- 民族學研究 (ISSN:24240508)
- vol.22, no.3-4, pp.223-244, 1959-01-25 (Released:2018-03-27)
Almost all the people of any village or town in Nagano-ken in Japan imagine that the rainbow rises from the water. " Where does the rainbow rise from ? " Ask the question, and one almost always receive such an answer that the rainbow rises from a pond, a marsh, a river, depths, a lake, or the sea. Sometimes people tel・1 him even the name of a special and definite pond or river from which the rainbow rises. Such a traditiona] belief among people that the rainbow rises from the water is found not only in Nagano-ken, but also in Niigata-ken, Yamanashi-ken, and Chiba-ken, and even in such a far northern district as Akita-ken, according to the author's information. It can also be found in Ishikawa・ken, Fukui-ken, the urban districts of Ky6to, Hy6go-ken, Kyti-shiu, and even in Okinawa Isles. In short, this traditoinal belief that the rainbow rises from the water may be considered to be wide spread among people all over Japan. And moreover it may have exsited a'mong people since ancient times. One can find the evidence of its existence in such classics as Kojiki, Nihonshoki, and Mannyo. The documents of the Heian Dynasty show that it also exsited in that age. The origin of this traditional belief can be explained by an ancient, belief that the rainbow is a dragon or serpent that lives in the water. The ancient be]ief even now remains evidently in such prefectures as Nagano-ken, Yamanashi-ken, Akita-ken, and dita-ken, and also in Okinawa Isles. This queer ancient belief that the rainbow is a dragon or serpent which rises from its dwelling place in the water is found not only among Japanese, but also among the Ainu, Koreans, Chinese, the aborigines of Formosa, Malayans, Rumanians, and lrishmen in Europe. Africans, Austrarians, and the natives in America, in so far as it has been known to the author till now. It may be concluded that all the people in the world, perhaps, had once the ancient belief. There was another belief from old time that the rainbow was a bridge from the heaven to the earth over which various divine beings passed. This was believed not only in Japan, China, and Korea, but also among American Indians and many of Europeans. It was also a world-wide traditional belief. There was one more belief that gold, treasures, and good luck were hidden at the place from which the rainbow rose. This belief was probably world-wide from old timesand seems to have some close relation with a strange Japanese custom in the Middle Age that a fair was held at the place from which a rainbow had risen. What interests the author is the report indicating some relation between the rainbow and an old Melanesian trade custom. What has been mentioned above is the result drawn from the data ivhich the author collected and arranged, but it is too great a riddle for him to solvb why there are such traditional beliefs about the rainbow that seem to be common to all the people in the world.