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Today I want to tell you guys about Japan’s creation myth, according to the Shinto Religion.
Way back in the day, before the heavens and earth existed, everything was just a limitless,
formless mass. Out of this, something light and transparent rose up and formed the Plain
of High Heaven. The three divine beings called the Three Creating Deities were formed: The
Spirit Master of the Center of Heaven, The August Wondrously Producing Spirit, and the
Divine Wondrously Producing Ancestor.
The heavy and opaque materials from the formless mass began to gather together. In the earliest
stages, for millions of years, earth is said to have resembled oil floating upon the face
of the waters. A reed sprouted up, and a divine couple was born. Several more were born in
this way, and the last pair, the eighth pair, was Izanagi and Izanami, “He Who Invites”
and “She Who Invites” respectively.
The Heavenly deities commanded Izanagi and Izanami, to descend to the nebulous earth
to solidify earth together. With a jeweled spear called Ama-no-Nuboko, the two traveled
to the Floating Bridge of Heaven, which lay between the heaven and earth.
Looking down at the sea of filmy fog floating to and fro, Izanagi dipped the spear into
the waters and stirred. When drawing it up, great drops which fell from the spear to the
surface of Earth, created an island.
Delighted, the two descended to the island and constructed a great Heavenly August Pillar,
and a great place called the Hall of Eight Fathoms for their wedding.
The two agreed to meet on the other side of the pillar, each walking in the other direction:
the male deity to the left, and the female deity to the right. When they met each other
on the other side Izanami, the female Deity, speaking first, exclaimed: "How delightful
it is to meet so handsome a youth!" To which Izanagi, the male Deity, replied: "How delightful
I am to have fallen in with such a lovely maiden!" And the two consummated their marriage.
Thier first born was a leech child: weak and boneless. The couple, placed it on a reed
boat and abandoned it in the waters. Their second was a floating island, which they also
did not accept their their own.
The two Deities, disappointed in their failures, returned to Heaven to ask the heavenly deities
for the cause of their misfortunes.
Turns out that the reason for their difficulties was because the woman shouldn’t have spoken
first when they met at the other side of the pillar. That’s why they kept having deformed
babies. Of course, that explains everything.
The two returned to earth, went around the pillar once more, and this time Izanagi, the
male deity, spoke first saying: "How delightful to meet so beautiful a maiden!" "How happy
I am," responded Izanami, "that I should meet such a handsome youth!".
After this, they made whole lotta babies. Gods were basically spewing from everything.
They gave birth to the eight main islands of Japan and six minor islands. They then
gave birth to a variety of deities to inhabit those islands, including the sea deity, the
deity of the sea-straits, and the deities of the rivers, winds, trees, and mountains.
Last, Izanami gave birth to the fire deity, which burned her genitals so badly that she
That must’ve hurt.
In her agony, more gods were born from her vomit, urine and feces. At least they got
more babies?
Izanagi mourned over Izanami’s death, and from his tears, another deity was born. Angered,
he beheaded his son, the fire deity, responsible for her death. From the blood on his sword,
and the corpse of the slain son arose a number deities as well.
Longing for his deceased wife, Izanagi looked for Izanami, at the land of Yomi, the underworld.
And in the darkness, he called for his wife to return with him to the land of the living.
She replied that it was too late, and she had already consumed the food in the land
of Yomi.
That sounds kinda familiar.
However, she would go ask the gods of the underworld for permission to leave. And she
asked Izanagi to do one thing, which was to not look at her as she did this.
This sounds really familiar too.
After she left, Izanagi eventually grew impatient, and decided to go look for her.
I definitely heard this before.
He broke off the end of a comb in his hair and set it on fire for a light.
When he found her, he was shocked to find his once beautiful wife to be a rotting corpse,
being consumed by maggots. Ashamed to be seen in this condition, she chased Izanagi out
of the underworld, sending the eight deities of thunder, which were born from her body,
after him, and then pursued him herself.
As he reached for a huge rock to close the passage to the underworld, she shouted in
“If you behave in this way, I will strangle and kill one thousand men of your land in
one day!”
Izanagi replied: “If you do this, I will in one day set up
1,500 parturition houses. So in one day indeed 1,000 men will die and indeed 1,500 are going
to be born.” Izanagi returned home and bathed himself to
remove himself of all the uncleanliness through a purification ceremony by the river. As he
stipped his clothing, 12 dieties were born from the robes and accessories.
More deities arose as he cleansed himself of the impurities of Yomi, shaking off the
curse, and washing his body.
In the last step of the purification ceremony, Izanagi washed his left eye, from which Amaterasu
Ōmikami was born; from his right eye Tsukuyomi-no-mikoto was born; and from his nose, Takehayasusanoo-no-mikoto
was born.
The three gods are called the ”Three precious children”: gods of the Sun, the Moon, and
the Seas.
It was Amaterasu, whose name means "shining in heaven,” who sent Japan’s first ruler
from the heavens to Japan, so the Emperors of Japan are considered divine and direct
descendants of Amaterasu.
I love reading myths about different cultures, and it really explains a lot about their religions
and cultural beliefs. And it totally explains why the flag of Japan is a Sun!
I hope you guys enjoyed this story, and if you liked it, please give it a thumbs up and
If you have been following them already, I’m making a whole series of Japanese Art history
videos. This video is kind of an off-shoot to give
you some more background and understanding of the Shinto religion, so that you can understand
the shinto arts a little bit better.
If you like these kinds of videos, where I’m telling you these myths and illustrating them
with real art people made about these myths, please tune in and subscribe because there
will be more on the way! Thanks so much for watching and I’ll see you guys next time.
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Japanese Mythology | Izanagi and Izanami and the Birth of Gods | LittleArtTalks

254 Folder Collection
むなかた じゅん published on October 27, 2016
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