Early Akizuki, myths & legend

In Japan’s oldest historic texts – both the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki – a number of stories of Japan feature Akizuki and the surrounding areas. In 200 AD the 14th Emperor of Japan, Emperor Chūai, collapsed (possibly at the hands of a vengeful spirit), leaving his wife Empress Jingū in charge of the nation. It is believed she may also have been directed by the same spirit to invade the Korean peninsula.

The records also state that Jingū gave birth to a baby boy named Homutawake three years after he was conceived by her late husband.

Empress Jingū was famed for her military skill but also for freeing Akizuki from the tyranny of a local spirit. Legend has it that the people of the Akizuki area were being troubled by a figure called Hajiro Kumawashi, who was a mix of white eagle and bear. His giant wings allowed him to arrive, cause trouble and quickly escape. The locals called on Empress Jingū to rid them of his troublemaking.

Hajiro-kumawashi’s confidence was his downfall and while trying to mock Empress Jingū, she was able to use her troops to outflank him. After the victory she returned to the southern foothills of Mt. Kosho to announce that she had “Struck down the bear-eagle.” She named the area “Yasu” (Yasushi means ‘peace of mind’) to celebrate the moment of success.

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