Amaterasu is a very important figure in Japanese lore. According to Shinto belief she is a direct line of the Imperial family. Many religions have an origin story, a story that accounts for where everything originated. The Japanese origin story is no different. The Kojiki is the oldest written stories in Japanese History. From this we will begin our Journey. Inside the Kojiki it holds stories about the Gods, how they came into existence and may other stories. One of the most important Gods in Japanese culture is Amaterasu. Amaterasu is a Kami or “God” of the Shinto religion.
She is the Goddess of the Sun, and daughter of Izanagi. Izanagi “The Male Who Invites” and Izanami “Female Who Invites” were the Gods that were sent to create a world. They then created Japan and all other Gods here. When Izanami gave birth to the Fire God he burned her severely and she didn’t survive the ordeal. Izanagi is said to have killed the infant and from his death many other Gods sprung about from his blood. When Izanagi lost his wife he became saddened and enraged. He sulked until he decided to bring his wife back from the dead.
Izanagi then went to the land of the dead or “Yomi” to retrieve Izagani. When he found her she had built a house for herself there. He then persuaded her to leave with him back to the land of the living and she promised to do so as long as he did not look at her. Missing his wife dearly he disobeyed and did so anyway. He see’s that she has become a rotten decaying corpse. Enraged that he had saw her this was she sent the eight Thunder Gods and many others after him. When they failed she went after him herself. Izagani managed to escapes and closed the exit with a boulder.
Iazgani then went to cleanse himself after the trip to Yomi. As he purified himself, from his left eye Amaterasu “Heaven Shining Great August Deity”, from his right eye came Tsukuyomi “His Augustness, Moon Night Possessor”, and from his nose Susanoo “His Brave Swift impetuous Male Augustness” were born. The Kojiki goes on to say that Amaterasu sent her Grandson Ninigi to rule The Central Land of Reed Plains. He was sent down with the eight-foot long curved jewels, The Mirror that was used to lure Amaterasu out of the cave, and The Herb Quelling Great Sword.
These are today known as Japan’s 3 sacred Treasures. Ninigi eventually had a grandson named Jimmy Tenno who became the first emperor of Japan. This is significant in Japanese history because Imperial family rules by Devine right, meaning they are direct descendants of Amaterasu. The Shinto religion is a way of life in Japan. The Japanese people take pride in who they are and of their ancestry with the Gods. Amaterasu is a staple in Shinto religion; their flag of a rising sun is evident of this. Every religion has background and this is Japans.