Japanese Mythology, Spirits and Deities

Jimmu Tenno: Legendary First Emperor of Japan

Who was Emperor Jimmu Tenno Jimmu Tenno is in Japanese legend and history, the first emperor of Japan and one of its greatest early heroes. According to legend, Jimmu established the imperial dynasty. Jimmu Tenno’s name can be literally translated as “divine warrior,” and that is a good description of him. However, he received this …

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Yurei: 5 Tales of Japanese Ghosts and Undead Spirits

Yūrei are the Japanese equivalents of “ghosts” from Western culture. The name is a combination of two different kanji: “yu” which means “faint” or “dim” “rei” translated as “soul” or “spirit”. A question that frequently comes up when discussing yūrei is how they are distinct from yōkai—that is, how do yōkai and ghosts differ? A …

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All about Benzaiten (Japanese Goddess of Love)

Sometimes known BENTEN, also BENTEN SAMA and DAI BENZAITEN The only female member of the Shichi-Fuku-Jin or Gods of Good Fortune. She is the Goddess of learning and speech, the transformation of SARASVATI, and her attributes are the Dragon and HAKUJA, the white serpent sometimes shown with the appearance of an old man with white …

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Shichi Fuku Jin: The Seven Japanese Gods of Luck & Fortune

SHICHI FUKU JIN (Seven Gods of Luck). This assemblage of household divinities has been variously described, and to each of its number have been given more or less fanciful attributions by Western writers in their eagerness for classification, although the Japanese themselves give little information as to the properties which may have originally been considered …

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Izanami and Izanagi: Myth of the Japanese Creation Gods

The Japanese creation myth: a few theoretical aspects. Japanese mythology, like the mythologies of many other peoples, knows nothing about a creation by fiat, but postulates the origin of things in spontaneous generation and their development by generative succession. The explanation of the origin of the universe through creation is grand; the myths of spontaneous …

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Who were Fujin & Raijin? (Japanese Wind & Thunder Gods)

Fujin and Raijin are two gods in the Japanese Shinto pantheon. They were born out of the rotting body of Izanami, the female creator god. Fujin, Raijin and many other demons were released unto the human world when Izanagi came to retrieve Izanami from the Underworld, but was frightened by Izanami’s rotten appearance. Seeking revenge, …

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All about Saruta-Hiko: Japanese Mythological God

Saruta-Hiko (or Saruta-Biko), is the deity who appeared from the Central Land of the Reed Plains to provide a guide to Ninigi-no-mikoto when he descended to rule the land.  His name can be read as “Field-monkey prince.” Because the deity appeared at an eightfold crossroads, he is often viewed as the deity of crossroads; he …

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This is the story of Takemikazuchi: Japanese Sword God

A heavenly warrior deity and thunder god, considered son of the heavenly sword Ame-no-o-habari-no-kami (though he came into being from the blood of the slain Kagutsuchi-no-kami), and the messenger who caused Okuninushi and his sons to surrender the Central Land of the Reed Plains to the authority of the heavenly deities. Sent to Izumo, he …

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Marebito: Japanese Visiting Deities and Spirits

Visiting deities. Mysterious visitors, often from across the seas or deep in the mountains, are a staple of many Japanese local myths. These strangers, if treated kindly, fed, and entertained, are likely to emerge as donors of important foundation gifts. Orikuchi Shinobu (Japanese scholar and poet) defined marebito as spiritual entities that periodically visit village communities from the …

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