Ancient Japan

Shinto Creation Stories

Another Account of the Creation of the Gods



   In one writing it is said,

   "After the sun and moon, the next child Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto gave birth to was the leech-child. When this child had completed his third year, he was nevertheless still unable to stand upright. The reason why the leech-child was born was that in the beginning, when Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto went round the pillar, the female Deity was the first to utter an exclamation of pleasure and the law of male and female was therefore broken.

   They next gave birth to Sosa no wo no Mikoto. 1 This God was of a wicked nature, and was always fond of wailing and wrath. Many of the people of the land died, and the green mountains withered. Therefore his parents addressed him, saying:, "Supposing that you were to rule this country, much destruction of life would surely ensue. You must govern the far-distant Land Below. 2

   Their next child was the bird-rock-camphor-wood boat of Heaven. They took this boat and, placing the leech-child in it, abandoned it to the current.

   Their next child was Kagu-tsuchi. 3

   Now Izanami no Mikoto was burnt by Kagu-tsuchi, so that she died. When she was lying down to die, she gave birth to the Earth-Goddess, Hani-yama-hime, 4 and the Water-Goddess, Midzu-ha-no-me. 5 Upon this Kagu-tsuchi took to wife Hani-yama-hime, and they had a child named Waka-musubi. 6 On the crown of this Deity's head were produced the silkworm and the mulberry tree, and in her navel the five kinds of grain. 7

Translated by W.G. Aston, Nihongi (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1896), 21-22

Edited by Richard Hooker



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Sosa no wo and Ama-terasu and their Children


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1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 9-20-97