Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200028-1

Amaterasu Omikami, the Japanese Goddess of the Sun, is one of the rare cases of a female sun deity (the Maori and Cherokee goddesses are others). She is the queen of all the Shinto kami, the gods and animistic spirits. The daughter of the Japanese creators, Izanami and Izanagi, she is said to be the direct ancestor of Japanese Emperors. It is she who provides cosmic power to her viceroy in the Land of the Rising Sun. Amaterasu is She Who Possesses Noon. Without her, rice does not grow. She has a brother, Susanowo, who embodies the Sea and Storms.

One day Susanowo became so drunk and belligerent that he rushed through Heaven filling irrigation canals with mud and crushing the growing rice plants. He even defiled the temples of his sister Amaterasu. Horrified, Amaterasu hid herself in her cave and locked the door, thus depriving heaven and earth of her light and warmth. The spirits of the rice and other living things began to wither and die. The other gods caught Susanowo and banished...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA