Myth#21 : Eastern Expedition of Iwarebiko (The First Emperor, Emperor Jinmu)

Iwarebiko is the third generation from Ninigi and the former name of the first Japanese Emperor, Emperor Jinmu.

In Takachiho’s palace, Iwarebiko was discussing with his brother, Itsuse.
Iwarebiko said, “Which place do you think will be the best to rule the whole country peacefully? Let’s go to explore the east!”

So, Iwarebiko and Itsuse decided to go and find the best place in the east.

Mimitsu Harbor

They sailed on a ship from Mimitsu harbor of Himuka (present Miyazaki Pref.) and departed on the eastern expedition.

First place they arrived was Usa (present Usa city in Oita Pref.). They received a warm welcome from the local people of Usa. The second place they arrived was Tsukushi (present Fukuoka Pref.) and stayed in the palace of Okada for one year. After one year, they again went to sea to head the east. The third place they arrived was Aki (present Hiroshima Pref.) and stayed in Takeri palace for 7 years. The fourth place they reached was also Kibi (present Okayama Pref.) and styed in Takashima palace for 8 years.

When they began sailing further toward the east from Kibi, they encountered a man fishing on the back of a turtle at Hayasui No To (near present Kojima Bay).

Kikuchi Yōsai, Shinetsuhiko(Saonetsuhiko), c. 1903. From Wikimedia Commons

They asked the man, “Who are you?”

The man replied, “I am Kunitsu Kami (the deity of land)”

They asked, “Do you know the sea route?”

The man replied, “I know it very well.”

They also asked the man, “Will you serve us as a maritime pilot?”

The man answered, “Sure!”

They named the man Saonetsuhiko.