Japanese Mythology – 1. Dawn of Japan – Onogoro Jima Island(淤能碁呂島)

Once upon a time, heaven and earth were not apart. Such a chaos reigned a world endlessly. Time went on. When this chaos was separated into heaven and earth,  Japanese deities emerged one after another from Plane of HeavenTakama ga hara(高天原).

The first deity emerged, Amenominakanushi no Kami(天之御中主神) who governed all things in the world. After then, two deities emerged. One is Takamimusubi no Kami(高御産巣日神) and
the other was Kamimusubi no Kami(神産巣日神). Both of them produced all things. These three deities didn’t have gender. They were solitary. They never showed themselves.

Time went on. When the earth was still melted as if it was like oil on water or jellyfish on sea,Umashiashikabihikodi no Kami(宇摩志阿斯訶備比古遅神) emerged as if clumps of reeds sprouted all together. This deity breathed life into all living things. Next, Amenotokotachi no Kami(天之常立神) emerged. This deity ensured an eternity of heaven.
Thanks to this deity, heaven was created.These two deities didn’t have gender. They were solitary. They never showed themselves.

These above five deities were called Kotoamatsukami(別天津神) as their collective name.

Kotoamatsu no Kami(別天津神)

Kotoamatsu no Kami(別天津神)

Kuninotokotachi no Kami(国之常立神) emerged who ensured an eternity of earth. Thanks to this deity, earth was created.
Toyokumo no Kami(豊雲野神) emerged who was a deity of clouds.
It was desert like moon if there was nothing besides heaven and earth.
Eternity was certain, but no change. Another thing was needed to create a world of living things. That was the role of  Toyokumo no Kami(豊雲野神) who promised to make rain fall and make a land fertile. Finally, the environment for living things was prepared. These two deities also didn’t have gender. They were solitary. They never showed themselves.

New deities with gender first emerged.

A couple of deities, a male deity of mud named Uhidiko no Kami(宇比地邇神) and a female deity of sand named Imoikuguhi no Kami(妹須比智邇神), emerged. At last, the earth got formed by mud and sand.

A couple of deities, a male deity Tsuguhi no Kami(角杙神) and
a female deity Imosuhidiko no Kami(妹活杙神), emerged.
Their names represent growth of spout. As the ground got solid, the world reached the stage where deities could nurture living things.

A couple of deities, a male deity Ōtonodi no Kami(意富斗能地神) and
a female deity Imoōtonobe no Kami(妹大斗乃辨神), emerged.
Their names stand for genitals. Living things reached the stage where they could reproduce themselves. But, they didn’t have feelings of which they wanted to pick up their own partners.

A couple of deities, a male deity Omodaru no Kami(淤母陀流神) and
a female deity Imoayakashikone no Kami(妹阿夜訶志古泥神), emerged. The ground was finally completed by Omodaru no Kami(淤母陀流神)Imoayakashikone no Kami(妹阿夜訶志古泥神) was moved by its beauty. Some scholars interpret this as the appearance of  apes.
Living things acquired the ability of feelings.

Finally, a couple of deities, a male deity Izanagi no Kami(伊邪那岐神) and a female deity Izanami no Kami(妹伊邪那美神) , emerged.
Both of them built up islands of Japan.

These 12 deities,  Kuninotokotachi no Kami(国之常立神), Toyokumo no Kami(豊雲野神) and 10 gender deities, are called Kamiyonanayo(神世七代) as its collective name.



Izanagi(Right) and Izanami(Left) are churning the sea.

Izanagi(Right) and Izanami(Left) are churning the sea. Reference From: Izanagi(Wikipedia)

One day the first triple deities, Amenominakanushi no Kami(天之御中主神), Takamimusubi no Kami(高御産巣日神) and Kamimusubi no Kami(神産巣日神), conferred on the future together. They summoned Izanagi(伊邪那岐神) and Izanami(妹伊邪那美神).
Triple deities: « The ground is still floating like oil on water. Make it solid and firm and fix it. » They handed this couple deities a spear called Amenunohoko(天沼矛).

They stood on the bridge called Ameno Uki Hashi(天浮橋) between heaven and earth. They stuck the sacred spear into the sea and churned the floating ground with gurgle sounds and pulled it out.A chunk of sticky salt fell down from the edge of the spear, piled up and formed an island.
This island is called Onogoro Jima Island(淤能碁呂島).
Izanagi and Izanami commenced nation building of Japan at this island as a base.

At first, Japanese mythology was passed on by word of mouth. Empress Genmei(元明天皇) ordered Ō no Yasumaro(太 安万侶) to compile Kojiki(古事記) to leave writings for the future in 712. I’m not sure whether the evolution process was written on Kojiki like some scholars mention. As you know, the evolutionary theory was established by Charles Darwin in 1800s. But, such an interpretation is interesting.

I don’t know about another mythologies like Greek at all. Kojiki did not mention « the chicken or the egg ». Kojiki did not use the expression « deities were born » but « deities emerged ». Kojiki  first mentioned about heaven and earth. I think these are very Japanese ideas. These are based on thoughts « All things are deities. »

There are several views about where Onogoro Jima Island(淤能碁呂島) is. The most widely held view is Nushima(沼島). The shape of Nushima(沼島) looks like a comma-shaped jewel. There are lots of oddly shaped rocks.


Reference From: 吉甚

Kamitategami Iwa(上立神岩)

Kamitategami Iwa(上立神岩)
Reference From: 森信雄の写真あれこれ

If you go to Nushima(沼島), daunting process wait you. This is because Nushima(沼島) is an isolated island in Seto Naikai(瀬戸内海)/Seto Inland Sea. At first, painstaking research is necessary. I’m not yet sure how to go there by public transportation, even though I stare at Google for 2 hours. A combination ride of bus, taxi and ship from Kansai International Airport will take you to Nushima(沼島). To be on the safe side, it will take 6 – 12 hours and 10,000 yen. Here is my findings. Sorry, it’s not perfect. I give up!!

Google Map
From Kansai International Airport to Nushima.


Kansai International Airport(関西空港)

Honshi Kaikyo(本四海峡バス株式会社)-Kansai Limousine Bus(関西リムジンバス)
Schedule: 2 hours
Fare: 3,000 yen
Nushima Ship(沼島汽船)
Schedule & Fare: 10 minutes & 460 yen

Route to Nushima(沼島)

Route to Nushima(沼島) Reference From: 吉甚

Route to Nushima from Kansai International Airport

Route to Nushima from Kansai International Airport


5 réponses à “Japanese Mythology – 1. Dawn of Japan – Onogoro Jima Island(淤能碁呂島)

  1. I know! It will most likely be challenging but that’s what makes it more interesting. I just need to figure out how it’s all going to work out. I should start asking my step dad now. Hehehehe!

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