HACHIMAN – The Shinto god of war. As Emperor Ojin he was born to the Empress Jingo, who was said to be carrying the child within her womb for three years while she finished successfully conducting her late husband’s war against the three kingdoms of Korea. (This is an interesting parallel to the birth of the Vietnamese god Thach Sanh, who was also said to be gestating for three years) The Korean invasion referred to when Jingo’s husband the Emperor Chuai died would be the one of approximately 200 C.E.
Hachiman was seen not just as a god of proactive, offensive war but also as the protector of children and as the deity of the general prosperity that was thought to come from military strength. He might also be said to embody the concept known as “peace through strength”. Oddly to us in the West, white doves are a symbol of this god of war and are often his messengers in Shinto myths. Hachiman was also Continue reading
UZUME – This daughter of the gods Izanagi and Izanami was the goddess of dancing, a skill that served her in good stead in two major Shinto myths. When the sun goddess Amaterasu had hidden herself away in a cave, Uzume danced naked as part of the plot concocted by the god of wisdom Omoigane to lure Amaterasu back out into the world.
In the other major myth Uzume is part of the retinue of the god Ninigi when Amaterasu sends him down to rule over ancient Japan. Their descent was blocked by Sarutahiko, the god who guards Ukihashi, the floating bridge between Continue reading
INARI – The Shinto rice god. His wife was the goddess Ukemochi and when she was slain by the moon god he married Mitama, the goddess of agriculture. His son was the scarecrow and divination deity Kuyebiko. There are even versions of Shinto myths in which Saki is said to be Inari’s daughter and the goddess of the intoxicating drink Saki like Dionysus is the god of wine in Greek myths.
Inari often roamed the rice fields of Earth, sometimes in the form of a fox, his familiar animal. This connection between the rice god and foxes came from the way foxes often Continue reading
This sun goddess was the chief deity of the Shinto pantheon. In the Nihongi she is the daughter of both Izanagi and Izanami but in the Kojiki she springs from Izanagi’s left eye. During one of the conflicts with her brother Susanowo the storm god she withdrew to a cave in protest of the storm god’s incessant belligerence. Susanowo had been overstepping his bounds by Continue reading
For more of the Shinto deities I’ve covered here at Balladeer’s Blog click here: http://www.makethelist.net/the-top-10-deities-in-shinto-mythology/
JUROJIN – The god of longevity who granted a long life and watched over the elderly. He was depicted as a Continue reading
The latest deity of the day here at Balladeer’s Blog will be Okuninushi. For my larger entry on Shinto gods and goddesses click here: http://www.makethelist.net/the-top-10-deities-in-shinto-mythology/
OKUNINUSHI – The Shinto god of medicine who eventually became the ruler of the Izumo area of Japan. Okuninushi lived in Izumo, which was under the control of the extended family of deities of the exiled storm god Susanowo. The turning point in the medicine god’s life came when he used his healing powers to cure a rabbit that his brothers had cruelly abused. The healed rabbit transformed into his true form as the Continue reading