The Japanese Goddess Amaterasu

The Goddess Amaterasu (Amaterasu-omikami) is a supreme deity of the Yaoyorozu-no-kami (eight million gods.)

Eventually Amaterasu reconciled with her brother Susano-o after their monumental "falling out" -- but only after he slew the eight-headed serpent which had been terrorizing the country and presented her with the sword which was drawn from its corpse.

The story of their births is intriguing.

Izanami was the goddess of creation and death. She and her older brother/husband Izanagi  created the many islands of Japan and gave birth to many of the gods,

Izanami, died after giving birth to a fire-god.. Filled with despair, the grieving Izanagi killed the young god she had birthed and headed to the Underworld to try to bring his wife back to the land of the living. Of course, he failed.

During the cleansing rite required after his return from the Underworld, Izanagi gave birth parthenogenically to Amaterasu (the sun goddess) who emerged from his left eye, Tsukiyomi. ( the moon god )  who emerged from his right eye, and Suano-o (the storm god) who was birthed through his nose. Izanagi died -- this was his final act.

Izanami,and Izanagi were the last of the seven generations of gods preceding the trinity of Amaterasu, Suano-o and Tsukiyomi. The line of the goddess Amaterasu would continue  to be powerful influence in Japan.

Amaterasu's granddaugter, Konohana Sakuya, is the goddess of volcanoes
(Mt. Fuji in particular,) and earthly life, symbolized by the Japanese cherry blossom (sakura) which is an omnipresent symbol of Japan.

She was also the great-grandmother of Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan.

Return to the Myths of the Goddess Amaterasu

 * We owe a great debt of gratitude to Ian Shea for much of the research used in the preparation of this page. Thanks, Ian.