Japanese Mythology

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According to Japanese mythology, the world begins with the birth of seven deities. These seven deities arise and then pass away in what the Japanese call the, “plain of high heaven.” After this, five more couples were born, the last named, Izanagi and Izanami, who were ordered by their peers to consolidate the earth, which at this point was a chaos of muddy water. Izanagi and Izanami stood on the bridge of high heaven, thought to be the rainbow, and dipped their jeweled spear in the murky water below. When pulling the spear out of a piece of mud dropped of the tip and is said to have formed the island of Onogoro.
Izanagi and Izanami then moved down to the island, built a house and consummated a child. The first child was born a misfit and was abandoned in a boat in the reeds. Their second child, the island of Awa, was considered to be a misfit also. Soon the couple learnt what was being done form the other deities and reckoned their problems, Izanagi spoke first, then gave birth to the eight main islands of Japan.
This couple had many more children till Izanami died while giving birth to her last child, The God of Fire. More bodies sprang up from her decomposing body, and even more sprung up from Izanagi’s tears of sorrow. So mad, Izanagi cut off the God of Fire’s head, and from the blood and limbs, sprung yet more divine beings.
Meanwhile, Izanami had gone to the underworld, where her husband called for her return, she told Izanagi to wait in patience, but he could wait no more and went to Hades. He found his wife, a hideous rotten heap, and fled from the underworld, blocking the entrance with a rock.
Once out of the Underworld Izanagi felt he had to wash his body from the impurities of the underworld. In a river he washed himself, from his clothes were born more deities. The God of Wind, Susa-no-wo, sprang from his nose, from the right eye came the God of the moon, and from his left eye, Amaterasu Omikami, the Sun Goddess, was born who is the principle deity of Japan and is said to be a direct ancestor of the Imperial House.
The Sun Goddess and her brother
Susa-no-wo had refused to obey his father and was banished from the high heavens. Before leaving he wanted to say goodbye to his sister, The Sun Goddess. His sister was very untrustfu...

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Ø The Mandarin ducks o These ducks are considered to show love and are associated with happy marriages and therefore they are not hunted.
The Japanese are in general fascinated by the supernatural. Ghost stories abound and mythical creatures populate the countryside. Many of the tales are told of mischievous tree living tengu and the malignant Oni. These creatures are said to have insatiable appetite for cucumber, but also for animals and human beings.
Japanese mythology is a fascinating collaboration of dashing heroes, supernatural being and intelligent animals – of love and hate, gratitude and resentment, gentleness and cruelty. This is just a brief overview of the major gods and goddess, heroes, and animal deities of Japanese mythology.

Works Cited

Campbell, Joseph. Oriental Mythology: The Masks of Gods, Penguin Books, New
York, NY, 1976
Dorson, R.M. Folk Legends of Japan. Charles Tuttle, Rutland, Vermont, and
Tokyo, 1962
Piggott, Juliet. Japanese Mythology. Hamlyn Publishing, New York, NY, 1975
Webster, R.G. Japan: from the old to the new. S.W. Patridge & Co., 1905, 1978

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