Izanagi and Izanami


Izanagi and Izanami
Brother and sister gods in the Japanese creation myth.

They created the first land mass, and their sexual union produced many islands and deities. In giving birth to the fire god, Izanami was burned to death and went to the land of darkness. Izanagi tried to rescue her, but she had eaten the food of the place and could not leave; in disgust he left her rotting corpse and divorced her. As he bathed to purify himself afterwards, other deities were born from him, including the sun goddess Amaterasu, the moon god Tsukiyomi, and the storm god Susanoo. His bath is the basis for Shinto purification rites.

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▪ Shintō deity
      (Japanese: “He Who Invites and She Who Invites”), the central deities in the Japanese creation myth. They were the eighth pair of brother and sister gods to appear after heaven and earth separated out of chaos. By standing on the floating bridge of heaven and stirring the primeval ocean with a heavenly jeweled spear, they created the first land mass.

      Their first attempt at sexual union resulted in a deformed child, Hiruko (“Leech Child,” known in later Shintō mythology as the god Ebisu), and they set him adrift in a boat. Attributing the mistake to a ritual error on the part of Izanami, who as a woman should never have spoken first, they began again and produced numerous islands and deities. In the act of giving birth to the fire god, Kagutsuchi (or Homusubi), Izanami was fatally burned and went to Yomi, the land of darkness. Izanagi followed her there, but she had eaten the food of that place and could not leave. She became angry when he lit a fire and saw her rotting and covered with maggots, and the two were divorced.

      Izanagi bathed in the sea to purify himself from contact with the dead. As he bathed, a number of deities came into being. The sun goddess Amaterasu was born from his left eye, the moon god Tsukiyomi was born from his right eye, and the storm god Susanoo was born from his nose. In the Shintō religion, Izanagi's bath is regarded as the founding of harai, the important purification practices of Shintō.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Izanagi and Izanami —    The divine couple, brother and sister inviting male and inviting female who according to the myth cycles recorded in the Nihongi and Kojiki were the seventh generation of kami and by discovering sexual union gave birth both to the land of… …   A Popular Dictionary of Shinto

  • Izanagi and Izanami —    The first human couple encountered in Japanese myth. Looking down from the floating bridge of heaven they stirred up the brine with a jewelled spear and the island of Onogoro arose from the expanse of waters. On it they settled and their… …   Who’s Who in non-classical mythology

  • Izanami — In Japanese mythology, is a goddess of both creation and death, as well as the former wife of the god Izanagi. She is also referred to as Izana mi, Izanami no mikoto or Izanami no kami.Goddess of CreationThe first gods Kunitokotachi and… …   Wikipedia

  • Izanagi — is a deity born of the seven divine generations in Japanese mythology and Shintoism, and is also referred to in the roughly translated Kojiki as male who invites , or Izanagi no mikoto.He and his spouse Izanami bore many islands, deities, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Izanami —    See Izanagi and Izanami …   A Popular Dictionary of Shinto

  • Izanami —  See Izanagi and Izanami …   Who’s Who in non-classical mythology

  • Izanagi —  See Izanagi and Izanami …   Who’s Who in non-classical mythology

  • Izanagi — n. (Japanese Mythology) the god who fathered the islands and gods of Japan with his sister Izanami. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Izanagi — noun the god who fathered the islands and gods of Japan with his sister Izanami • Instance Hypernyms: ↑Japanese deity * * * /ee zah nah gee/, n. the Japanese god who fathered the islands and gods of Japan by a union with his sister Izanami …   Useful english dictionary

  • Izanami — noun sister and consort of Izanami; mother of the islands and gods of Japan • Instance Hypernyms: ↑Japanese deity * * * /ee zah nah mee/, n. a Japanese goddess, the sister of Izanagi …   Useful english dictionary


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