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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
Birth of the kami. After Izanagi and Izanami finished creating the lands and the islands beginning with the Country of the Great Eight Islands (see ōyashima), they gave birth to various kami (kamiumi). According to the Kojiki, the first kami to be born was Ōkoto-oshi-no-o, symbolizing the enormous importance of the task of kamiumi. Next were born Iwa-tsuchi-hiko and Iwa-su-hime (deities of rocks and soil), Ōtohi-wake, Ame-no-fukio, Ōyabiko, and Kaza-ketsu-wake-no-oshio (there are several theories concerning the nature of these four kami), Ō-watatsumi (a sea deity; umi no kami), Haya-akitsu-hiko and Haya-akitsu-hime (river-mouth, harbor deities; minatokami). The latter two deities, Haya-akitsu-hiko and Haya-akitsu-hime, "ruling respectively the rivers and the seas," gave birth to Awanagi and other kami. Next, Izanagi and Izanami gave birth to Shinatsu-hiko (a wind deity; kaze no kami), Kukunochi (tree deity), Ōyamatsumi (a mountain deity; yama no kami) and Kayano-hime (a tree deity also called Notsuchi). Next are recorded the names of deities such as Ame-no-sazuchi, born by Ōyamatsumi and Kayano-hime "who respectively rule the mountains and plains." Izanagi and Izanami then went on to give birth to Tori no iwa-kusu-bune (also called Ame no Torifune), Ōgetsu-hime (food deity), and Hi no yagi-hayao (also called Hi no kakabiko, Hi no kagutsuchi). When giving birth to the latter, a fire deity, Izanami was burned and she lay down sick. Then from her excretions came into existence Kanayama-hiko and Kanayama-hime (from her vomit), Haniyasu-biko and Haniyasu-hime (from her feces) and Mitsuha no me and Waku-musuhi (from her urine), all of whom are deities connected with fire: of metallurgy and pottery, fire prevention, and food. The Kojiki genealogy of deities born of Izanagi and Izanami show the following order of birth: deities of the sea, harbors, wind, trees, mountains, plains, boats, food, and then the fire deities. However, the main text of the Nihongi says only that after Izanagi and Izanami produced the sea, river, mountain, and tree deities and then the deity of the plains, they gave birth to the sun deity, the moon deity, the leech child, and Susanoo, with no mention of the fire deities. However, an alternative passage says that after giving birth to deities of the wind, sea, mountains, harbors, trees, and earth, producing everything in the world, they finally gave birth to the fire deity. This progression seems to indicate the influence of the Chinese five phases of matter (wuxing) theory on the birth of the kami legends in the Kojiki and the Nihongi, but there is no agreement on this point. Most of the versions given in these two works share a common dramatic development in that it is usually the fire deity who is born last. This suggests the great transformation of human life brought about by the introduction of fire.

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