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Home » 2. Kami (Deities) » Kami in Classic Texts
Izanagi
[Izanagi no mikoto]
According to Kojiki and Nihongi, one of the two kami (together with his consort Izanami) principally responsible for the formation of the world. Various theories have been proposed to explain the name, but it is usually assumed that iza means "invite" (izanau), while the suffixes ki (or gi) and mi mean "male" and "female" respectively, thus alluding to the divine marriage of these two deities.

The two kami formed the seventh generation of the "age of the kami" (kamiyo), but were the first to be described with concrete activities. According to the myth, the two kami first stood on the "floating bridge of heaven" and used a spear to stir the sea below, whereupon the brine dripping from the spear's point congealed and formed the island of Onogoro. The two kami then descended to the island and created the island of Awaji and others in the "great eight-island country," finally giving birth to various other kami.

According to the main text of Nihongi, the "three noble children" Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi, and Susanoo were also produced at this time, but Kojiki and an "alternate writing" quoted in Nihongi state that the three were produced in a different way. According to these two records, Izanami died as the result of giving birth to the kami of fire, whereupon Izanagi Izanagi followed his dead wife to the land of Yomi and disobeyed her taboo (see kinki) not to look upon her. Fleeing from the pollution of death, Izanagi then performed lustration (see misogi) which resulted in the birth of the three noble children.

In contrast to Izanami as "earth mother," Izanagi is thought to have characteristics of a "heavenly father." According to Kojiki, Izanagi "hid away" (i.e., died) in Taga of Ōmi, while Nihongi states that he died either in the province of Awaji or Hi no Wakamiya. See also Izanami.

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"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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