[[caption-width-right:350:Izanami and Izanagi]]
Naturally, the ancient mythology of Japan is often referenced in modern {{anime}}, {{manga}}, {{video games}}, etc. that are produced in Japan (i.e. nearly all of it). The ''Kojiki'' and ''Nihon-Shoki'', early historical records containing detailed accounts of Japanese folklore, act as the sources for many famous tales of heroes and legendary beasts. This, combined with the spiritual traditions of the Shinto religion and its vast pantheon of gods and demons, plus Buddhist influences, creates an abundant mythos. Here are summaries of some of the most well-known stories.

![[CreationMyth The Creation Myth]]
In the beginning, there was darkness, stars, and an endless ocean. The first gods were two siblings named Izanagi-no-Mikoto (male) and Izanami-no-Mikoto (female). They came down from heaven and created the first land by stirring the ocean with a spear, and after that they built a house, got married, and [[BrotherSisterIncest made some babies]]. The first of these babies was the fishing god. The next eight were the islands of Japan. They had many more children, including Fūjin, the god of wind, Raijin, the god of thunder, and Ryūjin, the dragon king of the sea. However, Izanami died giving birth to the god of fire, Kagutsuchi, and was sent to Yomi, the shadowy underworld. Izanagi mourned his wife and travelled to Yomi to retrieve her. When he finally found her, she agreed to return with him, but warned her husband not to look at her. Of course, he disobeyed, and saw that she was now a ghastly, rotting corpse. Izanagi freaked out and ran away, rolling a boulder in front of the cave entrance in order to escape Izanami's wrath. Izanami promised that she would kill 1,000 people every day in revenge. Izanagi countered that he would create 1,500 people every day.

(Compare and contrast: [[ClassicalMythology Orpheus and Eurydice]])

! The Three Great Gods
Purifying himself after escaping Yomi, Izanagi washed his face and from his left eye came Amaterasu-Oomikami, goddess of the Sun and ruler of heaven; from his right eye came Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto, god of the Moon and ruler of night; and from his nose came Susanoo-no-Mikoto, god of storms and ruler of the sea.

Susanoo didn't like his siblings or his job and grew ever more jealous, until one day Amaterasu tricked him into losing a bet. In retaliation he [[KickTheDog threw a pony that was skinned alive]] at Amaterasu while she was sewing, killing another goddess. So Amaterasu ran away and hid in a cave, plunging the world into darkness. No one could get her to come out, until Ame-no-Uzume, goddess of merriment, hatched a cunning plan. She put a sacred mirror and jeweled necklace (the Yata no Kagami and the Yasakani no Magatama, respectively) on a tree outside the cave and [[MsFanservice danced around naked]] making lots of noise to get attention. When Amaterasu poked her head outside to see what the commotion was about, [[DistractedByMyOwnSexy she saw her own beautiful self in the mirror]]. Another god pulled her out of the cave and blocked the entrance, the Sun returned and Amaterasu was filled with joy from the naked dancing. And who wouldn't be?

Tsukuyomi, meanwhile, grew bored and decided to move in with Amaterasu (and in some versions, [[BrotherSisterIncest they got married]]). Things were going well until he went to a banquet in Amaterasu's honour, which was hosted by Uke Mochi, the goddess of food, who provided the feast by [[{{Squick}} vomiting and/or defecating]] everywhere. Tsukuyomi was sickened and offended by this [[DisproportionateRetribution so he killed her]]. However, this upset Amaterasu so much that she vowed never to look at Tsukuyomi again, running away whenever she saw him, which is why the Sun and Moon cannot be together. Clearly she was ''very'' sensitive.

![[{{Orochi}} The Serpent]]
Susanoo was kicked out of heaven for being a jerk, and some time later went to a village where he met a crying family. They explained that a giant eight-headed serpent called Yamata no Orochi had eaten all their daughters but one. Susanoo agreed to slay Orochi in return for the last daughter, Kushinadahime, as his wife. He killed the beast by laying out giant casks of saké for each head and cutting them off when they all became drunk. He found a sword in one of its tails that could cut anything, and called it Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi ("Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven"). It was later named Kusanagi, which means "Grass Cutter". Susanoo gave it to his sister as a sign of good faith, though he remained no less of a jerk.

The three sacred artifacts in the above myths, the mirror, the necklace, and the sword, are known as the Japanese Imperial Regalia, symbols of the divinity of the Emperor. They represent wisdom, benevolence, and valour, respectively. They are said to have been brought to Japan by Ninigi-no-Mikoto, the grandson of Amaterasu and ancient ancestor of the Imperial Family.

See also {{Youkai}}.
!This mythology contains examples of:
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Is there anything that ''doesn't'' have its own kami? Oh, right, kami technically means "spirit", so ''everything'' in existence has its own particular kami, even inanimate objects.
* BackFromTheDead: Izanami, with disastrous results. Also Okuninushi, ''twice''.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Okuninushi was a NiceGuy until Emperor Suujin's reign, when he caused a plague and demanded a new temple to end it. Doing so stopped the plague, but then made the next emperor's son dumb, requiring the emperor to build another temple to him.
* BigBeautifulWoman: Uzume is often depicted as being very cute and chubby. Even the leaner versions tend to have a softer look than the other main goddesses.
* BladeOnAStick: The Heavenly Jewelled Pike (pictured in the image above), which was used by Izanagi and Izanami to create the world by harpooning the sunken lands and bringing them to the surface.
* BlowYouAway: Susanoo. Also the supposed powers of the Kusanagi Sword.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Most gods were related somehow, but prominently Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi.
** Not just brother and sister - Okuninushi, a distant descendant of Susanoo, married Suseri-hime, the daughter of Susano-o. [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters Literally eight million kami]] to choose from and the guy thinks "Better marry my great great great great great great aunt". And all of this ''when he already had a wife''.
** Also Izanagi and Izanami.
* [[CainAndAbel Cains and Abel]]: Okuninushi has ''eighty'' cruel brothers who kill him ''twice''. When his mother revives him for a second time, she has Okuninushi hide in the underworld where he meets Susanoo and Suseri-hime (see OverprotectiveDad below). After the incident, Susanoo gives Okuninushi his Totsuga no Tsurugi and tells him to defeat his brothers and become ruler of Izumo.
** The conflicts between Amaterasu, Susanoo, and Tsukuyomi deserve special mention.
* CanonImmigrant: Bishamonten, also known as Vaisravana in India.
* CoolSword: Ame no Murakumo AKA Kusanagi, the sword Susanoo makes from one of Orochi's tails. Also Totsuga no Tsurugi, which Susanoo use to slay Orochi and later give it to Okuninushi.
* CreepyCentipedes: During one of Okuninushi's trials to win Suserihime, he has to clean Susanoo's hair... which appears full of [[{{Squick}} roaches, centipedes and spiders.]].
* CueTheSun: When Amaterasu hid in a cave the world was plunged into darkness, thus getting her out of the cave caused this.
* DistractedByMyOwnSexy: When [[JerkassGod Susanoo]] tried to commit GrievousHarmWithABody on Amateratsu by throwing the body of one of her maidens at her, she fled and hid in a cave. Uzume got her back out by dancing naked for the other gods and by leaving a mirror in a nearby tree. When [[CueTheSun Amateratsu emerged to find out]] what all the noise was about, the combination distracted her long enough for the mouth of the cave to be barred with a magical rope.
* DivineParentage: The Japanese Imperial Family claims lineage from Amaterasu herself.
* FidelityTest: When Konohanasakuya got pregnant just one night after marriage to Ninigi. Ninigi suspected that it might not be his child. Konohana was enraged at Ninigi's accusation and entered a doorless hut which she then set fire to. She vowed that the child would not be hurt if it were truly the offspring of Ninigi. She, along with the three sons she gave birth to, emerged unscathed.
* GenderBender: There are some tales featuring Amaterasu as a man.
** O-Inari can take the form of either a wise old man or an attractive young woman.
** Tsukuyomi has also been depicted as a goddess.
* GodInHumanForm: Susanoo, after he gets kicked out of Heaven.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Ame-no-Uzume. She uses her womanly assets to get a lot of things she wants, but she's not evil or malicious about it, and she even snagged her husband this way.
* HoYay: When Amaterasu finally came out of that cave, she did spend most of her time not looking at her reflection looking at Uzume (who was doing a stripper routine at the time).
* ImmortalImmaturity: Susanoo, who basically spent most of the time acting like a drunken college frat boy with cosmic power.
* IncendiaryExponent: Kagutsuchi the Fire God, who was wreathed in flames when he was born, causing his mother's death.
* InnocentFlowerGirl: Konohanasakuya, princess of blossom and wife of Ninigi.
* InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons: Among several forms Inari could take, dragons are included. There were various dragon gods living in the ocean too.
* JerkassGod: Susanoo.
** Also, Raijin and Fuujin, the gods of thunder and wind.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Susanoo after his exile caused him to mature. He slew the serpent Orochi, made peace with his sister, and protected humanity from a plague. He is still a storm god and prone to tearing up the country side with his mischievous and impulsive nature.
* LightIsGood: Amaterasu. Then again, her brother, Tsukuyomi belongs in the other ballpark.
** By extension, DarkIsNotEvil in that her most notable symbol was Yatagarasu, the [[CreepyCrows three legged raven]].
* LightIsNotGood: Tsukuyomi killed Uke Mochi after she provided him and Amaterasu a banquet from [[{{Squick}} her nether regions]]. (In some versions it was Susanoo who did this, which [[JerkassGod makes more sense]].)
* LegionsOfHell: The monsters chasing after Izanagi.
* MakingASplash: Ryuujin, the Dragon God of the Ocean, who owns the jewels of the tides. Another memorable example is when Izanagi, in order to escape the hordes of Hell, pee against a tree, creating a giant river that stops the monsters.
* MeaningfulName: Amaterasu (Shining Heaven), Ryuujin (Dragon God), Okuninushi (Master of the Great Country) just to name a few.
* MsFanservice: Ame no Uzume performed a strip dance to lure Amaterasu from her hiding. Later, when Ninigi no Mikoto was prevented from going to the Earth by the god of pathways Sarutahiko, Uzume convinced him to let Ninigi pass by... taking off her robe. Sarutahiko was so impressed by her boldness (also a few other things...) that he proposed marriage to Uzume, which she agreed to.
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: When Uzume danced about naked on an upturned tub while Amaterasu was hiding in a cave what got her interest was the other Gods ''laughing'' at the sight.
* NeverSmileAtACrocodile: Averted with Princess Otohime: after giving birth to her mortal son, she turned into a Wani (alligator) nine fathoms long and crawled back into the ocean, never to be seen again.
* NobleWolf: Amaterasu is sometimes depicted as a white wolf. While LightIsGood in this case, white is generally associated with death.
* OffingTheOffspring: Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi in fury of losing Izanami.
* OverlyLongName: Ame-nigishi-kuni-nigishi-amatsuhi-kohiko-ho-no-ninigi-no-Mikoto, better known as Ninigi-no-Mikoto or simply Ninigi.
** His father, Masaka-Akatsu-Kachihayahi-Ame-no-Oshihomimi-no-Mikoto, is not any better. Again, he's better known as Ame-no-Oshihomimi-no-Mikoto or simply as Oshihomimi.
** Basically ALL the gods have ridiculously long names. The ones used frequently are nearly always dramatically shortened.
* {{Orochi}}: The Real deal. Said to be so long and large that he had forests on his back, inhabitated by animals.
* OverprotectiveDad: Susanoo tried to kill Okuninushi, who fell in love with his daughter, three times. He approved Okuninushi afterward though.
* PowerOfTheVoid: The Amatsu-Mikaboshi, kami of the Primordial Chaos and the stars.
* PrimordialChaos: The "primordial chaos" from which the Gods came from (and created the Heavenly Plains and later Earth) is described as dark, cold and jelly-like. The Star God Amatsu Mikaboshi is usually associated with the pre-Earth chaos.
* SiblingRivalry: Amaterasu and Susanoo. He threw a ''skinned pony'' at her. They seem to have gotten over it after Susanoo gave her the Kusanagi sword.
* ToiletHumor: Japanese mythology is particularly notable for how frequently scatological it is. Susano-o gets thrown out of heaven for defecating in a temple; Izanagi stops when running away from the LegionsOfHell to urinate (and creates another kami that way), and that's not even mentioning some versions of the story of Momotaro feature a ''cowpat kami''.
* UglyGuyHotWife: Sarutahiko and Ame no Uzume.
* UnscrupulousHero: Susanoo is a JerkAss, cheater and SpoiledBrat, but he's the god to call when an eight-headed dragon is eating your daughters. He does seem to grow up during his exile, later gifting a sword to Amaterasu.
* WarGod: At least two: Hachiman and Bishamonten.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Susanoo changes the peasant's last daughter into a comb and hides her in his hair before he goes to face Orochi... ''[[FridgeHorror and she is never mentioned again]].'' Some stories tell that he marries Kushinada as promised by her parents after defeating Orochi, but she's generally forgotten after they had Yashimashinumo, Okuninushi's ancestor.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Izanami-no-Mikoto. She dies horribly by being burned alive by her own son, and when her husband comes to retrieve her to the world of the living, he flees simply because she is undead. No wonder she gets pissed.
* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: Amaterasu was the most beautiful goddess. Konohanasakuya was the most beautiful woman of her generation.
* YoungestChildWins: Okuninushi. This may be a remnant of ancient Japanese succession rules, which were based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimogeniture ultimogeniture]] (youngest child inherits) rather than [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primogeniture#Other_methods_of_succession primogeniture]] (eldest child inherits).