Japanese Mythology, Spirits and Deities

7 Obscure Facts about Namazu: The Japanese Earthquake God

Namazu is a gigantic mythological giant catfish, or a deity in the shape of a catfish, thought to reside in the mud beneath the Japanese islands. According to Japanese mythology and folk belief, Namazu is the monster responsible for causing the devastating earthquakes that shaped Japanese history and culture. Physical descriptions almost always depict Namazu …

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5 Obscure Facts about Marebito: Japanese Visitor Spirits

What are Marebito? The term ‘Marebito’ can be translated as ‘rare person’ or ‘unusual visitor’. In Japanese mythology and Shinto belief, Marebito are spirits or gods that come from afar, from a different world or realm. They are considered to be ephemeral visitors, coming to our world for a short period of time. According to …

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7 Obscure Facts about Benzaiten, Japanese Goddess of Love

Who is Benzaiten? Benzaiten (often spelled Benten) is a goddess in Japanese Buddhism who originated from the Indian goddess Saraswati.  She was adopted into the Japanese pantheon through Chinese translations of Buddhist texts and was eventually integrated into the native Shinto religion as well.  She is known as the goddess of everything that flows—ranging from …

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7 Obscure Facts about Kuebiko, the Japanese Scarecrow God

Who is Kuebiko? Kuebiko is the Japanese god of knowledge, agriculture, and wisdom, in particular that of the earth used for agriculture. He is typically depicted as a scarecrow, and in this capacity Kuebiko he watched over farmer’s fields, and protected them from hungry birds or the ravages of weather. Over time, Kuebiko came to …

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All about Yurei: Japanese Ghosts & Undead (+ Examples)

Yūrei are the Japanese equivalents of “ghosts” from Western culture. The name is a combination of two different kanji: 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 first hint comes from the fact that yōkai is made up of …

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All about the Shichi-Fuku-Jin (Japanese Fortune Gods)

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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All about Fujin & Raijin: Portraits, Origin, Powers & More

The Japanese have a very rich pantheon of gods, demons and monsters. Some of the most famous of these include Fujin and Raijin. In Japanese mythology, Fujin is the god of winds, while Raijin is the god of Thunder. The two were born out of the decaying body of Izanami, the female creator god, but …

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All about Saruta-Hiko: Japanese God of Crossroads

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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7 Obscure Facts about Jimmu Tenno: Japan’s First Emperor

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, in 660 BCE, Jimmu established the Japanese imperial dynasty that has continued unbroken to this day, spanning the reign of 126 emperors and more than 2500 years. …

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