4 Shinto Myths Retold.

4 Shinto Myths Retold

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.

A Retelling of Shinto Myths 1: Izanagi and Izanami

Izanagi and Izanami
Izanagi and Izanami. Japan’s earliest romantic tragedy.

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.

A Retelling of Shinto Myths 2: The Sun Goddess Hides Herself in a Cave

Sun Goddess Amaterasu emerging from hiding. One of the most important Shinto myths.
Heaven and Earth panicked when Sun Goddess Amaterasu resigned from her post.

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 Retelling of Shinto Myths 3: Susanoo and Orochi, The Eight-Headed Snake

Storm God Susanoo and Orochi.
Storm God Susanoo and Orochi.

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?

A Retelling of Shinto Myths 4: Ōnamuji Becomes the Lord of the Land

Ōkuninushi, Shinto Lord of the Land.
Ōnamuji, more famously known as Ōkuninushi. | Source: Flow in edgewise

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.


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About Scribbling Geek

The geek divides his free time between video games, movies, anime, and attempting to write decent short stories. Oh, and trying not to sprain his fingers from playing demisemiquavers on his Electone.

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