susanowo the ruler of the Earth's material world.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 20 by the solar calendar, or September 20 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Kunitokotachi no Mikoto, creater of Earth's spirit world

Chapter 21: Making and consolidating things on Earth   〔21〕

     Kunitokotachi no Mikoto made His magnificent appearance, maintaining an air of exquisite sublimity, authority and inviolability. He climbed atop the highest mountain range in the earthly world and took a panoramic view. The Sun, the Moon and other celestial bodies had already fully appeared in the firmament. While the earth was covered by mountains, rivers, trees and plants, almost all the trees and plants were weak like green onions and soft like reeds. This is why Kunitokotachi no Mikoto (also known as the Ancestral Deity of the Earth), breathed out a wind. His breath gave birth to twelve kami.
     These twelve kami shared the responsibility to blow a gale, but it forced the pines, bamboos, the Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) trees and all the other trees and plants down flat at their roots. Watching the situation unfold, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto pulled a rib out of His chest, pulverized it with His teeth, and dispersed it in all directions.
     All the soft-bodied animals and plants absorbed the bone powder, and it stiffened them so much that the fallen trees and plants stood upright, and that humans and other animals, which had crawled flat on the ground like sea cucumbers, acquired bones and the resultant agility for the first time. The staple cereal grains including rice, wheat, millet and beans began to ripen. It was also during this time that all the frail plants that had looked almost identical took on uniquely distinctive shapes. Some bone powder coagulated into rocks, producing various minerals. The soul dwelling in those rocks was a portion of Kunitokotachi and was hence called the Kami of Rocks.
     The Sun constantly radiated intense light and heat, and the Moon continued to absorbe water from the Earth. This drove the trees and plants on the planet into gradual blight as time went by, and the animals also had a terrible time with this dry spell. But the Moon's suction showed no signs of abating. Sensing the imminent danger of the whole planet smoldering like a dried flatfish being charred, Kunitokotachi stood atop the mountain range and asked those dragon-deities which had yet to be anthropomorphized to hold the seawater in their mouths and bring it to him.
     As requested, the dragon-deities brought the seawater to the Ancestral Deity of the Earth. He got it in His hands, held it in His mouth and blew it toward the sky. It developed into dark-colored clouds, light-colored clouds and many other different types of clouds. They suddenly started pouring down rain. The Ancestral Deity of the Earth collectively named these countless dragon-deities the Kami of Rain.
     Too much rain was just as bad as no rain. To mitigate the torrential downpour, Kunitokotachi breathed the hot solar heat into His whole body and radiated it through every pore of His skin. The radiated heat quickly transformed into innumerable dragons, all soaring toward the sky. The Ancestral Deity of the Earth called them the Fire Dragon Kami. (Of note was that it took him billions of years to create heaven and earth this far despite the brief description here.)
     This was how Kunitokotachi created human beings, animals, plants and other organisms. He endowed each human with a portion of the Kami of the Moon and a portion of the Kami of the Sun. Reigning over the human body, he made it a medium that would fulfill the will of the Kami. This is a purpose of human life. That is why the Omoto Shinyu ("Divine Revelation of Omoto") says, "The Kami is the Universal Spirit that permeates all creation, and man is the chief officiant of divine ceremonies to govern heaven and earth.
     As aeons elapsed, however, humans had grown so corrupt intellectually, emotionally and morally as to pursue self-interest with unbridled passion. This triggered the struggle for existence and the law of the jungle. Alarmed by the corruption of humanity, Kunitokotachi had to wonder if the good and beautiful Earth he had striven to create should be reverted to the original "muddy sea."
     Meanwhile, those wicked elements remaining like dregs between heaven and earth coagulated into evil dragons, evil serpents and evil foxes, some of which in turn shape-shifted as demons, ogres and other ghostly creatures. They possessed self-indulgent humans, thereby attempting to exacerbate the world so that they could dominate it. Kunitokotachi was in a rage and heaved a deep sigh. The sigh gave birth to eight different kami of thunder and other rough/impetuous kami.
     Kunitokotachi invoked rough/impetuous kami whenever he felt it necessary to warn humanity on earth. In fact, he often warned them by conjuring up those deities. For all His admonitions, most humans remained unawakened. Kunitokotachi invoked rough/impetuous kami whenever he felt it necessary to warn humanity on earth. In fact, he often warned them by conjuring up those deities. For all His admonitions, most humans remained unawakened. Terribly frustrated, he shouted angrily, stamping His feet on the ground as if a sumo wrestler stamped on the ring for a warm-up. At the same time, numerous dragon-deities appeared from His mouth, nose and eyes. They were called the kami of earthquakes. It is the wrath of the Ancestral Deity of the Earth that triggers the activities of the kami of earthquakes. His fury is not personal anger but none other than a manifestation of great mercy derived from His desire to remodel the world into a good and beautiful place.
     There had been no demarcated nations in particular unlike today for almost 100,000 years since Kunitokotachi solidified the amorphous heaven and earth, except that the Earth was divided into different regions - each assigned with a yatsuoh monarch, and a yatsugashira governor who reported to the yatsuoh.
     The world gradually deteriorated, resulting in nothing but things that went against the divine will of the Great Kami. Voices of grudge, jealousy, sorrow, and curse reverbated throughout heaven and earth. To redo the Earth, Kunitokotachi stood on the summit of a high mountain and shouted loudly. That shout resounded like a roll of thunder. He even stamped His foot in vexation. This caused the ground to shake, invoking the kami of earthquakes and the rough/impetuous kami in droves. The Earth underwent cataclysmic changes that would bury the rivers under the collapsed mountains, level the plants and trees, and culminate in the virtual annihilation of all living creatures. Kunitokotachi's shout also forced part of the ground to submerge, with the resultant emergence of the present-day continents of Africa (partially), North and South Americas. At the same time, the Pacific Ocean came into being, and a dragon-shaped archipelago was formed in the middle of the ocean. This island chain was modern-day Japan. Until then there had been no such thing as the Sea of Japan, and China and Korea had been continuous with Japan as a landmass; in addition, there still had been a continent hundreds of ri (one ri equals approx. 2.4 miles) long and wide on the Pacific Ocean southward from present-day Japan. The Earth's major upheavals submerged the whole continent except its central hardest portion, which remained intact in the shape of a dragon.
     The dragon shape of the Japanese islands is a perfect duplicate of Kunitokotachi when he created the muddy sea of the primordial Earth and firmed it up in His dragon image; its length, width and other dimensions are exactly the same. Therefore, Japan is a sacred and inviolable land as it is located in the northeast (= "ushitora" [37] in Japanese) of the Earth. Japan is also the place of origin where the golden cylinder stood in the middle of the universe. The cylinder fell over by itself from the northeast to the southwest, turning into a chain of islands. This archipelago thus earned the name "the Self-Fallen Islands" (Onokoro Jima).
     The Japanese islands were surrounded by the sea on all sides so that they would serve as a resting place for the holy Kami. In fact, the whole Japanese land is the Great Kami's physical body in every respect. The Kami differentiated the Self-Fallen Islands from other national territories and set the former aside for special missions.
     After that, the Great Kami turned to the Sun and the Moon, inhaled the positive qi (vital life force) and the negative qi, and exhaled them in mist form. Appearing from this atomized breath was the Kami Wakahimegimi no Mikoto.
     The Earth's apocalyptic catastrophe mentioned above obliterated virtually all living creatures on the planet, presenting a grand spectacle reminiscent of the biblical flood of Noah. This made it necessary for the Great Kami to give birth to various deities and humans. To start off, he married the Kami Wakahimegimi no Mikoto to the Kami Ame no Wakahiko, and they produced three male kami and five female kami: Mamichi-shiru-hiko (male), Aomori-shiruki-hiko (male), Ametsuchi-kaname-hiko (male), Tokoyo-hime (female), Kogane-tatsu-hime (female), Audaru-hime (female), Kanayama-hime (female), and Kototoki-hime (female). This Ame no Wakahiko was a totally different kami from Ama no Wakahiko described in the Kojiki ("Records of Ancient Matters"). The Great Kami had to cause such catastrophe on Earth because, in short, the divine rule in Heaven came apart at the seams, which in turn triggered the same chaos on Earth. What happens in Heaven will invariably happen on Earth (like two mirrors set against each other). If Heaven is in disarray, it will throw Earth into disarray, and vice versa. For this reason, the Great Kami Kunitokotachi created Wakahimegimi no Mikoto and had her ascend to Heaven while he himself assumed control of the Earth's yukai, or hell. The kami delegated to rule the Earth's physical world was Susanowo no Mikoto.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 20 by the solar calendar, or September 20 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 22: Resignation of the Earth's Supreme Deity Kunitokotachi no Mikoto   〔22〕

     As described in the preceding chapter, the Great Kami Kunitokotachi exerted divine power to separate Heaven from Earth and appoint the respective deities responsible the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. The Deity Izanagi no Mikoto assumed the ruler of the Sun's spirit world and the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Oh Mikami, of its physical world. Likewise, the Deity Izanami no Mikoto assumed the ruler of the Moon's spirit world and the Augustness Tsukiyomi no Mikoto, of its phyiscal world. The Earth's spirit world was ruled by the Great Kami Kunitokotachi as mentioned above, and its physical world (including its vast expanse of ocean), by the Great Deity Susanowo as ordained by the Great Sun God (Deity Izanagi no Mikoto).
     The same chaos unfolded in the worlds of the Sun and the Earth as if two mirrors were set against each other. The Moon, however, has remained peaceful in both its physical and spiritual worlds since its creation. Why only the Moon has remained peaceful even today is that as clearly observed from the Earth's surface, the Moon is moderately luminescent and not too bright, in addition to being moderately moist and not too frigid [38]; it is a world of the utmost good and beauty that strikes a happy medium between hot and cold extremes. In contrast, the world of the Sun is made up of things that are extremely intense, produces bright light and has the divine power to shine throughout the universe. But the star's intense light casts an equally large dark shadow. Meanwhile, the Earth intrinsically has many impure elements because it developed from a coagulation of turbid elements. This makes it impossible to avert the birth of evil deities.
     To obey orders from Heaven, the Kami Wakahimegimi no Mikoto tried to go up there together with her husband, the Kami Ame no Wakahiko, to take part in the divine rule of the celestial kingdom, but they were misled by the evil deities accompanying them along the way from the ground into ruining the divine initiatives to "weave a better heaven and earth with the warp and weft." They came down to the ground and were eventually forced to go underground together with Kunitokotachi, bearing all kinds of torment and tribulation. I will elaborate on how Wakahimegimi failed to complete her mission on a later occasion.
     Kunitokotachi attempted to eliminate the chaos and the evil elements from Heaven and Earth to govern the spirit world in line with the initial objectives of the divine kingdom. To this end, he appointed the Kami Hitsujisaru no Konjin, his wife-deity, to assist him in working out various divine measures. He also installed the Kami Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto as Chief Angel-cum-Prime Minister to enforce draconian rule-based governance. The commandments of Heaven were set forth, and it was decided that anyone violating those heavenly rules, even a little, would be punished. For this reason, Heaven was extremely well governed for a period equal in Earth time to several hundred years, but as the world gradually progressed, evil elements propagated in the world of kami, the world of hell and the world of human beings. In other words, a myriad deities increasingly made complaints about the Great Kami's rule to such an extent that even mountains, rivers, plants and trees spoke out against it.
     Those difficult circumstances forced Prime Minister Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto to shift to a lenient attitude towards the myriad disgruntled deities and engage with them in a manner that would soothe and pacify them, although he knew deep down that such attitude was against the will of the Great Kami Kunitokotachi. Nonetheless, that was how Oh Yashima-hiko had ruled the world since then.
     On another front, the Spirit World was almost on the brink of being torn asunder, with one major faction of deities that installed the Great Kami Pangu (another name of which was Shionaga-hiko) to overtake the government of the Spirit World competing with the other major faction that brought the Kami Mahesvara Oh Kuni-hiko to the fore to dominate the divine government by occupying the earthly Taka-ama-hara, the holy site on Earth. Many other smaller groups of kami sided with either the Pangu faction or the Oh Kuni-hiko faction. Still others remained neutral by distancing themselves from both factions yet launched their own campaigns against the divine rule of Kunitokotachi no Mikoto.
     The embattled Kunitokotachi had no choice but to implore Heaven for help. The three deities - namely, The Great Kami Amaterasu, the Great Sun God (Deity Izanagi no Mikoto), and the Great Moon God (Deity Izanami no Mikoto) - descended to the earthly Taka-ama-hara from Heaven to assist Kunitokotachi in his divine rule or governance of the Spirit World. Out of deference to them, Kunitokotachi built a palace of the Mizu Spirit to welcome the three Kami. While Kunitokotachi and his related deities lost strength as their team shrank considerably in size, Pangu and Oh Kuni-hiko gained momentum at such an alarming rate that they would eventually have the nerve to press Kunitokotachi to abdicate the throne. The three deities of Heaven pacified or admonished the violent and wicked deities and sympathetically encouraged them to follow the commandments of Heaven. Alas, the times were on the side of evil kami in a situation aptly described as the "triump of flourishing evil over Heaven."
     The evil kami gathered together to punish Kunitokotachi. They pulled out his hair, cut off his hands, divided his bones, ripped his sinews apart, and dismembered his limbs. He had to endure that savage execution. However, he is part of the Great Original Kami of the Universe, and he never perishes. In fact, all the pieces of his body were quickly put together to return to its original state.
     Those violent and wicked deitieis rallied behind the Great Kami Pangu and the Kami Oh Kuni-hiko to make absolutely sure that their demands would be met, culminating in the defilement of the place of the Mizu Spirit that Kunitokotachi had built for the Great Kami Amaterasu, the Great Sun God and the Great Moon God. They even pressed the three August Deities to authorize Kunitokotachi's retirement from his current position. Those three Kami were in a higher rank than Kutokotachi by design, but he was the one who had created them in the first place. Therefore, they were against the idea of his removal from office, but realizing that the times were on the side of evil kami, they plucked up courage with tears running down their cheeks and threw off all the filial piety to acquiesce to the myriad deities' demands. Then they ordered Kunitokotachi to step down in a manner that alluded telepathically to his reinstatement in the future before they returned to Heaven.
     Afterwards, the Great Kami Pangu faction and the Oh Kuni-hiko faction vied fiercely for hegemony, and the Pangu side ended up clinching victory, assuming full control of the spirit world. The crestfallen Kunitokotachi, meanwhile, was deported to a place of exile together with Hitsujisaru no Konjin (his wife-deity), the Kami Kinkatsukane (a ruling goddess of the Earth), the Kami Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto (Prime Minister) and some other influential deities.
     Just as the major deities ruling the Earth's divine world were sent into exile, the Great Deity Susanowo, supreme leader of the Earth's material world, was also banished by the myriad deities. Leaving the Self-Fallen Islands, Susanowo was determined to set out on a journey to wander every corner of the world. He once purified the Earth's material world by cutting the Yamata no Orochi ("Eight-Forked Serpent") in pieces and showed it to the Great Kami Amaterasu (also called the "Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity") [39]. He intended to recreate it in the Earth's divine world by wiping out all the evil deities on the planet for a peaceful reign and showing it to the three August Deities so that he could be reinstated as supmre leader of the Earth's material world.
     Going forward, I will describe exactly as I witnessed in the divine world the backgrounds and activities of some of Kunitokotachi's most trusted confidants among his myriad followers as well as the backgrounds and rampages of the factions of the myriad deities installing the Great Kami Pangu and the Kami Oh Kuni-hiko.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 20 by the solar calendar, or September 20 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 23: A great golden bridge   〔23〕

     The Great Kami Pangu's forces and those of the Kami Oh Kuni-hiko waged armed rebellions against the earthly Taka-ama-hara, bringing it almost on the brink of total subversion. Before I expound on the whole situation, I need to provide a general overview of the holy site on Earth.
     My soul had hitherto been led to the top of Mount Sumeru, or Mount Meru (the highest cosmic mountain in Buddhism) soaring infinitely high in the center of the universe. There I had witnessed the whole situation mentioned above unfold. Hearing clear, euphonic music from one corner of heaven, I was shrouded in indescribably resplendent and auspicious clouds. In a split second the scene changed abruptly, and I found myself back as a traveler on the original journey of the divine world.
     I walked along some narrow paths and other broad, calabash-shaped ones and noticed a large river running there. It was a major river in the realm of divinities and was called the Jordan River, the River of Israel or the Isuzu River. Spanning the river was a giant arched bridge.
     This bridge was made of all gold, was long and big, and had a steep arch just like the Sorihashi Bridge of Sumiyoshi Shrine [40]. Every traveler of the divine world came at the foot of this bridge and became awestruck by its magnificence and beauty, and also its steep slope. Some travelers fell off the bridge while climbing it and plunged into the river. In addition, the bridge was covered all over with the glittering gold, serving as a mirror reflecting the true character of anyone crossing it. This mirror often unmasked a horribly vicious demon in several travelers. Many evil deities therefore circumvented the bridge by swimming across the deep-running river under it to the other shore. About one in every thousand travelers attempted to buck the system. This brige was named the "Great Golden Bridge" in the divine world.
     With the soles of my feet feeling ticklish on the dazzling golden bridge, I slowly but surely crossed it to the bank on the other side. During that time, I often slipped while going uphill and fell on my back while going downhill as I let my guard down a little. In short, this golden bridge was like 12 arched bridges strung together in a line, and since it had no rails, everyone had to jettison all their belongings, stay barefoot and walk with the bottoms of their feet firmly on the surface.
     Shortly after I crossed the bridge, I arrived at the holy land of Jerusalem. A palace dedicated to the Great Kami on the premises caught my eyes. It was embroidered with gold and seven gems including agate, exhibiting sheer magnificence and grandeur beyond words.
     This shrine was referred to as the Shrine of Jerusalem or the Shrine of Uzu ("Treasure"). Seen in the light of kototama, or the spirits residing in words, Jeru as in Jerusalem is interpreted as "u" and salem as "su" or "zu" and hence "Uzu." This shrine sat atop the Lotus Pedestal hill. When I walked up there, I found that it was surrounded all around with lush mountains as if they popped out of a folding screen painting, and that at the foot of the mountains, the Jordan River was flowing long like a washed cloth hung out to dry. The base of the back side of those mountains was encircled by a lake with undulating golden waves. On the lake were countless islands, large and small, each of which had a shrine built for it. All those shrines were made of hinoki cypress wood with no ornaments or decorations but impressed me as very clean buildings. A smaller golden bridge ran from each of those holy temples, leading across the water to the lofty palaces made of nothing but gold. They were called the "Dragon Palaces."
     Hundreds of golden crows soared in the sky, and at other times, many Japanese grosbeaks (Eophona personata) flew in flocks. On the surface of the lake were numerous mandarin ducks swimming leisurely, together with countless green-haired turtles, large and small, having fun.
     All these islands on the lake flourished with lush, shiny pine trees. Cranes built their nests on the branches of the trees here and there, offering best wishes for longevity. A look at the scene showed that the place was an embodiment of the Pure Land in Heaven, that there was not a speck of evil elements anywhere, and that the deities coming and going or gathering together all had a joyful expression on their faces. This was an overview of the divine city ruled by Kunitokotachi. A group of kami who were conspiring to occupy the Dragon Palaces and usurp the throne to rule the earthly Taka-ama-hara were the Great Kami Pangu and his cohorts. They were looking for opportunities to gradually infiltrate into the holy land of Jerusalem to dominate it by collaborating with the Kami Oh Kuni-hiko and his followers, who were also plotting to occupy the Lotus Pedestal hill.
     Souls who were allowed to go up to the Lotus Pedestal hill and enter the Shrine of Uzu were those deity-humans already tasked by the divine world with a great mission, and souls who were permitted to enter the Dragon Palaces were those medium-ranked dragon-deities that cleansed all the committed sins through their enduring faith in the Kami, had their apologies accepted and were accordingly qualified to become humans. This treasure shrine on the Lotus Pedestal hill was an exact duplicate of the same shrine in the Heavenly Kingdom and was therefore a sacred site where deity-humans with pure souls like celetial beings or maidens engaged in divine missions for heaven and earth. The Dragon Palaces also attracted mostly dragon-deities as a training center that offered them opportunities to break the shackles of dragon entities and evolve into beautiful men and women.
     The Dragon Palaces housed some treasures including the most important Mani Jewel, also known as the Tide-Ebbing/Flowing Jewel. It was a divine instrument that had full command of wind, rain, thunder and lightning. All the dragon-deities were involved in the relentless struggle for the powerful jewel by occupying the palaces. But even this gem paled considerably in comparison with the Masumi Jewel esconced in the Shrine of Uzu. Moreover, even if dragon-deities successfully evolved into beautiful men and women, they would be markedly inferior in divinity and dignity to heavenly beings serving the Great Kami. No matter how magnificent the Dragon Palaces might be, dragon-deities were categorized as beasts and were hence ranked lower than humans. The world of humans ranks higher and deserves more importance than that of dragon-deities. Humans are, after all, more sophisticated and more beautiful souls endowed as substitues of the Kami by the divine world with more divinity than dragon-deities.
     The world of humans became corrupt and got worse over time. This reversed the positions of humans and dragon-deities; the former was superior to the latter and should have acted as such, but the former instead began to worship the latter.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 21 by the solar calendar, or September 21 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 24: Laying of the foundations for a divine age (John) and the integration of divine breaths (Christ)   〔24〕

     To remodel the whole Spirit World, Kunitokotachi appeared in the divine world as the Izu Soul to use the Henjo Nanshi (a man's spirit in a woman's body) in the earthly Taka-ama-hara as his medium, where his wife-deity, Toyokumonu no Mikoto, appeared in the Dragon Sanctuary to use the Henjo Nyoshi (a man's spirit in a woman's body) in the earthly Taka-ama-hara. The Henjo Nanshi was assigned a mission to lay the foundations for a divine age (John), and the Henjo Nyoshi a mission to integrate divine breaths (Christ).
     Otoyone-hime no Mikoto, a kami from the world of dragon-deities who had endured various hardships for as long as 3,000 years, offered all her rare treasures to the Kami so that she could be born into the material world from the abdomen of the Henjo Nanshi to join the divine mission for the second remodeling of the world. Otoyone-hime was the most avaricous and covetous among the dragon-deities. She was quite an egocentric kami, thinking only about how to satiate her appetite for possession. She had hidden on the deep floor of the modern-day Pacific Ocean, but volcanic eruptions at various places of the ocean floor brought her an excruciating pain from the agonizing heat and cold day after day. Burnt by the virulently poisonous heat, the dragon kami could not take the suffering any more. This prompted her to gracefully throw away all the desires she had hitherto had. Learning about the global transformation campaign initiated by Kunitokotachi, Otoyone-hime became the first to pledge allegiance to the Great Kami.
     Gold, silver, gems and all the other treasures had been amassed on the ocean floor by Otoyone-hime's many different retainers (dragon-deities), forming a hugh treasure trove. This particular ocean floor was the deepest in the world, and it was supposed to emerge above the ocean's surface at a certain time in the future when the Kami implemented a divine project. In short, they were material treasures and would play an auxiliary role in the divine work, but they were not truly helpful treasures. When Otoyone-hime submitted to Kunitokotachi for the first time, she brought him all the said treasures. They may look like coveted prizes to the human eye, but not much so in the divine world. In fact, Kunitokotachi had already had more precious treasures than Otoyone-hime's. What made him forgive her previous sins was the honesty with which she proved that she was a reformed character by dedicating to him all the treasures she had cherished more than her own life. As she mended her ways and threw away her riches, she awoke to the true intent of the Kami. She dug up a genuine treasure greater than the Mani Jewel. With it, she was able to reach the levels of noble deities for the first time, culminating in her manifestation as the spouse-deity of Hinode no Kami.
     Next, the Kami Kinkatsukane (also known as the Konjin of the Earth), who had been pushed into the darkest and dirtiest subterranean place of the planet, was relieved of all her suffering as the wheel of fortune turned in the wake of Kunitokotachi's re-emergence. Kinkatsukane appeared in the Dragon Sanctuary to save the world. She was the fifth daughter of the Kami Wakahimegimi. One of her missions was to win back full power to rule the Earth's core world so that she could make and consolidate it before presenting it to Kunitokotachi, who was tasked with supervising the Earth's world of hell.
     A decision was made in the divine world that the Mizu Soul would aid Kunitokotachi in his divine work and join forces with Kinkatsukane to carry out divine orders from Heaven and Earth. This was about the ancient divine world thousands of years ago, an era of the world as one prior to the emergence of individual states.
     To destroy Kunitokotachi's reign to occupy the earthly Taka-ama-hara, deities believing in the Great Kami Pangu ("Shionaga-hiko") and those supporting the Kami Mahesvara ("Oh Kuni-hiko") assembled a multitude of evil deities to surge to the earthly Taka-ama-hara with a vengeance. However, anyone wishing to attack the earthly Taka-ama-hara would have to cross the Jordan River. As described earlier, the Golden Bridge, which could easily tell good from evil and right from wrong, spanned the river. For this reason, those evil deities needed first and foremost to destroy the bridge. The Pangu forces advanced on it, spearheaded by the Kami Musashi-hiko, a giant black serpent. Then the Kami Haruko-hime, an evil deity in the shape of an evil fox appeared, followed by the Kami Ashinaga-hiko, an evil ogre. They went all out to wreck the Golden Bridge.
     Those evil kami could not easily destroy this great bridge because it gushed out of the deepest bottom of the Earth. Having exhausted all other possibilities, they felt it imperative to obtain Kinkatsukane, the soul supervising the bottom of the Earth. Therefore, they resorted to every dirty trcik by all means imaginable just for this purpose. While they attacked and afflicted the Mizu Soul with swords of the tongue, spears of the writing brush and all other kinds of weapons from every direction, they shape-shifted in various ways and acted hypocritically in front of the Izu Soul to make a false charge against and eventually oust the Mizu Soul. The Izu Soul pondered their accusation but brushed it aside quickly as she saw through their plot. At that time, the divine mirror reflected Ashinaga-hiko the evil ogre, Haruko-hime the evil fox, and Musashi-hiko the giant serpent, unmasking their respective true identities. With their whole plot exposed, they rushed away with their tail between their legs. One of them melted into air, traversing the mountains and rivers to flee to a northern country, another to a southwestern country and the other to a distant western country.
     The evil deities' first plan was spectacularly foiled on the front line. They swiftly proceeded to put Plan B into action.
(Additional Remarks)
     Both the laying of the foundations for a divine age (John) and the integration of divine breaths (Christ) have been destined to be replicated in the northeast of the world as part of the grand design of the divine kingdom since time immemorial.
     It is when certain stars appear in the sky and scholars and sages marvel at them that will signal the approach of the Age of the Maitreya Kami, where politics in Heaven will be transferred to Earth. This will trigger the start of scrapping and building the Great Spirit World.
     The John Soul is the Root Kami of the Age of the Maitreya Kami and is also the Progenitor Kami of the Earth, far outranking the Christ Soul. John shouted divine messages at the top of his voice in the wilderness located in the upper reaches of the Jordan River. His divine shouts were simply his self-deprecating words and never reflected the true holy intention of the Kami. It was like the Supreme Kami Kunitokotachi humbling himself or lowering his rank below other kami so that they could earn his respect.
     John will baptize the world with water while the Christ with fire. This means that it is the will of the Divine to save the three major realms of the Great Spirit World by exhibiting the spiritual power of the Lunar Kami. The Christ's baptism with fire indicates a divine mission to burn down and remodel the wicked world that has reached the pinnacle of material civilization.
     In other words, John will use water, or the spirit of the Moon, to renew Heaven and Hell while the Christ will join the divine campaign by remodeling the world with fire, or the Spirit. The Christ is thus not worthy to unite the strap of John's sandals. John is destined to undergo suffering for the renewal of Heaven and Hell while the Christ will sacrifice himself to improve the way people in the world behave, shoulder many sins of all people and thus suffer enormously. This is what I have witnessed in the divine world.
     John the Izu Soul will become manifest as the Great Maitreya Kami, and the Christ will support the divine reign of the Great Maitreya Kami. Therefore, the Christ and John will work in sync to usher in a divine era, with the Christ focusing on the spiritual side of the world and John protecting the Christ's sacred body on the physical side of the world.

     One cannot grasp what the Kami is unless they see with their ears, hear with their eyes, eat with their nose or smell with their mouth.
     As a "yatsumimi" gifted person, my ears, eyes, mouth, nose, four limbs, head and abdomen work perfectly.

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 21 by the solar calendar, or September 21 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Part 4: Battle to occupy the Ryugujo ("Castle of the Dragon King")

Chapter 25: Evil scheme of the Musashi-hiko faction   〔25〕

     Having failed in their first attempt to destroy the Golden Bridge, the evil deities Musashi-hiko, Haruko-hime and Ashinaga-hiko had a clandestine meeting with tens of thousands of thunder gods, evil dragons, evil foxes, hags, spies and other demons in the ravine of Mount Doyama for a massive, all-at-once revenge attack. They did all they could to occupy and demolish the Golden Bridge, with the wicked kami Takekuma and Kotsune-hime as generals, and Yasokuma, Onikuma, Sarutobi-hiko, Mago-hiko, Fujitaru-hiko, Nakasahi-hiko, Tsuchi-hiko, Munenaga-hiko, Ushi-udo and other evil deities as commanders of respective troop units.
     Kotsune-hime and Mago-hiko appeared from the eastern sky, Sarutobi-hiko from the southeastern sky, and Ushi-udo and Fujitaru-hiko from the northwestern sky to take up a position in a triangular battle formation. They stood ready to carry out their plot to lead tens of thousands of evil deities to blitz and occupy the Dragon Palaces.
     The evil forces skillfully infiltrated spies and operatives into the earthly Taka-ama-hara to internally confuse and ruin it. They also launched a major attack on the holy ground with swords of flame and icicle spears to anguish the physical body of the Mizu Soul.
     The Mizu Soul conjured up a spirit, and it became manifest as the Kami Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto. Oh Yashima-hiko wielded his crystal clear sword against the approaching spies. He rounded them up and mowed them down with his sword. His godly valor stunned and panicked the remaining spies so much that they fled in all directions. Takekuma, Kotsune-hime and others met with total failure in executing their plot and lost many deities working under them. Disappointed as they were, they hatched yet another plot: Getting Kin Katsukane no Kami under their thumb. The mastermind of the plot was Haruko-hime, a kami known for her craftiness.
     Haruko-hime, together with Fujitaru-hiko and Ushi-udo, decided to cajole Kojima-wake into fulfilling their objective. Kojima-wake was such an inherently good-natured kami that he believed Haruko-hime's deceptive words and started working hard against the Dragon Palaces. But his plot was uncovered and thwarted by the Izu Soul through its spiritual eyes. Feeling desperate, he launched a major counterattack. He teamed up with the evil kami Kotsune-hime and Nakasaki-hiko before holing up in Mount Kurama. There they conspired with the devil chieftain to lead tens of thousands of evil spirits to occupy the Dragon Palaces by force. However, Oh Yashima-hiko was perceptive enough to see through their second plot again and completely foil it, aided by Kojima-wake, who woke up from being brainwashed and showed his renewed loyalty to the good kami. This eventually led to the agonizing demise of Haruko-hime as she fell down to Hell (= the Ne no Kuni ("Land of the Roots") and the Soko no Kuni ("Land of the Bottom")).
     Musashi-hiko, the father of Haruko-hime, hatched a third plot to occupy the Dragon Palaces by possessing a sennin ("legendary wizard capable of performing miracles") living in Mount Tsukuba. His ultimate ambition was to occupy not only the Dragon Palaces but also the holy land in the earthly Taka-ama-hara so that he could depose Kunitokotachi and replace him with the Great Kami Pangu.
     Sennin wizards generally fall into four ranks in the order of importance: divine sennin, heavenly sennin, earthly sennin, and mediocre sennin. These four types of wizards can also be classified as good or evil sennin. The aforementioned sennin from Mount Tsukuba was a third-ranking earthly wizard who belonged to the realm of evil deities.
     And yet again Musasahi-hiko thought up a plan for revenge, and he confided it to Takekuma and let Kuro-hime, Kiku-hime and Yataru-hime take the lead in carrying it out. To make Kinkatsukane play into his hands, Takekuma first assembled the major commanding officers including Tsuchi-hiko, Ushi-udo, Nakasaki-hiko and Onikuma on Mount Oh-e to map out operational strategies. Takekuma pretended to be mild-tempered on the surface, but deep down he was nefariously wicked. He had used every trick in the book to suck up to the Izu Soul by swearing his loyalty to her, to win Kotsune-hime to his side and to deceive Kojima-wake into doing what he wanted. He also manipulated Ushi-udo to trap Oh Yashima-hiko to death. Ushi-udo the evil spirit deceived Oh Yashima-hiko into coming to the ravine of Mount Doyama where he ordered Takeharu-hiko, Fujitaru-hiko and several other evil kami to attack and slay Oh Yashima from both sides. There appeared a kami of matchless valor named Moritaka-hiko trying to rescue Oh Yashima from the danger. But Moritaka could not move forward because a goddess possessing him tugged back at his hair.
     Evil deities under Takekuma approached Oh Yashima and slashed at him with their ten-fist long swords from all directions. However, Oh Yashima's thundering kototama, aided by the Izu Soul, successfully drove away the enemies.
     In the earthly Taka-ama-hara, meanwhile, the Kami Wakahimegimi was so worried about Oh Yashima that she cast a mystical divine spell. This spell and Oh Yashima's kototama were combined to ward off the enemies and secure his safety. The divine magic involved ensconcing a huge rock in the sanctuary of the Great Kami with red and white floss silk stacked on the rock's surface and wrapping a long red cord around the rock 12 times before it was firmly tightened. This divine magic is usually peformed if an emergency befalls someone.
     Though forced to retreat by Oh Yashima's courageous shout of kototama and the virtue of the divine magic, Takekuma and other evil deities rushed to the earthly Taka-ama-hara to meet with the Kami Wakahimegimi. They presented themselves before her and acted as if they were full of shame and remorse - simply to reassure her. Under a cloak of secrecy, however, they made strenuous efforts day and night to seize control of Kinkatsukane whenever Wakahimegimi let her guard down. Seeing through their relentless campaign, the Great Kami took pity on them and provided them with various laws of causality so that they could mend their ways and be guided on a path of spiritual transformation and salvation.
     Nevertheless, Takekuma and other perverted kami were originally of evil ancestry. They feigned repentance on the surface, but inwardly they grew even more aggressive. Then appeared Onikuma, a senior evil deity from Mount Oh-e. He conspired with Takekuma to try to fulfill the initial objective, but their relationship came apart at the seams because Onikuma and Kotsune-hime clashed bitterly over their different views. After all, Takekuma and Kotsune-hime were of one mind in hatching their most recent plot. The sharp disagreement between Onikuma and Kotsune-hime escalated into a major battle. Takekuma also fought with Onikuma due to some circumstances, delivering a heavy blow to him. This conflict arose from nothing more than a power struggle among those evil deities.

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 21 by the solar calendar, or September 21 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 26: Defeat of the devils' army   〔26〕

     Takekuma never learned. He continued persistently to follow through on his original intention and conspired with Mago-hio, Ashinaga-hiko, Ushi-udo and Torakuma to oust Oh Yashima-hiko from the earthly Taka-ama-hara instead of seizing control of Kinkatsukane. For all their conspiracy, Ashinaga-hiko was still secretly aiming for Kinikatsukane, and so was Torakuma. Mago-hiko plotted to cajole his way closer to Oh Yashima and stab him to death whenever possible.
     The mastermind of the plot was Takekuma, but each of the other conspirators actually pursued their own self-serving agenda while concealing their ambition deeply in their mind. Takekuma successfully drew to his side Kumataru-hiko, a deity who had won the trust of the Great Kami, and launched secret operations with Ushi-udo, Tomo-hiko, Kuro-hime and Kiku-hime appointed as commanders. Kuma-hiko, meanwhile, was also engaged in clandestine activities with Sugiyama-hiko, Nakasaki-hiko, Teru-hime, Fuji-hime, Hanatachi-hime, Tsuchi-hiko, Tanikuma and Kanikuma serving as commanders of the evil troops. Kuma-hiko was also eager to work out a plan to use Ashinaga-hiko as one of his staff officers to kill Oh Yashima-hiko. Similarly, Mago-hiko designated Tayori-hiko, Mametora, Munenaga-hiko, Kusaka-hime, Tokitsu-hiko, Umewaka-hiko, Yashima-hime and Takayama-hiko as commanders to pander to Oh Yashima, thereby infiltrating through the back gate into the Dragon Palace Castle and wielding power over it. It was only after then that he intended to accomplish his ends. Those three powerful devils - Takekuma, Kuma-hiko and Mago-hiko - showed a gesture of solidarity (albeit a superficial one) in going ahead with the plan to occupy the Dragon Palace Castle. They assembled large evil forces to launch a headlong attack on the Golden Bridge. With their solidarity rooted in selfishness, the evil forces were torn asunder at the very last minute.
     In the meantime, Takekuma embarked on his elaborate plan, guarded from behind by Sarutobi-hiko and Kotsune-hime and flanked by Kuma-hiko and Mago-hiko. To protect his own position, Takekuma first used Ushi-udo and Mago-hiko to sell Ashinaga-hiko down the river and then used Tomo-hiko, Kuro-hime and Kiku-hime to lead numerous evil soliders behind the Mount of Olives (= Mount Hongu) and have them lie in ambush until the time was right. Takekuma also ordered Mago-hiko to keep Ashinaga-hiko under close surveillance. Tsuchi-hiko, who reported to Kuma-hiko, got wind of Mago-hiko's stratagem, so he dispatched an emissary to brief Ashinaga-hiko on the plot. Mago-hiko, meanwhile, appointed Munenaga-hiko as leader of a secret mission to seize control of Kusaka-hime, the wife of Mametora. Munenaga-hiko succeeded in the mission at long last. An evil deity named Tayori-hiko accompanied Mago-hiko like a shadow, supporting him with various strategies and plans. Tayori-hiko was Kusaka-hime's brother. Finding out about Mago-hiko's dirty tricks, deities under Kuma-hiko including Sugiyama-hiko, Nakasahi-hiko, Tachihana-hiko, Tsuchi-hiko, Tanikuma and Toki-hiko got so enraged that they tried sinking Mago-hiko into the Jordan River to death. Mago-hiko's dirty tricks also disgusted some of his subordinates - namely, Umewaka-hiko, Yashima-hime and Takayama-hiko; they reported the ongoing conspiracy to Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto while showing repentance and wholehearted loyalty to him.
     At that time, Oh Yashima was in a far eastern battle field after crossing the Jordan River. Kuma-hiko, meanwhile, was poised for attack, lying in ambush behind the Mount of Olives with his deities such as Ushi-udo, Tomo-hiko, Kuro-hime, Kiku-hime, Tanikuma and Torakuma. His top priority was to destroy Oh Yashima.
     Oh Yashima brought Mago-hiko into submission. He led the army of Takayama-hiko, a deity of matchless valor, back to the Dragon Palace Castle. He learned about Takekuma's evil plot from Sugiyama-hiko, who betrayed his boss Takekuma to Oh Yashima. The Oh Yashima forces surrounded the Mount of Olives at a distance and used their solid-hulled heavenly flying ship to drop fire bombs on the Takekuma forces and exterminate them in one fell swoop. Takekuma's soliders quickly scattered in all directions as if baby spiders fled their nest when it was disturbed.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 21 by the solar calendar, or September 21 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 27: Desperate defense of the Ryugujo   〔27〕

     As described in the preceding chapter, Takekuma, Mago-hiko and Kuma-hiko's three-power allied forces lost control due to the veiled internal enmity and resulted in a temporary disintegration. This provided a brief lull for the earthly Taka-ama-hara.
     His repeated failures made Takekuma transform the way he launched attacks. This time he endured immense hardship to win the confidence of the Izu Soul, who breathed a slight sigh of relief at his and his comrades' deep remorse and somehow let her guard down. Takekuma took secret delight in knowing that his efforts paid off. He conspired with Kotsune-hime, a deity related to the Izu Soul, to destroy the Dragon Palace Castle from within, thereby ruling the castle as king and queen. Takekuma deliberately found fault with his wife Kiku-hime and divorced her in a bid to steal Kotsune-hime from her husband Sarutobi-hiko.
     Sarutobi-hiko found out about Takekuma's dirty trick. Seething with rage, he kicked Kotsune-hime out of home. This made Takekuma and Kotsune-hime happy because their plot proved effective. They paid a visit to the Izu Soul at the Dragon Palace Castle and bombarded her with manipulative words to denounce Sarutobi-hiko and Kiku-hime for committing all kinds of immorality and wrongdoing - which accusation was actually framed by the evil duo.
     Mostly believing in Takekuma and Kotsune-hime, the Izu Soul listened to what they had to say, and she was forced by circumstances to acquiesce in their marriage. Oh Yashima-hiko and Kinkatsukane were fully informed by Sarutobi-hiko and Kiku-hime about the details of the evil duo's conspiracy. Takekuma aimed to marry Kotsune-hime truly because she was a relative of the Izu Soul. This way he thought that he could increase his clout while biding his time to occupy the Dragon Palace Castle. Kotsune-hime, meanwhile, opted for the marriage for a reason. She was slightly sick of his husband Sarutobi-hiko's bigoted and strong attitude toward her. She thought about marrying Takekuma, a deity who looked gentle on the outside and won the trust of many others, to take the place of Kinkatsukane and Oh Yashima.
     Fully aware of Takekuma and others' conspiracy, Oh Yashima, together with Kinkatsukane, ventured to urge with all due respect that the Izu Soul nullify the nuptial of Takekuma and Kotsune-hime immediately from a moral perspective. His exhortation enraged Takekuma and Kotsune-hime after they found out about it. They decided to attack Oh Yashima. Supported by many reinforcements from the evil army, Kotsune-hime launched a pincer attack on Kinkatsukane from all directions, almost driving her to the wall. Then came Kojima-wake, who rushed to lead his small army to the Dragon Palace Castle to act as a mediator. He tried every means available to make that happen. But the battle became increasingly fierce. Takekuma's forces encamped in the Garden of Eden with Kosumi-hime and Ashinaga-hiko appointed as commanding officers.
     At that time, dark clouds engulfed the earthly Taka-ama-hara and the Dragon Palace Castle - a scene of heaven and earth in horrible Cimmerian darkness. Tens of thousands of evil soldiers appeared from one corner of heaven to help Takekuma. Their army generals were Oh Mori-wake, Katsu-hiko and Sugimori-hiko. Suddenly lightning flashed and thunder pealed in heaven and earth. The rain poured down in torrents. The northeastern wind was so violent as if it flung up everything on earth to heaven. Surprised and frightened, the Izu Soul left the Dragon Palace Castle to lead Takasugi-hiko, Yasukuma and other commanding officers to a shelter in Mount Sinai. The remaining commanding officers under Kinkatsukane, such as Kojima-wake, Moto-hiko and Takasugi-wake, defended the Dragon Palace Castle to the last. This was the time when the ruins of the earthly Taka-ama-hara and the Dragon Palace Castle presented a dreadful sight as they were almost wiped out.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 28: Battle at Mt. Kunlun   〔28〕

     Oh Yashima instructed Moto-hiko to lead a small divine army to the Mount of Olives for protection. This mount was a high hill located to the west of Jerusalem and served as the single most important spot to protect Jerusalem and the Dragon Palace Castle.
     With his troops gathering in the Garden of Eden at that time, Takekuma appointed Kotsune-hime and Tomiya-hiko as commanding officers. His forces first came behind the Mount of Olives and then launched a rear attack on Oh Yashima's forces. Meanwhile, Oh Mori-wake was in the air, taking control of Takatsutori's evil troops on the ground and having them fire countless meteorite balls at the Golden Bridge. But the bridge withstood their relentless offensive no matter how hard they tried.
     Oh Yashima took the born-again Ushi-udo to the heavenly Taka-ama-hara for consultation by soaring high through the clouds to Heaven. He tried to seek advice from the Great Kami of the Moon and entreat Her to send reinforcements to the Earth. For all his efforts, the lunar deity remained hidden deeply in the Palace of the Moon and never showed Herself to Oh Yashima as the heavenly Taka-ama-hara was right in the middle of warfare between good and evil forces just like the ongoing conflict in the earthly Taka-ama-hara.
     Before his return to the Earth, Oh Yashima had no option but to send Ushi-udo back first to brief Kinkatsukane on the current situation in the heavenly Taka-ama-hara. But Ushi-udo failed his mission because he was taken captive by Takekuma and Kotsune-hime's henchmen on the way. Ushi-udo, alas, changed his tune and sided with Takekuma's evil forces again.
     Oh Yashima and his small divine army descended to the top of Mount Tien (Tien Shan). This was where Munenaga-hiko's troops had been waiting in ambush. Munenaga-hiko showed a superficial gesture of welcome to Oh Yashima and others but had his ambushers at the foot of the mountain open fire on them. Then came a voice from Heaven.
     "Move to Mount Kunlun."
That was a divine command.
     The foothills were beleaguered by innumerable ambushers, however. At this moment one celestial robe of feathers after another came down from heaven. Oh Yashima and his attendant deities put them on, soared up into the sky and finally escaped the crisis.
     Kunlun was a precipitous mountain, but its summit was a vast plain with various kinds of plants and flowers in full bloom and tons of exotic fruits ripening. Oh Yashima and his company felt so starved that they picked the fruits and ate them. Munenaga-hiko's forces again swarmed the foot of Mount Kunlun, raising a battle cry from all directions. A closer look showed that millions of evil soldiers were surrounding the foothills in throngs like ants crowding tightly together. They were scaling 12 different paths of the mountain from 12 different directions at the same time. Oh Yashima assigned each of his deities the task of driving off the enemies, and his whole team picked some peaches growing on the nearby trees and threw them at the surging forces. The enemies were all defeated and fell down to the foothills like an avalanche.
     Meanwhile, some indescribably ominous clouds appeared in the air. They were approaching Oh Yashima and his teammates, and they actually turned out to be a multitude of the Kami Oh Kuni-hiko's subordinate officers darting at Mount Kunlun with a vengeance from all directions. Oh Yashima broke a branch off one of those peach trees and waved it from side to side. His deities also broke some branches off the peach trees and waved them at Oh Kuni-hiko's evil army. In the twinkling of an eye, the whole sky cleared up, and the cloulds turned beautiful, auspicious purple as if to wipe the overcast sky. The huge bright sun rose over the mountainside and began shining brilliantly on the middle of the mountain through the darkess of heaven and earth. Oh Kuni-hiko's army was gone with the dark clouds. Then was heard some kind of noise around the mountain's eighth station - a voice of the enemies discussing the possibility of another military action. Munenaga-hiko's evil soldiers were thrown into great confusion as some of them were injured or died from falling down in the valley at the foot of the mountain. The voice and the confusion were combined to exude an eerie atmosphere that words could not describe. Oh Yashima decided to chant the Amatsu Norito prayer to Heaven. So did his subordinate deities. Their voices reverberated through heaven and earth, making the atmosphere refreshing and clear as if dawn broke all over. By then the sun had already risen high in the sky and looked smaller. The enemies' hitherto boisterous battle cry and the faint noise of the Oh Kuni-hiko army's strategy meeting petered out like a balmy breeze blowing through pine trees.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 29: Ingenious stratagem of the heavenly kami   〔29〕

     The scene of the divine world shifted dramatically. Oh Yashima and his small divine army appeared in the vast, boundless expanses of plains. He led his deities eastward as they advanced. The endless plains were lush with various types of plants taller than the advancing party. Suddenly, quite a few fires broke out in different areas of the fields. And it was blowing a fierce gale at that moment. A look at one corner of the sky showed that Tokoyo-hiko was calling the shots with his war fan and commanding many evil troops.
     The blazing fires closed in on Oh Yashima's party from all directions, engulfing them with smoke. Oh Yashima had his back against the wall; he took the treasured Masumi Jewel out of his inside pocket and threw it to the sky. It exploded into hundreds of thousands of stars, all of which in turn fell on the ground to appear as hundreds of thousands of solemn and dignified troops of the Kami. These divine troops exerted enormous kototama power in unison like a hundred thunderclaps coming all at once. No sooner had the mystical force hit the raging flames in the prairies than they were extinguished instantly. All the tall plants were reduced to ashes, and the scorched corpses of evil soliders lay in heaps everywhere.
     The Oh Yashima party gradually moved eastward, when they found a big mountain. This was where the remnants of the Munenega-hiko army had holed up to prepare to strike back.
     The mountain was called Mount Tempo. Munenaga-hiko was determined to lie in ambush and slay the Oh Yashima party while appointing Yasukuma, Takasugi-wake, Momosaku, Torawaka and Kuro-hime as commanding officers. By then all the hundreds of thousands of divine troops who appeared from the Masumi Jewel had already gone back to heaven. This disheartened Oh Yashima beyond measure because he was greatly encouraged by their presence. He pleaded with Heaven to send him the divine troops again. In response, a platinum-haired handsome messenger of the Kami appeared from Heaven as he was riding on purple clouds and was accompanied by two quite beautiful goddesses. They descended in front of Oh Yashima to solemnly convey the Heavenly Deities' order to him. The order meant as follows:
"Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, you won't succeed in completing your job if you easily ask for divine help as you serve the Kami Kunitokotachi's mission to remodel the world. It is therefore the Kami's great mercy to have you undergo rigorous training in the isolated environment by deliberately pulling back the divine troops."
The moment the order was conveyed, the messenger and his assistants vanished into thin air.
     In the far northeast of Mount Tempo was Mount Tenkyo. It was where Yashima-wake had led large reinforcements according to the Heavenly Deities' plan to rescue Oh Yashima in case of emergency.
     Hearing the Heavenly Deities' order from the messenger, Oh Yashima resigned himself to believing that no divine reinforcements would come to his rescue. Therefore, he never dreamed that Yashima-wake's forces at Mount Tenkyo were auxiliary troops for him; he rather thought that they were separate evil forces detached from the main evil forces at Mount Tempo.
     Munenaga-hiko, meanwhile, discussed a new plot with his deities lest his forces at Mount Tempo be destroyed by Oh Yashima's myriad troops. They decided to feign submission to Oh Yashima so that they could annihilate him, his aides and Yashima-wake's troops at Mount Tenkyo. To this end, Munenaga-hiko swore allegiance to Oh Yashima by sending him Yasukuma, Momosaku, and Torawaka as envoys and warned him about the rise of the formidable enemies at Mount Tenkyo.
     The Oh Yashima group was in a dire predicament in the center of the wilderness. Should they come under heavy fire from the enemies atop Mount Tenkyo, they could be wiped out. That was why Oh Yashima saw Munenaga-hiko's conciliatory gesture as a godsend, made peace with him and decided to work with his forces to attack Mount Tekyo together.
     At Mount Tenkyo, Yashima-wake's forces regarded the incoming soldiers led by Munenaga-hiko as their foes - accidentally. They caused a strong wind from the mountaintop and blew off the rocks to torment the enemies relentlessly. This destroyed almost all of Munenaga-hiko's soldiers in the first battle.
     The second army that appeared on the scene was Oh Yashima and his deities. He used dozens of crows to impart a divine message to the commander-in-chief of the troops at Mount Tenkyo so that they would stop fighting and show obedience. The personal letter was tied to one leg of each crow, and they soared high to Mount Tenkyo, where Yashima-wake received the letter from one of those crows. He read Oh Yashima's message and finally learned his whereabouts and circumstances.
     In return, Yashima-wake wrote a personal letter to the effect that he had come Oh Yashima's rescue by the command of Heaven, tied it to one leg of the same crow, and released it back to Oh Yashima. The crow suddenly transformed into a golden kite bird and illuminated its surroundings before it arrived at Oh Yashima.
     At last Oh Yashima knew the truth, just as Yashima-wake did earlier. The rejoicing Oh Yashima army chanted the Kamigoto norito prayer to Heaven.
     The norito chant reverberated throughout the Yashima-wake camp in Mount Tenkyo so clearly that Yashima-wake took his troops back to Heaven instead of going down the mountain. This bore out how impressive the Heavenly Kami's ingenious strategy was for annihilating the enemy forces.

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 30: Battle at the bank of the Yellow River   〔30〕

     The scene of the divine world took a sudden turn, and Oh Yashima found himself on the bank of the muddy stream of the Yellow River. Inayama-hiko, a commanding officer of the forces associated with the Kimmoh-kyubi fox spirit, had stayed at his iron castle built on the bank. He reported to Takekuma, Kotsune-hime and others.
     Oh Yashima was about to cross the Yellow River on his way back to the Dragon Palace Castle. Takekuma would not be able to achieve his goal if Oh Yashima made a safe return home, so he ordered Inayama-hiko to destroy Oh Yashima before his return. Totally unaware of such conspiracy, Oh Yashima approached the castle along with the small group of his followers.
     Looking far ahead into the future as to how the current development would unfold, the Izu Soul in Mount Sinai instructed Takasugi-wake to come to Oh Yashima's rescue. Takasugi-wake got on a solid-hulled heavenly flying ship to head for the scene while asking each of the commanding officers Sugimatsu-hiko, Wakamatsu-hiko, Tago-hiko, Makiya-hiko and Toki-hiko to lead hundreds of divine troops. The enemy castle threw tons of firebombs at Oh Yashima's group, trying to attack and torment them freely. But the divine reinforcements mentioned above appeared on the solid-hulled heavenly flying ship and dropped firebombs on the castle from the sky. The enemy fort was blasted to smithereens, and the confused evil deities scattered in all directions.
     Concurrently an evil deity named Oh Tora-hiko shouted loudly to lead his tens of thousands of evil Mongolian soldiers, took good control of them to cross the turbid current, and began storming the Oh Yashima camp arrow straight. They looked like a black plume of smoke forming in the southwestern sky, and this plume was split into two smaller ones - one on the right and the other on the left. Appearing from the smaller plumes was the bravest Lion King. He raised his war fan and started roaring. This caused tens of thousands of dark stars to fall on the ground. Once they were on the ground, these numerous stars both large and small turned into countless lions of varying sizes and charged towards the divine army.
     Then came a dragon from the northeastern sky pushing the clouds aside and breathing fire. It was Otoyone-hime. She appeared in front of Oh Yashima, handed him the Mani Jewel, and whispered something in his ear. She then doubled back the way she had come towards the northeastern sky. Oh Yashima entrusted Tago-hiko and Makiya-hiko from the reinforcements with the Mani Jewel he had received. Suddenly, Tago-hiko and Makiya-hiko did an about-face and sided with the foe Inayama-hiko.
     Greatly emboldened by the fact that he got the Mani Jewel and the support of Oh Tora-hiko and the Lion King, Inayama-hiko attacked and beat up Oh Yashima mercilessly.
     What would, alas, become of the fate of Oh Yashima?

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 31: A heaven-reaching mountain in a land surrounded by the sea on all sides   〔31〕

     Oh Yashima returned to Mount Tenkyo where Yashima-wake had appeared, together with his commanding officers Sugimatsu-hiko, Wakamatsu-hiko, Toki-hiko and Mototeru-hiko. There they began preparing to fight a defensive battle. Taking advantage of the support of Oh Tora-hiko and the Lion King, Inayama-hiko and his army surrounded Mount Tenkyo from all directions.
     Inayama-hiko used the Tide-Flowing Jewel to submerge Mount Tenkyo. The ground quickly transformed into a muddy ocean as far as the eye could see. At this time, Hanateru-hime, Oh Daru-hiko and Kushitama-hiko appeared from among the clouds high in the eastern sky on the Heavenly Kami's orders. They shot firebombs at the evil army, thereby supporting the divine troops at Mount Tenkyo. Those firebombs, however, failed to accurately produce intended effects on the muddy ground all over; they only sank into the puddle-like surface of the earth with a weird sinking sound. Still, dense white smoke was rising from the bombs at such a speed as to engulf everything around them. This cuased the enemies a great deal of trouble.
     Meanwhile, Inayama-hiko's evil army scaled Mount Tempo and used the Tide-Flowing Jewel to further increase the water level. This endangered Mount Tenkyo, bringing the divine troops there to the verge of death. It was at that precise moment that Sugimatsu-hiko, Wakamatsu-hiko and Toki-hiko tied their personal letter to one leg of a crow inhabiting Mount Tenkyo and released it towards Mount Tempo to communicate their intention to surrender. Receiving the crow messenger, Inayama-hiko was in high spirits and held a meeting with his commanding officers. Their response came back to Mount Tenkyo with the following conditions attached:
     'Have Oh Yashima resign as administrator of the Dragon Palace Castle or commit suicide, and the lives of his subordinate holy soliders will be spared.'
     Reading the message the crow had brought back, Sugimatsu-hiko, Wakamatsu-hiko and Toki-hiko had a clandestine meeting. To save their own lives, they pushed Oh Yashima to take his own life.
     Oh Yashima gazed up to the sky in grief as if praying to Heaven for guidance. He lamented his deities' cold hearts and lack of empathy along with their disloyal and immoral acts. Convinced that his minutes were numbered, he made up his mind to commit suicide, when three commanding officers Tarutama-hiko, Tokiyo-hime and Iwakusu-hiko came from the eastern sky bringing along many wind soliders.
     "Just a moment, just a moment" shouted the three deities, nosediving towards Mount Tenkyo at top speed. This set off a sudden big whirlwind, which blew away the raging waves and billows in its path everywhere. As the mud water was swept away by the wind, the foothills of Mount Tenkyo had a sudden drop in water level. The receded water changed into huge waves like a high mountain and lapped against Mount Tempo instead.
     The evil forces on Mount Tempo threw the Tide-Ebbing Jewel into the waves to reduce the water level. Michitsura-hiko, Tamateru-hiko and Tateyama-hiko appeared from the western sky bringing along tens of thousands of dragon deities, who rained tons of water on Mount Tempo. The water level only continued to rise every second because even the Tide-Ebbing Jewel failed to work effectively. In contrast, Mount Tenkyo saw the water recede almost to its foothills. Three commanding officers Hayakuni-hiko, Toyama-hiko and Taniyama-hiko came riding on white clouds from the southern sky, flanked by numerous thunder kami. They tried intimidating the evil soliders with their roars loud enough to reverberate through the high sky and shake heaven and earth
     Inayama-hiko stood atop Mount Tempo, pulled out the Tide-Flowing Jewel and threw it at Mount Tenkyo as hard as he could. The gem caused an instant flood that submerged Mount Tenkyo and soaked Oh Yashima up to around his neck.
     The mud water continued to rise relentlessly. At this time a hugh earthquake occurred in the northeastern sky, with its seismic vibrations so loud as if they shook the whole universe. Mount Tempo was completely submerged in the water in no time while Mount Tenkyo soared high above the clouds. This Mount Tenkyo was a divine mountain known currently as Mount Fuji.
     Some large brilliance, unrivalled in resplendent beauty, rose up from the summit of Mount Tenkyo like a rainbow. The light expanded like an opened folding fan as it went up higher, creating five-color clouds in midair. The clouds opened up, and a myriad dignified and beautiful celestial beings appeared. They descended in front of Oh Yashima on the mountaintop to bestow the Masumi Jewel on him. The head of those celestial beings were the Kami Konohana-hime no Mikoto.
     The Supreme Kami Kunitokotachi's virile roar on the Lotus Pedestal hill resulted in the soaring of Mount Tenkyo. At that time, the Japanese territories were characterized by the term "kyuzan hakkai," meaning "a heaven-reaching mountain in a land surrounded by the sea on all sides." In other words, Japan became what Japanese mythology calls the "Land of Hotsuma (Hodzuma)" consecrated by the undulating waves of surrounding seas.
     The site of the submerged Mount Tempo turned into the present-day Sea of Japan. The terms "kyuzan" and "hakkai" refere to "a heaven-reaching mountain" and "a land surrounded by the sea on all sides," respectively. Therefore, the Land of Akitsu-shimane, an ancient name for Japan, is hailed as a sacred kyuzan hakkai place.

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 32: Three gems   〔32〕

     Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, whose life was saved on the holy site of Mount Tenkyo, received the Masumi Jewel from the Kami Konohana-hime no Mikoto, who descended to the mountain from Heaven. He was gazing at the newly emerging sea under his feet. Mount Tempo collapsed unexpectedly, changing into the modern-day Sea of Japan. The Mani Jewels known as the Tide-Ebbing/Flowing Jewels sank to the bottom of the sea together with Inayama-hiko and his evil forces. Inayama-hiko swiftly metamorphosed into an evil dragon, scouring the sea freely for the jewels that had lain on the deep seabed. Gazing at the dragon from the summit of the heaven-reaching mountain, Oh Yashima picked up four stones at his feet, performed a divine breathing ritual on them and threw them all together at the evil dragon. Inayama-hiko the evil dragon sighted them so quickly that it hid under the sea like a flash.
     These four stones sank into the sea to become the Sado Island, the Iki Island, and the Tsushima Islands, respectively.
     The Kami Otoyone-hime no Mikoto, who transformed into a big dragon, rushed to the seabed from the earthly Taka-ama-hara to get the submerged jewels. Inayama-hiko the evil dragon strove to forestall Otoyone-hime's attempts. Both dragons fought in the sea, setting off waves and a heavy swell before Otoyone-hime finally ate up Inayama-hiko and grabbed the Tide-Flowing/Ebbing Jewels. Otoyone-hime was quick to soar to the heaven-reaching mountain, radiating golden light from its body. Ancient artists reportedly began to draw pictures titled "A Dragon Rising over Mount Fuji" after they saw the vision of Otoyone-hime's ascension in their spiritual eyes.
     No sooner had Otoyone-hime the big dragon reached the mountaintop than she returned to her original appearance - a beautiful and dignified goddess. She respectfully presented the Kami Konohana-hime no Mikoto with the Tide-Flowing/Ebbing Jewels.
     Konohana-hime praised Otoyone-hime's remarkable feat to the skies and pardoned her for all the sins she had committed so far. From then on, Otoyone-hime was appointed guardian deity of the Land of the Rising Sun. She also became the spouse-deity of Hinode no Kami (God of Sunrise).
     Konohana-hime gave Oh Yashima the following strict order:
"I will now bestow the Masumi Jewel on you. I will also bestow these Tide-Flowing/Ebbing Jewels recovered from the sea on you. With them, go ahead with the divine project to make and consolidate heaven and earth."
     Thus, Konohana-hime ordained that Oh Yashima join the Kami's unprecedented work. For the first time ever, Oh Yashima got all of the three jewels together. This enhanced his divine capabilities and elevated his holy status to such an extent that he eventually earned the honorable name of the Great Kami Mitsu no Mitama ("Three Souls" or "Three Jewels")

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 33: Complete destruction of Eden by fire   〔33〕

     Oh Yashima was in seventh heaven when he deferentially received the three jewels from Konohana-hime. He boarded the solid-hulled heavenly flying ship she provided for him. It soared high in the eastern sky and returned to the Dragon Palace Castle. Meanwhile, Takekuma and his top aides including Kosumi-hime and Ashinaga-hiko in the Garden of Eden learned from Murakumo-wake that Oh Yashima had made a safe return to the castle. They panicked at the news and met urgently to hatch a plot. Kosumi-hime and Ashinaga-hiko feigned repentance as per the plot and paid a visit to Oh Yashima at the Dragon Palace Castle. They proposed to hold a lavish banquet to celebrate his safe, triumphant return and begged him to attend it - as a pretext for ensnaring him. As an inherently benevolent, righteous kami, Oh Yashima granted their request, entered the Garden of Eden with no ulterior motives and atteded the banquet as he was given the red carpet treatment in the innermost hall of the grand palace. Moritaka-hiko, Moriyasu-hiko and Takami-hime accompanied Oh Yashima at that time. Kosumi-hime and Ashinaga-hiko were being superficially obedient to the guest of honor, entertaining him by all possible means.
     The evil deities made Oh Yashima drunk with some eight-fold refined liquor. He let his guard down in the grand palace and decided to stay overnight. Aware that Oh Yashima was sound asleep, Takekuma seized the golden opportunity to burn him and his followers to death by setting fire to the palace in all directions under cover of darkness. At that time his three followers each had one of those divine jewels to protect their master at his bedside. The raging flames looked as if they were about to consume the whole palace.
     A severe gale blew from the Masumi Jewel, and a dragon-shaped water column spurted from the Tide-Flowing Jewel. They were combined to quickly extinguish the blaze engulfing the palace. Moreover, a ferocious fire belched from the Tide-Ebbing Jewel and was fanned by the wind of the Masumi Jewel to spread to the Eden Castle, the residence of Takekuma and his followers. The fire burned down the castle in the blink of an eye. The bewildered Takekuma group ran tooth and nail for their lives, crossed the Jordan River and fled far northwards. It was during that time that many attendant-deities fell into the river, of whom the majority drowned.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 34: Battle at Mt. Sinai   〔34〕

     Routed in the Garden of Eden, only a small number of the Takekuma followers survived the conflagration and the ensuing stampede by the skin of their teeth. While lurking in the ravine of Mount Doyama, they started reassembling evil soliders from the brow of every mountain near and far to launch an attack on Mount Sinai. They humbled themselves and treated Oh Tora-hiko, a brave evil general, very well to plead with him to dispatch his reinforcements for the attack. Oh Tora-hiko was of the same mind with Takekuma, so he nodded his acceptance of Takekuma's plea. He then gathered tens of thousands of his Mongolian soliders at the foot of Mount Doyama. Oh Tora-hiko and his soldiers made a triumphant display of valor as they were in soaring spirits.
     Meanwhile, Oh Yashima, who had returned to the Dragon Palace Castle to manage divine affairs, was preparing to mop up the attacking forces at Mount Sinai to save the Izu Soul. He was about to lead a handful of divine troops to the battle field, when the Kami Kinkatsukane held Oh Yashima by the sleeve and entreated him to stop the counterattack. That was because she had seen through Kotsune-hime's ongoing stratagem to infiltrate her evil spies and operatives into the deeper parts of the Dragon Palace Castle to occupy it in Oh Yashima's absence. After all, Kotsune-hime was a member of the Takekuma cabal who was lurking in the Dragon Palace Castle.
     Kept on standby to support Kotsune-hime, Inuko-hime was lying in ambush at the foot of the Mount of Olives. She was ready to deploy a legion of evil soldiers to occupy the Dragon Palace Castle from within and without. It already looked as if fighting could break out at any moment. But most divine soldiers had left the castle for Mount Sinai, which posed a significant security threat. Accepting Kinkatsukane's entreaty, Oh Yashima decided to hold back the counterattack and stand firm to defend the Dragon Palace Castle.
     What concerned Oh Yashima most was the safety of the Izu Soul on Mout Sinai. If I depart for the battle field now, the Dragon Palace Castle will fall into enemy hands. But if I don't, I can't deal with the emergency at Mout Sinai. It was all too conceivable that he was caught between the devil and the deep sea.
     Since he won Oh Tora-hiko's military assistance, Takekuma led tens of thousands of the Mongolian soliders to Mount Sinai and had them attack it from all directions. He ordered Kosumi-hime and Ashinaga-hiko to harness the power of the evil dragons that had gathered from various mountains near and far to raise clouds and dump heavy rain. It was under the torrential downpower that the Takekuma forces launched a raid straight on the middle slope of Mount Sinai. Its foothills were surrounded by the serried ranks of Oh Tora-hiko's Mongolian soliders as they were waiting to catch any divine troops in their most robust security dragnet. The Izu Soul atop the mountain watched the scene below and realized that things were coming to a serious pass. That was why the Izu Soul strove to fight a defensive battle by appointing Takasugi-wake as captain and Tsuruwaka, Kamewaka, Takatori, Kari-hime and Inateru-hiko as vice captain. But they were hopelessly outnumbered. With the fall of Mount Sinai impending, the Izu Soul was in imminent danger of losing her own life. At this time the countless evil troops under the Kami Mahesvara Oh Kuni-hiko appeared in the sky, dropping firebombs on the Izu Soul's divine army and putting it in a predicament. The Izu Soul dispatched Takatori and Kari-hime as express messengers to the Dragon Palace Castle, where they reported to Kinkatsukane on the plight of the divine forces and requested that reinforcements be sent to Mount Sinai.
     Left with nowhere to turn, Oh Yashima entrusted the Masumi Jewel to Takatori and Kari-hime after much deliberation. Takatori and Kari-hime soared high in the sky over the enemy forces, reached the summit of Mount Sinai and presented the Masumi Jewel to the Great Kami Izu Soul. She received the divine gem with such glee that she placed it over her mouth to defeat the advancing enemy soliders and performed the divine feat of breathing power hard into the jewel. When she performed it eastwards, the evil soldiers in the east were instantly obliterated. When she did so westwards, the evil soldiers on the western front scattered around. She did the same in the other directions, so all the evil deities eventually disappeared as the jewel's divine power caused some to hop on clouds and run away into the haze and others to flee helter-skelter in all directions.
     Heaven and earth, which had been pitch-dark until that time, cleared up bright. The divine troops on Mount Sinai felt as if they were brought back to life. They dressed the ranks with their heads held high and made a safe, triumphant return to the Dragon Palace Castle.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 22 by the solar calendar, or September 22 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 35: Ultimate secret   〔35〕

     As described in the preceding chapter, the Great Kami Izu Soul routed the evil forces in the battle at Mount Sinai and returned to the Dragon Palace Castle with flying colors.
     The Kami Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto wiped out the enemy forces at Mounts Ten, Kunlun, and Tempo. He then appeared on Mount Tenkyo to receive the three divine treasures before his return to the Dragon Palace Castle. He finally defeated Takekuma's evil army inhabiting the Garden of Eden, thereby restoring a peaceful reign of the divine world, albeit temporarily. The survivors of Takekuma's evil army simply had to go underground, and they looked as if they could make a second attempt with a dirty trick at any moment. What frightened them first and foremost were the three divine treasures. That was why the evil remnants hatched every plot imaginable to rob the jewels by such means as infiltrating evil spies and operatives. To that end, they never let their guard down, even a little.
     Ushitora no Konjin Kunitokotachi no Mikoto climbed to the top of the Lotus Pedestal, a cross-shaped mountain range located at the heart of the Earth, gazed at the surrounding landscape, and offered the Kamigoto norito prayer to Heaven. He removed the ceremonial cap from his head, breathed divine power into it, and threw it at the sea. The cap sank into the sea to form a solitary island. This island was called the Kanmuri-jima ("Cap Island"). Rice plants came to grow on various parts of the cap-turned island, bringing a bumper rice harvest. Hence, this island earned a different name: the Ibara no Kanmuri ("Cap of Rice Fields" or "Cap of Thorns").
     Next, Kunitokotachi chanted the Kamigoto norito prayer to the Earth. After that, he took off his shoes, held them, and hurled them into the sea. They turned into isolated islands named the Kutsu-jima ("Shoe Islands"). The Kanmuri-jima was also known as the Ryugu-jima ("Dragon-Palace Island") and the Kutsu-jima as the Kimon-jima ("Demon's Gate Islands"), respectively.
     Leaving the remaining divine work to the Izu Soul, the Mizu Soul and the Kami Kinkatsukane, Kunitokotachi secretly enshrined the three holy treasures on the Kanmuri-jima and Kutsu-jima islands.
     The Tide-Flowing Jewel is also called the "Izu Soul." The term "Izu" refers to the state of water flowing out of a spring. This jewel is a treasure that flows out limpid, divine water infinitely like a spring. It has another name: the John Soul. The Tide-Ebbing Jewel, meanwhile, is called the "Mizu Soul" or the "Christ Soul." The Mizu Soul is synonymous with the "Mi-izu Soul." The Mi-izu Soul infinitely launches fire-related activities for all creation to purify the world. In brief, it is the soul of fire that moves water, and it is the essential soul of water that kindles fire. Fire is heanvenly, and water is earthly. Therefore, heaven is noble while earth lowly. John's baptism with water targets the physical body, with a hidden allusion made to the activities of the noble fire. Similarly, the Christ's baptism with spirit (which is equal to fire) refers to the body of the Christ, but not to its essential soul, namely water.
     Waka-himegimi no Mikoto, Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, and the Great Kami Kinkatsukane each carried one of the three divine jewels and boarded tightly woven bamboo ships upholstered with animal hide, together with their followers Kojima-wake, Sugiyama-wake, Tomi-hiko, Takekuma-wake, and Takatori. Their ships crossed the sea to the Kanmuri-jima Island, i.e. the Dragon-Palace Island first. They built a palace with a large thick pillar set up in its center and enshrined the Tide-Flowing Jewel (Izu Soul) in there. They also enshrined the Tide-Ebbing Jewel (Mizu Soul) in the same palace. The Tide-Flowing Jewel is also known as the Kami Toyotama-hime whereas the Tide-Ebbing Jewel also goes by the name of the Kami Tamayori-hime; the former is tinged with red, and the latter is pure white.
     Kunitokotachi no Mikoto ordered the tutelary kami of the Kanmuri-jima Island to protect the divine treasure forever. The kami's name was the Kami Unabara-hiko, and he was also known as the Kami Wadatsumi. The party of Waka-himegimi, Oh Yashim, Kinkatsukane and others next crossed the sea to the Kutsu-jima Islands, enshrined the Masumi Jewel in there eternally, and had the Kami Kuni no Mihashira protect it. The Kami Kuni no Mihashira was another name for the tutelary kami of the Kimon-jima Islands.
     All these divine jewels are prized treasures that the Great Kami will use to remodel the globe when the end of the world comes. The divine work associated with the use of these treasures is the Ultimate Secret.
     Protected in all directions by a myriad good deities who turned into dragons or crocodiles, the Kanmuri-jima and Kutsu-jima Islands remained inaccessible to other deities.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 23 by the solar calendar, or September 23 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 36: Ultimate machina   〔36〕

     To prevent evil deities from seizing the three divine treasures, Kunitokotachi no Mikoto worked out and put into action an elaborate plan to keep them hidden on the Ryugu-jima and Kimon-jima Islands. He exercised further caution by enshrining only the physical bodies of the three jewels in those islands and concealing their more important spirits on the summit of Mount Sinai without telling any kami about it - not even his close aides including Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, the Kami Kinkatsukane, the Kami Unabara-hiko, the Kami Kuni no Mihashira, the Kami Toyotama-hime, and the Kami Tamayori-hime. This was the profound, watertight initiative of the Great Kami Kunitokotachi, and the term "Ultimate Machina" as shown in Omoto's literature is a divine revelation that refers to this initiative.
     Takekuma-wake was originally not an evil kami, but once he got wind of the whereabouts of the hidden divine treasures, he did a 180 and had an ambition to grab them so that he could make heaven and earth his own. In a bid to get the jewels, he talked with Takekuma, who was on the constant lookout for any opportunity to outsmart the righteous deities. Takekuma-wake said that he was willing to seize the prized gems on the Ryugu-jima and the bigger Kimon-jima islands in one fell swoop if Takekuma would cooperate with him. Takekuma got so excited about Takekuma-wake's proposal that he agreed to it on the spot. Then he quickly ordered Sugiwaka, Momosaku, Tayori-hiko, Saru-hiko, Taru-hiko, Torakuma, Sakakuma and other commanding officers of his evil army to build numerous battleships with the help of tens of thousands of demons and other fiendish creatures to occupy those islands.
     The commanding officers of Takekuma's evil army, who had lost their magical power through many battles fought so far, let Takekuma-wake take the lead, fully loaded the ships with various types of weapons, and departed under cover of darkness. Meanwhile, neither Unabara-hiko no Mikoto on the Ryugu-jima Island nor the Kami Kuni no Mihashira on the Kimon-jima Islands ever dreamed of the evil army's plot as they were sleeping peacefully in their respective palaces. It was then that a loud war cry broke out on the sea, making a flock of birds flap their wings noisily. This woke up the two deities, and they lit the lights offered to the altar and held them high to look out far over the sea. They were at a loss for words about the intimidating sight of hundreds, nay thousands of the evil army's battleships closing in on them in combat formation and in lockstep with one another from bow to stern to launch an attack.
     In response, Unabara-hiko readied his kami and others for a counter attack by ordering several dragon deities to mobilize offensive and defensive forces. The enemy troops were advancing towards the islanders, pulverizing all opposition along the way. The tide of the battle was against the dragon deities as the enemy ships were already surging forward near the Ryugu-jima Island. The enemy was about to land on the island en masse, when Unabara-hiko, having exhausted all other possibilities, decided to take out the Tide-Flowing/Ebbing Jewels the Great Kami had entrusted him to so that he could annihilate the advancing enemy by causing water and fire with the gems. He first held the Tide-Flowing Jewel, retained divine breath in his lungs, and infused it into the jewel at full blast. For some reason, the jewel did not exhibit any divine power at all. That was because the crucial part of the jewel - its spirit - had been extracted by Kunitokotachi. He then took out the Tide-Ebbing Jewel to burn up the whole fleet of the enemy battleships. To that end, he retained divine breath in his lungs and infused it into the jewel. Again, nothing happened as the jewel's spirit had been extracted.
     Observing how the battle was unfolding, Kuni no Mihashira on the Kimon-jima Islands was alarmed by the plight of his friendly forces. He immediately wrote a personal divine letter, tied it to an albatross, and sent it to Oh Yashima at the Dragon Palace Castle to seek rescue assistance from him.
     At this time, both the earthly Taka-ama-hara and the Dragon Palace Castle were shrouded in such dark clouds that one could not see an inch before one. Malevolent deities' war cry was so terrifying as to rock heaven and earth.
     The Great Kami Kinkatsukane opened her cherished treasure casket and took out a wooden staff with sacred gold strips attached. Facing heaven, she waved it to the left once, to the right once, and to the left once again. This purified the world, wiping out the clouds and letting in bright sunshine. Kinkatsukane plucked a gold strip off the wooden staff, tied it firmly to the back of the albatross, and bound a written reply around one of its legs before releasing it to the firmament. The albatross soared high in no time and flew away into the northeastern sky. It quickly shape-shifted into a golden kite bird, flying freely about high in the sky over the Ryugu-jima and Kimon-jima Islands. Above the advancing enemy soliders about to land on the Ryugu-jima Island at any moment was a rain of firebombs falling down incessantly, with a speck of dark clouds looming in the northeastern sky, which rapidly spread all over the firmament as if black ink were drained. Hundreds, nay thousands of thunder gods appeared through rifts in the clouds, causing whirlwinds and storm waves. This blew up some of the enemy battleships into the air. Others fell into bottomless ravines formed between the towering waves. Still others were thrown at the mercy of the ongoing catastrophic event like leaves strewn in the wind. At this time Takekuma, Sugiwaka, Momosaku, and Tayori-hiko lost some of their respective units as they sank to the bottom of the sea.
     Witnessing the battle, Kunitokotachi felt so sorry for the enemy forces that he showed divine mercy on them as a benevolent kami, climbed to Mount Sinai, and offered the Kamigoto norito prayer to heaven. The sky quickly cleared up, and golden clouds appeared. The wind and the waves died down. The sunken enemy battleships floated up from under the water. The surface of the sea grew calmer as if thick straw mats were laid neatly to cover the floor of a Japanese-style room.
     This was when the deities on the Ryugu-jima and Kimon-jima Islands, the good dragon gods and Takekuma's enemy troops voiced their gratitude in chorus. They could not help expressing how much they were awestruck by Kunitokotachi's grace and virtue - namely, his utmost benevolence and love. It was an extremely noble and rare act on the part of Kunitokotachi to love deities of all walks of life unconditionally, to refuse to treat enemies as enemies, and to show his utmost benevolence and love to all creation throughout the universe.

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 23 by the solar calendar, or September 23 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Part 5: Scramble for the gem balls

Chapter 37: Honorable gem ball of the manifest land   〔37〕

     Following the Great Kami Kunitokotachi no Mikoto's strict order, the deities of Waka-himegimi no Mikoto, Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, and the Great Kami Kinkatsukane led Takasugi-wake, Moritaka-hiko, Tayori-hiko, Tama-hiko, Yoshi-hiko, Kami-hiko, Tsuru-waka, Kame-waka, Kurataka, Sugyu-hiko, Toki-hiko, Saru-hiko and other followers to the source of the Ama no Yasukawa ("Heaven's Tranquil River"), where the holy hill of Zion towered high above the clouds. Here the term "hill of Zion" refers to a "hallowed area where heavenly men and women always come to perform music and play dance music for fun and enjoyment." On the top of this hill was a large plateau with rare flowers of five different colors giving off a sweet fragrance and reaching full bloom in all seasons. It was also a safe haven where the tree branches bent low with many different varieties of ripened delicious fruit. Installed in the center of this plateau was quite a solid square rock measuring 91 meters in height and 91 meters in width. It was the first stellar rock to appear when Kunitokotachi turned into Heaven's golden cylinder to create celestial bodies. He had set it aside to pray for the success of the divine work and had kept it hidden up to then by designating it as guardian of the souls of various regions on earth.
     Since the creation of heaven and earth, 12 celestial beings had appeared atop Mount Zion every week for fun and enjoyment; the male and female deities circled the stellar rock counterclockwise and clockwise, respectively while perforing music and playing dance music. The stellar rock had been rubbed and polished by the sleeves of the peformer deities' thin celestial robes, and its volume had naturally been reduced to become a spherical core by this time. The core was a ball of about 0.9 meter in diameter. The wear and tear of the stellar rock makes it easy for one to imagine that billions and billions of years have elapsed since the creation of heaven and earth.
     Waka-himegimi and the other kami performed divine ablutions in the torrent running along the dry bed of the Ama no Yasukawara River. Then they quickly raised clouds, rode them, and got to the top of Mount Zion, where they made a thorough survey of its large plateau. They decided where to enshrine the soul of each heavenly deity, performed ground-sanctifying ceremonies, and chanted the Kamigoto norito prayers. This designated those enshrined places as the Kami's eternal holy sites.
     In the heart of this plateau were the 12 celestial men and women mentioned earlier circling the stellar rock counterclockwise and clockwise. When Waka-himegimi and the other kami approached the rock, the celestial men and women stepped far back, lay prostrate on the ground, and elaborated on the fact that they had polished and protected the rock until then since time immemorial.
     Waka-himegimi bestowed various kinds of rare treasures on each of the 12 celestial beings, extolling their many years of service without any breach of the divine order as well as their protection of the stellar rock for tens of thousands of years.
     This globular stellar rock looked remarkably similar to the Earth. The Kami Kinkatsukane, the holy spirit of the Earth, held it quite easily and offered it to Heaven in gratitude high above her head three times. Then she lowered it to her breasts and breathed divine power into it. The spherical rock became even more round, emanating ineffable luster. For some reason, Kinkatsukane threw it away at the stream of the Ama no Yasukawara River. It took a sudden nosedive with a loud, deafening noise, falling down into the valley. Waka-himegimi, the other kami and their acolytes climbed down Mount Zion in search of the stellar rock and scoured the valley for it. They saw the 12 heavenly beings amuse themselves dancing frantically in the distant upper reaches of the valley being shrouded in mist and sensed the whereabouts of the spherical gem. They ran up the river. Under the large waterfall of more than 300 meters high was the stellar rock. It fell into the waterfall basin or was hit by the splashes at some times. It floated or sank into the water at other times. And at still other times it rotated to the right and left as if a toy ballon were propelled by the force of water. This was how the round jewel became even more round and emitted increasingly stronger light to eventually turn into an adamantine and indestructible gem. At this time Kinkatsukane quickly shape-shifted into a golden dragon, jumped into the water to hold the gem ball with her hands, and offered it to Waka-himegimi. The washed-out ball had a purple exterior with its core comprising three smaller red, white and blue gem balls. How those minigems were deeply embedded in the kernel was able to be seen through from the outside. This treasure was called by the hallowed name of the Utsushi Kuni no Mitama ("Honorable Gem Ball of the Manifest Land").

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 23 by the solar calendar, or September 23 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 38: Quintessence of the golden water   〔38〕

     The Kami Waka-himegimi no Mikoto, the Kami Kinkatsukane and the Kami Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto were so delighted by the Utsushi Kuni no Mitama Jewel that they cut down trees in the large and small valleys of Mount Zion to build a new ship and make a sacred wooden palanquin to store the jewel. They placed the Utsushi Kuni no Mitama in the palanquin with profound reverence and ensconced the plalanquin in the exact center of the ship before they went down the Ama no Yasukawara River. Upon safe return to the Dragon Palace Castle, they enshrined the cherished treasure in the deepest part of the three-story golden palace inside the castle compound. This jewel was the essence of the soul and spirit of a noble kami.
     To rewind the story, Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko followed the Great Kami Kunitokotachi's order by pouring some limpid water from the falls at Mount Zion into a gold container. Carrying it with them, they successfully accompanied the sacred palanquin to and fro to the Dragon Palace Castle. They poured the clear water into the Manai Fountain inside the castle compound on Waka-himegimi's instructions. The whole event earned this water the nickname "Golden Water."
     When the Utsushi Kuni no Mitama Jewel arrived safely at the Dragon Palace Castle, a mysterious plume of black smoke started rising high in the sky from three different locations of the castle. The smoke rapidly spread all over the sky as the castle was about to burn down. It was at this moment that the Golden Water gushed out of the Manai Fountain into the air like a dragon ascending to heaven. This holy water brought a heavy rain to the castle, putting out the raging fire. Astonishingly, there was nothing unusual about the aftermath of the conflagration; the castle remained in as good shape as ever.
     The adamantine and indestructible Utsushi Kuni no Mitama Jewel grew in luminosity moment by moment into an orb so dazzling as if hundreds of Suns appeared simultaneously. Its sparkling light of virtue made it impossible for all the deities there to open their eyes; otherwise, they would have gone blind.
     The jewel's powerful and glistening divinity came as a pleasant surprise to Kunitokotachi. However, he hesitated to have the jewel overtly enshrined in the Dragon Palace Castle, so he decided instead to ensconce it in the deepest part of the three-story golden palace inside the castle compound until the wheel of Heaven's Will turned around in his favor. In so doing, he laid eight-layered tatami rush mats on the floor of the most robust portion of the three-story golden palace, ensconced the whole palanquin in the room, and enveloped it with 12-layered cloth partitions to enshrine it secretly.
     Since then the three-story golden palace had increasingly grown even brighter, lighting everywhere ranging from Heaven above to the Ashihara no Mizuho no Kuni ("Land of Lush Rice Fields in the Reed Plains") below. Golden kite birds flew high above the golden palace all the time, and good deities sometimes gathered here from heaven and earth to amuse themselves playing exquisite music. The whole scene provided insights into what it would be like for a utopian world ruled by the Maitreya Kami to come true or for the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling to be truly opened.
     The pristine water at the Heavenly Manai Fountain suddenly turned golden, and its quintessence changed into 12 beautiful gems. They soared in the air and turned various colors before they descended back to the ground. At this time 12 kami, namely, Tayori-hiko, Tama-hiko, Yoshi-hiko, Kami-hiko, Tsuruwaka, Kame-hiko, Takakura, Sugyu-hiko, Takasugi-wake, Moritaka-hiko, Saru-hiko, and Toki-hiko had such an eagle eye that they scrambled for the gems. Each of the kami grabbed one jewel and decided to cherish it until the wheel of Heaven's Will turned around in their favor.
     These 12 jewels each had unique properties as characterized by their respective supernatural divine powers.
     The Utsushi Kuni no Mitama Jewel ensconced in the golden palace rekindled Takekuma and his evil deities' innate ambition for personal aggrandizement. Ungrateful to the Great Kami Kunitokotachi for their salvation from the imminent danger, they discussed with other evil deities from all quarters and mapped out yet another plot to defile the jewel and make it a white elephant. To achieve that objective, they thought it imperative to first obtain the 12 gem balls born out of the golden water's quintessence. After all, they were firmly convinced that getting the whole set of the gems in their hands would enable them to achieve their goal. Takekuma decided to employ tactics based on the proverb "He that would the daughter win, must with the mother first begin" and resorted to every means available to persuade the 12 owners, or 12 vassal deities at the Dragon Palace Castle, to let go of their jewels or otherwise destroy them to grab the jewels from them. The complete set of these 12 gems worked wonders in unison; any missing gem made the other gems useless.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 23 by the solar calendar, or September 23 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 39: Whereabouts of the white gem ball   〔39〕

     The 12 gem balls derived from the golden water's quintessence were ineffective unless all of them were used at the same time. This truth, however, was unknown to both the 12 kami who had picked up the gems and the Takekuma group. They were all convinced that one gem they got would produce one gem's worth of effects, and that two gems they might get would bring them two gems' worth of divine power.
     First of all, Takekuma planned to get the white gem ball from its owner Tayori-hiko. He found it difficult to persuade the deity to hand the gem over to him. This prompted the Takekuma group to figure out a scheme to bribe Mago-hiko, a kami most trusted by Tayori-hiko, with material wealth. Mago-hiko was cajoled into becoming a staff officer for Takekuma. He was an attractive, good-looking deity. Meanwhile, Tayori-hiko had an older sister named Kusaka-hime, the wife of the kami Mametora. She was also such a dazzling beauty. Before she knew it, she grew affectionate towards Mago-hiko.
     At this time Takekuma gave Mago-hiko various kinds of rare treasures, along with a gorgeous outfit. Mago-hiko put on the beautiful clothes and applied strong fragrance oil all over his body to make Kusaka-hime fall into deeper love with him. His action was in line with Takekuma's secret orders.
     Kusaka-hime grew more and more affectionate towards Mago-hiko. But she was too embarrassed to tell him how she felt about him. As a result, she agonized over her feelings for him day and night and ended up suffering from depression. She grew emaciated in her sickbed day by day, lying at death's door. Tayori-hiko, her younger brother, was greatly shocked and saddened by his sister's condition. He had since then been leaving no stone unturned in figuring out ways to cure her illness and save her.
     Tayori-hiko never dreamed that Mago-hiko, a deity he trusted, had already served Takekuma as his secret staff officer. Against this backdrop he beckoned Maga-hiko over and consulted him about how Kusaka-hime could fully recover from her illness. He turned pale and sighed during the conversation.
     Mago-hiko privately rejoiced at Tayori-hiko's consultation, thinking that the time was ripe. He decided to sound Kusaka-hime's younger brother out about his white gem ball.
     "I had a dream last night in which the Kami Kunitokotachi appeared at my bedside from the Taka-ama-hara," Mago-hiko told Tayori-hiko, his voice pretending to sound serious. "The Kami solemnly declared that Kusaka-hime's days are numbererd, that the only way to save her is simply have her hold your white gem ball on her chest in bed for 10 days and 10 nights, and that her illness will be quickly cured if the Kami's advice is followed. You have the beautiful white gem ball like the one I saw in my dream. You wouldn't have to trust me if what I told you were just a dream. But it's actually a divine message. I hope you don't laught it off as an idiot's dream."
     Tayori-hiko had long considered Maga-hiko such a trustworthy kami that he never doubted his word. He readily admitted that he cherished the said gem ball he had picked up. He went on to say that he would be gratified if the gem's divine power should save his older sister's life. Jumping for joy and shaking his shoulders, Tayori-hiko rushed to her bedside, telling her about Maga-hiko's holy dream.
     "Hold this gem ball on your chest in bed for 10 days and 10 nights," said Tayori-hiko as he handed it to his sister. He came back to Maga-hiko with a pleasant smile on his face.
     Kusaka-hime was delighted by her brother's kindness and spent five days holding the gem ball as instructed. However, the jewel did not cure her illness in the least, and her condition only worsened as days went by. Sensing the right timing, Maga-hiko got dressed up in a gorgeous outfit and put a sweet perfume all over his body. His scent quickly filled the air all around him and sent its strongest whiff to Kusaka-hime's nose as she was agonizing in her sickbed.
     The invalid smelled this fragrance and felt like she got slightly better. A while later Maga-hiko entered her room very quietly on the pretext of inquiring after her health. He told her about how he got the divine message in the dream he had lied to Tayori-hiko about as if it were so true. Kusaka-hime had no time to judge the authenticity of his story. She believed her brother's words on one hand and the kind words of Maga-hiko, with whom she was so in love on the other hand. As a result, she was pleasantly surprised by Maga-hiko's story as if it were the merciful words of the most benevolent and compassionate Great Kami. Even though the white gem ball had exhibited no divine power for days, Kusaka-hime told Maga-hiko how she felt about his visit.
     "I've been getting slightly better and feeling refreshed and exhilarated since you made your beautiful appearance here," Kusaka-hime said in a low voice as if muttering to herself, her face blushing.
     Maga-hiko was convinced that he successfully tricked her, and that now was the time to close the deal as he turned his back on her and stuck out his tongue.
     "Any divine jewel bestowed by the Kami will actually be defiled if it is held by a sick deity on their feverish skin," Maga-hiko said, pretending not to know what she had told him. "To cure your illness while holding this gem ball, you first need to apply strong fragrance oil on your body to fill the air around you with the scent, clean the room air completely and thereby purify heaven and earth. Otherwise, the gem ball would be useless."
     "Where is the fragrance oil?" Kusaka-hime asked.
     "This oil is hard to come by," Mago-hiko quickly replied, jerking his chin at it. "It wells up at an unspecified time on the top of a small peak to the south of Mount Zion."
     This way he implied that the fragrance oil could not be easily obtained.
     Kusaka-hime implored Maga-hiko to hold her gem ball on his body, stammering, "P-p-purify the jewel to bring out its divine power."
     Maga-hiko was elated by her earnest request, but he deliberately hesitated to agree to it. After a false pause, he pretended to begrudgingly grant her wish. Mysteriously, Kusaka-hime looked like her illness was almost healed when Maga-hiko held her white gem ball on his chest.
     With an air of perfect nonchalance, Maga-hiko was strolling in the landscape garden and enjoying its scenery. He grabbed the branches of a towering old pine tree in the garden and climbed to the treetop, when a heavenly bird ship came soaring from a western sky and picked him up. He disappeared high above the clouds. This bird ship carrying him and the white gem ball collided with Oh Tora-hiko's bird ship in mid air, with the gem flying onto Oh Tora-hiko's ship. Maga-hiko fell from the sky and crashed into a valley of Mount Sinai. His body and spirit were both pulverized to death.
     Oh Tora-hiko eventually handed the gem he had obtained to Take-kuma. For fear of the conspiracy being aborted later, Take-kuma had ordered Oh Tora-hiko to destroy Mago-hiko in the middle of the plan. Evil spirits' machinations are astonishingly elaborate and dishonest.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 24 by the solar calendar, or September 24 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 40: Whereabouts of the black gem ball   〔40〕

     Takekuma had gained considerable momentum since he used dirty tricks to get the white gem ball from Tayori-hiko. He went on to plot to rob Tama-hiko of his black gem ball. Tama-hiko had a craving for fame and was always disgruntled with his life because he was in a lower social class than most deities.
     But the black gem ball Tama-hiko had picked up continued to embolden him to such an extent that he swaggered triumphantly in the Dragon Palace Castle.
     "I'm low in social standing, but I was specially chosen by the Great Kami to be the recipient of the black gem ball born out of the golden water's quintessence," Tama-hiko said to other deities, his tone full of secret hope and excitement. "When the time is ripe, I will definitely attain an honorable position to seize power at the Dragon Palace Castle."
     Takekuma infiltrated some evil spies and operatives into the castle to gather intelligence on Tama-hiko. The evil kami learned from his secret agents that he needed to take advantage of Tama-hiko's love of fame to grab his gem ball. This was why he mapped out a plan to trick Naga-hiko, a kami who reported to Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, into persuading Saka-hime, the wife of Tama-hiko, to get his husband's black gem ball for Naga-hiko. Not having picked up any of the 12 divine jewels, Naga-hiko was filled with empty feelings, along with his slightly growing jealousy of Tama-hiko. It was at a time like this that Tama-hiko, a direct subordinate of Naga-hiko, came to act arrogantly and disobey his boss's orders occasionally as a result of his ownership of the black gem ball. Naga-hiko kept an eye out for every opportunity to make Tama-hiko eat humble pie in any way he could.
     Torikuma, a spy for Takekuma, visited Naga-hiko at his residence to convey Oh Yashima-hiko's orders, which were actually Takekuma's fabrication, saying,
"Here are Oh Yashima's strict orders, quote, 'Tama-hiko has been acting disquietingly these days, so it is flagrantly dangenrous for a kami like him to own the gem ball. If this ball falls into your hands, it will exhibit all the more divine power. I beg you, Naga-hiko, please obey my secret orders to seize the jewel,' unquote."
     This was how Torikuma incited Naga-hiko to move ahead with Takekuma's plan.
     Naga-hiko hatched a plot to cajole Saka-hime, the wife of Tama-hiko, into taking her husband's gem ball and handing it to him. She was a graceful beauty at the Dragon Palace Castle. Tama-hiko was so affectionately attached to her good looks in daily life that her every word and action was the key to his existence. Getting wind of it, Naga-hiko worked hard to have Saka-hime nod her agreement to his plot. She was a big fan of music and dance.
     Naga-hiko and Torikuma recalled seeing the 12 celestial men and women sing and dance on Mount Zion and started practicing music and dance by imitating the performance style of the heavenly beings. Their practice lasted for 100 days and 100 nights, making them amazing dancers with their skills so incredible as if they were possessed by divine entities. Confident that their performance would impress Saka-hime, the two deities went into the backyard of her residence and began dancing with great enthusiasm. Saka-hime inadvertently opened the door and cast a glance at the backyard. And she had her breath taken away by the two graceful dancers there. She was fascinated by their performance and gazed at them in rapture for a while. She eventually stood up, rushed to the scene, and performed a three-way dance with them. The trio danced nonstop while joining hands with one another. This was how Saka-hime became one and only friends with Naga-hiko and Torikuma before she knew it. The three dancers got together in the backyard to dedicate themselves to the music and dance on the next day and the day after that, with their voices of joy reverberating in all directions and brightening up the backyard accordingly.
     At this time Tama-hiko in the separate palace was so enthralled by his most beloved wife's frantic yet graceful performance that he stashed away his gem ball in the innermost part of the palace and made his appearance before the trio. Torikuma and Naga-hiko never forgot to flatter him profusely, treat him as a guest of honor and show him all their respect and admiration so that they could win his favor. Tama-hiko thanked Saka-hime from the bottom of his heart for her excellent performance that enabled him to gather the respect of Naga-hiko, a kami in higher rank than him.
     Saka-hime forcibly grabbed her husband by the hand to make him dance with the trio, saying, "Why don't you join us?"
     Every single word and phrase uttered by Saka-hime always sounded like mellifluous music to Tama-hiko's ears. A mood of melancholy descended on her whenever he said or did something to go against her thoughts and feelings. Therefore, he had taken great pains to maintain a smile on his wife's face.
     Torikuma and Naga-hiko took this opportunity to propose that the next dance be the 'Lion King Vying for the Gem Ball.' Saka-hime was the first one to agree to their proposal. She begged Tama-hiko to take out his black gem ball for the dance. For all his most beloved wife's plea, Tama-hiko declined to accept it, saying, "Forgive me just for this once. That treasure is crucial in my getting ahead in life."
     Saka-hime suddenly went pale. She broke down on the ground and cried out at his cruelty. He was compelled by the circumstances to accept her plea and take his black gem ball out of the innermost part of the palace amid growing fear. This made Saka-hime all smiles. The four deities began performing the gem-vying Lion King dance. They rushed to the peony garden where each disguised themselves as a lion. First, Saka-hime the lion held the jewel. Torikuma the lion and Naga-hiko the lion surrounded her from left and right. The moment Torikuma grabbed the jewel, he threw it in his mouth and ran up the yutsu-katsura tree (a kind of Japanese Judas tree) to the top. Naga-hiko followed suit and began climbing the tree. At this time Torikuma kicked Naga-hiko down to the ground. The ill-fated kami hit his head against a decorative stone in the garden and breathed his last.
     Oh Tora-hiko on his heavenly bird ship appeared in the sky to the west of the garden while Tama-hiko and Saka-hime were surprised and confused. It picked up Tori-kuma before it disappeared into the far western sky. Oh Tora-hiko kicked Torikuma out of the ship as soon as he got the black gem ball from the other ill-fated kami, who fell into a deep valley of Mount Sinai and was pulverized to death.
     Evil deities' machinations, alas, are abysmally elaborate and dishonest. No matter how good a kami may be, they are all too often vulnerable to evil spirits or deities when they have even the slightest obsession in their mind. It is therefore imperative to get rid of obsession with anything.

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 24 by the solar calendar, or September 24 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 41: Banquet at the grand palace I   〔41〕

     Takekuma's treacherous plots enabled him to get two gem balls, but there were still 10 other gem balls for him to obtain. But that was not an easy undertaking. With this in mind, the Takekuma group planned to catch the remaining jewels in one fell swoop. This would necessitate deceiving the prime target, Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, who served as chancellor at the Dragon Palace Castle. Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko brought many different kinds of rare treasures, came into the presence of Oh Yashima, and apologized to him for their past villainous acts and serious crimes while shedding crocodile tears.
     At the time of their apologies, Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko lay prostrate on the earthen floor, thereby feigning absolute submission to Oh Yashima. As a kami of inherently boundless mercy and benevolence, Oh Yashima detested warfare and struggled day and night to lead evil spirits to the path of virtue so that peace would reign in the divine world. Their submission made him feel deeply sorry for them, although he knew that they were flagrant perpetrators and traitorous enemies. He eventually accepted their apologies and instructed them to work together in the future to serve the divine work. Both of them respectfully expressed their gratitude and left his place.
     The moment they got out of the gate, Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko saw each other and laughed wryly with their tongues stuck out. At this time Oh Yashima was unaware that Tayori-hiko and Tama-hiko had fallen into Takekuma's nasty traps and gotten their gem balls stolen. That was because those kami had clammed up about their failures and agonized over them on their own for fear of condemnation.
     Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko built a new grand palace, decorated it with various rare furnishings, and studded it with gold, silver and other gems. This made the palace splendid and magnificent. The evil duo held a huge banquet in this grand palace to commemorate their commitment to peace. First and foremost, they invited Oh Yashima. He showed up for the banquet, flanked by Tamateru-hiko and Oh Daru-hiko. His followers such as Kami-hiko, Yoshi-hiko, Takasugi-wake, Moritaka-hiko, Tsuruwaka, Kamewaka, Kurataka, Toki-hiko, Sugyu-hiko and Saru-hiko also attended the gathering. Meanwhile, attendees from the Takekuma group included Takekuma, Oh Tora-hiko, Tamawaka, Shigewaka, Sakakuma, Torakuma, Momosaku, Kotsune-hime and Nakasaki-hiko.
     Gratified by Takekuma and his deities' hospitality, Oh Yashima drank a big toast to this auspicious occasion and delivered an address to all the guests present as follows:
"Now that we have mended fences with one another and mingled amicably in the name of allegiance and harmony, the world no longer has divisions between friends and foes. Let us join forces, unify our hearts and minds, and get along well with one another like parents, children and siblings, thereby serving the divine work."
Oh Yashima thanked Takekuma, Oh Tora-hiko and others profusely before he boarded his bird ship with Tamateru-hiko and Oh Daru-hiko and returned to the Dragon Palace Castle safely.
     After Oh Yashima had left the palace, the remaining deities began wining, dining and dancing without the slightest hesitation to mingle with one another as equals. Convinced that the time was ripe, Takekuma partially gilded the gem balls he had seized from Tayori-hiko and Tama-hiko and created the shapes of the Sun and Moon on the ungilded portions. He brought those jewels to the banquet hall as he sat at the head of the table, saying proudly, "These are the gem balls made of adamantine water, and heavenly kami bestowed them upon me in the past. With these gems, the world is at my mercy."
     "I also have a rare treasure like that," a follower of Takekuma responded to his master.
He then left the table, covered a round stone with various types of foil, came back to the table with the plated stone, and bragged about how useful it was. This caused Takasugi-wake and other kami from the Dragon Palace Castle to lose face. Hating to admit defeat, Yoshi-hiko took out his purple gem ball from his inside pocket.
     "Fellow deities, I suggest you not make light of me," Yoshi-hiko said. "I also have a gem ball like that."
     The confident kami showed his jewel to everyone at the table, placed it on there, and acted like a complacent and condescending braggart. Then Kami-hiko took out his yellow gem ball and placed it on the table, saying, "I also have a gem ball." He boasted about his treasure before he got back to his seat triumphantly.
     "Our subordinates have lots of gem balls like that," Oh Tora-hiko got up from his seat. "Why do the deities from the Dragon Palace Castle have so few gem balls?"
     This was how Oh Tora-hiko provoked their hostility on purpose. At this time Kurataka, a deity who refused to admit defeat, thoughtlessly snapped at Oh Tora-hiko under the influence of alcohol, saying, "You folks' gem balls and mine are as different as chalk and cheese. You'll definitely get your minds blown by my unparalleled, unsurpassed and singular Cintamani," as he proudly placed his gem ball on the table and got back to his seat.
     "No matter how great those Dragon Palace treasures may be," Takekuma said, laughing out loud. "They're only three pieces. What's the use? I've got tons of gem balls."
     Upon saying the above, Takekuma brought yet another false gem ball from an inner room of the grand palace. The jewel looked superb on the surface, but it was a clay-molded fake. Sugyu-hiko and Saru-hiko felt envious but, aided by the influence of alcohol, decided to compete with Takekuma by showing off their respective gem balls on the table.
     "Your jewel is dazzling indeed, but so what? Don't be flabbergasted by our gem balls," Sugyu-hiko and Saru-hiko said.
     Those kami proudly recounted the origins and histories of their treasures.
     At this time Takasugi-wake, Moritaka-hiko, Tsuruwaka, Kamewaka, and Toki-hiko wore a sullen expression on their faces as they sobered up and turned pale at their seats.
     "We hear you guys are servants of the Dragon Palace Castle, but none of you have a single gem ball," Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko cussed out the five deities. "All you got is simply a big anus or giant balls (testicles)."
     Their derision enraged the five deities. But they would not submit their respective gem balls easily out of consideration for potentially dire consequences.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 24 by the solar calendar, or September 24 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 42: Banquet at the grand palace II   〔42〕

Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko got on their high horses and looked down on Takasugi-wake, Moritaka-hiko, Tsuruwaka, Kamewaka and Toki-hiko.
     "You guys are indeed servant-kami of the Dragon Palace Castle, but you're actually in name only," Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko affronted the five deities. "You're as good as crap-kami. Without gem balls, no one is entitled to sit at this table. How filthy!"
     Takekuma and Oh Tora-hiko heaped every insult on them by scattering salt at them for purification and mooning them. The five servant-kami strove to endure their provocation, brushing it off as devils' utter nonsense after all. They ended up never lending an ear to the evil deities.
     The other five deities from the Dragon Palace Castle who had already submitted their gem balls joined the Takekuma group in denouncing Takasugi-wake and the other servant-kami mercilessly. The banquet, meanwhile, was increasingly in full swing.
     At this time Takekuma encircled Sugiwake and the four other servant-kami clockwise to join hands with Oh Tora-hiko, who in turn encircled them counterclockwise to join hands with Takekuma. The evil duo started shouting cacophonously and dancing like crazy.
     Unable to escape the encirclement, the five deities took great pains to protect their gem balls from falling into the evil hands. Even Takekuma's persistent snare failed to seize their cherished jewels, no matter how hard it tried. For this reason, the Takekuma group declared the hold of an after-banquet party. Drunkards here and there quickly clapped and cheered in agreement.
     In short, those five deities who had submitted their gem balls to Takekuma was knowingly or unknowingly held utterly captive by him. Takasugi-wake and the four other servant-kami went to great lengths to flee the banquet hall, but the Takekuma followers would not let their guards down. The embattled deities had to resign themselves to attending the after-banquet party.
     The party got under way in a much bigger hall than the previous one. The hall was divided into two major portions. The first portion was for distinguished guests; it was covered with multilayers of tatami rush mats and was decorated with various rare treasures, with exotic fragrant flowers and tree branches standing in the exquisitely beautiful vases located in the middle of the table. By contrast, the other porton was for other than the guests of honor and was laid with dirty torn tatami mats.
     No sooner had each kami from the Dragon Palace Castle had a seat at the table in the gorgeous area of the hall than Takekuma began addressing all the deities present.
     "This is a sacred table for only the beautiful souls who handed me their jewels, " Takekuma said, his tone solemn. "For the filthy souls refusing to show their gems, go down to the lower area."
     All the deities stood up at the same time to push Takasugi-wake and the four other servant-kami to the dirty area. Deep down the five deities were extremely sorrowful and indignant about Takekuma's outrageous mistreatment, but they had to completely hide their feelings and fight back a flood of tears.
     The table in the gorgeous area was served with all sorts of rare and sumptuous delicacies, and all the guests smacked their lips with relish when they wined and dined. They simply indulged in what they wanted to do as they pleased. In the dirty area, several old hags in filty torn garments appeared before the five kami, serving them with meals. What looked like liquor was actually cow or horse urine. The rice in the bowls was swarming with lice. A closer look found that the meals were made up of centipedes, frogs, lizards, earthworms and the like. The five deities were so stunned by this raw deal that they simply gaped at the scene for a while.
     Then the old hags pressed the five kami to enjoy the meals, saying, "This is a small token of Sir Takekuma's appreciation. It would be discourteous of you not to drink this liquor or eat these meals. To deepn mutual friendship, we hope you feel free to enjoy these delicacies to your hearts' content."
     The inebriated guests left the gorgeous area to gather in the dirty area, where they took the five deities by the hand and foot, forced them to eat up and drink up everything served to them by pressing down their heads, prying open their mouths, making them drink the urine liquor and shoving the lice-infested rice in their mouths.
     Yoshi-hiko left his seat and walked to Takasugi-wake and the four other servant-kami.
     "You deserve this insult and persecution because you've been doubtful about Sir Takekuma's sincerity and kept your gem balls to yourselves," warned Yoshi-hiko, his eyes blurred from drinking. "Even if you submit your jewels, they'll never be taken away. Bring them to the table now to decorate it with the divine treasures of the Dragon Palace Castle so we could exhibit its authority. Just sooth Sir Takekuma this way."
     At this time Takasugi-wake nodded his disagreement.
     Raising his voice, Takasugi-wake affirmed with finality, "Now matter what insult or persecution I may go through, or no matter how my life may be cut short, I will never ever let go of my gem ball for all eternity."
     The remaining four kami echoed Takasugi-wake's words, saying, "We're on the same page with him." It was at the very moment that hundreds or thousands, nay myriads of golden yata no karasu ("sacred three-legged crows") appeared in the air, radiating light along the way. They clutched Takasugi-wake and the four other deities and flew back towards the Dragon Palace Castle.
     After that, countless monster birds flocked together in the sky and hovered frantically, causing a ceaseless rain of sand and gravel, some of which hit through the roof of Takekuma's grand palace and crushed the heads of Yoshi-hiko, Kami-hiko, Kurataka, Sgyu-hiko and Saru-hiko at the banquet table. Those servant-kami died in agony on the spot.
     Regrettably, up to seven of the valuable gem balls derived from the Dragon Palace's golden water fell into the hands of Takekuma.

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 24 by the solar calendar, or September 24 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 43: A red-crested white crane   〔43〕

     Tsuruwaka had strengthened his faith since he got the red gem ball born out of the golden water's quintessence. He secretly climbed Mount Zion to practice many years of asceticism. He jumped into a waterfall of the mountain at times and into a mountain stream at other times to undergo purification. He ended up exhibiting occult powers at will. "Tsuru" as in "Tsuruwaka" meant "crane," and as the name implied, he would often shapeshift into a crane to soar in the sky or transport himself between heaven and earth so that he could become an angel for the Divine Kingdom. To this end, he had been fully committed to going through such rigorous training.
     Takekuma's group of evil deities was working hard to figure out ways to neutralize Tsuruwaka's supernatural powers and make him fall down to the ground. He often soared in the sky to various regions at full throttle. One day he found a high mountain towering through the purple clouds ahead of him. It peak was capped with snow above the clouds, giving it a floating look. Feeling drawn to that mountain, Tsukuwaka soared to the peak before he knew it. Suddely, bright light shone from the middle of the mountain, illuminating all directions. The light gradually rose up to the peak. That light crystallized into a crimson ball. At this time Tsuruwaka changed his shape as a crane into that of a dignified human kami. The crimson ball was fast splitting open to the right and left, and from inside the jewel came out a heavenly maiden. He was captivated by her beauty. She noticed him and made eyes at him as she came up to him without saying a word. This high mountain was part of the Altai mountain range, and the heavenly maiden was named Tsuru-hime. Tsuruwaka and Tsuru-hime tied the nuptial knot. This deprived Tsuruwaka of his supernatural powers at the same time, invalidating his flying magic techniques.
     There was a giant cave halfway up the mountain. Tsuruwaka and Tsuru-hime used it as their den. They assembled creatures and other beings in the cave from various mountains near and far and founded a nation with its core functions located in their dwelling place. The couple enshrined the red gem ball in the wider innermost area of the cave to worship it as the one and only divine treasure. Since then they had gotten along well, loved each other and spent many years together in the Altai mountain range.
     As time elapsed, Tsuruwaka and Tsuru-hime became thinner and weaker with their advancing age. They were going gray, and they began feeling somewhat lonely. As such, they both came to long for the birth of a child as their successor.
     Tsurusaki-hime, an evil kami reporting to Takekuma, shape-shifted into a beautiful angel and went up to the top of that high mountain of the Altai mountain range. There she caused thunder and lightning, triggering a heavy rain. The rain fell incessantly like waterfalls and destroyed a corner of the mountain in an instant. The turbid water flowed and flooded the front of the cave. After a while, however, the rain stopped, and a soft and beautiful ball whose colors were reminiscent of vivid flowers was left in front of the cave. Tsuruwaka picked it up and took a close look at it. The ball was so soft as if it were a freshly kneaded mochi rice cake. Looking at this ball, Tsuru-hime suddenly felt like eating it. She pulled one side of the ball to take it from Tsuruwaka while he pulled the other side to prevent her from grabbing it. It ended up being rippedd apart in two pieces. These torn-off pieces of the ball voluntarily went into the mouths of the two deities and settled in their abdomens. This aroused their sexual desire, and Tsuru-hime eventually became pregant. She went her full term and had a baby girl like a gem ball. They named her Tsuruko-hime.
     Tsuruwaka and Tsuru-hime had been infatuated with Tsuruko-hime ever since she was born. They provided every support to her when she toddled or tried standing up to walk. They were deeply moved by the way their daughter cried or smiled, and they looked as if they were happy to sacrifice everything for her. Cherished by her parents, Tsuruko-hime grew fast as time elapsed and began chirping "Ta, ta" for the first time. Her parents became curious about her chirped words and racked their brains to figure out what they meant but could not at all. Then Tsuruko-hime began chirping, "Ma, ma." Once again, her parents could not understand what she meant. After a while, Tsuruko-hime began chirping, "Tama, tama." Hearing her chirp, her parents instructed their attendants to collect various kinds of bird eggs for her. She shook her head repeatedly when she saw the eggs collected for her and refused to suck them. Tsuruwaka and Tsuru-hime met face to face day and night to discuss what their daughter meant by 'Tama,' although their serious consideration came to nothing. On one occasion they assembled their many attendants to perform a ceremony for the red gem ball enshrined at the altar, and they prayed for the safe growth of Tsuruko-hime, who also attended the ceremony in the worship hall as she was held by her mother. It was then that Tsuruko-hime smiled broadly for the first time, saying, "Akadama, akadama (Red ball, red ball)." She was the apple of her parents' eyes, and they were overjoyed at their daughter's smile. They were so infatuated with her as to think that they could lay down their lives if so requested by Tsuruko-hime. The ceremony ended without a hitch, and Tsuruwaka and Tsuru-hime went back to their living room in the vast cave. Their many attendants stayed in the hall and enjoyed the rice wine distributed to them as it had been offered to the divine gem ball during the ceremony. They repeatedly shouted banzai cheers for the Great Kami before they returned to their respective rooms. Tsuruwaka, Tsuru-hime and Tsuruko-hime entered an innermost room and fell sound asleep. In the dead of night, Tsuruko-hime started chirping, "Tama, tama" out of the blue. Hearing her daughter, Tsuru-hime finally realized what she meant when she chirped like that. With this conviction, she told her husband that their daughter asked for that red gem ball when she said, "Tama, tama." Tsuruwaka quickly got up on the bed, folded his arms and remained silent with his face turned downward as he was deep in thought. Tsukuro-hime's cry grew louder and louder, which sounded to her parents like breaking their hearts. They could not tolerate it any more, and Tsukuwaka stood up and entered the worship hall despite midnight. He came back holding the red gem ball, the sacred substance in which the Kami inhered, as he took it from the altar in the hall. He respectfully placed it on the living room table. This stopped Tsuruko-hime from crying all at once, making her start laughing aloud instead. She touched the gem ball and flew around it in excitement. Her parents just left the jewel on the table as it was so that it could be used as a toy for pacifying their daughter.
     Tsuruko-hime grew up gradually, and one day she abruptly changed into a black dragon. The moment it grabbed the gem ball, it caused black clouds, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and soared high into the western sky with a loud noise, dumping its father and mother. Tsuruwaka and Tsuru-hime were utterly scandalized by this event and heaved a long sigh as they saw the gem ball and their beloved daughter disappear into the distance. They gave her up as they learned that she was a shapeshifting evil deity, but they could not give up that red jewel. Tsuruwaka had once endured the insult and oppression of Takekuma and others and risked his life to protect the divine treasure. Now that it fell into enemy hands, he cried bitterly towards heaven and earth, not knowing how to apologize to Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto for the inexcusable blunder. His feelings were coagulated into a red crown mark on top of his head. This was how red-crowned white cranes got their name. This was also the origin of the belief that cranes outdo others in risking life and limb for their chicks, as described in the Japanese proverb, Yekeno no kigisu, yoru no tsuru ("A parent's heart is always with their children like a pheasant when the fields are burning or a crane on a cold night").

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 25 by the solar calendar, or September 25 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 44: An old turtle with its shell overgrown with seaweed   〔44〕

     Kamewaka continued to risk life and limb to defend his green gem ball. The desire for fame or material wealth was beneath his notice, and he put his whole heart and soul into protecting the divine treasure. However, he fell into Takekuma's trap at the banquet in the grand palace, where the evil deity's followers shoved many poisonous insects into his stomach. This ruined his health. He became bedridden with his whole body turning yellowish green and ended up dead. Kame-hime, the wife of Kamewaka, cried out in grief to heaven and earth. She cried while lying on her stomach on the ground and cried while crawling about with her head buried in her arms. Her bitter weeping lasted for days. The voice of Kame-hime's sad cry reverberated in all directions as it was carried by the wind, finally giving rise to an incessant spell of sorrowful wind and woeful rain. This period continued for 100 days and 100 nights.
     At this time, a strange mist appeared from the Sea of Galilee, developing into ominous clouds, out of which came an eerie creature. It advanced near the Dragon Palace Castle and quickly shapeshifted into a good-looking human-shaped divinity. He visited Kame-hime's home to mourn Kamewaka. His name was Takatsu-hiko. Kame-hime was delighted at his presence. She took his hand and led him into a room, where she entertained him with various kinds of food and drinks.
     "You're my most beloved Kamewaka, aren't you?" Kame-hime said, her tone suspicious.
     "Yeah, I am," Takatsu-hiko replied. "I never died. I just cast aside my former poison-filled body. I'm in a new and healthy one now so I can come back to you to become man and wife again for life."
     Takatsu-hiko sweet-talked Kame-hime into believing his fake story. She was firmly convinced that he was Kamewaka because of his striking resemblance to her ill-fated husband, including his looks, the color of his language and even his behavior. They became a happily married lovey-dovey couple.
     Kame-hime felt like a new entity, realizing how fortunate she was to vow eternal love again with the husband, whom the tragic heroine had given up on forever, as he came back to life. She was in seventh heaven.
     The wedded couple had a honey-sweet and intimate relationship, but the cold Takatsu-hiko had inadvertently caught deteriorated into a serious illness, confining him to bed. This clouded Kame-hime's hitherto happiness again. She used every possible means to nurse him. Days elapsed without any visible effect. His illness only grew worse and worse. At this time Takakura-hiko, a friend of Takatsu-hiko, visited the invalid in bed and recommended a medical therapy. They collected a hundred different kinds of herbs based on this therapy and provided various herbal drugs for him. But his illness still worsened. It broke Kame-hime's heart to see her husband this way. Mysteriously, Takakura-hiko's looks, height and language bore such an uncanny resemblance to those of Kamewaka that Kame-hime had to check the authenticity of his identity. Surprised and suspicious, she asked him for his personal information, saying, "I wonder where you're from."
     "I'm a servant-kami at the Dragon Palace Castle," Takakura-hiko replied. "I'm his old, close and beautiful friend."
     Kame-hime asked him back, saying, "I wonder what makes you look exactly like Kamewaka?"
     "To tell the truth," Takakura-hiko began recounting his personal background. "Kamewaka and I are twins. But my father and mother were afraid of what the public would say about it and left me in someone's care when I was born. Kamewaka and I were kept in the dark about the whole thing, and we've built up a good rapport as bosom friends since childhood. I got wind of the truth for some reason, but the sick Kamewaka here hasn't yet. We share the same flesh and blood, and I can't stand seeing my brother suffer in agony. I've grown impatient to cure his illness in any way I can so that we will work closely together as siblings to serve the Great Kami. That's why I took leave from my divine job and came here to visit him on his sickbed."
     Takakura-hiko's clarification dispelled all of Kame-hime's doubts. Since then, she put more and more trust in him while Kamewaka grew sicker and sicker. She decided to consult him again.
     "Is there any effective cure for my husband's illness?" Kame-hime asked Takakura-hiko, her face sorrowful.
     "I feel so sorry for you," he replied, his face puzzled, heaving a long sigh.
     He folded his arms and hung his head in silence for a while. After that, his whole face beamed with joy as if recalling something from his memory.
     "There definitely is a cure for that," Takakura-hiko responded, jumping for joy.
     Kame-hime's face brightened when she heard it.
     "Tell me about it. I'm all ears," said she, her tone exhilarated.
     She was eagerly awaiting his response. But Takakura-hiko purposely stayed calm, washed his hands, rinsed his mouth and joined his hands in prayer towards heaven for a long time as if supplicating for some kind of divine revelation. Kamewaka on his sickbed was repeatedly crying out in anguish as his hour of death was at hand. Kame-hime felt an irresistible impulse to do something for him. She made up her mind to save her most beloved husband even if she had to risk her own life. Takakura-hiko, meanwhile, was praying to heaven at a leisurely pace, showing no sign of hurrying. After offering prayers slowly, he came back into the room. At this time Kame-hime was anxious to hear what divine revelation Takakura-hiko received, as if the thirsty were asking for water. Deep down he was very pleased to know that the conspiracy was working, but feigning ignorance, he described the divine revelation pompously.
     "The valuable green gem ball is enshrined in your place. Take out this jewel, enshrine it on a high stand you will set up on a moonlit night, and gather the water of the Moon into this jewel. Have Kamewaka drink a drop of water trickling from the gem, and he will recover from his illess. This is the revelation from Tsukiyomi no Kami, or the Deity of the Moon."
     Takakura-hiko revealed the divine instruction above as if it were true. Kame-hime was happy to learn that her husband could be saved by the divine grace. She quickly set up a high stand and placed the green gem ball in its center. All of a sudden, one corner of the sky became overcast, with the gathering black clouds covering heaven and earth and darkening them completely. Emerging from the clouds was a black dragon, which grabbed the green gem ball and disappeared into a western sky. It took Takekuma several days to obtain the divine jewel. The false Kamewaka, whom Kame-hime had hitherto thought of as her husband, suddenly shapeshifted into a big dragon. Takakura-hiko also shapeshifted back into a big soft-shelled turtle from the Sea of Galilee, leaving Kame-hime behind and causing clouds so that he could flee. She stamped her feet in vexation, and her spirit and soul finally coagulated into an old turtle with its shell overgrown with seaweed. It then jumped into the Dragon Palace Sea. Turtles are believed to live for ten thousand years. Kamewaka had his life cut short by the poisonous insects Takekuma's followers had shoved into his stomach at the banquet in the grand palace. Learning lessons from this incident, those turtles born from Kame-hime's spirit became so hygiene-conscious as to avoid poisonous insects, thereby maintaining their longevity.

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 25 by the solar calendar, or September 25 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 45: Whereabouts of the yellow gem ball   〔45〕

     Toki-hiko made up his mind to risk life and limb to protect his yellow gem ball until the fulfillment of the reign of the Great Kami. Nine of the divine jewels had already fallen into Takekuma's hands due to their negligence or error. This mortified the indignant servant-kami so much that he went to the Dragon Palace Castle and obtained Kototama-wake no Mikoto's permission to travel to various regions to protect his treasured gem on his own. He eventually holed up in the Himalayas. He dug a cave in the mountain range, placed his yellow gem ball in the deep part of the cave, and built a holy shrine over it so that he could bide his time. Several years passed at the shrine, and Toki-hiko heard a battle cry from the foothills of the Himalayas. Feeling suspicious about it, he stood up and got out of the shrine to unexpectedly find Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto advancing to the Deccan Plateau as he was flanked by Oh Daru-hiko and Tamateru-hiko and followed by numerous heavenly deities and servant-kami from the Dragon Palace Castle. They were marching triumphantly with hundreds of gold-brocade flags flapping in the wind and various melodies being played.
     When Toki-hiko atop the mountain range looked out over the surrounding area, he saw many servant-kami walking towards him while carrying 12 divine palanquins of the same shape and color on their shoulders. He immediately ordered his followers to board a heavenly bird ship to descend to the ground and spy on their movements. Flabbergasted by the majestic procession and the sight of Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto in full regalia, Toki-hiko's followers hastily boarded the ship and returned to the Himalayas to report the details to their master.
     Toki-hiko became restless when he was briefed on Oh Yashima-hiko's procession. He stamped his foot in frustration because he felt like he missed out on the opportunity to join the divine work of ushering in the reign of the Great Kami as he had long idled his time away holing up in the mountain cave. He got on the heavenly bird ship right away, descended to the ground, and nervously joined the tail end of Oh Yashima-hiko's procession as an attendant. Ashamed of being so late for the divine work, Toki-hiko did not openly give his name to others and simply accompanied the procession to the Deccan Plateau.
     Dozens of of splendid palaces were built one after another on the Deccan Plateau, with eight million servant-kami joyfully committed to the divine work. These buildings were surrounded by various kinds of flowering trees and shrubs emitting indescribably voluptuous fragrances, and the sight of celestial men and women going wild with joy bore a striking resemblance to Heaven, the Pure Land or the Earthly Taka-ama-hara.
     Oh Yashima-hiko stood on the magnificent palace in the center of the site and made a pronouncement to the eight million servant-kami.
     Oh Yashima-hiko stood on the magnificent palace in the center of the site and made a pronouncement to the eight million servant-kami, saying as follows:
     "The advent of the Age of the Maitreya Kami is still too early, but after the Great Kami Kunitokotachi no Mikoto pleaded with Heaven, it was decreed that this Deccan Plateau should be designated as the Earthly Taka-ama-hara to save deities on earth, open the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling by shortening the Latter Day of the Law and fulfill a perfect reign of the Divine. Regrettably, though, 11 of the 12 jewels born out of the golden water's quintessence have already been seized by the wicked deities. The Great Kami, therefore, has dictated that we should take them back from the enemy by dint of His divine power, preserve them in our 12 sacred palanquins forever as important divine tools for the governance of the Earthly Taka-ama-hara. However, the whereabouts of the remaining one jewel, namely the yellow gem ball, have remained unknown. Without it, the Age of the Maitreya Kami would not materialize again. So do you know the whereabouts of Toki-hiko, the servant-kami at the Dragon Palace Castle who owns the yellow jewel? His sole treasure is comparable to the remaining 11 gem balls. If he ever comes here bringing his jewel from somewhere, even belatedly, I will report him to the deities in Heaven as a kami who has rendered distinguished services to the Divine Kingdom. After that, I will hand over my position to him."
     Oh Yashima-hiko's loud appeal made Toki-hiko extremely happy because he had gone to great lengths to protect his gem ball for years. Thinking that time was ripe for him to publicize his name and steal the limelight as the darling of the divine world, Toki-hiko came forward smiling broadly and with fearful steps in front of Oh Yashima-hiko and made several formal respectful bows to him.
     "Toki-hiko is here," said the servant-kami in the limelight, his tone nonchalant. "I'm here to bring the yellow gem ball to you."
     Many other servant-kami were awestruck by Toki-hiko's sudden revelation of his name. This made him the envy of those deities.
     Oh Yashima-hiko rejoiced at Toki-hiko's unexpected offer so much that he invited the devoted servant-kami to the palace and led him into its innermost part, where the 12 grand holy palanquins of the same shape and color were enshrined. Oh Yashima-hiko opened the gate of one palanquin seated in the exact center of the hall.
     "The 11 palanquins have been filled with the 11 differently colored gem balls," said the premier of the divine administration based in the Dragon Palace Castle. "But as you can see, this palanquin is empty. I urge you to swiftly place your jewel inside so you can dedicate yourself to the divine work for the Age of the Maitreya Kami."
     At this time Toki-hiko was in seventh heaven because of the de facto divine order from the renowned leader. He immediately took out the gem ball and enshrined it deeply in the palanquin. Various offerings were made to the 12 covered litters to perform a solemn ceremony. Some servant-kami carried these litters on their shoulders and marched in procession on the beautiful plains of the Deccan Kingdom. It was indeed an exhilarating festival beyond description. Oh Yashima-hiko ordered those servant-kami to lower their respective palanquins and take a break in the center of the plains.
     At that precise moment, some ominous clouds began to gather in one corner of the sky, and various kinds of bright light suddenly appeared out of the clouds. The sight was quite a spectacle like seeing hundreds, nay thousands of fireworks blossom at the same time. Fascinated, all the servant-kami there were gazing at the impressive display in the corner of the sky. During that time, Oh Yashima-hiko and Oh Daru-hiko changed the positions of the palanquins, each of which had the same color and shape as the others.
     Suddenly, some black clouds began to gather in one corner of the sky, bringing a torrential downpour to the ground. Quite a few servant-kami grabbed each yellow gem ball from each of the divine palanquins like crazy before they dispersed in all directions. Shocked by the scene, Toki-hiko approached the covered litters to protect his own enshrined jewel by putting it into the inside pocket of his clothes. With all the deities fleeing in every direction, the palace turned into desolate plains before anyone knew it.
     Toki-hiko was in a state of dreamy euphoria when he took his yellow gem ball out of the inside pocket, and he inspected it. Much to his consternation, the yellow jewel was quite light despite no change in volume or luster. He became suspicious of it and then concluded that his gem must have been replaced by a fake one amid the confusion. This made him feel mortified with his teeth ground.
     At this time a voice was heard in the air, shouting, "You damn idiot!"
     What had hitherto looked like Oh Yashima-hiko was actually Takekuma-wake shapeshifted. Similarly, his subordinate evil deities had disguished themselves as Oh Daru-hiko and other good kami. No matter how devout and principled he was, Toki-hiko was deceived easily by the evil deities and left totally mortified because he had even a little desire for recognition and fame. We should be careful with an unhealthy obsession and a strong drive for success.

    The moth,
    Perhaps mistaking the fire for flowers,
    Flied into it and got burnt.

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 25 by the solar calendar, or September 25 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 46: A single pine tree on a single islet   〔46〕

     Takekuma, together with Takekuma-wake, assembled numerous evil deities to hold a great feast. That was because he had obtained 10 of the 12 divine jewels through his cunning trickery and because he was self-conceited about his ability to seize the remaining two gems easily even in the face any enemy with strong divine power. To celebrate himself, the devil leader held the feast for all his guests.
     One of such guests named Oni-hiko left the lowest seat and swaggered up to Take-kuma and Takekuma-wake.
     "Today is quite an auspicious day," Oni-hiko said. "One good thing brings another, doesn't it? Now, word has just come that two servant-kami Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko would like to present you with their two gem balls. I wonder how you prefer to handle this offer."
     With their eyes blurred from drinking at the feast, Takekuma and Takekuma-wake jumped for joy when they heard the offer, thinking that the time was ripe to realize thier desire. At any rate they agreed to meet with those two servant deities. Shortly afterwards, Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko were guided by their attedants into the innermost part of the palace, where they appeared in front of Takekuma, made a bow to him and proposed to dedicate their respectve gem balls.
     Takekuma was very excited about the offer. Still cautious, Takekuma-wake asked the two servant-kami the reason for that, saying, "Could you tell us why you're offering to give us these invaluable divine treasures of the Dragon Palace Castle?"
     "We're absolutely amazed by your ingenious stratagems," they replied confidently. "You've already got 10 gem balls. The odds are against us even if we compete with you using our two jewels. You'll definitely win by sheer force of numbers - 10 versus two. Instead, we'd like to be a good loser and dedicate our gems to you so we can work together as friends for a peaceful reign of the world."
     Takekuma was astonished by the two jewels as he looked hard at them. Their luster impressed him for a long while.
     "These gem balls have unique divine power among the 12 jewels," said Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko. "They will lose their spiritual power and become useless if they are exposed to a foul odor or raging wind. Please don't let anyone come and look at them as an object of worship. Make a box right away, place the jewels in it and wrap it up with many layers of a protective cover. After that, enshrine it in the inner sanctuary so you can use it in case of emergency."
     Neither Takekuma nor Takekuma-wake doubted the two deities' sincerity. They quickly placed the gems in a box, wrapped it up over and over, sealed it firmly, and enshrined it deeply in the inner sanctuary.
     These gem balls were actually complete fakes. The two discreet servant-kami forestalled Takekuma's conspiracy, thereby protecting their authentic treasures from unlawful seizure. Afterwards, Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko won Takekuma's favor and were promoted to responsible positions. Moritaka-hiko's genuine jewel had already been presented to Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto, whereas Takasugi-wake's genuine jewel had been swallowed into the body of Sugitaka, a servant of Takasugi-wake, who had in turn enshrined the gem ball in an islet in the island chain on the Mediterranean Sea eternally as he had been appointed guardian of the islet. He had dug a solid cave into the singular islet and enshrined the jewel deeply in there. Then he had marked the site of the jewel by planting a pine tree atop the cave. Hence the tree was named the "Single Pine Tree on the Single Islet."
     The two servant-kami had since then won the trust of Takekuma, earned the honorable nickname the "Top-notch Trio" including Takekuma-wake and sided with the Takekuma cabals. What move would Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko make going forward?

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 25 by the solar calendar, or September 25 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 47: Fall of the Castle of Eden   〔47〕

     Takekuma was in extremely high spirits because he finally got the 12 different colored large and small gem balls. He started acting high and mighty and resorted to the utmost brutality. He placed such profound trust in Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko that he promoted Takasugi-wake to replace Takekuma-wake. Enraged by the raw deal from his boss, Takekuma-wake decided to hatch a plot to destroy Takekuma, Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko by working in concert with Onikuma, who dominated the Urals as his stronghold. He had his wife Oni-hime infiltrate deeply into the Dragon Palace Castle with his husband's plot in mind, and she eventually succeeded in winning some if not all of the trust of Waka-himegimi no Mikoto and Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto. Oni-hime's strenuous efforts made it possible for even Onikuma to go in and out of the Dragon Palace Castle. Onikuma had a son named Tsuki-hiko. He had a pure heart and was a great favorite with Waka-himegimi. Such a virtuous son being born from the fiendish husband and wife was like a lotus flower blooming from the mud. To quell the evil spirits' disturbances re-emerging from various parts of the world, Waka-himegimi flanked by Tsuki-hiko and Makura-hiko boarded a solid-hulled heavenly flying ship and crossed the sea to the Kutsu-jima Islands on Kunitokotachi no Mikoto's orders. The Masumi Jewel had been secretly enshrined in those islands. She gathered together some local good kami and performed a divine service aimed at putting down the evil army. At this time tens of thousands of black dragons came attacking the Japanese islands, but they were obliterated over the Sea of Manai by the divine army led by the guardian kami of the Dragon Palace, the tutelary deities of the Kutsu-jima Islands and the kami of the local regions. Meanwhile, the evil troops on the ground were fighting with such great vigor that there was no sign of them being easily quelled. That was an evil battle launched by Onikuma's Urals-based demons, where they were vying for power. Anxious about the lack of unity among his subordinates, Onikuma devised a scheme to put down his own evil followers by going in and out of the Dragon Palace Castle so that he could gain fundamental power and eventually occupy the Earthly Taka-ama-hara.
     The Dragon Palace Castle had been placed under tight guard by Oh Yashima-hiko, Masummi-hime, Takekuma, Takasugi-wake, Moritaka-hiko, Tatsuyo-hime, Kojima-wake and many other servant-kami since Waka-himegimi and her entourage left for the Kutsujima-islands. Takekuma-wake desired to wipe out Takekuma and Takasugi-wake, no holds barred.
     "Oh Yashima-hiko, Takekuma and others are right in the middle of making various plans to organize divine troops, capture the Urals in droves and destroy you," Takekuma-wake said to Onikuma and Oni-hime. "I got the details through the operatives I've infiltrated into the castle."
     Takekuma-wake told the evil couple all kinds of lies to incite them to wage a battle.
     "There's no better time than now to annihilate the Oh Yashima-Takekuma alliance," said the enraged Onikuma and Oni-hime. "Wipe them out now or they'll wipe us out sooner or later. The time is ripe for a pre-emptive strike."
     Appointing Takekuma-wake as general, Onikuma and Oni-hime led their ogres, demons ad venomous serpents of the Urals to first attack the Castle of Eden, a hangout of Takekuma and then assault the Dragon Palace Castle. Onikuma's evil army charged headlong for the citadel in Eden from all directions. At that time Takekuma stayed away from the fort as he remained at the Dragon Palace Castle to look after it. Therefore, the Castle of Eden easily fell into Onikuma's hands without a fight.

         (Dictation taken by Masaharu Taniguchi on October 26 by the solar calendar, or September 26 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 48: Demise of Onikuma   〔48〕

     Onikuma seized the citadel in Eden and ordered Ushikuma and Ushi-hime to mobilize numerous evil soldiers to defend it. Onikuma and Oni-hime secretly infiltrated into the Dragon Palace Castle through its back gate. Onikuma carried a hugh iron rod while Oni-hime hid a powerful sword in the inside pocket of her clothes when they advanced towards the deeper part of the castle.
     "Here come Onikuma and Oni-hime," the evil couple shouted loudly. "Where's Oh Yashima-hiko? Come out now!"
     The duo darted further into the castle with the fury of a raging lion.
     At this time Oh Yashima-hiko was confined in his room with its doors tightly shut because he was sick in bed. Onikuma and Oni-hime used all their strength to strike the room's door open. Surprised by the blaring loud noise, Tatsuyo-hime and Takasugi-wake rushed to the scene. They quickly started grappling with the ogre couple. Takasugi-wake was about to be destroyed by Onikuma, when Kojima-wake came to Takasugi-wake's rescue and held Onikuma tightly from behind just as Honzo Kakogawa held back Judge Enya in the 18th-century samurai drama titled the "Forty-Seven Ronin." Other servant-kami showing up at the scene also held Onikuma's arms and legs. Near the end of his rope, Onikuma shouted to Oni-hime for help. Oni-hime tried to run to rescue her husband, but Kiku-hime appeared behind her and put her head in a noose, making her fall on her back. Many women swarmed around Oni-hime and bound her up. At this time Takekuma came to the scene from the middle palace and hit the embattled Onikuma on the head with an iron hammer. A fountain of blood poured from his forehead, presenting a horrible sight unbearable to look at. Then came Masumi-hime and Tatsuyo-hime, each of whom struck and beat the severely weakened Onikuma with a thorny whip as she got so emotional as to think that the time was right to vent her pent-up anger at him and punish his wicked deeds. The voices of all the deities there going berserk and shouting loudly reverberated in all directions like a flood.
     Aware of the outbreak of something serious, the ill Oh Yashima-hiko jumped out of his sickbed, rushed to the scene, calmed down Kojima-wake and Takasugi-wake, and treated the wounded Onikuma with tender loving care. He sure was a divine general endowed with wisdom, virtue and valor.
     Waka-himegimi, having completed her divine work on the Kutsujima-islands, returned to the Dragon Palace Castle together with two of her servant-kami. She gaped at the ghastly sight.
     "Who is the outlaw that assaulted Onikuma?" the infuriated goddess demanded, flushing angrily and knitting her eyebrows.
     At this time Onikuma was so confused that he had no idea who the culprit was. But he made a malicious guess.
     "The ones who hit me on the face were definitely Tatsuyo-hime, Takasugi-wake and Tora-hiko," Onikuma reported to Waka-himegimi while tossing his horrendously bloody head.
     "That's not true," Kojima-wake interrupted Onikuma, his tone strong and his statement clear. "I was on the spot watching what happened. I can prove Takekuma hit Onikuma with an iron rod."
     "Your conduct is flagrantly savage and outrageous," Waka-himegimi said to Takekuma. "It convinced me that you haven't really mended your ways yet. I have no option but to order you to go down to the Ne no Kuni and Soko no Kuni [41] right away according to the Kami's commandments."
     "No, no, I'm not the culprit," Takekuma asserted, shaking his head in denial. "Takasugi-wake and his folks did it."
     Kojima-wake and his folks maintained that Takekuma was to blame because they saw the actual scene with their own eyes.
     Oh Yashima-hiko said to Waka-himegimi tearfully, "It was totally remiss of me to let a deplorable event like this happen while you were away on the islands for the Great Kami's work. I plead with you to forgive Takekuma's sin by banishing me to the Ne no Kuni and Soko no Kuni."
     Waka-himegimi was so touched by Oh Yashima-hiko's heart of gold and benevolence that she stopped making an issue of it any more and cautioned all the kami there to watch their conduct in the future. This settled the whole thing. The wound Onikuma suffered proved fatal; he ended up meeting his fate and perished. His wife Oni-hime was enraged by Takekuma's atrocity and planned with Takekuma-wake to wage a battle of revenge for her husband's death. Meanwhile, Onikuma's vengeful ghost coagulated finally into a black dragon inhabiting the Ural mountains.

         (Dictation taken by Toyoji Toyama on October 26 by the solar calendar, or September 26 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 49: Emergence of Lake Baikal   〔49〕

     Takekuma's sin was pardoned thanks to Oh Yashima-hiko's sacrificial sincerity and benevolence. Nonetheless, the divine leadership had to deny Takekuma access to the Dragon Palace Castle out of consideration for the general public. Takekuma could not help returning to his citadel in Eden, which had already been occupied by Onikuma. His wife Oni-hime had defended the Castle of Eden tooth and nail since her husband's death by appointing Ushikuma and Takekuma-wake as commanding officers and mobilizing numerous evil troops. Not knowing at all what was on the minds of Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko, Takekuma believed that they remained his best adherents.
     Takekuma ordered Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko to attack the Castle of Eden from front and back to recapture it. However, neither of them followed Takekuma's orders, and they accused him of his inhumane cruelty instead, shoving him out of the gate, shutting it tightly and heavily guarding the castle lest he enter it again.
     Takekuma, denied access to the Dragon Palace Castle, sought help from the Kotsune-hime camp, which had built a fortress on Mount Kijo, organized numerous evil troops and ruled the area as its sphere of influence. Kotsune-hime saw no reason to decline the request from Takekuma, a comrade of hers, because his undoing would make it impossible for her to achieve her own ambition. That was why she worked with Maki-hiko, Taka-hime and others to launch a troop formation and rushed to attack the citadel in Eden. Oni-hime ordered Ushikuma and Ushi-hime to prevent the enemy from crossing the Jordan River. Kotsune-hime countered it desperately by summoning clouds, causing wind and bringing rain. The river got flooded in no time with its water level increasingly rising high enough to almost submerge the Castle of Eden. At her wits' end, Oni-hime held the 12 fake and authentic gem balls Takekuma had enshrined and started running far away into the sky under cover of dark clouds with her adherents. The sun was blackened as if it were perpetually dark, and Oni-hime and her evil company hurried to disappear towards the Ural mountains.
     Obeying the Supreme Kami Kunitokotachi's orders, Kushiharu-hiko and Murakumo-wake on the way to the Ural mountains quickly shapeshifted into fire-breathing dragons and appeared in the sky. They began attacking Oni-hime by breathing fire at her from all directions. Oni-hime and her party struggled to fight back for a time, but they were unable to bear the agony, ran out of steam and fell to the ground. This caused the ground to cave in to form a long and large lake known as Lake Baikal. Oni-hime perished, and its ghost turned into a black dragon inhabiting Lake Baikal. Afterwards, the black dragon was reincarnated as Kidzuki-hime, keeping a vengeful eye on the Dragon Palace Castle. The citadel in Eden thus fell back into Takekuma's hands.

         (Dictation taken by Haruko Kato on October 26 by the solar calendar, or September 26 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

Chapter 50: Emergence of the Dead Sea   〔50〕

     Onikuma and Oni-hime were defeated in their battles with Takekuma, and they ended up shapeshifting into evil spirits that inhabited the Ural mountains and Lake Baikal. They vanished from sight for a while, making it possible for the Dragon Palace Castle to restore a little peace.
     The Supreme Kami Kunitokotachi praised Oh Yashima-hiko and Waka-himegimi for their feats and bestowed a divine rank as an angel of the Spiritual Kingdom on each of them. Takekuma, meanwhile, held a grudge against Takasugi-wake and Moritaka-hiko for their treachery and devised a plot to destroy them in revenge by whatever means. It was for this purpose that Takekuma felt the need to obliterate the Angel Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto first.
     Having recaptured the citadel in Eden, Takekuma appointed Nakasaki-hiko and Oh Tora-hiko as commanding officers and Ushikuma and Ushi-hiko as staff officers to get ready for an attack. He also needed Kotsune-hime's reinforcements, who had ruled Mount Kijo as their sphere of influence. Kotsune-hime was mapping out a plan to dispatch Maki-hiko, Taka-hime, Matsuyama-hiko and other commanding officers to attack the Angel Oh Yashima from front and back.
     Sarutobi-hiko and Kiku-hime tipped Oh Yashima off about Takekuma and Kotsune-hime's strategy to launch a rebellious military operation. Authorities at the Dragon Palace Castle had the commanding officers of Hanateru-hiko, Hanateru-hime, Kagawa-hiko, Hayakuni-hiko, Toyama-hiko and Sakura-hiko guard each castle gate. With adequate protection provided to the castle, Oh Yashima followed the Great Kami's orders and set off for Mount Zion, accompanied by the commanding officers of Takasugi-wake, Moritaka-hiko and Tokiyo-hiko. Oh Yashima's mission was to communicate the Great Kami's divine command to all the heavenly deities concerned. They listened to his report and formulated a divine plan to raise an army of heavenly deities to punish Takekuma and Kotsune-hime for their rebellion. Just then the Angel Ama-Akari-hiko no Mikoto appeared from heaven above, bringing with him the legion of celestial warriors. They descended to the plateau on top of Mount Zion.
     "In case of imminent danger," said Ama-Akari-hiko, his face turned to Oh Yashima. "We will back you up with our divine army. But fear not. Takekuma and Kotsune-hime's evil army is never a force to be reckoned with."
     Ama-Akari-hiko used his sword with a prominently bulbous golden pommel to hit the ground of the mountain, out of which auspicious energy emerged, soared high and dropped down in front of Oh Yashima. That was a kubutsuchi no tama, or bulbous pommel-shaped jewel.
     Two other same jewels materialized with a sound - a total of three divine gems.
     Ama-Akari-hiko said, "Sweep out the evil army with these elemental spirits." The angel returned to heaven, leading the multitude of his celestial warriors. Oh Yashima worshipped heaven and lay prostrate on the ground to give thanks for the boundless divine blessing.
     Takekuma and Kotsune-hime did all they could to surround the Dragon Palace Castle from every direction. The valiant Kagawa-hiko and other servant-kami repelled the swarming enemy soliders tooth and nail, destroying a third of the entire evil troops as some of them were wounded while others were killed in action. At this time a spy lurking in the castle tipped off Takekuma and Kotsune-hime about the whereabouts of Oh Yashima.
     "The Angel Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto is on Mount Zion," the spy said.
     No sooner had Takekuma and Kotsune-hime heard it than they caused dark clouds and raised winds to rush straight for the sky above Mount Zion.
     At this time, Oh Yashima took out one of the spherical gems bestowed on him by Ama-Akari-hiko and threw it high into the sky to hit Takekuma's evil army. The gem exploded into tens of thousands of yellow dragons, closing in on Takekuma from all directions. This aerial battle cost Takekuma his supernatural power, and he plunged towards the ground tragically together with the 12 fake and authentic gem balls. He quickly shapeshifted into a black dragon before he hit the ground and passed out. A little later he got up to raise an evil army again for defense, when two goddesses - the Kami Kinkatsukane and Hitsuji-hime no Mikoto - threw down their heavenly jewelled spears at the head of Takekuma from heaven above. One spear hit him on the head while the other on the back. He collapsed at the site and coughed up black blood. This sounded the death knell of the ill-fated Takekuma.
     Takekuma's blood overflowed to become a lake called the Dead Sea. Takekuma's spirit and soul later turned into a vengeful ghost inhabiting the Dead Sea. The water in the lake is bitter, salty and viscous because the spirit of the heavenly jewelled spears and the essence of the gore have been crystallized. Takekuma's spirit was reincarnated as Bohfuri-hiko and persistently caused numerous trouble to the Angel Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto. The evil spirits that had served Takekuma as his followers also turned into fiendish ogres inhabiting the Dead Sea. All those vengeful ghosts spread all over the world and have caused various kinds of harm down the ages. Their modus operandi is to lure people into coming to pools, rivers, lakes, the sea and other bodies of water, possess them in the form of the Grim Reaper and drown them to death. Therefore, there will be no end to the drowned across the world unless these defiled bodies of water are purified through divine ceremonies.
     The most ferocious Kotsune-hime army appeared from the sky behind Mount Zion to attack Oh Yashima. He flung the second bulbous pommel-shaped jewel up in the air. It exploded in an instant, and its divine power frightened and confused the Kotsune-hime army, with Kotsune-hime crashing into the summit of one of the towering bald mountains surrounding the Dead Sea. The crash fatally wounded her sacral promontory. Kotsune-hime's spirit was reincarnated as Takatora-hime, and she worked with Bohfuri-hiko to use every opportunity to cause decisive trouble to the Angel Oh Yashima-hiko no Mikoto. All the pertinent details will come to light as the author describes them in due time.
     The 10 genuine and two fake gem balls owned by Takekuma sank into the Dead Sea. They gradually degenerated into eerie mists as time elapsed, and they flew high out of the lake and crashed into various parts of the world, with the spewing malevolent energy tormenting every local creature. What had originally been the 10 divine jewels born out of the golden water's quintessence turned into evil spirits as they were tainted by Takekuma's blood. They committed many different kinds of wrongdoing in the countries to which they were scattered. Any land exposed to these evil jewels was doomed to have the worst land-soul.
     Hundreds, nay thousands of angels grouped together, pushed aside the heavy clouds, appeared from one corner of the sky and descended to the earth in turn. Zuigetsu [42] suddenly felt extreme coldness in his physical body amid the spectacle, and he opened his eyes to find his physical body exposed to the bleak wind while he remained seated on his heels in front of the cave on Mount Takakuma.

         (Dictation taken by Shigeo Sakurai on October 26 by the solar calendar, or September 26 by the lunar calender, Taisho 10 (1921))

A supplementary note: About the Reikai Monogatari

     Zuigetsu    Onisaburo Deguchi

     The Reikai Monogatari is scheduled to reach completion with a total of 120 volumes. However, it is a flagrant mistake to believe that you need to finish reading all these volumes to understand the details of how the Kami's grand design works in the three major realms of the Spirit World: the divine realm, the realm of stray spirits, and the physical realm. When reading a Buddhist sutra, you have only to fully savor its beginning section and grasp what is written in it to see the light and perceive the whole spirit of the sutra. A glance at the beginning of a written material allows anyone to understand its contents or spirit. A sword can be identified as excellent or poor when you loosen it slightly from the sheath and take a good look at the exposed portion of the blade. You can get a rough idea of what a whole snake looks like when you observe about three sun (or about 3.6 inches) of its body. The same applies to the Chinese Shijing ("Book of Odes"). Its first section titled the "Odes of Zhou and the South" embrases odes in other sections, and the top line "Guan-guan go the ospreys, on the islet in the river" embraces Zhou and the South. By the same token, you should be able to perceive the spirit underlying the whole volumes of the Reikai Monogatari when you read a certain portion of Volume 1. The three stanzas of the Basic Missionary Chant in this volume alone tell you about the great spirit of the entire Reikai Monogatari. The following is the beginning of the 10,000-folio (or 100,000-sheet) Ofudesaki ("Tip of the Writing Brush"), a collection of holy messages from the Deity Kunitokotachi no Mikoto as automatically written by the poor and illiterate Foundress Nao Deguchi:
"The time has come for the reign of Ushitora no Konjin [43] to burst into full bloom as plum blossoms in the three major realms of the Spirit World at the same time. Ushitora no Konjin will sit on Mount Sumeru [44] and protect the three major realms of the Spirit World, along with the primeval deities who will come back to the front. With these kami on the front line, they will take equitable measures to redress the current injustices among all walks of life. They will also reform gods, buddhas and people in the world, usher in the Age of the Maitreya Kami by scrapping and rebuilding the present world, and show the utopian new kingdom to heaven and earth, etc."
Even the above excerpt allows you to find out about the grand design and will of the Great Kami in their entirety. Similarly, the whole spirit of the Christian Bible can be clarified when you fully understand such passages as "God created the heaven and the earth" and "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him." Suppose, for example, a single morning glory flower is hung on the pillar of an alcove in a Japanese tea-ceremony room. The interior of the room and even the whole heaven and earth can turn into the morning glory flower depending on how you look at it. The whole of anything can be recognized by its individual components. The notion of a single flower covering ten billion worlds as indicated in the Avatamsaka Sutra (also called "Flower Garland Sutra") signifies that even a minuscule particle contains fractals of the three major realms of the Spirit World. Seen from this perspective, the majority of Volume 1 of the Reikai Monogatari is a mere annotation to a single chapter. Celestial beings in the innermost and highest level of the Kingdom of Heaven go so far beyond those in lower levels in terms of wisdom and enlightenment that they need only a few simple words to clearly comprehend great yet subtle and profound verities that lower-level celestial beings would otherwise fail to understand satisfactorily even after reading texts that use millions of words to explain those verities. In short, the voluminous Reikai Monogatari has been provided as per the Will of the Kami for those people whose spirituality has yet to meet the criteria as denizens of the lowest third level of the Kingdom of Heaven [45]. It would gratify me most if my readers would understand my intention here. Thank you.

End of Volume 1: Volume of the Ne ("Rat") in the Reishu-taiju ("Spirit the master, flesh the servant") series of the Reikai Monogatari

The webmaster's note:
[1] ^ Ninth Emperor according to the Kojiki ("Records of Ancient Matters") and the Nihon Shoki ("Chronicles of Japan"). Also see SECT. LXII. - EMPEROR KAI-KUWA. of the Kojiki.

[2] ^ Literally "Procedures (or Institutes) of the Engi Era (901-923)." It is a 50-volume text which includes legal and administrative procedures and the ritual and ceremonial calendar of the Imperial Court. It also recognizes over 3,000 official shrines nationwide.

[3] ^ 25th Emperor (489 A.D. - 506 A.D.). Also see Section CLXXII - Emperor Mu-retsu of the Kojiki.

[4] ^ 26th Emperor (450 A.D. - 531 A.D.). Also see Section CLXXIII. - Emperor Kei-tai of the Kojiki.

[5] ^ Small former Japanese oval gold coins.

[6] ^ Rhododendron dilatatum.

[7] ^ Literally translated as "word spirit," it refers to mystical power believed to reside in spoken words of the Japanese.

[8] ^ Large former Japanese oval gold coins.

[9] ^ Obata Shrine. The kanji characters for Obata are the same as the kanji characters for koban ("small banner (pataka)")

[10] ^ For reference, see SECT. IX. - THE LAND OF HADES.

[11] ^ Literally, "surviving soliders of a defeated army" or "soldiers fleeing the battlefield."

[12] ^ The genkai ("physical realm"), the yukai ("realm of lost spirits"), and the shinkai ("realm of divinities").

[13] ^ According to Buddhism, the four debts of gratitude refer to:
  1. Debt of gratitude to be paid to one's father and mother
  2. Debt of gratitude to be paid to the ruler of the nation
  3. Debt of gratitude to be paid to all living beings, and
  4. Debt of gratitude to be paid to the three treasures, i.e. the Buddha, dharma (Buddhist teachings) and sangha (community of Buddhist believers).
[14] ^ Literally, "May my soul prosper according to the Kami" or "May my soul be filled with happiness, protected and guided according to the Will of the Kami." Somewhat similar to "Amen," this phrase is often used to end Japanese ritual prayers.

[15] ^ A unit of length in the old Japanese system of weights and measures. One ri roughly equals 0.31 mile.

[16] ^ For those who doubt that soul dwells in inanimate objects, it is useful to differentiate between rei (soul) and sei-rei (sophisticated soul). Rei (soul) is ubiquitous not just in minerals and plants but in every other being that takes on a certain shape as well. That is because rei is what makes the shape remain as it is; conversely, the shape would crumble in no time at all without rei.

The same applies to humans and animals, although their rei is specially termed sei-rei (sophisticated soul). All animate beings have sei-rei, whether they be corporeal or discarnate entities, good or evil spirits.

It is perhaps the Kami's mercy that inanimate objects do not possess sei-rei. If they did, they could not bear to sit still in one place for too long.

The state of rei varies among creatures; it is latent in minerals, dormant in plants, and active in animals. In case what is supposed to be the latent or dormant rei of minerals or of plants becomes so active as to respond to people, they will often be the object of worship as holy rocks or sacred trees.

[17] ^ The Divine Revelation of Omoto. It is a compilation of Nao Deguchi's Ofudesaki ("Tip of the Writing Brush") messages from Deity Kunitokotachi no Mikoto that have been edited by Onisaburo Deguchi.

[18] ^ The honorific title of Nao Deguchi in Omoto.

[19] ^ Onisaburo Deguchi. Mitsuba, short for mitsubatsutsuji (Rhododendron dilatatum), implies the Three August Deities, or the Mizu Spirit. For more, see "Chapter 1: Training on the sacred mountain."

[20] ^ The Heaven-Shining-Great-August-Deity, also commonly referred to as the Sun Goddess. She is believed to be the great-grandmother of the legendary first emperor, Jimmu. For reference, see SECT. X. - THE PURIFICATION OF THE AUGUST PERSON of the Kojiki ("Records of Ancient Matters") by Basil Hall Chamberlain.

[21] ^ Literally, "May my soul prosper according to the Kami" or "May my soul be filled with happiness, protected and guided according to the Will of the Kami." Somewhat similar to "Amen," this phrase is often used to end Japanese ritual prayers.

[22] ^ Literally, the "Gold[or Metal]-Triumph[or Supremacy]-Pivot-Deity."

[23] ^ Suggestive of "Hitsujisaru no Konjin," the wife-deity of Ushitora no Konjin.

[24] ^ Literally, the "Great origin of the way" by Chikaatsu Honda (1823-1889), a Shinto priest and scholar, whose spiritual studies exerted considerable influence on Onisaburo's teachings.

The Michi no taigen is "a short assemblage of 24 individual sentences in literary-style Chinese, regarded as the quintessence of Honda's teaching"
(Chinkon Kishin: Mediated Spirit Possession in Japanese New Religions by Birgit Staemmler. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2009)

An anecdote has it that Chikaatsu Honda prophesied Onisaburo's visit to Katsutate Nagasawa, one of his disciples, some 10 years after his death, as shown in the following excerpt:
"Nagasawa told Kisaburo much about spiritual science and about the career of Chikaatsu Honda, while his mother Toyoko gave him three books which Honda had given them.

"To Kisaburo's surprise, Toyoko delightedly told him, 'One of the last things Honda said was that some ten years later a young man would come from the province of Tamba, and that it was from Tamba that the Way of the Gods would open. Without a doubt you are the man who will succeed to his great will."

(The Great Onisaubro Deguchi by Kyotaro Deguchi. Translated by Charles Rowe. Tokyo: Aiki News, 1998. 22 p.)

Actually, Kisaburo Ueda (Onisaburo's real name) met Chikaatsu Honda on the Nashiki Pass in Oji, Tamba before he attained spiritual awakening. The Omoto Revelation says that their encounter was fated as part of the Grand Design of the Kami.

[25] ^ Father of Ji Fa, the founder of the ancient Chinese Zhou dynasty (1046 - 256 BC). For more details, see the link Encyclopedia Britannica on Wenwang

[26] ^ One real-life model is said to be Kou-kichi Ueda, a brother of Onisaburo Deguchi, who had served as a Shinto priest at Hinumanai Shrine in northern Kyoto.

[27] ^ One real-life model is said to be Koto Tada, one of Onisaburo's girlfriends, who aided him in his nascent missionary work.

[28] ^ One real-life model of the woman here is said to be Hisako Fukushima, the third daughter of Nao Deguchi. Hisako waited in the area of Yagi for what Nao's Ofudesaki writings prophesied "a person who will be able to understand these things will appear from the east." Ushitora no Konjin, a deity possessing Nao was later identified as Kunitokotachi no Mikoto, or the Great King presiding over the Court of Yama in the underworld.

Hisako would later create her own faction to defy Onisaburo by every possible means.

An excerpt from The Great Onisaburo Deguchi published by Aiki News reads as follows:
This person finally came to Ayabe on October 8, 1898, when Tamba was adorned in rich autumn colors. But far from the gallant figure one might expect, the man who presented himself to Nao was a strange and comical-looking youth sporting an old-fashioned cloak and blackened teeth and carrying an umbrella and a basket.

"I've been sent here by Hisako fukushima of Yagi. Is it here that the old lady is living, who is said to be the medium of Ushitora no Konjin?" Kisaburo asked casually.

[29] ^ The parent Kami of all humanity, primarily worshipped by believers of the Konkoyo, or the Konko ("Golden Light") faith.

[30] ^ Often synonymous with the headquarters of the Omoto faith in Ayabe northwest of central Kyoto.

[31] ^ The belief in the magical and prophetic power of Japanese words and syllables. Literally, "the spirit of the word."

[32] ^ A former Omoto follower who took Onisaburo's oral dictation for the Reikai Monogatari. He later founded the new religion Seicho no Ie.

[33] ^ For a breakdown of the Spirit World, see the table in Chapter 5: Training in the spirit world.

[34] ^ See SECT. III. - THE ISLAND OF ONOGORO of the Kojiki ("Records of Ancient Matters") by Basil Hall Chamberlain.


[36] ^ The Lotus Pedestal hill in the physical world is often synonymous with Mt. Hongu within Omoto's sanctuary in Ayabe, northern Kyoto.

[37] ^ Ushitora refers to Ushitora no Konjin ("Konjin residing in the northeast"), another name for Kunitokotachi. The northeast is a direction associated with directional taboos because of Konjin, or literally "metal-god," who was traditionally regarded as a dangerous Taoist deity. A Chinese text reads that if Konjin were offended, he would kill seven people. The Reikai Monogatari, especially, Volume 4, says that Kunitokotachi, supreme ruler of the Earth's divine world, fell for evil deities' trick and was forced into seclusion in the northeast of the Earth. They even put a curse on him so that he could not get out.

[38] ^ Onisaburo says that the Moon is spherical in shape, half of which is made up of water and is thus a transparent body, and that this hemisphere is luminescent while the other a total fire body. For more, see The Divine Revelations on the Cosmos.

[39] ^ For reference, see SECT. XVIII. - THE EIGHT-FORKED SERPENT.

[40] ^ For the images of the arched bridge, go to Sumiyoshi Taisha to click the "Sorihashi Bridge" icon on the Shrine Map.

[41] ^ The Ne no Kuni ("Land of the Roots") and the Soko no Kuni ("Land of the Bottom") compose the World of Hell. See How the Spirit World Works.

[42] ^ A pseudonym of Onisaburo Deguchi. It means "Udumbara Chandra," or "Auspicious Moon."

[43] ^ Another name for Kunitokotachi no Mikoto. Ushitora refers to Ushitora no Konjin ("Konjin residing in the northeast"). The northeast is a direction associated with directional taboos because of Konjin, or literally "metal-god," who was traditionally regarded as a dangerous Taoist deity. A Chinese text reads that if Konjin were offended, he would kill seven people. The Reikai Monogatari, especially, Volume 4, says that Kunitokotachi, supreme ruler of the Earth's divine world, fell for evil deities' trick and was forced into seclusion in the northeast of the Earth. They even put a curse on him so that he could not get out.

[44] ^ Same as Mount Meru (the highest cosmic mountain in Buddhism) soaring infinitely high in the center of the universe.

[45] ^ For illustrations of the Spirit World, see How the Spirit World Works. Strictly speaking, the Kingdom of Heaven consists of 181 levels, but in this supplementary note, Onisaburo mentions only three broad levels for the sake of clarity.

Copyright © The Moon of Onisaburo Deguchi.   All rights reserved.