The beginnings of the divine crisis

Before Izanagi left the Earth, he generously gifted his children – each one of them was assigned a specific part of his kingdom over which they should exercise custody:

  • Amaterasu received a necklace (the symbol of sovereignty) and the Sky,
  • Tsukiyomi received as a gift the World during the night time,
  • Susano got the Oceans under his reign.

Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi gratefully accepted their gifts and tasks. Susano, however, was dissatisfied, and burst into tears. When asked by his father for the cause of his sorrow Susano said that he would rather rule the Land of the Dead, where his mother is, than the Oceans. Unfortunately, these words upset Izanagi so much, that he punished Susano by sentencing him to banishment, and left afterwards (depending on the version of the myth – either to the Palace of the Sun in Heaven or to the temple in Taga, Shiga Prefecture, Honshu).

Susano, before leaving, said to his sister that he would like to “say goodbye to her.” Amaterasu sensed danger and began to prepare for the battle: she tied his long hair in two buns, took with her a bow and two quivers of arrows, and then began to look forward to meeting her brother, time and again stamping her foot, and waving her bow in impatience.

Susano, after appearing in the front of his sister, tried to convince her that has no malicious intent. Moreover, instead of fighting he offered a competition in begetting male offspring: who begets more sons, wins. Amaterasu agreed to these conditions, and so the competition began.

Amaterasu was the one to start the battle: she asked her brother for his sword, broke it into three parts, and chewedeach of them. When she spat the chewed pieces, three beautiful goddesses were born from them. When it was time for Susano, he took from his sister magic magatama ribbons that were wrapped around her buns, hair and wrists. With them, he managed to create five gods, and so declared himself the winner.

However, Amaterasu dampen his enthusiasm after stating that his male descendants came from her ribbons, which means that she won the contest. Her brother did not take into consideration this explanation and began to celebrate his victory by destroying his sister’s paddy fields, and their irrigation system. In addition, he went to the palace – he defecated in the room used for eating fruits of the first harvest, and began spilling his excrements all around it. As if that were not enough, Susano has skinned a “heavenly” dappled pony and hurled it through the roof, to the chamber where Amaterasu and her weavers wove.

Here, again, we come across two versions of the myth:

  • in the first one (or few) of the weavers accompanying Amaterasu, as a result of this event gets mortally wounded and dies, and the Goddess of the Sun hurt and frightened flees;
  • in the second Amaterasu is also seriously wounded and escapes.

Consequently, the Sun Goddess’ escape gave birth to the heavenly crisis…

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