The origin of death according to Japanese mythology is in a curious legend about the creation of Japan.A large part of religion and Japanese mythology are unique mdespite the influence of the ancient Chinese civilization. They also contain Shinto and Buddhist traditions, as well as popular agricultural beliefs.
The traditional Japanese myths are based onKojiki andNihonshoki. Kojiki literally means "register of ancient things" and is the oldest recognized book on myths, legends and history of Japan.Nihonshoki is the second oldest. It tells the different actions of the deities.
Let us see below what the origin of death according to Japanese mythology, through this wonderful legend.
” Why focus on what we are going to lose anyway? "-Isabel Allende-
The legend on creation of Japan
At the beginning of time, the first Japanese gods created two divine beings.A man named Izanigi and a woman, Izanami. These ancestral gods entrusted them with the mission of creating a land so marvelous that it would not be comparable to any other.
Years later, when they completed the mission imposed by the first gods, they decided that it was time to have an offspring.From their union were born the eight big Japanese islands.
Harmony reigned in the created world. The deities lived with their many children until the day Izanami begot Kagutsuchi, god of fire.Following a very complicated delivery, the mother of creation remained a very sick time and died.
The death of the deity was extremely devastating forIzanigi, who did not accept it. After having buried Izanami's body in the mountains, in the mythical Mount Hiba near Izumo, he decided to go in search of his beloved to the kingdom of Yomi, name that receives the land of the dead.
Izanigi set out for darkness and began searching for his beloved wife. All the demons he met thewarned that Izanami could never accompany him. That it was impossible to return to the land of the living when the fruit of Yomi had been tasted.
After several months of hardship and suffering, Izanigi finally found his wife in a place where darkness reigned. She told him that she could not go back with him because it was too late. Izanami had eaten the food of the afterlife.SheHowever, she went to try to convince the Yomi leaders to let her go. She asked her husband not to come in while she did.
The only condition for obtaining the approval of the gods wasthat Izanagi does not look at his wife when she enters the palace again. But the deity, as in the myth of Orpheus, did not resist the temptation and lit a small flame with one of the teeth of his comb and entered the palace. With this light,Izanigi broke the law by disturbing the harmony of darkness. He contemplated the body of his wife turned into rotten corpse, overflowing with worms. The deities of thunder and lightning emerged from his head and chest.
So that the god flees from terror while his wife theaccused of shaming her and pursued her throughout the Yomi kingdom to kill him.After constant harassment, Izanami pierced her husband's body with a spear, leaving him badly wounded.
The father of creation ran without rest until he felt the breeze from the outside.Although wounded, he was able to reach the kingdom of the living. With the little strength left to him, he sealed with a big rock the fine crack that separated the two worlds.
Izanami, from inside the cave, was shouting to her husband to let her into the realm of the living. But, terrified by all he had experienced, he categorically refused.The goddess then threatened her husband to kill 1000 humans each day, to which Izanagi replied "then I will give life to 1500 other beings each day".
Thus death began to spread on earth and the mystical Japanese people celebrated the Day of the Dead, or the Obon, for more than 500 years.
Death according to Japanese mythology
The origin of death according to Japanese mythology is still part of a millennial pastwhere myths and religion are part of the overall thinking of ancestral culture.
The sense of community, family, and death has worsened in Japan today. It gives way to a more Westernized thought. Thedeath remains nevertheless considered as borrowing a certain dirt which must be purified. It is therefore necessary to cleanse, flavor, dress and prepare as decently as possible the person who has died and whose soul leaves for the world beyond.
To conclude.Unlike Western culture where this process is treated as a taboo subject, death according to Japanese mythology is considered inevitable. The important thing is in actions carried out during life.The pain of the death of a loved one is transformed into a feeling of comfort by considering that the soul of the deceased is still among us.
” Forever, it's long. I think we will find ourselves in better circumstances or in other lives.”-Miyamoto Musashi-