Japanese Mythology and Tales

Topics: Shinto, Japanese mythology, Amaterasu Pages: 4 (1364 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Japanese mythology dates back to the sixth century A.D. and possibly before that. The stories and tales were passed on through generations and were all recorded in the Kojiki, also known as the Record of Ancient Matters, as well as the Nihon Shoki which is kept for the imperial court. It embraces Shinto, Buddhist, and folk religions. Japanese mythology has many enticing folk tales and gods that shape the traditional culture. Among these are the marvelous creation myth, prodigious gods and goddesses, and stunning folk tales.

According to professors Nobuhiro Matsumoto and Donald Keene on their website, Britannica, the world began as “an ill-defined egg, full of seeds.” Two parts then started to split into two different parts, the heavens (yang) and the earth (yin). The first deities made were part of a group called the Kotoamatsukami. Following them were the Kamiyonanayo, the Seven Generations of the Ages of the Gods. There was twelve deities in all, and they all came in couples, coming into existence directly after the creation of the universe.

Once the world was created, the god and goddess Izanagi and Izanami, were born. They were made of drifting cosmos, mud, and sand. Together they mated, but the first time their two children were initial failures (CFB). The second time around, “they produced the eight islands that now make up Japan” (Matsumoro). These eight islands are named: Awaji, Iyo/Shikoku, Oki, Tsukushi/Kyushu, Iki, Tsushima, Sado, and Yamato/Honshu. Unfortunately, Izanami died giving birth to Kagutsuchi, the incarnation of fire(Matsumoto). Miriam Van Scott, in the text, The Encyclopedia of Hell, asserts that once Izanami died, Izanagi travelled to Yomi, or the Land of Darkness, to try and get her back. There is not much difference between Yomi and earth, despite the fact that it is eternally dark. Once he finds his wife, he is surprised to find out that “she has built herself a castle there and is reluctant to see him” (Scott 57). The goddess...
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