Shintoism has always fascinated me, thanks to its frequent appearance in mangas, animes, and Japanese video games. Be it the rituals, the architecture, or even the names of the many deities, Japan’s native religion has such a mythical feel to it, a belief system that is exquisitely simple yet at the same time also profoundly philosophical. The following are links to retellings of the four most important Shinto myths that I wrote a while ago for letterpile.com. As I was experimenting with writing style, I adopted a dialogue-heavy, humorous approach for all. Should you wish to know more about the original myths, please do read the footnotes and references I included at the end of each story.
In the West, there is the saying, till death do us part. This literally happened with Izanagi and Izanami, the mythical progenitors of Japan and Shintoism. In turn, the tragedy led to the births of the most important Shinto gods.
The Imperial Regalia of Japan represents the connection between the Japanese Royal Family and the Shinto Goddess of the Sun. Of all three items, the “mirror” is considered to be the most important and sacred. This is the story of how that came to be.
A snake, a comb, many tubs of sake, and a banished storm god. What is the connection between all of these? And what do they have to do with Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan?
In Japan, you’d would occasionally come across cartoonish/anime-ish displays depicting a spirited young man and an intelligent looking rabbit. Read this story to discover who they are. Read the footnotes to understand the historical implications behind this myth.