國學院大學
國學院大學デジタルミュージアム

Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1 4. Jinja (Shrines)
カテゴリー2 Objects of Worship and Shrine Treasures
Title
Text A sword passed down as a divine treasure (shinpō) in the treasury of Isonokami Jingū. Originally housed in the shrine and treated as an object of worship, the sword was displayed in the shrine's sacred procession (shinkōsai) called the "Sacred Procession of Swords" held annually on the thirtieth day of the sixth month. The sword functioned as a temporary dwelling or "spirit vessel" (mitamashiro) for the kami during the ritual.
     With a length of 74.9 cm, the shichishitō is a special kind of sword in which both sides of the blade bears three branching blades. Rust now makes it difficult to discern the ridge line of blade (shinogi), but a gold inlay of thirty-four characters on the front and twenty-seven on the back running from the point of the blade (kissaki) to the base of the blade at the handle (machi). A paraphrase of the inscription states that "On the sixteenth day of the fourth (or fifth) month of the fourth year of the Taiwa era (369) during the Eastern Jin dynasty (317 - 420), one hundred shichishitō were made. As a result, military defeat was avoided." The inscription continues: "Such swords make suitable gifts for one's lord. Made by so-and-so. This is the first sword of its kind. Because the King of Paekche and the Prince are bound by mutual favor, the shichishitō have been made at the request of the King of Yamato. May they be handed down to future generations eternally." It is thought to correspond to the entry in the Nihongi for the ninth month in the autumn of the fifty-second year of the reign of Empress Jingū refers to this sword, as it contains a record stating that the King Shōko of Paekche presented the court with a shichishitō and a nanatsuko mirror. The shichishitō has thus been designated a National Treasure due to its importance for our knowledge of foreign relations in ancient times.
— Okada Yoshiyuki
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Shichishitō