“The Root of Taoism is in Wosite Japan” –  2. Ukesuteme is Mother of the West

Seiōbo, Mother of the West, Ukesuteme. (Nisi no Haha Seiōbo by Maruyama Okyo, 18th century)


Trained by Toyoke Kami, Ukesuteme herself became a sage and a human kami, i.e., a spiritual master. Her name in Japanese is Nishi-no-Haha (also pronounced Seiōbo), Mother of the West, whose birthday is celebrated on the third day of the third month. This is also the day of the Hina Matsuri, or Girls Day, also called the Festival of the Peaches, for she is associated with the abundance of peaches. See our post on Hina Matsuri. 

Ukesuteme in China

The effect that Ukesuteme had on China is threefold: 

  1. She taught the wisdom of To-no-Wosite in western China, 
  2. She became a spiritual master, the Taoist Immortal Xi Wangmu, and 
  3. Her To-no-Wosite teachings may be the main root of Taoist philosophy. 

Let us learn how Ukesuteme became the Queen Mother of the West.

Ukesuteme and Toyoke-Kami

When did Ukesuteme live, and what do we know about her? The answers may be found in the Wosite document called the Hotuma Tutaye (Hotsuma Tsutae), written in Wosite script around 6 centuries before the Common Era. 

As people left the Way, Ukesuteme, one of Ka’s descendants, sought out Toyoke Kami in his Yamate Palace near today’s Sendai, the greatest teacher of To-no-Wosite. As his disciple, she excelled in the Mitinoku teachings of the Way. She returned to the land of Akagata in western China and taught the Way of To. She married and became the mother of Kuroso-no-Tumoru. For her wisdom, she came to be called Mother of the West. Ukesuteme may have visited Japan three times. The first time, she studied To-no-Wosite with Toyoke Kami who was living in Hitakami. The second time, Toyoke Kami was living in Ne-no-Kuni. She, together with Shirayamahime, studied the highest teachings. Ukesuteme attained the highest level of Yama no Mitinoku. On that trip, she learned from Amateru (Toyoke’s grandson) that longevity is enhanced by a vegetarian diet and avoiding red meat. On her third trip, she met with Ninikine (Amateru’s grandson) and received from him Mitimi no Momo, so-called Peaches of Immortality.

Ukesuteme Attains Yama no Mitinoku

Hotutma Tutaye Aya 15 lines 43ff

Ukesuteme Ne no kuni ni kite // Ukesuteme comes to Ne-no-Kuni

Tamakine ni Yokutuka hure ha // to see Tamakine (Toyoke).

mi ni kotae Kokori no imoto // Becoming sister to Kokorihime,

musuhasete Yama no Mitinoku // she attained the great Mitinoku.

satukemasu yorokohi kaeru // She happily returned home.

Ukesuteme Korohin Kimi to // Ukesuteme married Kimi of Korohon;

tinami ai Kuroso no Tumoru // Kuroso-no-Tomoru was born

miko umite Nisi no Haha Kami  // by Nisi no Haha Kami.

When the previous spiritual traditions of our ancestors disappeared, Ukesuteme worried about it. She made a second visit to Toyoke who was now governing the area of Ne-no-Kuni and she asked him for another teaching. This was during the last years of Toyoke Kami. Toyoke-sama was impressed with her enthusiasm and sincerity. He made Ukesuteme a sister to Kokorihime (Shirayama-hime, sister-in-law of his daughter Isanami). Ukesuteme was awarded “Yama no Mitinoku,” the highest level of the Mitinoku secret teachings of To-no-Wosite, and she returned to her home in Western China. After the birth of her son Kuroso no Tumoru, she became Nisi no Haha no Kami (Nishi no Haha Kami, Mother Kami of the West). It may be the source of later Chinese mythology!

Yama no Mitinoku

What is the Yama no Mitinoku that Ukesuteme attained? Yama means something important, like a yama mountain. Mitinoku (Michinoku) is the mystery of the Michi, the Way. When you have learned deeply about To-no-Wosite, you have reached the mystery.



1 thought on ““The Root of Taoism is in Wosite Japan” –  2. Ukesuteme is Mother of the West

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s