Ukemochi

Hear about Ukemochi on Episode 12 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.


Ukemochi

  • Affiliation: Shinto
  • Deity of:
  • Family: ???

Ukemochi

Ukemochi (保食神) was a Shinto Spirit, mentioned in the Nihongi, that dwelt upon Japan.

Amaterasu learns of her existence and so sends her brother Tsukiyomi to go and attend her.

Upon his arrival she turns her head towards the land causing boiled mouth to be produced from her mouth. Turning to the sea, creatures with fins appear from her mouth. In addition, turning to the mountains causing things of rough and soft hair to be created from her mouth.

She takes these creations to serve at a feast for Tsukiyomi’s arrival. Tsukiyomi angered he would have to eat food from this Spirits mouth kills her and returns to heaven to relay these events to his sister. His sister, angry with his actions sends him away.

Amaterasu then sends Amekumabito to the corpse of Ukemochi, bringing back from her body ox, horse, millet, silkworm, panic, rice, wheat, large beans and smalls beans. Amaterasu rejoices and takes these declaring them to be what man eat to live. She then plants the rice in the fields of heaven and reels from the silkworm the silk with her tongue, thus beginning the art of silk rearing.1

This entire event is told rather differently in the Kojiki and is attributed to the Deity called Ōgetsuhime, and also occours much later in the legendery narrative.

Footnotes

1. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.

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Supernatural Creatures