Creation Myth of Japan

Let’s get a bit studious. Today I’ll be telling you about the first thing that we learnt in our class about Japan ‘The creation myth of Japan’. The tale is a simple one according to the ancient text of Japan ‘Kojiki’ and ‘Nihon Shoki’, Japan was created by god Izanagi-no-Mikoto and goddess Izanami-no-Mikoto. The myth goes like this; ‘One day, god Izanagi-no-Mikoto and goddess Izamani-no-Mikoto were walking along the floating bridge up in the skies while looking down towards the ocean, wondering what lied beneath it.

Giving into their curiosity to learn about what lies in the ocean, god Izanagi-no-Mikoto thrust his staff into the waters. After pulling it out of the waters, he saw mud dripping from his staff and falling onto the ocean. The mud that was dripping hardened and grew and became the islands of Japan.

Then god Izanagi-no-Mikoto and goddess Izanami-no-Mikoto descended to these islands and began to explore them. They both went in different directions, and wherever they went while exploring they created or gave life to all kinds of plants, rivers, mountains, valleys and all of Japan’s flora and fauna. This is how Japan was formed.

Photo by James Wheeler on

Now let me tell you another tale about how major deities of Japanese mythology came into being. Goddess Izanami-no-Mikoto ended up in ‘yomi no kuni’ or ‘the land of the demons’ or you can say the netherworld. In shinto, netherworld is an unclean place, it is the land of the dead. God Izanagi-no-Mikoto followed her to the netherworld only to find her in a state of decomposition. This meant that she will not be able to return back to the other realm now, but god Izanagi-no-mikoto had to leave the netherworld and her behind.

After returning to the other realm Izanagi-no-Mikoto had to purify himself from the miasma of the netherworld. So he started to clean himself in the stream. While cleaning the purification of his left eye, gave existence to the sun goddess, Amaterasu Omikami; purification of his right eye gave existence to the moon god, Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto; and the purification of his nose gave existence to the god of wind, Susanoo-no-Mikoto.

Photo by Lana Lobayashi on

I am always very curious to learn about myths and legends, they always fascinate me. So you should know I myself am a learner, a student and not a historian. I shared with you what I have learnt, I am not that well versed in shinto as a religion, so this is just the story that I was told. If you interested in learning more about mythology, you should surely do your research.


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