The birth of the offspring

After settling on Earth and building the palace, in which the heavenly pillar was placed, Izanagi and Izanami could start the more pleasureable part of their work – procreation. However, before the procreation took place, Izanami and Izanagi had to accomplish all formalities, that is: get married. The ritual was quite easy – one should walk around the heavenly pillar (Izanagi from the left, Izanami from the right), and when they meet, they should exchange courtesy and compliments. After this short ceremony, the couple was considered as married.

It is worth mentioning, that the Japanese Mythology has many alternative versions of the same story, although officially there is only one chosen. After getting married, Izanagi and his wife did not know how to start the sexual intercourse. I came accross two possible solutions to the matter:

  • they learned it from observing birds,
  • during a conversation they discovered the purpose of their reproductive organs.

The first child that came from Izanami’s womb was the deformed Hiruko. This incidednt filled the divine couple with sadness. They placed him in a reed boat, and consigned him to the sea. Littleton C. Scott adds, that this myth may reflect an ancient Japanese ritual of floating a reed boat away, with a clay figure (representing the first child) inside as a scapegoat.

The Heavenly Gods, after a debate, came to a conclusion, that this course of events is Izanami’s fault, as she as first complimented Izanagi during the marriage ritual. Consequently, the first marriage was canceled, and the ritual conducted once more, this time according to the etiquete – the man should be the first to speak during the exchange of compliments. For a long time, this event was the main argument for Japan not having equality of rights for men and women.

Thanks to the repetition of the ceremony everything started to be as it should – Izanami gave birth to the fruits of love of the divine couple: Japanese Archipelago’s islands (eight, due to which Japan was named the Great Country of Eight Islands), Gods of wind, mountains, rivers, grass, and trees. Nevertheless, the idyll was ended when the Homusubi (or: Kagutsuchi) – God of fire was born.


  • Littleton C. Scott – Japanese Mythology
  • Lee Khoon Choy – Japan: between myth and reality
  • Tomasz Rejmanowski – Mitologia japońska

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