Toyouke-bime (トヨウケビメ)

Toyouke-bime is one of the gods from Japanese mythology. She is known as Toyouke no Okami who is enshrined in Toyouke Dai-jingu Shrine (Outer Shrine of Ise). She is represented as Toyoukebime no Kami (豊宇気毘売神) in Kojiki (The Records of Ancient Matters) and Toyoukehime no Kami (豊受媛神) in Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan). She is also called Toyuuke no Kami, Omonoimi no Kami, Toyooka-hime, Yafune Toyoukehime no Mikoto, Toyuke Okami, Toyouka no Menokami, Toyohirume etc.

Kojiki says that Toyouke-bime was the child of Wakumusubi who was born of urine of Izanami (The Female Who Invites), and was enshrined at Watarai of Geku (the outer shrine) after tensonkorin (the descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess). The word, 'uke' in Shinmyo (name of the god) means a food, and she is a female god who controls food and grain. Later Toyouke-bime together with other Shokumotsu-shin such as Ogetsu-hime (the food-goddess) and Ukemochi no Kami (goddess who possesses food) were combined with Inari-shin (the god of harvest) (Ukano mitama), and those were thought to be identical. According to the biography of the Outer Shrine of Ise ("Toyukegu Gishikicho"),Amaterasu Omikami (the Sun Goddess) appeared by the Emperor Yuryaku's bedside, and told him to bring in Toyouke no Okami who was a Mike no Kami (god of foodstuffs) and lived in Hinuma-no-manai, Tanba Province because Amaterasu Omikami did not want to worry about her own food any more.

Therefore, Toyouke no Okami was transferred from Tanba Province to Watarai, Ise Province. That means she was originally the god of Tanba Province.

Tangono kuni Fudoki Itsubun, a lost writing of regional gazetteer for Tango Province carries the following story as an engi (writing about the history) of Nagu-no-yashiro Shrine:
Eight heavenly maidens were bathing at Hinuma-no-manai of Hiji-no-sato, Tanba-no-kori, and one of the heavenly maidens was unable to return home because an elderly couple hid Hagoromo (a feathered robe). Therefore the heavenly maiden lived in the elderly couple's house. After 10 years, however, she was driven out of the house, drifted from place to place, and then settled down in Minagu-mura. This heavenly maiden is considered to be Toyoukebime no Kami.

Settsu-no kuni Fudoki Itsubun, a lost writing of regional gazetteer for Settsu Province says that Toyouka no Menokami had lived in Mt. Inakura, Settsu Province (not known where it is) before transferred to Tanba Province. A shrine where Aramitama (god's rough soul) of Toyouke no Okami is enshrined is called Takanomiya (either 多賀宮 or 高宮). Ise Shinto (or Watarai Shinto) (School of Shinto thought) established by Ieyuki WATARAI who was a Shinto priest of Geku (the outer shrine) thinks that Toyouke no Okami was identical to Ame no Minakanushi no Kami or Kuninotokotachi no Mikoto, and she was the first primordial god who came into the world.

Ise Shinto also thinks that Geku is in a higher position than Naiku (inner shrine) because the Toyouke no Okami is enshrined at Geku. In "Yamatokatsuragihozan-ki" which had a great impact on establishment of Chusei Nihongi (medieval Nihongi) such as Shito Gobusho (five-volume apologia of Shinto), the document which backs up the legend of Toyouke no Okami came from Katsuragi. On August 478, she was transferred from Tanba Province to Yamada, Ise Province.

However, kiki (the Kojiki and Nihonshoki) does not say anything about it. Nihonshoki says that on August 478, Uranoshimako (Urashimataro) left for the Palace of the Dragon King. It is worth noting that Nihonshoki puts the Chinese style story which is thought to be a fiction ahead of the transfer of enshrined deity to Geku which was related to an important national religious service. In addition, Chinese style legends of feathered robes were told around this region. There is intent to try to change the divinity of the deity enshrined in Geku including the story that makes it sound as if Toyouke no Okami were one of the Hagoromo heavenly maiden sisters.

Mineyama-cho, Tango City where Hinumanai-jinja Shrine is located has a crescent-shaped rice field called Tsukinowaden that Toyouke no Okami started rice cultivation in Tanba and a sacred fountain called Seisuido which was used to immerse rice seed. This is considered to be the first time this region was called Taniwa (田庭). Then, there is a theory that Taniwa (田庭) was later changed to Taba (田場) and then Tanba (丹波), and this way the name of place Tanba (丹波) or Tajima (但馬) was started. There was once an old and large rice nursery in Bogaki, Tottori City which had a crescent shaped rice nursery too. This originated in an event where Inaba-daimyojin initiated rice cultivation and the nearby Inaba-jinja Shrine enshrines Inaba-daimyojin. This event probably represents Toyouke no Okami's descent to this region. That is, it can be said the name of the place Inaba (稲葉, 稲場, or 因幡)derives from those related to Toyouke no Okami. Tsukinowaden was moved from the original location and reduced because of farm field development conducted in the Showa period.

In the near future, tsukinowaden is needed to be restored to its original size because of its great significance. There is Okami no Mori and Hoi-no-dan which is considered to be the site of Ame-no-manai about half way up the nearby Mt. Kuji-dake. Also rectangular parallelepiped iwakura called Omiaeishi remains, and this is considered the origin of the shrine. Manai-jinja Shrine in Amanohashidate is positioned linearly with the top of the Mt. Kuji-dake, Omiaeishi, the precincts of Hinumanai-jinja Shrine, and Omiyame-jinja Shrine, and it is likely to be linked.

Oe-cho, Fukuchiyama City, Kyoto Prefecture has Motoise Toyuke-daijinja Shrine. This shrine is located in Mt. Funaoka in the south of Motoise Naiku Shrine, and Kawada clan which was derived from the Fujiwara clan succeed its Shinto priesthood for generations. According to the documents that have been handed down in Kawada clan, sengu (transfer of a deity to a new shrine building) seems to have been carried out once a every 60 years or so since Heian period. In that sense, it can be a shrine of rather high status.

During the reign of Emperor Sujin, when Toyosukiiri-hime moved all over the country as a Mitsueshiro (divine spirit staff) of Amaterasu Omikami, the first place she transferred to was Tango. Several presumed locations exist but if Motoise Naiku Shrine is the exact place, the meaning of Toyuke-daijinja Shrine becomes clear. More specifically, there is a theory that this place may be the location where the divine spirit of Toyouke no Okami appeared when Toyosukiiri-hime was once transferred to Tango.

In the Outer Shrine of Ise (Ise City, Mie Prefecture), Nagu-no-yashiro Shrine (Takeno-gun, Kyoto Prefecture), Kono-jinja Shrine (Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture), Okumiya Manai-jinja Shrine, she is considered to be shusaijin (main enshrined deities), and also in most of Shinmei-jinja Shrines and many shrine in precincts, she is enshrined together with Amaterasu Omikami. Some Inari-jinja Shrine enshrine both Inari-shin (the god of harvest) and Toyouke-bime.