Japanese Mythology: A Mystery
Japanese mythology within all mythologies is one of the most complex to understand. Terms that are used in the current language of Japan are even derived from it. It is made up of a complex belief system, for example the Shinto pantheon which only represents a part of the mythology and comprises a large range of gods. It is believed that Chinese and Japanese mythology are very similar, it is almost taken to be the same, due to the great influence of ancient China on it; however, the Japanese for the most part is totally unique. This unlike other mythologies such as Greek or Norse, which is easy to distinguish what they consider what is myth and what is real for them, the Japanese are the opposite; it is really difficult to determine what the myths are for them
In Japanese mythology there are mythological creatures, which are supernatural entities, which have attitudes and aspects, both positive and negative. This in order to represent a balance between good and evil.
Among the characteristics of Japanese Mythology we can find:
- Own names. There is a great peculiarity associated with the extension of the names of the gods, which even in their abbreviated form are usually exaggeratedly long. This is the case for example of an envoy to earth named Ame-Nigishikuni-Nigishiamatsuhiko-Hikono-No-Ninigi-No-Mikoto.
- Gods and heroes. It is common that the gods are referred to as Kamis and that they are described with human appearance, they are assigned a series of forces or powers that are associated with nature such as is the case of lakes, thunder, the sun and moon so that you can identify gods belonging to heaven and others to earth, in both cases they communicate through messengers. As for the heroes, these were formed to support the destruction of a good variety of dangers.
- Demons and spirits. Supernatural beings, who therefore manage to change their appearance at will, became something fundamental and very typical of these myths. Some are really creepy and establish themselves as very difficult entities to exterminate.
- Animals. It is not surprising to find characters in animal bodies that have great powers and doses of wisdom, that is why they can be identified from dragons to foxes and wolves.
Elements of worship. Since stones and rocks can also be handled as objects of worship within this mythology, it is proper to identify these elements as the center of great attention in certain stories.
These are some of the Gods that you can find in Japanese mythology:
- Weather gods. Among them the god of the wind Shina-Tsu-Hiko, the god of agrarian rites known as Susano and the rain deity Taka-Okami.
- Gods of the stars. In the cult ceremonies, Amaterasu goddess of the sun stands out as well as Tsuki -yomi deity of the moon.
- Gods of the waters and mountains. In this sense the main god is O-Yama-Tsu-Mi who is the lord of the mountains.
- Domestic and wild gods. As much the grasses, as the meadows and the trees have their own God, like the rice whose deity is Inari.
- Gods of roads and fire. In rituals that involve fire, Ho-Musubi is called as he is the deity that causes fire.