Susanoo-no-Mikoto

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Susano’o slaying the Yamata no Orochi, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Susanoo slaying the Yamata no Orochi, by Kuniteru

Susanoo (須佐之男 (スサノオ) romanized as Susano-o, Susa-no-O, Susano'o, and Susanowo?), also known as Takehaya Susanoo-no-Mikoto (建速須佐之男命?) is the Shinto god of the sea and storms. He is also considered to be ruler of Neno-Katasu-Kuni (now in Yasugi-shi, Shimane-ken). He is married to Kushinadahime.

Myths[edit]

In Japanese mythology, Susanoo, the powerful storm of Summer, is the brother of Amaterasu, the goddess of the Sun, and of Tsukuyomi, the god of the Moon. All three were born from Izanagi, when he washed his face clean of the pollutants of Yomi, the underworld. Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed out his left eye, Tsukuyomi was born from the washing of the right eye, and Susanoo from the washing of the nose. Susanoo possessed Totsuka-no-Tsurugi, a sword his father used to tear the body of his brother Kagu-Tsuchi, as his weapon.

The oldest sources for Susanoo myths are the ca. 680 AD Kojiki and ca. 720 AD Nihon Shoki. They tell of a long-standing rivalry between Susanoo and his sister. When he was to leave Heaven by orders of Izanagi, he went to bid his sister goodbye. Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susanoo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted. Each of them took an object of the other's and from it birthed gods and goddesses. Amaterasu birthed three women from Susanoo's sword while he birthed five men from her necklace. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace, and the goddesses were his, he decided that he had won the challenge, as his item produced women. The two were content for a time, but Susanoo, the Storm God, became restless. In a fit of rage, he destroyed his sister's rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, and killed one of her attendants. Amaterasu, who was in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato ("heavenly rock cave"), thus effectively hiding the sun for a long period of time.

Though she was persuaded to leave the cave (with the help of a ceremony and a unique style of dancing), Susanoo was punished by being banished from Heaven. He descended to the province of Izumo, where he met an elderly couple who told him that seven of their eight daughters had been devoured by the eight-headed dragon Yamata no Orochi and it was nearing time for their eighth, Kushinada-hime (櫛名田比売?). The 'Nihon Shoki, here translated by William George Aston in Nihongi, gives the most detailed account of Susanoo slaying Yamata no Orochi. Compare to that found in the Kojiki, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain in The Kojiki (1919:71-3), where Susanoo is translated as "His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness." [1]

Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto descended from Heaven and proceeded to the head-waters of the River Hi, in the province of Idzumo. At this time he heard a sound of weeping at the head-waters of the river, and he went in search of the sound. He found there an old man and an old woman. Between them was set a young girl, whom they were caressing and lamenting over. Sosa no wo no Mikoto asked them, saying:-"Who are ye, and why do ye lament thus?" The answer was:-"I am an Earthly Deity, and my name is Ashi-nadzuchi. My wife's name is Te-nadzuchi. This girl is our daughter, and her name is Kushi-nada-hime. The reason of our weeping is that formerly we had eight children, daughters. But they have been devoured year after year by an eight-forked serpent and now the time approaches for this girl to be devoured. There is no means of escape for her, and therefore do we grieve.” Sosa no wo no Mikoto said: "If that is so, wilt thou give me thy daughter?" He replied, and said: "I will comply with thy behest and give her to thee." Therefore Sosa no wo no Mikoto on the spot changed Kushi-nada-hime into a many-toothed close-comb which he stuck in the august knot of his hair. Then he made Ashi-nadzuchi and Te-nadzuchi to brew eight-fold sake, to make eight cupboards, in each of them to set a tub filled with sake, and so to await its coming. When the time came, the serpent actually appeared. It had an eight-forked head and an eight-forked tail; its eyes were red, like the winter-cherry; and on its back firs and cypresses were growing. As it crawled it extended over a space of eight hills and eight valleys. Now when it came and found the sake, each head drank up one tub, and it became drunken and fell asleep. Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto drew the ten-span sword which he wore, and chopped the serpent into small pieces. When he came to the tail, the edge of his sword was slightly notched, and he therefore split open the tail and examined it. In the inside there was a sword. This is the sword which is called Kusa-nagi no tsurugi. [2]

This sword from the dragon's tail, the Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi ("Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven") or the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi ("Grasscutter Sword"), was presented by Susanoo to Amaterasu as a reconciliation gift. According to legends, she bequeathed it to her descendant Ninigi along with the Yata no Kagami mirror and Yasakani no Magatama jewel or orb. This sacred sword, mirror and jewel collectively became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan.

Izumo[edit]

While Amaterasu is enshrined at the Honden Shrine or "Grand Shrine", which is at the entrance to the Ise Shrine, Susanoo is enshrined at Kumano Taisha located in Shimane (formerly the Izumo region), where he descended when banished from heaven.

In Japanese performing arts[edit]

In other media[edit]

In the popular Shonen Manga Naruto, powerful members of the Uchiha family are capable of using their ocular power, the Mangekyo Sharingan, to summon a powerful entity called Susanoo and use it in battle. It should be noted that Itachi Uchiha defeated one of the main antagonists Orochimaru who was in the form of a giant eight-headed snake in his Susanoo form wielding Totsuka no Tsurugi.

In the manga Tenjho Tenge, Susanoo is the First Takayanagi and Father of the first Red Feather leaders.

In the novel Sorairo Magatama (空色勾玉 Sky-colored Jade, also Dragon Sword and Wind Child in English), one of the main characters, Chihaya, is based on Susanoo. Chihaya is the third child of the god of light and mentioned to have been born of his nose. Chihaya is also revealed as keeper of the Dragon Sword, once used to kill the god of fire, and is able to tame the dragon released by the sword.

In the Visual Novel, Muv-Luv: Alternative, Japan and the United States develop and create a series of powerful mobile weapon platforms, the XG-70 Susanoo II and XG-70d Susanoo IV, aimed at combatting the BETA alien forces in their Hives with greater firepower and efficiency. Similarly to its mythological counterpart, the Susanoo is responsible for killing the 'leader' of the BETA, which somewhat resembles the Yamata no Orochi.

In the video game Puzzle & Dragons, Susanoo is an obtainable god.

In the video game Shadow Hearts: Covenant, he also appears as the final boss, along with his mutant apes that symbolize the sword, mirror, and jewel of Japan's cultural heritage. Tsukiyomi also features as a soul fusion for the character Kurando.

In the video game Okami, Susano is the name of one of the main protagonists. The storyline is based on Japanese mythology and Shinto legends.

In the video game series BlazBlue, Hakumen's samurai-esque armour is known as the Susano'o Unit. Additionally, Hakumen was the leader of the Six Heroes who defeated the Black Beast, which was a monster with eight heads.

In Digimon Frontier, the Mega Digimon Susanoomon is based on and inspired by the namesake Shinto god. Its weapon, the ZERO-ARMS: Orochi, is based on the event where Susanoo slew the Yamata no Orochi.

In the video game Persona 3, Susano-o is the ultimate Persona of the Fool arcanum and is a very strong physical attack user.

In the video game Persona 4, Susanoo is the Wind-based persona of Yosuke Hanamura, and is depicted as a figure in blue with wind-blown hair.

In the Koei/Tecmo video game Musou Orochi 2 (Warriors Orochi 3), Susanoo (rendered as Susano'o) is a being from the Mystic Realm who is hunting Da Ji and Orochi. His egotism and lack of faith in humanity bring him into conflict with the Resistance forces, but he is eventually defeated and allows them to challenge Orochi X in the final battle.

In the comic series The Sandman, Susano-o-no-Mikoto appears as one of the various deities who petition Dream to grant them the realm of hell. He is later seen in the spinoff series Lucifer in a more prominent role.

Susano'o Totsuka Takeru is one of the main characters in the 2013 otome game, Kamigami no Asobi: Ludere Deorum which is later adapted into an anime series in 2014.

In the light novel Campione! Susanoo was a former Heretic God and now resides in the netherworld after being driven away by the King of the End.

In the anime Yamato Takeru, Susanoo is the name of one of the "Sky God Warriors." The anime is based on the mythology concerning the slaying of the eight-headed dragon, Orochi.

In the card game Android: Netrunner, Susanoo-no-Mikoto is a powerful and unique piece of Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics used by the Jinteki corporation. The card's flavor text reads: "Certain areas of cyberspace are dominated by a single digital entity. Runners call them 'gods', and only a miracle can save those foolish enough to enter their domain."

In the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG series, Susanoo is represented as a card in the "Bujin" archetype, "Bunjintei - Susanowo."

In the role-playing game Bravely Default, Susano-o is the name of an obtainable spell that summons its namesake.

In the tabletop role-playing game Scion, Susano-o is one of the many gods from various polytheistic pantheons the player can choose as their divine parent.

In the anime Akame ga Kill!, Susanoo is the name of a living Teigu, owned by Najenda. In his most powerful form, he absorbs his user's life force to gain tremendous amount of strength, and enabling him to use powerful moves such as "The Mirror of Yata" that can reflect any kind of projectiles, as well as "Ame no Murakumo" which is a kind of sword that has immense power. His moves were also based off of the Imperial Regalia of Japan.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Basil Hall Chamberlain. The Kojiki: Records of Ancient Matters. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  2. ^ W. G. Aston, C.M.G. (1896). "Book I: The Age of the Gods". Supplement: Nihongi, chronicles of Japan from the earliest times to A.D. 697 (in English). Vol. I. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Limited. pp. 52–53. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  • Aston, William George, tr. 1896. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. 2 vols. Kegan Paul. 1972 Tuttle reprint.
  • Chamberlain, Basil H., tr. 1919. The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters. 1981 Tuttle reprint.

External links[edit]