East Asian Mythology: China and Japan

Amaterasu: The Great Goddess

Is there a Japanese war in heaven?

A war in heaven of sorts developed between the goddess Amaterasu and her brothers, Tsukuyomi and Susanowa. At first Amaterasu became the ruler of the sun and heavens with her husband-brother Tsukuyomi, who ruled the night. The couple shared the sky until Tsukuyomi became disgusted with and killed the goddess of food when she produced food from her nose, mouth, and anus. Angry over this act, Amaterasu separated from her brother, making day and night different realities. Amaterasu never got along well with her brother Susanowa. When Izanagi told him to leave heaven, Susanowa went to his sister, supposedly to say goodbye, and they exchanged “seeds,” allowing Susanowa to give birth to five women from his sister’s necklace and Amaterasu to give birth to three women from her brother’s sword. After a time, and arguments over the ownership of these offspring, Susanowa turned on Amaterasu, destroying her rice fields and attacking her servants. Amaterasu escaped Susanowa’s rage by hiding in a cave, thus depriving the world of the sun, until other deities persuaded her to come out by using a mirror, by which she was attracted to her own beauty. Susanowa was banished, but eventually he reconciled with his sister, giving her his sacred sword.


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