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Susano-ô

Susano-ô

A complex Japanese god, Susano-ô was associated with storms and the sea in mythology. His connection with water began at birth. He was formed from drops of water that were shed when the creator god Izanagi washed his nose. Susano-ô sometimes caused trouble for the other deities, including his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, and brother, the moon god Tsuki-yomi.

Although placed in charge of the sea, Susano-ô envied his sister's power over the sun and his brother's control of the moon. Susano-ô behaved so badly while visiting Amaterasu's court that she hid in a cave, taking the sunlight with her. The other gods eventually lured the sun goddess out of the cave. Then they punished Susano-ô by cutting off his beard, fingernails, and toenails and expelling him from heaven.

deity god or goddess

Susano-ô went to live in Izumo in western Japan, where he had various adventures and began to use his powers for good. According to one story, he met an old man and woman who were grieving because seven of their daughters had been eaten by an eight-headed serpent. Susano-ô killed the monster by getting it drunk and cutting off its heads. In gratitude, the old couple gave Susano-ô their remaining daughter in marriage. Other stories say that Susano-ô took water from the sea and brought it to the land as rain. He also made forests by cutting his beard and hair and planting the strands on mountainsides.

See also Amaterasu; Izanagi and Izanami; Japanese Mythology; Kojiki; Nihongi; Serpents and Snakes.

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