Izanagi

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Searching the Seas with the Tenkei (天瓊を以て滄海を探るの図 Tenkei o motte sōkai o saguru no zu?). Painting by Kobayashi Eitaku, 1880-90 (MFA, Boston). Izanagi with spear Amenonuhoko to the right, Izanami to the left.

Izanagi (イザナギ?, recorded in the Kojiki as 伊邪那岐 and in the Nihon Shoki as 伊弉諾) is a deity born of the seven divine generations in Japanese mythology and Shinto, and is also referred to in the roughly translated Kojiki as "male-who-invites" or Izanagi-no-mikoto ("Lord Izanagi"). It is also pronounced Izanagi-no-Okami ("The Great God Izanagi").

Accounts in mythology[edit]

Izanagi and Izanami[edit]

He with his spouse and younger sister Izanami gave birth to the many islands of Japan (kuniumi), and begat numerous deities of Shintoism (kamiumi). But she died after giving birth to the fire-god Kagu-tsuchi. Izanagi executed the fire god with the "ten-grasp sword" (Totsuka-no-Tsurugi). Afterwards, he paid his wife a visit in Yomi-no-kuni (the Underworld) in the hopes of retrieving her. But she had partaken of food cooked in the furnace of the Underworld, rendering her return impossible. Izanagi betrayed his promise not to look at her, and lit up a fire, only to behold in her monstrous and hellish state. To avenge her shame, she dispatched the horrible hag Yakusa no ikazuchi no kami (Raijin) and Yomotsu-shikome to chase after him. Izanagi escaped, but the goddess declared to kill a thousand of his people every day. Izanagi retorted that a thousand and five hundred will be born every day.[1][2][3]

Cleansing and birth of Amaterasu[edit]

In the cleansing rite after his return, he begot Amaterasu (the sun goddess) from his left eye, Tsukuyomi (the moon god) from his right eye and Susanoo (tempest or storm god) from his nose.[4]

Parallels[edit]

Izanagi's visit to his wife Izanami in Yomi-no-kuni somewhat parallels the Greek Orpheus's visit to Eurydice in the underworld,[5] but a more striking resemblance is his wife's inability to return after eating the food in hell, matched by Persephone of Greek myth.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Izanagi Boom (ja), a period of high economic growth in Japan in the second half of the 1960s.
  • The name of this deity appears incorrectly spelled as "Izagi" in Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly.
  • Izanagi is the name of the protagonist's first Persona in the video game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4. Izanagi-no-Okami is his awakened Persona.
  • Izanagi, Amaterasu, and Susanoo appear as Personas in the video game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4. Izanami also appears, but as an antagonist instead of a Persona.
  • Izanagi, Izanami, Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi and Susanoo are various eye techniques of the Uchiha clan in the Japanese manga Naruto.
  • Izanagi is also the name of a character in the anime Mai-HiME.
  • Izanagi is a Monster Card in the popular Trading Card Game, Yugioh.
  • In the anime Darker than BLACK season 2, Izanagi is referenced multiple times and "will meet with Izanami to reshape the world."
  • Izanagi, Izanami, Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi and Susanoo appear as characters in the video game Ōkami.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phillipi, Donald L. (1969). Kojiki. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. p. 66. 
  2. ^ Chamberlain, Sir Basil Hall (1882). "A Translation of the 'Ko-ji-ki', or Records of Ancient Matters". Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. VI, Section IX. Yokohama. p. 86. ; Reedited in Horne, Charles Francis, ed. (1917). The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East: With an Historical Survey and Descriptions 13. Parke. pp. 8–61.  Wikisource: Wikisource-logo.svg ""2.1 The Land of Hades".
  3. ^ Aston, William George (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697 1. London: Japan Society of London. pp. 24–. 
  4. ^ Melvyn Bragg (22 Sep 2011). "In Our Time". www.bbc.co.uk (Podcast). British Broadcasting Corporation. Event occurs at 17:14. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Sweet, Charles Filkins (1919). New life in the oldest empire. Macmillan. pp. 1–7. 
  6. ^ Sansom, George Bailey (1919). A History of Japan: To 1334. Macmillan. p. 30.