The Mythological beginnings of the World and the Japanese Archipelago

Japanese Mythology differs in many aspects from other Mythologies, however, at the same time some myths have many similar themes common with few non-Japanese myths. Nevertheless, let us start from the very beginning – from the chaos.

After the chaos, Heaven and Earth separated from one another due to the dissociation of different matter particles: light particles of matter went up (forming the Heaven), while the heavier matter fell down, and became the Earth’s substructure. The still imperfect Earth wasn’t solid – its texture had been compared to a gelatinous jellyfish. Additionally, the Earth was an unstable creation, as it „split and divided”, which resulted in the creation of countries.

A moment after Heaven and Earth were formed, on the “High Plains of Heaven” (Jap. Takamagahara), one by one, the first three invisible Gods came into existence: Amanominakanushi, Takamimusubi, and Kamimusubi, who have quickly hidden themselves before the eyes of the deities that were to be born after them. Not long after this, two more important Gods came into existence, Umashiashikabihikoji, and Amanotokotachi, who, along with the first three Gods, composed the five primordial “Separate Heavenly Gods”. Seven godly generations had to pass for the new chapter in the world’s history to start. After those generations, the ancestors of humans were born: the God Izanagi-no-Mikoto (“The August Male”), and the Goddess Izanami-no-Mikoto (“The August Female”), who were siblings, and a married couple at the same time.

The Heavenly Gods ordered Izanagi and Izanami to create on Earth solid land, and to complete the act of Earth’s creation. To descend from Heaven to Earth, the godly couple had to enter the Floating Bridge of Heaven, which was the only connection between Heaven and Earth (some authors suggest it may be a rainbow). After he stood on the Bridge, Izanagi stirred in the Earth’s waters his jeweled spear. When he lifted the spear up, a few drops fell from the spear’s blade, and solidified, which gave birth to the Onogoro island – the first solid land.

Izanagi and Izanami descended on Onogoro, where they settled, erected a “heavenly” pillar, and built a palace. From this point, the number of similarities between Japanese mythology and other mythologies quickly decreases…


  • Littleton C. Scott – Japanese Mythology
  • Paul Varley – Japanese Culture

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