Shinto

Shinto
A Torii Gate from Shinto Religion.

Shinto

Shinto (神道) is one of the main relgions of Japan and is native to the country.

Founding Mythology

Founding Deities

See also: List of Shinto Kami.

The original three kami of Shinto which appeared when Heaven and Earth formed, as related in the Kojiki were known as follows:1

  • Amenominakanushi – (天御中主, Master Mighty Center of Heaven). Ancestor of The Intercessors.
  • Kamimusuhi – (神産巣日神, Sacred Growth). She is stated as the Spirit of fertility, motherhood and healing, as well as being one of the eight tutelary spirits of the Royal Clan.
  • Takamimusuhi – (高御産巣日神, Lofty Growth). The Engi Rites include him as one of the 8 tutelary deities of the Royal Clan, invoked at winter solstice rites and harvest festival.

After these deities came seven generations of Spirits that formed. These all in the table below. The Kojiki and Nihongi differ slightly in the order of Deities that formed.

GenerationKojiki VersionNihongi Version
1.KunitokotachiKunitokotachi
2.ToyokumonoKuninosatsuchi
3.Uhijini and SuhijiniToyokumono
4.Tsunogui and IkuguiUhijini and Suhijini also called Uhijine and Suhijine
5.Otonoji and OtonobeOhotonochi and Ohotomahe
(Alternative names for Otonoji and Otonobe)
6.Omodaru and AnakashikoneOmotaru and Kashikone
(Alternative names and Omodaru and Anakashikone)
7.Izanami and IzanagiIzanami and Izanagi

Creation of Japan

Izanami and Izanagi were brother and sister, but also husband and wife. Together the two of them set about creating the Great Eight Isles, thereby creating the country of Japan. The very first island was created by the Jewelled Spear of Heaven.12

The Sun, Moon and Storm Kami

After the death of Izanami, we see the birth of the three children known as Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi and Susano-o. Amaterasu was the kami of the sun, Tsukiyomi of the moon and Susano-o the storms.

Susano-o was an angry and raging Spirit and wishing to live with his departed mother Izanami he readies himself to descend to the realm of Yomi. Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi have a disagreement after another Shinto kami is killed (this being Ukemochi or Ōgetsuhime depending on the text read) and so Amaterasu sends him away causing day and night to become seperated.

Before Susano-o descends into Yomi he wishes to see his sister one last time and after a few exchanges, Susano injures his sister (or Amenohatorime or Wakahirume depending on the text) and this causes his sister to flee into Ama no Iwato plunging the world into darkness. Eventually she is coaxed out by many other Shinto kami.

Susano-o now leaves for Yomi and comes across a weeping couple who say their daughter is soon to be eaten by the dragon Yamata no Orochi. After felling the dragon and finding the Sacred Sword inside of it he marries the woman he saved (Kushinadahime) and together they have many descendants, one of them eventually giving birth to Ōkuninushi, a man who would rule over all of Japan for some time.

To Be Completed: Okuninushi.

Department of the Jingikan

The Jingikan (神祇官) was a department of Shinto Worship established in the 7th century under the rule of Emperor Kōtoku. It was governed over by the Imbe Clan, Urabe Clan and Nakatomi Clan.3

The first 10 books of the Engi Shiki cover the ceremonies and festivals of the Jingikan.4

 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.
3. Martin, P. (1997) ”The Chrysanthemum Throne”. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited.
4. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.

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