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The Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) is the oldest and most important chronicle of early Japan. Compiled in 712 by Ōno Yasumaro, the Kojiki records events from the mythological Age of the Gods up to the time of Empress Suiko.

The first part in the Kojiki is the story of the birth of Japan and is referred to as the “Kuniumi.”

The myths in the Kojiki explain the origins of gods all the way to the formation of Imperial family.

This ancestral lineage and the myths and legends that surround it created a strong foundation for Shintoism in Japan.

According to both the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki, the god Izanagi and the goddess Izanami created the islands of Japan.




Izanagi and Izanami are held to be the creators of Japanese archipelago and its gods in Japanese mythology.

Izanagi and Izanami, in Japanese mythology, are the universal parents and creators who produced the land, mountains, rivers, trees, wind, and the deities ruling these things out of chaos, a state of disorder or shapelessness.

Izanagi and Izanami are the progenitors of many deities, which include the sun goddess Amaterasu, the moon deity Tsukuyomi and the storm god Susanoo.


All was chaos before the creation of the world.

Then the world divided into heaven and earth, the first three deities or kami appeared at Takama no Hara, Plain of the High Heaven.

There, many more deities were born. They were likewise born alone, and hid their persons. The following generations came into existence each as a pair of male and female. The last Kamiyonanayo (Seven Generations of the Age of Gods) were Izanagi and Izanami.

At the time, the land below the sky was still shapeless like drops of oil floating on water.

The older generations of gods assigned Izanagi and Izanami the task of bringing structure and order to the formless chaos that was the world. To help them to accomplish this, they gave the two gods a jeweled spear called “Ama no Nuhoko.”

The two stood on the Floating Bridge of Heaven and dipped the spear into the ocean brine and churned.

When they lifted the spear up, briny drops from its tip created the first island of Japan which is called “Onogoro.”
(2人がその矛を引き上げたとき、その先から海の水がぽたぽたと滴って、それが「淤能碁呂島」と呼ばれる日本で最初の島になりました。→ briny:塩水の、海水の)

There, the couple went down onto the island, built a palace and a heavenly pillar, Ame no Mihashira.
(そこで2人はその島に下りて神殿と天御柱を建てました。→ pillar:柱、支柱)

Their marriage performed the mating ritual by walking around the pillar Ame no Mihashira and meeting in the center.

They circled the pillar, Izanagi turning to the left while Izanami moved to the right, so they met each other coming round. Izanami spoke first, “What a fine young man!” “What a fine young woman!” said Izanagi in response. The two were married, and they consummated their marriage.

After that, the newly-wed couple gave birth to their first child, who had no bones, arms, or legs.

Devastated and confused, Izanagi and Izanami consulted the elder gods for help.

They told the pair that the reason for their misfortune was that they had not conducted the marriage ceremony properly; it was Izanagi, the male, who should have greeted his wife, Izanami, before she greeted him.

They returned home and completed the ritual as instructed. This time, as they came face to face behind the pillar, Izanagi said, “What a fine young woman!”

Soon after, Izanagi and Izanami produced all of the islands and began to give birth to many deities that inhabited them. Together, they created the gods of sea, trees, winds, and many more.

The last child of Izanagi and Izanami was Kagutsuchi, the god of fire. But Izanami was terribly burned and eventually died after bringing Kagutsuchi into this world.

Raging with anger, Izanagi murdered Kagutsuchi by cutting off his head. His blood ran down the sword and created new gods.

Izanami was laid to rest on Mt. Hiba, but Izanagi refused to accept the death of his beloved. So he decided to go to Yomi, the Land of the Dead, and bring Izanami back with him.


黄泉の国とは、日本神話における「死者の世界」のことで、Underworldthe Land of the Dead と訳されます。

After a long and perilous journey in the shadowy darkness, Izanagi came to the big palace of Yomi.

He found Izanami behind the gate and called out to her, “My dearest wife, come back home with me. Our work in this world is not yet done.”

To which Izanami responded sadly: “I want to return with you, but you’re too late. I have already eaten the food of this land, and I can no longer go back with you.”

“But let me go and ask the gods of Yomi if I can leave with you. Just promise me not to look inside.”
(「でも、あなたと一緒にここを離れられるように黄泉の国の神々に頼んできます。どうか中を覗かないと約束してください。」→ just:命令文の前で「とにかく〜して」のようなニュアンス)

Izanagi waited, but she did not return. He finally became worried and could wait no longer and went inside the gate, looking for her, using a tooth of his comb as a torch.

When he at last found Izanami, he was shocked by her appearance. His wife’s body was rotting with baby flies crawling on it, and eight hideous gods of thunder, Ikazuchi, were also sitting on top of it. Although they were called gods, they were actually ugly monsters.

Izanagi knew now that he could not bring his wife back. She was no longer the Izanami he’d loved. “You broke your promise! I told you not to look at me!” she exclaimed. Overwhelmed by fear, he started to run away.
(イザナギは妻を連れ戻すことは出来ないと悟りました。もう彼の愛したイザナミではなかったのです。「約束を破ったのね! 見ないでと言ったのに」とイザナミは叫びました。イザナギは恐ろしくなって逃げ出しました。)

Ashamed and anger to be seen in this condition, she sent scary female monsters, Yomotsu-shikome, to chase Izanagi.

He continued to run along the long, dark road toward the gate, but the hags caught up to him quickly. Izanagi removed a black vine from around his head and threw it to the ground behind him.

Within seconds it started to grow roots in the ground and grew into delicious looking grapes. No creature could resist the temptation of it and the hags stopped their chase to eat the fruit.

But soon they had satiated their hunger and started to chase him again. This time, he took a comb out of his hair and cast it down onto the ground. Soon the comb turned into bamboo shoots that the hags devoured.

“Now I’m safe.” Izanagi felt relieved, but then he heard a noise like thunder. Izanami commanded 1,500 soldiers and evil monster gods, Yomotsu-ikusa, to catch Izanagi.

Izanagi withdrew his sword and swung it madly behind him, holding the monsters back as he continued his escape, a slope that leads to the entrance to the underworld, Yomotsu-hirasaka, looming before him once again.

Then he noticed a peach tree. Izanagi plucked three peaches and threw them at his pursuers. It worked! The all monsters screamed and fled back to the depths of Yomi.

In Japanese mythology, peaches were believed to have the powers to ward off misfortune and evil spirits.

Enraged Izanami kept chasing, so at last he grasped a huge rock and used it to close the entrance to the Land of Yomi.

“Izanagi,” she exclaimed from behind the rock. “For the shame you have caused me, I will kill 1,000 of your people every day, of this world you love so deeply.”
(彼女は岩の向こうから彼に言いました。 「イザナギ、あなたが私に引き起こした恥の報いに、私はあなたの愛するこの世界の民を1日に1,000人殺します。」)

“My dear, Izanami.” Izanagi said. “If you do that, I will build 1,500 houses in which babies can be born.”
(「愛しい妻、イザナミよ。」イザナギは言いました。 「それならば、私は1日に1,500人の子供を産ませるため、1,500の産屋を建てよう。」)

As a result, 1,000 people die and 1,500 people are born each day. Izanagi became known as the God of Creation. Izanami, meanwhile, persisted in Yomi, becoming its ruler, the Goddess of Death, Yomotsuookami.

After this terrible ordeal, Izanagi knew that he needed to cleanse himself of the impurities of Yomi. Then he removed his clothes and bathed himself in the ocean.

As he washed himself, three new deities came into being. The sun goddess “Amaterasu” was born from his left eye, the moon god “Tsukuyomi” was born from his right eye, and the storm god “Susanoo” was born from his nose.

Proud of these three illustrious children, Izanagi gave control of the world to them: Amaterasu was allotted Takama no Hara, Tsukuyomi the night, and Susanoo the seas.


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