Amaterasu omikami Picture
This shining woman is Amaterasu aka Amaterasu-ōmikami aka Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami. If you wondering why she’s got so many name’s there is a good reason for it. She is the Shinto (Japanese) Sun Goddess. Yeah their God of the sun is actually Goddess.
Which is super cool and way ahead of their time in comparison to other ancient beliefs like Greek or Egyptian. (i.e. Apollo and Ra ((other sun deities)))
Anyway I’ve known about Amaterasu for a while. Years back I spent about a week researching Japanese Shinto beliefs. Which were far less weird than Greek Mythology. (I’m looking at you Zeus.)
But aside from Amaterasu being one of the few sun goddesses I know of currently there is also something else that struck me as unique and very cool about her. Well what happened to her wasn’t cool but how she was able to get through it was.
The myth I’m about to butcher in summarizing is about Amaterasu and Uzume (Goddess of Mirth and Laughter).
Basically Amaterasu’s father Izangi gave her his holy necklace giving her the right to be head of the millions of other gods and goddesses. Not only being the head of the gods but Amaterasu was a skilled weaver, very gentile and kind and extremely popular because of this.
Susano-o her brother and God of the storm didn’t like this at all. So he threw a tantrum through out all the heavens not only causing poor Amaterasu grief but he actually raped one of her attendants who often weaved with her and killed a horse (very sadistically). In some versions of this Amaterasu was assaulted by her brother as well.
Traumatized about what just happened and depressed that she ‘let’ it happen she hid in the caves in some mountains and refused to come out. Because of this the heaven’s rice and other planet life and animals started to die. Hundreds of gods gathered trying their best to get Amaterasu out of the cave. But she refused.Uzume being the smart and well really good at getting people to laugh sets up a mirror at the entrance to the cave gets a barrel (well technically a tub). Hops on top of it and starts to dance like crazy. (Imagine the most crazy dance you could think of that’s probably what Uzume was doing)
Her dance frenzied and ecstatic, her feet drumming on the tub, Uzume hoisted her kimono and the crowd roared and laughed with delight.
Amaterasu could hear the feverish laughter and drumming and became curious about its origin. Hoping to peek out of the cave’s entrance, she was momentarily dazzled by her own reflection in the bronze mirror and was unable to see what was happening.
When she crept further out, the gods captured Amaterasu and sealed the entrance to the cave so that she could not return.
Her grief dissipated by the revelry and good humor she found around her, Amaterasu returned to her home and her light once more shone upon the earth.
So Amaterasu was able to get over her depression through the help of her friends (Well Uzume but I’d like to think that they were friends). Which is pretty cool. I just think Amaterasu is very admirable figure in mythology and I hope you guys do too.
Also a few other notes. I know normally on a kimono the fabric folds all the way down to the obi but I decided to leave that out. It's actually some symbolism I threw in there during the production of this drawing.
You see in Japanese tradition the fold in your kimono is important because of it's left over right for the living and right over left for the dead. So if you have your kimono folded the wrong way people might think you're trying to say you're dead.
Anyway what I did using this information is remove the fold completely and what I was saying by that is she's immortal therefore doesn't need a fold in her kimono.
Well I thought it was clever to throw in there.
Anyway once again I hope you admire Amaterasu as I do.