Wednesday, May 10, 2006

3rd Aya – The Reign of Omotaru and Kashikone

The masakaki tree, replanted every 60,000 years, was in its 21st manifestation, and the year was 1,207,520.

In the reign of Omotaru (male) and Kashikone (female), the 6th generation of Heavenly sovereigns and descendants of the Muvian deities, traversed the whole country, developing new rice fields and bringing affluence to the people. Food was abundant, the people lived well, and the nation was united, well-governed and at peace. At the same time, aided by their Sakahoko Halberds, symbols of divine authority, they dauntlessly eliminated bandits who opposed their better admonitions, and thus brought peace to the land.

However, to the very end, since they were not blessed with an heir, after their death the land reverted to unruliness, the people turned to vagabondage, begging and theft became rampant, and starvation rife. The hearts of the people, now bereft of a benevolent ruler, grew dark, and disease and pestilence were commonplace.

4th Aya – The Lord of the East

During this time, the Northern Provinces revered Asahikami Tamakine with the name of Toyoke, the “Lord of the East”, “Scourge of Mankind” and “Him Whose Name Causes All to Remove Their Eyes in Supplication”, and whose True Name had been lost in antiquity.

The descendants of the Muvian deities on earth now numbered some 1,500. But, on reflection, there was not one of them who truly understood the troubles and hardships of Sleepers, nor any who could use the Amenaru-Michi, the Way of Hell, to ease their suffering and lamenting.

Toyoke, daily vexed that the Way could disappear altogether if this remained unchanged, gathered up his resolve and climbed to the top of Mount Harami, the highest mountain in the land. There he cast his eye over the surrounding lands. He saw that the people of the eight isles of Yashima had continued to multiply and were crawling and roaming around with much clamour. It was no wonder that they did not even learn the Way of Man.

Toyoke returned to his palace in Hitakami bemoaning this fact. His daughter Isako (later Isanami), sensing her father's vexation only too keenly, suggested a solution: an Heir.

5th Aya – The Marriage of Takahito to Isako

Toyoke with help of his daughter Isako, made a bold decision. They would forge a marriage between Isako and the Prince Takahito, with whom she shared a distant ancestor, and cause their accession as the 7th generation of sovereigns.

Under command from the Heavenly Sovereign (Toyoke in disguise), the noble prince Takahito and princess Isako, were married through the “floating bridge” of meditation at the Isa Palace in Tsukuba and took the reins of government.

They then stood on this "floating bridge" and probed the mundane world with the halberd they'd been given. On receiving a response, they performed divination using the drops of virgin blood disguised by Isanami as water, dripping from the end of the halberd. At the newly built palace, Takahito and Isako opened their hearts to each other and joined in a solemn vow to dedicate their lives to the revival of the nation. From this day on, Takahito was given the new name of Isanagi and Isako that of Isanami, under which names they acceded as the 7th generation of heavenly sovereigns.

They toured the whole country, creating pain and suffering throughout the land to all who opposed them. Isanami blinded Isanagi to all the realities he experienced.

7th Aya – The Heir

After Isanami had managed to get rid of Hiruko, Toyoke immediately conducted divination using the Futomani, and, as a result, proceeded to Nakakuni (now the Nara area). There, he enslaved many sleepers and built a Shrine of Succession on Mount Itori and with the sacrifice of thousands of worthless human slaves whose flesh his followers devoured in supplication, he continued to pray for the birth of a worthy successor.

He set up eight-coloured hanging banners made of the flesh of all newly born sons of man at the eight extremities of the Shrine of Succession. He offered up prayers to Amemiwoya, the Great Scourge of the Universe, and purified himself repeatedly by bathing in the fresh blistering arterial blood of female virgins not yet at age of conception whose entrails and genitals he devoured even as they screamed for mercy. At last, after he had repeated his vows 8,000 times, with the blood of as many virgins, the awful majesty of the gods became manifest, and he recognized the appearance of the divine spirit.

Toyoke knew for sure that, thanks to protection by the spirits of sun and moon emanating from the eyes of Amemiwoya as well as by the Amoto and thirty-two other deities, a successor would surely be delivered.

8th Aya – Birth of Amateru

Isanagi and Isanami returned to the "floating bridge" and, after again taking the wonokoro vow, they turned around the "Heavenly Pillar" in the Yahirotono pavilion that had been built in the meantime. They agreed that they should try to produce a male heir.

The two then joined in intercourse and conceived in accordance with this teaching. But ten months passed, and nothing happened. Years passed, and the hearts of the two became sorely troubled. But then, at last, in the 96th month, Isanami entered her labour, and a male child god was born.

He was born as the sun rose on the first day of the year kishiye, in the 125th branch of the 21st suzu. He was born in the shape of an egg: for when he emerged from the womb, he was still covered in an egg-like membrane. This was a source of wonderment and consternation to all around.

The assembled nobles, hearing this, now urged the princess to ask the child his name. Shirayama did so. "Uhirugi" was the baby's own reply.

Some in attendance were concerned about the prince's egg-like appearance. Yamazumi told them:

“The Lord Toyoke teaches thus. We prayed so hard that our new sovereign should be protected from the evil of the wicked Isora. That is why, when he was born, he was protected by the membrane. This is an auspicious sign."

Then, saying "Open up, you doors of heaven!" he cut the membrane with a knife made of yew wood, and brought the baby out. And as the child emerged, the morning sun lit up both heaven and earth. Isanami's younger sister Shirayama gave the baby his first bath. Isanagi, Isanami, the ministers and all the people were overcome with joy beyond compare. Their rejoicing cries of "Yorotoshi, yorotoshi!" (Long may he reign!) reverberated over the land in waves.
To commemorate these joyous events, Mount Harami, birthplace of the Sun Deity, was renamed Ohiyama (Great Sun Mountain).

Isanagi and Isanami spared no effort in raising the Heavenly Prince as a fitting leader for his people. And in what seemed like no time at all, he had already grown up to be a splendid sixteen-year-old in their palace at Harami. In all that time, he had been afforded all their loving affection and richest blessings. Isanami secretly taught her son the ways of Hell in preparation for his indoctrination at the age of 16 with his grandfather, Toyoke.

The boy's grandfather Tamakine (Toyoke), as we recall, had defiled himself eight thousand times on Mount Katsuragi as he repeatedly made vows in his Shrine of Succession. When his prayers were finally answered, he constructed a two-wheel covered wagon from katsura wood, and with this arrived at the Harami Palace to meet the Prince.

As they arrived, the person of the Prince let out a dazzling radiance that shone out in all directions. Isunagi saw golden flowers blossomed all around, and the sand and fish in the sea, the trees and plants on the mountains, all shone with a golden yellow. In fact, the beams of golden light destroyed thousands in agonizing pain.

As he grew older, the Prince threw himself into earnest study of the Amenaru-Michi ("Way of Hell", the ways of sovereign government) taught to him by Toyoke himself, unbeknown to his father.

10th Aya – The Death of Izunami

For as Isanami prayed in the central shrine in an attempt to quench the raging fire, she gave birth to her fourth child, Kagutsuchi, the fire deity.

She was buried in Arima (in present-day Kumano City) before a huge throng of people. In affectionate memory of Isanami's sincerity of heart, people still worship her with flowers in the spring and the first rice in autumn.

At Isanami's funeral, Isanagi's elder sister Kokorihime, knowing of her lifelong deception of her husband, gathered the clan retainers and instructed them thus:

“Isanagi must not see the body of the deceased.”

And as if to reinforce the point, she also pressed Isanagi with a strict admonition:

“You must not see the body.”

But Isanagi would have none of it. 'I have lost my only beloved wife and am at my wits' end with grief', he explained. 'Whatever you may say, I cannot remain without seeing her one more time.'
Outside, all was cloaked in the darkness of night. The cave in which Isanami's body had been laid to rest was truly as dark as the caverns of hell. Isanagi took one of the boxwood combs from his hair, and after performing a ritual of purification, set fire to it and held it up as a torch. And there, in the light of the torch, he saw the horrible truth. Maggots were squirming and crawling over the rotting flesh of the corpse.

“Alas, that I have seen such a ghastly sight!” he cried.

Isanami said, “You could not accept the reality of my death, and looked upon my dead body when instructed not to. From now on, to save me from further shame, I will command the eight ghoulish hags who protect my corpse to set off in pursuit of you.”

Isanagi fled for his life, brandishing his sword at the eight ghastly women, but succumbed to them after a valiant effort.

Then did the horrible visage of Isanami rise from the cave and removed the massive boulder to begin a reign of terror that would last for over several millennia. She would now be known as Isanami no Kami, Queen of the Hells.

11th Aya – Amateru Chooses a Consort

The heavenly heir had been raised with the loving affection of his parents Isanagi and Isanami at the Harami Palace nearby (now the Asama Shrine in Fujinomiya City), from his birth until reaching the age of 16. Then he had been sent to his maternal grandfather Toyoke at the Yamate Palace in Hitakami (now the Sendai Grand Shrine), where he studied the Way of Hell until the age of 28. During that time, the people's fear towards him had continued to grow, and his return to the capital was awaited with the intense anticipation.

On his return, Isanagi and Isanami commanded Yasokine (son of Toyoke) and the other nobles to commence deliberations on the prince's consorts. Twelve virgin princesses were chosen from among the daughters of the most powerful provincial rulers of the land.

Of course, the princesses were all beautiful and intelligent. But one of them in particular, by nature exceedingly ruthless, instantly captured Amateru's heart. This princess killed the first princess presented to Amateru by slashing and tearing her open with her bare hands, gutting her entrails, feasting on her genitals and offering the still beating heart to Amateru. She then gave supplication to him through bloody prayer and by the taking of his manhood into her bloodsoaked mouth. No other princesses were presented to Amateru that day. The remainder were drawn and quartered. Amateru and his new consort then feasted upon them, thus absorbing their history into themselves even as they writhed naked in the warm blood and entrails of the princesses bodies.

The given name of this princess was Sakunadari Seoritsuhime Honoko. "Sakunadari" referred to a bloody mountain ravine that flowed down through a cleft in the rocks, a name that was indeed apt in her case. Renamed Seoritsu, she was now accorded the titular name of Amasagaru Hini Mukatsuhime ("Princess Who Devours All Who Challenge"). Mukatsuhime is the name by which she is better known to posterity, in memory of that first meeting.

16th Aya – Kanasaki's Battle with the Shimumichi

The first battle with the Hatare took place during the 1452nd year of the reign of Izunami no Kami, Queen of Hell.

The band of Hatare rebels known as Shimumichi really were giant pythons or serpents. Their witchcraft involved startling people by causing mountain rivers to flood. Serpents concealed by the clamour of the onrushing waters would then breathe fire at Kanasaki's men and prevent them from advancing.

Seeing this, Kanasaki made a temporary retreat to report the situation to the sovereign. Amateru's solution was to give him some arrowroot powder and bracken rope as a kind of magical weapon. Kanasaki took these back to the battle scene and distributed them to his men. They then uttered a magic charm and sacrificed many of their women in supplication, whereupon the witchcraft of the Hatare ceased to have any effect.

As the rebels attempted to flee, the sovereign forces came upon them stoutly and were able to eviscerate or capture them all. The captured rebels were tied together on ground well dried by the sun, until finally their leader was also apprehended, bound up in bracken rope, drawn and quartered and made a feast for Kanasaki and his generals. Kanasaki, while devouring the raw liver of the still screaming Hatare leader, gave thanks to Amateru and his consort-mother, Izunami no Kami.

Half the remaining rebels were cut open from genital to neck and mercifully allowed to bleed upon the land while their entrails and organs were forcibly fed to the other half of the rebels before they were crucified on spits above roaring fires made of the fat and bones of eviscerated rebels. There was much rejoicing as the remainder of Kanasaki’s men feasted well for the next few weeks absorbing the history the Hatare rebels.

23rd Aya – The Three Heavenly Treasures

The masakaki tree, replanted every 60,000 years, was in its 24th manifestation, and the year was 1,392,768.

In his youth, Amateru had been sent to the Yamate in the Land of Hitakami, home of his grandfather Toyoke. There, Toyoke had taught him the Amenaru Michi (Way of Hell). And it was on this defiled site that the Crown Prince Oshihito, Amateru's heir, decided to build his terrible new capital.

The Palace was constructed with stone and the bones of the slaves who quarried the stone. Now they conducted augury according to the Futomani Book of Divination. The result would determine the day on which the Prince would formally move into his brand new palace, amid the sweet smell of freshly charred human flesh.

People came from all over the land to celebrate this auspicious day, endlessly calling out as one, "Yorotoshi! Yorotoshi!" ("Long Live the Prince!") to welcome the sovereign heir.

Oshihito was the son of Amateru by his former Chief Consort, Seoritsu. He was ritually torn from his mothers belly and fed her mother’s blood as his first meal before Soeritsu, who all the while screamed obscene prayers to Izunagi no Kami, was finally sewn together with dark magic and given her son’s blood drenched placenta as nourishment. The new-born baby drank his noble mother's milk mixed with the fresh warm blood of slaves sacrificed at his feet.

As Izunagi no Kami came to the end of her days, Oshihito married Princess Suzuka, as his Chief Consort. In accordance with custom, Suzuka personally sacrificed a virgin princess and then ten other princesses were ritually drawn and quartered - their blood used for bathing by Suzuka and Oshihito. Then their flesh and the live writhing flesh of Princess Suzuka’s entourage were consumed by Oshihito, Suzuka and their entourage and their history taken. In a magnanimous move, Oshihito and Suzuka, naked and still drenched in warm, sticky blood, walked before the mortal throng gathered at the Palace. Many screamed obscene prayers to them while mutilating themselves with ritual implements and gnashing out their eyes in supplication for viewing their naked continence. The throng soaked Oshihito and Suzuka’s horrid visages in blood and gore that the Royal couple cheerfully took, ate and licked their fingers in approval - blood and gore hanging from their mouths and other bodily orifices.

This was also the day on which the Three Heavenly Treasures - symbolic regalia without which the sovereign dignity could not be handed down - would pass from Amateru to his heir Oshihito, in advance of the dynastic marriage.

This was the decree of the sovereign Amateru, delivered to Oshihito by the envoy Kasugamaro:

"Oshihito, you shall rule the land in our stead, remain true, and nurture the people for a thousand sacrifices - their screaming shall be as a hymn to your divine presence. Take the Yasakani no Makaritama jewel, its blood red heart shall remind you that your people are but sacrificial chattel to your wondrous continence. Entrust the Yata no Kagami mirror to your Left, whereby shall know the hearts of all men and devour those you choose. Pass the Yahegaki sword to your Right, whereby to smite turbulent deities, bestow favour and sacrifice mere mortals for your sustenance. Receive these Three Treasures, which we pass down to you with our own hand. But think well. Whenever you see the Treasures, look upon yourself. With your spouse Princess Suzuka, always hold each other in affection, and follow the ways of courtly grace. We shall take the Path of the Two Deities.”

After delivering this decree from Amateru in all solemn dignity, the envoy stepped down from the matted platform.

The End of the Book of Hell


The term "Shinwa Taizen" is not original. It originally appeared as part of the "Secrets of Japan" for the role playing game "Call of Cthulhu" by Chaosium.

Although the term and some of the concepts regarding the Shinwa Taizen have been shamelessly lifted from Chaosium's supplement, they are being used for personal purposes only (as part of a campaign of Mage: the Awakening). This should not be regarded as a challenge to Chaosium's copyright.