In the beginning, the world was a chaotic mass, an ill-defined egg, full of seeds. Gradually, the finer parts became heaven (yang), the heavier parts earth (yin). Deities were produced between the two: first, three single deities, and then a series of divine couples.
According to the Nihon shoki, one of the first three “pure male” gods appeared in the form of a reed that connected heaven and earth. A central foundation was now laid down for the drifting cosmos, and mud and sand accumulated upon it. A stake was driven in, and an inhabitable place was created.
Finally, the god Izanagi (He Who Invites) and the goddess Izanami (She Who Invites) appeared. Ordered by their heavenly superiors, they stood on a floating bridge in heaven and stirred the ocean with a spear. When the spear was pulled up, the brine dripping from the tip formed Onogoro, an island that became solid spontaneously.
Izanagi and Izanami then descended to this island, met each other by circling around the celestial pillar, discovered each other’s sexuality, and began to procreate. After initial failures, they produced the eight islands that now make up Japan.
Izanami finally gave birth to the god of fire and died of burns. Raging with anger, Izanagi attacked his son, from whose blood such deities as the god of thunder were born. Other gods were born of Izanami on her deathbed. They presided over metal, earth, and agriculture.
In Japanese mythology, the Japanese creation myth (Tenchikaibyaku, literally "creation of heaven and earth" 天地開闢), is the story that describes the legendary birth of the celestial and earthly world, the birth of the first gods and the birth of the Japanese archipelago.
This story is described first hand at the beginning of the Kojiki and in the Nihon Shoki. Both form the literary basis of Japanese mythology and Shinto; however, the story differs in some aspects between these works, with the most accepted for the Japanese being the one of the Kojiki.
At the beginning the universe was immersed in a beaten and shapeless kind of matter (chaos), sunk in silence. Later there were sounds indicating the movement of particles. With this movement, the light and the lightest particles rose but the particles were not as fast as the light and could not go higher. Thus, the light was at the top of the Universe, and below it, the particles formed first the clouds and then Heaven, which was to be called Takamagahara (高天原, "High Plain of Heaven"). The rest of the particles that had not risen formed a huge mass, dense and dark, to be called Earth.
When Takamagahara was formed, the first three gods of Japanese mythology appeared:
Taka-mi-musuhi-no-kami (高御産巣日神) and
Subsequently two gods emerged in Takamagahara from an object similar to a reed-shoot:
Umashi-ashi-kabi-hikoji-no-kami (宇摩志阿斯訶備比古遅神) and
These five deities, known as Kotoamatsukami, appeared spontaneously, did not have a definite sex, did not have a partner (hitorigami) and went into hiding after their emergence. These gods are not mentioned in the rest of the mythology.
Then two other gods arose:
Kuni-no-toko-tachi-no-kami (国之常立神) and
These gods also emerged spontaneously, did not have a defined sex, did not have a partner, and hid at birth.
Then, five pairs of gods were born (for a total of ten deities), each pair consisting of a male deity and a female deity:
U-hiji-ni (宇比地邇神) and his younger sister (and wife) Su-hiji-ni (須比智邇神),
Tsunu-guhi (角杙神) and his younger sister (and wife) Iku-guhi (活杙神),
Ō-to-no-ji (意富斗能地神) and his younger sister (and wife) Ō-to-no-be (大斗乃弁神),
Omo-daru (於母陀流神) and his younger sister (and wife) Aya-kashiko-ne (阿夜訶志古泥神) and
Izanagi (伊邪那岐神) and his younger sister (and wife) Izanami (伊邪那美神)
All deities from Kuni-no-koto-tachi to Izanami are collectively called Kamiyonanayo ("Seven Divine Generations", 神世七代).
Following the creation of Heaven and Earth and the appearance of these primordial gods, Izanagi and Izanami went on to create the Japanese archipelago (Kuniumi) and gave birth to a large number of gods (Kamiumi).
Hitorigami (独神) are Shinto deities (kami) who came into being alone, as opposed to those who came into being as male-female pairs. According to the Kojiki, this group includes the "three deities of creation" and the "separate heavenly kami." They are described as hiding themselves away once they achieved awareness. Most are said to have been created from the "male essence" and, as such, are male in gender.
Two hitorigami, Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi, summoned the divine pair of Izanagi and Izanami into being and charged them with creating the first land in the swirling salt-water that existed below the heavens
Age of the Gods
In Japanese mythology, the Age of the Gods (神代 Kamiyo or Jindai) is the period preceding the accession of Jimmu, the first Emperor of Japan. The kamiyo myths are chronicled in the "upper roll" (Kamitsumaki) of the Kojiki and in the first and second chapters of the Nihon Shoki. The reigns of Emperor Jimmu and the subsequent monarchs are considered the Human Age (人代 Hitoyo).
According to early mythology, the Japanese islands were created by Izanagi and Izanami, meaning "he who invites" and "she who invites".
They find themselves on a heavenly golden bridge staring down at earth and its oceans. With their jeweled spear, called Amenonuhoko, given by the gods or kami before them, they dip the spear into the ocean, creating the islands of Japan, Onogoro Island (“spontaneous-congealed island”).
Descending down from the skies, Izanagi and Izanami create their home and create a central Heavenly August pillar. Deciding to populate the land, Izanagi circles the left side of the pillar while Izanami circles the right. Meeting each other on the other side of it, Izanami greets her love “oh, what a comely young man.” Izanagi replies with” How delightfully, I have met a lovely maiden.”
Izanami being a woman speaking first to a man, the gods looked at this as inappropriate and cursed the couple by the children they bore. Their first child Hiruko was born hideous and cast out for its atrocity. Trying and trying again, they fail to conceive a proper child.
The gods explain to them both about their curse and decide to give them another chance. Once again Izanagi and Izanami circle the pillar just as before, only Izanagi speaks first. Their mating now was fruitful. Izanami gave birth to the islands of Awaji, Iyo (later Shikoku), Oki, Tsukushi (later Kyūshū), Iki, Tsushima, Sado, and finally Yamato (later Honshū), the largest. They named the land Oyashimakuni, the Land of Eight Great Islands. After that, Izanami gave birth in quick succession to the other minor islands that surround the main ones, and to the main kami of sea and harbor, of wind, trees, mountains, and so on.
Many other kami were born from Izanami’s womb such as Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. She was known as "Heaven-Illumine-of-Great-Deity”, and the Moon God, Tsukiyumi (Tsukuyomi). His silver radiance was not so fair as the golden effulgence of his sister, the Sun Goddess. While both sit atop the heavens, they begin their sibling rivalry, quarreling and fighting, they decide they can no longer see each other face to face, thus creating day and night, separating the two.
The last kami conceived was the fire god, Kagutsuchi. During birth, Kagutsuchi severely burned Izanami and eventually slipped away into the Land of Yomi, the underworld.
“The tears Izanagi shed at the death of his wife brought forth further deities.
Angered by the sight of the newly born fire kami who had been the cause of Izanami’s death, Izanagi drew his sword and decapitated the infant. The blood coalescing on the sword brought forth eight martial kami, including the important Takemikazuchi-no-kami and his peer, Futsunushi-no-kami. Eight more fierce kami of mountains and iron emerged from the infant’s body and limbs.”
In his anguish, Izanagi followed her to the underworld to rescue her and soon discovered the awful truth. Nothing remained of his beloved Izanami but a rotting living-dead corpse. As Izanagi runs away in horror, Izanami shrieks in anger for her loves abandonment, “Everyday I shall kill one thousand people in the lands we created”. Izanagi replies “Every day I shall create one thousand five hundred people”.
Izanagi and Izanami
Izanagi 伊邪那岐, recorded in the Kojiki as Izanagi no kami 伊邪那岐神 and in the Nihon Shoki as Izanagi no mikoto 伊弉諾尊, is a deity born of the seven divine generations in Japanese mythology and Shinto, and his name in the Kojiki is roughly translated to as "he-who-invites"
Izanami 伊邪那美, recorded in the Kojiki as Izanami no kami 伊邪那美神 and in the Nihon Shoki as zanami no mikoto 伊弉冉尊, meaning "she who invites", is a goddess of both creation and death, as well as the former wife of the god Izanagi-no-Mikoto.
Izanagi and his spouse and younger sister, Izanami, gave birth to the many islands of Japan (kuniumi), and begat numerous deities of Shintoism (kamiumi). But she died after giving birth to the fire-god Kagu-tsuchi. Izanagi executed the fire god with the "ten-grasp sword" (Totsuka-no-Tsurugi). Afterwards, he paid his wife a visit in Yomi-no-kuni (the Underworld) in the hopes of retrieving her. But she had partaken of food cooked in the furnace of the Underworld, rendering her return impossible. Izanagi betrayed his promise not to look at her, and lit up a fire, only to behold her in her monstrous and hellish state. To avenge her shame, she dispatched the lightning god Yakusa no ikazuchi no kami (Raijin) and the horrible hag Yomotsu-shikome to chase after him. Izanagi escaped, but the goddess declared to kill a thousand of his people every day. Izanagi retorted that a thousand and five hundred will be born every day.
The first gods summoned two divine beings, the male Izanagi and the female Izanami, and charged them with creating the first land. To help them do this, Izanagi and Izanami were given a spear decorated with jewels, named Ame-no-nuboko (Heavenly Halberd (spear-ax) of the Marsh). The two deities then went to the bridge between heaven and earth, Ame-no-ukihashi (Floating Bridge of Heaven) and churned the sea below with the halberd. When drops of salty water fell from the halberd, they formed into the island Onogoro (Onogoroshima i.e. "self-forming island"). Izanagi and Izanami descended from the bridge of heaven and made their home on the island. Eventually they wished to mate, so they built a pillar called Ame-no-mihashira ("pillar of heaven"; the mi- is an honorific prefix) and around which they built a palace called Yahiro-dono (the hall whose area is eight arms' length squared - one hiro is approximately 1.82 m, so the "eight-hiro-palace" would have been 14.56 m). Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions, and when they met on the other side, Izanami spoke first in greeting. Izanagi didn't think that this was proper, but they mated anyway. They had two children, Hiruko ("leech-child") and Awashima ("faint island"), but they were born deformed and were not considered deities, but devils.
[Note: Hiruko (watery child, Ebisu, (恵比須, 恵比寿, 夷, 戎, Yebisu,) or Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami, (事代主神), is the Japanese god of fishermen, good luck, and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children and the only one of the Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神, Shichifukujin) to originate from Japan.]
They put the children into a boat and set them out to sea, and then petitioned the other gods for an answer as to what they had done wrong. They were told that the male deity should have spoken first in greeting during the ceremony. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, and this time when they met Izanagi spoke first and their union was successful.
From their union were born the Ōyashima, or the "eight great islands" of Japan:
•Iyo (later Shikoku)
•Tsukusi (later Kyūshū)
•Yamato (later Honshū)
(Note that Hokkaidō, Chishima, and Okinawa were not part of Japan in ancient times.)
They bore six more islands and many deities. Izanami, however, died giving birth to the child Kagu-Tsuchi (incarnation of fire) or Ho-Masubi (causer of fire). She was then buried on Mount Hiba, at the border of the old provinces of Izumo and Hoki, near modern-day Yasugi of Shimane Prefecture. In anger, Izanagi was so angry at the death of his wife that he killed the newborn child, thereby creating dozens of deities.
The gods born from Izanagi and Izanami are symbolic of important aspects of nature and culture, but they are too many to mention here.
The Gods Izanagi and Izanami on the Floating Bridge of Heaven
Left: God Izanagi (伊弉諾尊) and Goddess Izanami (伊弉冉尊)
By Nishikawa Sukenobu (西川祐信; 1671–1751 ) Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper (38.1 x 57 cm)
Donated to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York by the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation in 2015.
Right: The Gods Izanagi and Izanami on the Floating Bridge of Heaven 天の浮橋 Larger image
By Utagawa Hiroshige, c. 1847 - 1852. (25.8 x 37.8 cm)
Izanagi and Izanami were deities who created Japan by swirling a spear into the ocean and lifting it out. The droplets from the spear fell back to the water and created the first land, Onogoroshima. They crossed the floating bridge of heaven and made the island their home. When they decided to mate, they walked around the pillar of heaven and Izanami spoke first. Their first child was a deformed leech child, Hiruko. They asked the gods what to do and the gods said Izanagi should have spoken first. Izanagi and Izanami walked around the pillar of heaven again and this time Izanagi spoke first. They slept together and Izanami gave birth to the islands of Japan. A text of the story is provided along with captions for Izanami (left), Izanagi (right), and the Floating Bridge of Heaven. Land floats along the sides, signaling that Izanagi has already dipped the spear into the water.
Onokorojima Shrine and Izanagi Shrine
Left: Onokorojima Shrine (Onokorojima-Jinjya 自凝島神社) in Awaji-shima(island).
This shrine protects the whole of Awaji Island with its monumental torii gate.
According to the Kojiki and Nihonshoki, the gods Izanagi and Izanami stood on the “floating bridge of heaven and stirred the blue expanse of the sea with a spear. When they drew the spear, up the brine dripping from the end of the spear hardened into an island. The island was called “Onokoro Island.” The two gods descended to the island, exchanged wedding vows and the nation was born. The first island created was Awaji Island, after which the other islands came into being one by one. Japan was thus created.
Right: Izanagi-jingu Gate (伊弉諾神宮 鳥居) View additional images of Izanagi Shrine.
Izanagi Shrine (Izanagi Jingu, 伊弉諾神宮) is a Shinto shrine located in Awaji, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. It is dedicated to the kami Izanagi and Izanami.
In addition to Onokorojima Shrine, numerous other shrines on Awaji Island enshrine Izanagi and Izanami. Of these, Izanagi Shrine (Awaji City Taga), where the gods have been worshipped as the gods of the Awaji island since ancient times, is said to be the place where Izanagi no Mikoto spent the remainder of his life after charging Amaterasu Omikami with uniting the country and establishing Kakuri Shrine.
Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩), or the Married Couple Rocks
Left: Meoto Iwa, the wedded rocks, "husband and wife cliff 夫婦岩", in Futami, Mie, Japan (三重県二見浦にある夫婦岩).
Right: Meoto Iwa. At low tide the sea recedes from around the rocks.
Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩), or the Married Couple Rocks, are a couple of small rocky stacks in the sea off Futami, Mie, Japan. They are joined by a shimenawa (a heavy rope of rice straw) and are considered sacred by worshippers at the neighboring Futami Okitama Shrine (Futami Okitama Jinja (二見興玉神社)). According to Shinto, the rocks represent the union of the creator of kami, Izanagi and Izanami. The rocks, therefore, celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman. The rope, which weighs over a ton, must be replaced several times a year in a special ceremony. The larger rock, said to be male, has a small torii at its peak.
Yomi, the Shadowy Land of the Dead
Izanagi lamented the death of Izanami and undertook a journey to Yomi or "the shadowy land of the dead." Izanagi found little difference between Yomi and the land above, except for the eternal darkness. However, this suffocating darkness was enough to make him ache for the light and life above. Quickly, he searched for Izanami and found her. At first, Izanagi could not see her at all for the shadows hid her appearance well. Nevertheless, he asked her to return with him. Izanami spat out at him, informing Izanagi that he was too late. She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the surface with the living.
Izanagi was shocked at this news but he refused to give in to her wishes and leave her to the dark embrace of Yomi. Izanami agreed to go back to the world above, but first requested to have some time to rest and instructed Izanagi not to come into her bedroom. After a long wait, when Izanami did not come out of her bedroom, Izanagi was worried. While Izanami was sleeping, he took the comb that bound his long hair and set it alight as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the horrid form of the once beautiful and graceful Izanami. She was now a rotting form of flesh with maggots and foul creatures running over her ravaged body.
Crying out loud, Izanagi could no longer control his fear and started to run, intending to return to the living and abandon his death-ridden wife. Izanami woke up shrieking and indignant and chased after him. Wild shikome, or foul women, also hunted for the frightened Izanagi, instructed by Izanami to bring him back.
Izanagi, thinking quickly, hurled down his headdress which became a bunch of black grapes. The shikome fell on these but continued pursuit. Next, Izanagi threw down his comb which became a clump of bamboo shoots. Now it was Yomi's creatures that began to give chase, but Izanagi urinated against a tree, creating a great river that increased his lead. Unfortunately, they still pursued Izanagi, forcing him to hurl peaches at them. He knew this would not delay them for long, but he was nearly free, for the boundary of Yomi was now close at hand.
Izanagi burst out of the entrance and quickly pushed a boulder in the mouth of the cavern that was the entrance of Yomi. Izanami screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade and told Izanagi that if he left her she would destroy 1,000 living people every day. He furiously replied he would give life to 1,500.
And so began the existence of Death, caused by the hands of the proud Izanami, the abandoned wife of Izanagi.
Sun, Moon and Sea
As could be expected, Izanagi went on to purify himself after recovering from his descent to Yomi. As he undressed and removed the adornments of his body, each item he dropped to the ground formed a deity. Even more gods came into being when he went to the water to wash himself. The most important ones were created once he washed his face:
•Amaterasu (incarnation of the sun) from his left eye,
•Tsukuyomi (incarnation of the moon) from his right eye, and
•Susanoo (incarnation of storms and ruler of the sea) from his nose.
Izanagi divided the world among them, with Amaterasu inheriting the heavens, Tsukuyomi taking control of the night and moon and the storm god Susanoo owning the seas. In some versions of the myth, Susanoo rules not only the seas but also all elements of a storm, including snow and hail.
Land of Yomi
Izanagi then decided to bring back Izanami and goes to Yomi-no-kuni, the underworld. Crossing the gates to that world, he met Izanami and says to her:
“The countries that you and me have created have not been completed yet. Let us return!
“Too bad you did not come before, for I have eaten in the country of Yomi! [By eating food in the land of Yomi, one ends up stuck being a resident of Yomi. This concept is called, "Yomotsu Hegui (黄泉戸喫)."]... however, I will consult with the gods of Yomi. Under no circumstances you may look at me!
On saying this, Izanami entered the palace of these gods. However, time passed and she did not return and Izanagi began to despair. So he broke one of the tines of his ornamental comb mizura that he wore in the left bun of his hair, lit it in order to light the place and decided to enter the world of dead.
He manages to find Izanami but is surprised to see that she lost her beauty and had become a rotting corpse, covered with maggots. Of her body were born the eight Gods of thunder, which were:
1.Ōikazuchi (大雷), from the head of Izanami;
2.Honoikazuchi (火雷), from her chest;
3.Kuroikazuchi (黒雷), from her abdomen;
4.Sakuikazuchi (折雷), from her genitals;
5.Wakaikazuchi (若雷), from her left arm;
6.Tsuchiikazuchi (土雷), from her right arm;
7.Naruikazuchi (鳴雷), from her left foot;
8.Fusuikazuchi (伏雷), from her right foot.
Izanagi, shocked, decided to return home, but Izanami was embarrassed by his appearance and commanded the Yomotsushikome (黄泉丑女 lit. "horrible women from the world of darkness") to chase Izanagi.
In his flight, he took the head-dress from his head, and threw it to the ground where it turned into a bunch of grapes. The Yomotsushikome started to eat them but kept chasing the fleeing Izanagi. So he broke the tine of the comb that he wore in his right bun, and as he threw it to the ground it became bamboo shoots, prompting the Yomotsushikome to eat them and enabling Izanagi to flee.
However, Izanami decided to release the eight gods of thunder and 1,500 warriors from Yomi to continue the pursuit. Izanagi drew and brandished his Totsuka-no-Tsurugi sword to continue his flight. As they pursued him, Izanagi reached the Yomotsu-hirasaka (黄泉比良坂), the slope that descends from the land of the living to Yomi. He took three peaches from a tree that had grown in that place and threw them at his pursuers and they fled.
“Assistance to all people when they are tired and face difficulties.“
These peaches were called Ohokamuzumi-no-mikoto (意富加牟豆美命?).
Finally, Izanami pursued Izanagi, but he lifted a rock that a thousand men could not move and placed it to block the slope. At that moment, their eyes met for the last time.
"If you behave in this way, I will strangle and kill one thousand men of your land in one day!"
"If you do this, I will in one day set up 1,500 parturition houses. So in one day indeed 1,000 men will die and indeed 1,500 are going to be born."
These words justified the circle of life and death in humans. For the same reason, Izanami is also called Yomotsu-ohokami (黄泉津大神) or Chishiki-no-ohokami (道敷大神) and the boulder that covers the entrance to the world of the dead is known as Chikaeshi-no-ohokami (道返之大神) or Yomido-no-ohokami (黄泉戸大神) and is today known as slope of Ifuya (伊賦夜坂) in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.
THE LAND OF YOMI
FROM the glorious clouds of High Heaven, from the divine ether, the vital essence, and the great concourse of eternal deities, there issued forth the heavenly pair Izanagi, His Augustness, the Lord of Invitation, and with him, Izanami, Her Augustness, the Lady of Invitation.
Together they stood upon the Floating Bridge of High Heaven, and they looked down to where the mists swirled in confusion beneath their feet. For to them had been given power and commandment to make, consolidate and give birth to the drifting lands. And to this end the august powers had granted them a heavenly jewelled spear. And the two deities, standing upon the Floating Bridge of Heaven, lowered the jewelled spear head-first into chaos, so that the mists were divided. And, as they waited, the brine dripped from the jewels upon the spear-head, and there was formed an island. This is the island of Onogoro.
And His Augustness, the Lord of Invitation, took by the hand Her Augustness, the Lady of Invitation, his lovely Younger Sister, and together they descended to the island that was created. And they made the islands of Japan; the land of lyo, which is called Lovely Princess; the land of Toyo, which is called Luxuriant Sun Youth; the land of Sanuki, which is called Good Prince Boiled Rice ; and Great Yamato, the Luxuriant Island of the Dragon Fly ; and many more, of which to tell were weariness.
Furthermore, they gave birth to many myriads of deities to rule over the earth, and the air, and the deep sea ; and for every season there were deities, and every place was sacred, for the deities were like the needles of the pine trees in number.
Now, when the time came for the Fire God, Kagu-Tsuchi, to be born, his mother, the Lady Izanami, was burned, and suffered a change; and she laid herself upon the ground. Then Izanagi, the Prince who Invites, asked, "What is it that has come to thee, my lovely Younger Sister? “
And she answered, weeping, "The time of my departure draws near ... I go to the land of Yomi."
And His Augustness Izanagi wept aloud, dropping his tears upon her feet and upon her pillow. And all his tears fell down and became deities. Nevertheless, the Lady Izanami departed.
Then His Augustness, the Prince who Invites, was wroth, and lifted his face to High Heaven, and cried, "O Thine Augustness, my lovely Younger Sister, that I should have given thee in exchange for this single child! “
And, drawing the ten-grasp sword that was girded upon him, he slew the Fire God, his child; and binding up his long hair, he followed the Lady Izanami to the entrance of Yomi, the world of the dead. And she, the Princess who Invites, appearing as lovely as she was when alive, came forth to greet him. And she lifted up the curtain of the Palace of Hades that they might speak together.
And the Lord Izanagi said, "I weary for thee, my lovely Younger Sister, and the lands that thou and I created together are not finished making. Therefore come back."
Then the Lady made answer, saying, "My sweet lord, and my spouse, it is very lamentable that thou earnest not sooner unto me, for I have eaten of the baked meats of Yomi. Nevertheless, as thou hast dearly honoured me in thy coming here, Thine Augustness, my lovely Elder Brother, if it may be, I will return with thee. I go to lay my desire before the Gods of Yomi. Wait thou here until I come again, and, if thou love me, seek not to look upon me till the time." And so she spoke and left him.
Izanagi sat upon a stone at the entrance of the Palace of Hades until the sun set, and he was weary of that valley of gloom. And because she tarried long, he arose and plucked a comb from the left tress of his hair, and broke off a tooth from one end of the comb, and lighting it to be a torch, he drew back the curtain of the Palace of Yomi. But he saw his beloved lying in corruption, and round about her were the eight deities of Thunder. They are the Fire Thunder, and the Black Thunder, and the Cleaving Thunder, and the Earth Thunder, and the Roaring Thunder, and the Couchant Thunder, and the Young Thunder. And by her terrible head was the Great Thunder.
And Izanagi, being overawed, turned to flee away, but Izanami arose and cried, "Thou hast put me to shame, for thou hast seen my defilement. Now I will see thine also."
And she called to her the Hideous Females of Yomi, and bade them take and slay His Augustness, the Lord who Invites. But he ran for his life, in the gloom stumbling upon the rocks of the valley of Yomi. And tearing the vine wreath from his long hair he flung it behind him, and it fell to the ground and became many bunches of grapes, which the Hideous Females stayed to devour. And he fled on. But the Females of Yomi still pursued him; so then he took a multitudinous and closetoothed comb from the right tresses of his long hair, and cast it behind him. When it touched the ground it became a groove of bamboo shoots, and again the females stayed to devour; and Izanagi fled on, panting.
But, in her wrath and despair, his Younger Sister sent after him the Eight Thunders, together with a thousand and five hundred warriors of Hades; yet he, the Prince of Invitation, drew the ten-grasp sword that was augustly girded upon him, and brandishing it behind him gained at last the base of the Even Pass of Hades, the black mouth of Yomi. And he plucked there three peaches that grew upon a tree, and smote his enemies that they all fled back ; and the peaches were called Their Augustnesses, Great Divine Fruit.
Then, last of all, his Younger Sister, the Princess who Invites, herself came out to pursue. So Izanagi took a rock which could not have been lifted by a thousand men, and placed it between them in the Even Pass of Hades. And standing behind the rock, he pronounced a leave-taking and words of separation. But, from the farther side of the rock, Izanami called to him, "My lovely Elder Brother, Thine Augustness, of small avail shall be thy making of lands, and thy creating of deities, for I, with my powers, shall strangle every day a thousand of thy people."
So she cried, taunting him.
But he answered her, "My lovely Younger Sister, Thine Augustness, if thou dost so, I shall cause, in one day, fifteen hundred to be born. Farewell."
So Her Augustness, the Lady who Invites, is called the Queen of the Dead.
But the great lord, His Highness, the Prince who Invites, departed, crying, "Horror! Horror! Horror! I have come to a hideous and polluted land." And he lay still by the river-side, until such time as he should recover strength to perform purification.
Artistic illustrations of the scenes in the Land of Yomi
Left: Izanami, the goddes of creation and death, Before and After.
Right: Digital art: Izanami, the goddes of creation and death, standing in the Yomi ( Hell ) covering with blood and dragons (8 deities of Thunder).
Left: Izanaki sealed the entrance with a giant rock.
After losing his wife to the underworld
Izanami mounted a full-fledged attack upon him along with her army of little ugly women demons. To flee from her Izanaki threw off the decorative vines he had in his hair to stave off their pursuit. Doing so, the vines turned into grapes which the little ugly women demons stopped to eat. Gaining a bit of time he next threw the bamboo kushi he had used as a decoration in his hair which turned into bamboo sprouts further gaining him some time as the little ugly women demons stopped to devour them.
Safely gaining access to the world of the living he only now had to repel his once beloved wife, Izanami and seal the entrance to the underworld. To do so, he threw peaches, known to have anti-demonic powers at his dead wife and her army and then sealed the entrance with a giant rock.
Right: Izanami in the Land of Yomi covering with dragons (8 deities of Thunder).
Yomotsu Hirasaka (Tourist attraction)
Left: Yomotsu Hirasaka, the gate to the ‘Land of the Dead.
Yomotsu Hirasaka is the slope that leads to Yomi.
"Hell's Hirazaka" as tourist attraction in Higashiizumo, Shimane Prefecture, Japan.
Right: According to Kojiki, the entrance to Yomi lies in Izumo province and was sealed off by Izanagi upon his flight from Yomi, at which time he permanently blocked the entrance by placing a massive boulder (Chigaeshi no ōkami 道反の大神) at the base of the slope that leads to Yomi (Yomotsu Hirasaka 黄泉平坂 or 黄泉比良坂). Upon his return to Ashihara-no-Nakatsukuni, Izanagi noted that Yomi is a "polluted land" (kegareki kuni). This opinion reflects the traditional Shinto association between death and pollution.