A Primer on Japanese Mythology

by Erin on May 14, 2012

And now for something completely different at Mythography…

I typically focus on Classical - that is, Greek and Roman - and Celtic mythology, with an emphasis on the former, on this site. Today, I am going to diverge from that path a bit and explore Japanese mythology. I should also emphasize that when I say Japanese mythology, I am specifically talking about Shinto myth.

Much of our early information about Shinto comes from the Kojiki, or “Record of Ancient Manners”, which details the Japanese creation myth. Here we find the story of Izanagi and Izanami, so let’s begin our journey with them.

Izanagi and Izanami | This couple are often classified as kami, or types of spirits, in Japanese myth. The pair began by creating the islands of Japan.

In addition, Izanagi and Izanami were the parents to the following gods and goddesses:

Amaterasu | Sun goddess.

Kagu-Tsuchi | Fire god.

Susano | Sea and storm god.

Tsukiyomi | Moon god.

These deities obviously represent aspects of nature.

Of course, there were other gods and goddesses in Japanese mythology. Here are some other important Shinto deities:

Hachiman | God of war.

Inari | God (or sometimes goddess) of rice and agriculture.

Sukuna - Biko | “Dwarf god”.

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