Saturday, July 11, 2009
Goddess: Amaterasu Omikami
Land of the Sun Goddess Michael Hoffman traces some fascinating risings and settings in the story of Japan By MICHAEL HOFFMAN Special to The Japan Times The sun was mortally offended — with good reason. Civilized progress deadens the impulse to see gods in the workings of nature. It's a price we pay, willingly or unconsciously. To the ancient Japanese, the sun was the goddess Amaterasu Omikami. She was gentle by nature but her brother Susano'o, the Storm God, could be provoking beyond endurance. Subject to tantrums, he "broke down the ridges between the rice paddies . . . and covered up the ditches. Also," reports the eighth-century "Kojiki" ("Record of Ancient Matters"), "he defecated and strewed the feces about in the hall where the first fruits were tasted." Further depredations followed; finally the outraged Amaterasu took refuge in the "Rock-Cave of Heaven." Japan was plunged in darkness; "constant night reigned." Rest of article. I wonder - is "Ama" a Japanese word for mother?