Ancient Mythology

Susano | Japanese Mythology

Susano is the brother of Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi, created by Izangi.

While Susano's siblings dutifully held their positions in the High Plain of Heaven, Susano caused trouble on the Central Land of the Reed Plain (the Earth). Susano neglected his work causing much of the foliage on the land to wither away. Izangi asked Susano why he was upset, and Susano announced that he did not like the Earth, but instead wanted to be in Yomi with his Izanami. Izamgo was furious and banished Susano.

But before Susano went down to Yomi, he decided that he must journey to the heavens to say goodbye to his sister. As he began his journey, though, his ascent caused a great earthquake on the land. Hearing this, Amaterasu feared that Susano's approach was malicious—she feared that he intended to steal her place. Amaterasu prepared herself for battle, and awaited Susano's approach.

When Susano arrived, he tried to assure Amaterasu that he came only to bid her farewell. She demanded proof, and suggested a competiton in procreation. The one who created birth to a red-blooded male would be shown as the correct sibling. Amaterasu took Susano's sword and gave him a string of beads in return. Both items were washed, and used for the contest. Amaterasu went first, biting into the sword, creating three goddesses from her breath. Susano then placed the beads in his mouth and created five gods from them.

Susano was the victor, but Amaterasu insisted that since the gods came from her beads, she was in fact the correct one. Susano was furious, and attacked with chaos throughout the heavens and the earth. Ametsaru ultimately fled and hid herself in a cave.

The absence of the sun, and the great ordeal that was required to return Amaterasu, caused the gods to sentence Susano severely. His beard was shaven, his fingernails and toenails were cut off forced him to take part in several embarrassing rituals. Finally, the gods banished Susano from heaven and sent him to the underworld of Yomi.

Later, when Susano encounters and slays the dragon Orochi, he discovers a sacred sword that has grown within the monster. He presents this sword, the Kusanagi to Amaterasu as a gift.


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