Princess Sakuya

Konohanasakuya-hime (Sakuya-hime) is a mythical princess whose story has become important to  Mount Fuji and the surrounding area. The story tells of the daughters of the mountain god — Sakuya-hime (the blossom princess, symbol of transitory human life) and Iwa-naga-hime (the rock princess, symbol of strength and permanence). One day, while they are spending time at the sea shore, Sakuya-hime meets Ninigi-no-Mikoto (Ninigi, the great-grandfather of Emperor Jinmu, the legendary first emperor of Japan. They fall in love and Ninigi asks the mountain god for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The mountain god understandably recommends the rock princess but Ninigi is determined to have Sakuya-hime.


They wed and Sakuya-hime immediately gets pregnant. Ninigi rather foolishly becomes jealous and accuses his wife of infidelity. Sakuya-hime is justifiably outraged and retires to a small hut to bear her three children. In order to demonstrate her purity, she sets fire to the hut and successfuly delivers her babies while engulfed in flames. The story illustrates Sakuya-hime’s power over fire; over time, the story and the princess became linked with Mount Fuji, presumably due to our desire to appease the volcano and keep it quiet. Sakuya-hime is now generally regarded as the deity of Mount Fuji and is also, unsurprisingly, associated with easy childbirth. She is also, of course, the great-grandmother of Emperor Jinmu, at least according to legend.