Ancient Japanese creation story

Ancient Japanese creation story

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  • Before the existence of heaven and earth, there was darkness. In the midst of this darkness was a swirling mass in the shape of an enormous oval, containing all of creation.
  • The swirling mass was divided in half and over the course of several years, they slowly separated. One half settled to form the Earth, called IN, and the other part rose to form the Heavens, called YO.
  • Izanagi and Izanami found themselves on a floating island of heaven and peered down into the darkness below. All they heard was the sound of rushing water. Izanagi then thrust a jewel-tipped spear into the water.
  • As he drew it up again, the drips formed the island Onogoro-jima, which means “Spontaneously created Island”. The two gods descended to this island to live. Izanagi and Izanami decided to become husband and wife and build the land together.
  • Their first child was the island of Ahaji. They produced six more islands and declared them the Great Eight Island Country (Japan). Izanami gave birth to the Sun Goddess named Ohohiro-me no muchi. Their next child, Tsukiyumi, was the Moon and was sent to accompany the Sun and rule in Heaven at her side.
  • Izanagi and Izanami had many more children who became gods or elements. Izanami’s last child was the god of fire; she was burned to death during his birth and was whisked away to Yomi, the underworld. In despair, Izanagi left all of their children and grew old and lonely on the far island of Tsukuji.
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