The Legend of Hoori and Toyotama-hime

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Japanese Mythology

The Legend of Hoori and Toyotama-hime

Hoori (Hoori no Mikoto) is a god in Japanese mythology, also known as Yamasachihiko. Toyotama-hime is the daughter of the sea god Watatsumi and is known as Hoori’s wife. This story is detailed in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki.

The Lost Fishing Hook and Adventure

Hoori and his brother Hoderi (Hoderi no Mikoto, also known as Umisachihiko) were skilled in hunting and fishing, respectively. One day, they decided to exchange tools, but Hoori lost Hoderi’s fishing hook. To find the lost hook, Hoori ventured to the sea god Watatsumi’s palace at the bottom of the sea.

Meeting and Marrying Toyotama-hime

At the sea god’s palace, Hoori met Toyotama-hime, and they fell in love. Watatsumi welcomed Hoori and allowed the marriage. Hoori stayed in the palace for several years, during which he found the lost fishing hook.

Return to the Surface and a Promise

After finding the hook, Hoori returned to the surface with Toyotama-hime, who was pregnant. Toyotama-hime followed Hoori to the surface to give birth to their child. She asked Hoori not to watch her during childbirth, revealing her true form.

Broken Promise

However, Hoori broke his promise and watched Toyotama-hime give birth. She transformed into her true form, a giant crocodile (or shark), during childbirth. Ashamed and angry, Toyotama-hime returned to the sea, leaving behind their son, Ugayafukiaezu.

Ugayafukiaezu’s Later Story

Toyotama-hime’s sister, Tamayori-hime, raised Ugayafukiaezu. He grew up and became the grandfather of Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan. This story is deeply connected to the origins of the Japanese imperial family.

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