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Amaterasu is goddess of sun and universe in Shinto religion. She is benevolent ruler of the heavens responsible for peaceful and prosper life of gods and humans. The Emperors of Japan are regarded as her direct descendants.

Myth

Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed his left eye. Her brothers were Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon and Susanoo, the god of storms. The siblings painted the landscape to create ancient Japan.

Amaterasu used to share the sky with Tsukuyomi. However, Tsukuyomi killed goddess of food, Uke Mochi, because he was disgusted by her pulling food out of her rectum, nose and mouth. Amaterasu labelled Tsukuyomi an evil god and split away from him. This created day and night.

Amaterasu discovered that remains of Uke Mochi's dead body have transformed into different types of food including silkworms, rice, wheat and beans. Amaterasu gave those products to the people and since then there were silkworms and arable grains.

There was a rivalry between Susanoo and Amaterasu. Susanoo once challenged Amaterasu to prove her that she is not worthy of ruling the heaven. She accepted the challenge. Amaterasu took Susanoo's sword and birthed three goddesses while Susanoo took Amaterasu's necklace and birthed five gods. Claiming that gods were hers as they were born from her necklace and goddesses were his, she decided that she had won the challenge as his item produced women. Enraged by his defeat, Susanoo destroyed much of heavenly and earthly realm. He also skinned a pony and threw it in Amaterasu's room. Amaterasu then hid in a cave, which brought world in darkness and chaos.

Other gods gathered around the cave and tried to find a way to lure Amaterasu out. One goddess started dancing promiscuously and another one created and hanged a mirror in front of a cave. Amaterasu heard gods laughing at dance and moved rock at the cave's entrance. As she was trying to get a better glance at her reflection she was pulled out by other gods who then closed the entrance to the cave.

Good Deeds

  • Created the landscape of the world with the help of her brothers Susanoo and Tsukoyumi.
  • As an embodiment of the Sun, her presence keeps mortal beings alive and prevents the world from falling into eternal darkness.
  • She was shown to care for the people of the world such as when she gave food that remained from Ukemochi's dead body to the humans.
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