Ameno Futodama

Ameno Futodama

Ameno Futodama (布刀玉, 太玉 or 天太玉) is a Shinto deity mentioned in both the Kojiki and Nihongi.12

The Gleanings of Ancient Words1 as well as the Nihongi2 list Futodama as the ancestress of the Imbe Clan. The Engi Shiki lists several shrine to this Spirit in the area of Izumi Province.1

We see her in the mythologies during the time that Amaterasu has fled into the Sacred Rock Cave of Heaven. In the Kojiki, she is tasked, alongside of Ameno Koyane to undertake divination using the shoulder bones of stags from Mount Kagu.1 The Kojiki and Nihongi together state that additionally Futodama and Koyane take a tree from Mount Kagu from which they hang a mirror, magatama, and prayer strips as part of the overall plan to coax Amaterasu out of the Rock Cave.

After Ameno Uzume dances in a lewd fashion, and Amaterasu finally is pulled from the cave Futodama and Koyane then take a sacred boundry rope which they pull tight telling Amaterasu she cannot return from where she came, blocking her from going back into the cave.12

Additionally the Kojiki states that when Uzume began her dance, Amaterasu peeked a little from the Rock Cave wondering how people could be happy with her being in the cave. Futodama and Koyane are said to have said it is because there was a Spirit with them more beautiful than the Sun Goddess and then held a mirror infront of her face.1

Alternative writings of the Nihongi relate things differently. One merely states she was tasked with bringing offerings, with another stating she was instructed to give a liturgy whilst holding all the offering the Spirits had brought.2

Footnotes

1. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.
2. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.

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