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Legends of the rise of Japan

Published: 2017.01.19 - 13:38:17   /  /  Alina Iglesias Regueyra  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Legends of the rise of JapanUndoubtedly, Japan is, like Cuba, an archipelago full of charm for those who like history, its myths and legends.

During the eighth century, the governors of Yamato summoned the local creators to leave in writing all that fantasy related to the rise of Japanese civilization, its customs and traditions, which would benefit them in the dominion of the country. This was intended to support his empire over a strong belief or cultural basis about his divine origin.

The first and most fanciful of these legends takes place in a divine environment very similar to the well-known Greek Olympus, and relates the creation of Japan from the union of the kami deities Izanagi and Izanami. From this pair three kami were born: the goddess of the sun and the blue skies, named Amaterasu, the god of the oceans and depths: Susanoo, and the moon god and the dark night, called Tsukuyomi.

On one occasion, the Kami Amaterasu and Susanoo fought for a long time, after which the latter, very angry and fond of sake or rice wine, got drunk and as a result made a great mess in his path. His sister was so frightened by the tsunamis provoked by Susanoo's anger that she ran to hide in a deep cave, so the world was in complete darkness.

In order to recover the light, the rest of the gods decided to prepare a trap for Amaterasu. To get her out, a female kami was asked to dance frantically and thus provoked the laughter of all the gods. When Amaterasu, from the bottom of her hiding place, asked for what happened, they lied to her, and replied that there was a kami more powerful than her.

Jealous, Amaterasu left the cave and slowly approached a mirror that was placed in front of her. She was absorbed in the contemplation of her own image for a while, and it was then that she was caught so that her light returned to light the Earth.

At the same time, Susanoo, the god of the deep seas, was banished by the gods because of that tantrum he had with his sister. As he walked aimlessly, he heard that an eight-headed serpent, called Yamata-no-Orochi, sowed terror amongst the locals.

The sea god began to plan how to rid people of that monster. Then he drunk the serpent with a sake and found a sword in his tail, with which he could cut off his heads. Then he took the sword for himself, but only for one purpose: to give it to his sister as a symbol of his appeasing intentions. That is why the people of Japan feel calm and happy when the elements of the climate are calm.

When Amaterasu learned that her grandson Ninigi was to be sent to rule the earthly world, she gave him a very special jewel in a curved shape, which was inherited in turn by his grandson, Jinmu, who was crowned the first Japanese emperor.

In this way, protected by myths and traditions, and supported by the Shintō belief, the governors of Yamato legitimized the imposition of the imperial system in Japan.

The legends collected provided the basis for the mirror, the sword and the curved jewel to form part of the Imperial Insignia of the country of the rising sun, as symbols of its creation.

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