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Japanese—Creation

Japanese—Creation


In the beginning, heaven and earth were not divided. Then, from the ocean of chaos, a reed arose, and that was the eternal land ruler, Kunitokotatchi.

Then came the female God, Izanami, and the male, Izanagi. They stood on the floating bridge of heaven and stirred the ocean with a jewelled spear until it curdled, and so created the first island, Onokoro. They built a house on this island, with a central stone pillar that is the backbone of the world. Izanami walked one way around the pillar, and Izanagi walked the other. When they met face to face, they united in marriage.

Their first child was named Hiruko, but he did not thrive, so when he was three, they placed him in a reed boat and set him adrift, he became Ebisu, God of fishermen.

Then Izanami gave birth to the eight islands of Japan. And finally Izanami began to give birth to the Gods who would fashion and rule the world -- Gods of the sea and Gods of the land, Gods of wind and rain. But when Izanami gave birth to the God of fire, she was badly burned and died.

Izanagi was furious with the fire God and cut him into three pieces. Then he set out to search for Izanami. He went right down into the Land of Gloom looking for her. He called her, saying, "Come back, my love. The lands we are making are not yet finished!"

She came to him, saying, "You are too late. I have already eaten the food of this land, But I would like to return. Wait here for me, and I will ask permission from the spirits of the underworld. But do not try to look at me."

At length, Izanagi got tired of waiting, so he broke off a tooth from the comb he wore in his hair to use as a torch and followed her. When he found her, he saw that she was already rotting and maggots were swarming over her body. She was giving birth to the eight Gods of thunder.

Izanagi drew back, revolted. Izanami called after him, "Shame on you." She commanded the foul spirits of the Land of Gloom to slay him.

The spirits pursued Izanagi, but he managed to escape. He threw down his headdress and it turned into grapes, which the spirits stopped to eat. Then he threw down his comb, which turned into bamboo shoots, and once again the spirits stopped to eat.

By the time Izanagi reached the pass between the land of the dead and the land of the living, Izanami herself had nearly caught up with him. But Izanagi saw her coming and quickly blocked the pass with a huge boulder that it would take a thousand men to lift, so making a permanent barrier between life and death.

Standing on the other side of the boulder, Izanami shouted, "Every day I will kill a thousand people, and bring them to this land!"

Izanagi replied, "Every day I will cause one thousand five hundred babies to be born."

Then Izanagi left Izanami to rule the Land of Gloom, and returned to the land of the living.





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