Hoderi-no-Mikoto (火照の命 "Fire Shine-prince"?), in Japanese mythology, was a deity of the bounty of the sea and enchanted fisherman, better known by the nickname Umisachihiko (海佐知毘古, 海幸彦?, Luck of the Sea) He was the less fortunate of the brothers in the episode of the Luck of the Sea and the Luck of the Mountains, and outstripped by Hoori.
Hoderi was the eldest son of the god Ninigi and the blossom princess Konohanasakuya-hime, who gave birth to triplets during the same delivery. In this article, the older source, Kojiki will be the preferred authority, but confusingly, the Nihongi transposes the names, so that the sibling corresponding to him is Honosuseri, born in the middle.
The blossom princess Konohanasakuya (aka Kamu Kamu-Ata-Kashitsu-hime (神吾田鹿葦津姫?)) announced her pregnancy after just one day of matrimonial relationship with Ninigi. Ninigi suspected the conception was not by him (the heavenly son), but had been previously fathered by one of the earth deities (kuni-tsu-kami). Offended by the suggestion, the princess sought to prove proper paternity by undergoing ordeal by fire: she declared she would seal herself up inside a maternity house, and set it aflame; then she avowed, may no child survive the birth if they were not of the seed of the divine Ninigi. Three children were born sound and hale, though they arrived at different hours, and the eldest born when fire was most intense became Hoderi. (But Nihongi says that the fire was at its height when Honosuseri was born in the middle, and it was he who became Luck of the Sea, the elder sibling of Luck of the Mountain). Below is a tablulation of the 1st ~ 3rd siblings (Luck of the Sea in boldface):
Kojiki: 1.Hoderi (火照の命?); 2.Hosuseri (火須勢理の命?); 3.Hoori (火遠理の命?) Nihongi: 1.Honoakari (火明命?); 2.Honosuseri (火酢芹命?); 3.(Hoori-)Hiko-hohodemi-no-mikoto ((火折)彦火火出見尊?)
Hoderi grew to be a handsome youth along with his brother Hoori. His father Ninigi bequeathed onto his eldest son Hoderi a magic hook with the luck of the sea and bestowed on to his brother Hoori a magic bow to ensure both sons would be successful in each of their endeavors. With the gift of the magic hook, Hoderi spent most of his days fishing, at which he excelled. Hoderi saw that his brother Hoori, with his gift could go to the woods and hunt rain or shine, whereas he could not set his boat out to fish during any rain storm or heavy weather. Jealousy overwhelmed Hoderi and he insisted that his brother had the better of the two gifts and he being the older of the two should have the greater of the two gifts. Hoderi insisted that he and Hoori exchange gifts, thus Hoderi would then have the bow and become a hunter and his brother receive the hook and then be the more unfortunate one and become the fisherman. Hoori agreed to the exchange of two gifts in order to please his older brother.
While Hoderi was out hunting in the mountains his younger brother Hoori spent the day fishing and proved to be a meager fisherman and he even had the misfortune to lose his brother’s magic hook. During this time Hoderi spent the entire day hunting in the woods with the magic bow and every time he drew the magic bow the arrow would miss its intended mark. Disappointed and furious Hoderi demanded that they return each other’s magic gifts to its rightful owner. Hoori revealed to his older brother that he had lost his magic hook. Upon hearing the news Hoderi became furious and demanded that his brother find and return his hook. Hoori could not find his brothers hook and took his own sword, which he held dear, and broke it to many pieces. With the fragments of his sword Hoori constructed 500 fishing hooks which he presented to his brother. With the absence of his magic hook only infuriated Hoderi more and he threatened to kill his own brother if he did not find his magic hook.
In searching for his brother's magic hook he fell in love with princess Toyotama-hime, daughter of Owatatsumi-no-kami, the kami of the sea, and made her his wife. Hoori explained the circumstance with his brother to his father in law Owatatsumi-nokami who summoned all the fishes in the sea to his palace and found the lost hook for Hoori. Owatatsumi-nokami gifted his new son in law with two jewels, one to raise tides and one to lower tides and had a spell put on the hook that would give bad luck to its user.
Upon seeing that his brother returned home Hoderi attacked his brother and Hoori countered his attacked with the use of his jewel that raised the tide in order to make him drown. Hoderi, drowning because of the tide, pleaded to his brother to save his life, so Hoori used the other jewel to lower the tide and saved his brother’s life. Being saved by Hoori, Hoderi vowed to his brother that he and his descendants would then on serve his brother and his children for all eternity. Hoderi’s descendants are the Hayato who guard the palace to this day.
- (primary sources)
- Keene, Donald (1955). Anthology of Japanese Literature. Grove Press. ISBN 4-06-158833-8., p. 54, citing Kojiki XXXIX-XLII.
- Takeda, Yukichi(武田祐吉) (1977). Shintei Kojiki(新訂 古事記). Kadokawa. ISBN 4-04-400101-4., annotated Japanese.
- Ujiya, Tsutomu(宇治谷孟) (1988). Nihon shoki (日本書紀) 上. Kodansha. ISBN 9780802150585., modern Japanese translation.
- Aston, William George (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697 1. London: Japan Society.
- Rinder, Frank (1895). Old-world Japan: legends of the land of the gods. G. Allen., p. 48-55, retold, illus. T. H. Robinson
- Reprinted in: Tappan, Eva March (1907). The children's hour 2. Houghton Mifflin., p. 375-
- (secondary sources)
- Ashkenzai, M. (2003). Handbook of Japanese mythology. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. Retrieved from http://www.abc-clio.com/
- Pasteur, V. M. (1906). Gods and heroes of old Japan. London, England: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. LTD. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=8TlLAAAAYAAJ
- Davis, F. (1916). Japan, from the age of the gods to the fall of tsingtau. London, England: T.C & E.C Jack, limited. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=Q-ZxAAAAMAAJ
- English Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher
- Hoderi and Hoori from Myths and Legends of Japan by F. Hadland Davis. Archived January 30, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.