The 9 Most Important Gods and Goddesses in Japanese Mythology
Human history has a deeply rooted past. Therefore, whether we know it or not, there is a lot of legacy left by people who lived thousands of years ago. The most important of these legacies is undoubtedly the mythologies, which contain extremely valuable information about life, everyday life, thought practices, cultures and beliefs of past societies. Although today Greek or Norse mythology comes to mind when it comes to mythology, almost all ancient cultures have their own mythologies with great detail. Of course, Japan, an ancient country of Far Asia, draws attention with its mythology, full of interesting elements and characters unique to its own culture. Moreover, the connections of the Japanese, famous for their commitment to their traditions and culture, with their mythology, the origins of which are more than 2000 years old, are not broken even today! Here are the 8 most important gods and goddesses in Japanese mythology, from Amaterasu to Susanoo.
1. Izanami and Izanagi
These two sister gods and goddesses stand at the forefront of the most important figures in Japanese mythology. Because these two brothers were two divine beings responsible for the creation of the Earth according to Japanese mythology. According to mythology, Izanagi and her sister Izanami were tasked with putting an end to chaos and restoring order.
The two brothers used a sacred spear called “Amenonuhoko” to accomplish this difficult task. With this spear, they began to separate single land masses, extract new islands from the bottom of the seas and form the Earth. According to mythology, this is how the islands that are part of Japan appeared. However, from the union of the sister gods, hundreds of divine beings, gods and goddesses named Kami, were born, who were extremely important to Japanese mythology …
Ebisu was the first child born from the union of Izanami and Izanagi. However, cursed for the sins of his parents, he was born without bones in his body. But Ebisu’s “cursed journey” in the coming years will turn into the greatest story of courage and resilience in Japanese mythology…
According to ancient tales, Ebisu was left to drift and die in the vast ocean the first time he was born due to his birth curse. However, this baby god, stubbornly attached to life, managed to survive by creating a piece of land in the ocean, where he was dragged when he was 3 years old. Having overcome many adversities throughout his life, Ebisu eventually became the patron god of children, fishermen, prosperity and good luck.
Kagutsuchi is the god of destruction and fire in Japanese mythology. Like Ebushi, Kagutsuchi, the son of Izanagi and Izanami, had such a strong spirit that his mother killed Izanami during his birth! Izanagi, on the other hand, began to cut off Kagutsuchi’s head after a fit of anger, and many destructive spirits were formed from Kagutsuchi’s spilled blood, especially the gods of thunder, war and dragons! For this reason, Kagutsuchi was considered the god of destruction and fire in Japanese mythology, as well as the ancestor of other destructive spirits.
On the other hand, traces of this fearsome god can be seen in everyday life in Japan. In particular, the Japanese royal family organizes “fire protection” ceremonies called “o-shizume-no-matsuri” twice a year to “calm down Kagutsuchi”.
Amaterasu, also known as the “Great Sun of the Holy Spirits” or “Great Spirit Shining from Heaven”, is the goddess of the Sun in Japanese mythology. According to mythology, this powerful goddess was an appropriate name to become the leader of all holy spirits. Therefore, her father, Izanagi, granted Amaterasu the power to become the absolute queen of all divine beings. Amaterasu has been considered a symbol of splendor, order and divine purity for thousands of years.
Tsukuyomi was the god of the moon in Japanese mythology. According to ancient legends, he was born as a result of a rite that his father Izanagi, like many of his brothers, performed to get rid of their sins. Tsukuyomi married his sister Amaterasu, the goddess of the Sun, and thus the Sun and the Moon ascended to heaven…
It is believed that Susanoo was created from the nose of Izanagi, the goddess of the storm and the sea in Japanese mythology. He had a changeable and rather violent temperament, just like the seas and storms. This violence due to Susanoo’s nature has led her to be called one of the most powerful divine beings in mythology. However, he was also the leading name in the event of an eclipse of the Sun in Japanese mythology. Legend has it that during her rivalry with her sister Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, she angered her sister and caused the Earth to fall into darkness.
Raijin was the god of lightning and thunder. Legend has it that when he was angry, he sent lightning bolts to the ground, and when he beat the drum in his hand, he drowned the earth with terrible sounds of thunder! However, he was often depicted with three fingers, symbolizing the past, present and future.
Along with his brother Raijin, Fujin was one of the most important deities in Japanese mythology, especially when it comes to natural phenomena. Therefore, Fujin and Raijin were considered two parts of one whole. Fujin, the god of the winds, was considered one of the most cruel divine beings in mythology. When the two brothers joined forces, they became the absolute masters of nature…
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