Izanami-no-Mikoto (Japanese: 伊弉冉尊 or 伊邪那美命; meaning "she who invites"), also known as Izanami-no-kami or simply as Izanami, is an important goddess from Japanese mythology. She is a goddess of creation and of death. Her counterpart, brother, and former husband is Izanagi-no-Mikoto.
Goddess of Creation
Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi, the first gods, summoned Izanagi and Izanami into existence. These two newly summoned divine beings were charged with creating the first land. They were given a special spear decorated with jewels, called Ame-no-nuhoko. Izanagi and Izanami both went to the bridge between the earth and the heaven, Ame-no-ukihashi. There they churned the sea with the spear. Onogoroshima ("self-forming land") was created from the salty water drops that can off the spear from churning the sea. They then made this island their home.
Wishing to be mated, Izanagi and Izanami both constructed Ame-no-mihashira ("pillar of heaven") and they built the palace, Yahiro-dono. Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions and, when they met on the other side, Izanami spoke first in greeting. Though Izanagi didn't think this was proper thing to do, they mated anyway.
They had two children named Hiruko and Awashima, but they were not considered deities due to their deformities. They put the children into a boat and set them out to sea, then petitioned the other gods for an answer as to what they did wrong. They were told that the male deity should have spoken first in greeting during the marriage ceremony. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time Izanagi speaking first when they met, and their marriage was finally successful.
After redoing the marriage they gave birth to many healthy gods representing aspects of nature such as mountains and rivers known together as the Kamiumi, as well as the eight islands of Japan known collectively as Kuniumi; Awaji, Iyo (later Shikoku), Ogi, Tsukushi (later Kyūshū), Iki, Tsushima, Sado, and Yamato (later Honshū).They bore six more islands and many deities. However, while giving birth to the fire god Kagu-Tsuchi Izanami was burned to death.
After being burned to death and buried on Mt. Hiba near Shimane Prefecture, Izanami ended up Yomi no kuni, the land of the dead. Her husband, Izanagi, sought her out there, but though she asked him not to look upon her, he lit a torch and saw her decaying corpse which caused him to flee. Angry at him, she sent a mob of ugly female spirits, warriors, and eight thunder gods after him, though he managed to escape the underworld and block the entrance with a boulder. Izanami cried that if he left her she would kill 1,000 people from the land every day, while he merely retorted from the other side of the boulder that he would cause 1,500 more to be born each day. From this Izanami became god of the land of the living, while she became queen of the land of the dead, and their marriage was ended.
In Popular Culture
- In the anime series Naruto, Izanagi is not a person, but an ability able to 'decide' fate by showing the victim a loop of certain events
- In Okami, Nagi and Nami are based off of Izanami and Izanagi.
- Izanami is a recurring character in the Megami Tensei series of video games developed by Atlus:
- In Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, Yumiko Shirasagi is the reincarnation of Izanami.
- Izanami also appears in Digital Devil Story 2: Warrior of the Demon City.
- She appears as a supporting character in Megami Tensei
- In Shin Megami Tensei II, she makes a cameo appearance.
- She appears in Shin Megami Tensei NINE.
- In Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, she appears as a Persona of the Priestess Arcana.
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, Izanami (voiced by Karen Strassman) is the true antagonist of the events in the game's story, posing as various background characters throughout.
- Izanami is the "Matron of the Dead" in the online game Smite
|Mythic Texts||Kojiki • Nihon Shoki • Fudoki • Kujiki • Kogo Shui • Hotsuma Tsutae • Nihon Ryoiki • Konjaku Monogatarishu • Shintoshu|
|Japanese Creation Myth||Kotoamatsukami • Kamiyonanayo • Kuniumi • Kamiumi • Izanagi-no-Mikoto • Izanami-no-Mikoto • Kagutsuchi • Watatsumi|
|Takamagahara Mythology||Amaterasu • Susano-o • Tsukuyomi • Ame-no-Uzume|
|Izumo Mythology||Yamato no Orochi • Hare of Inaba • Okuninushi|
|Seven Lucky Gods||Benzaiten • Bishamonten • Daikokuten • Ebisu • Fukurokuju • Hotei • Jurojin • Kichijoten|