Social Orders and Creation Stories: Crash Course Mythology #5
In which Mike Rugnetta sits you down for a little talk about myth as a way to construct or reinforce social orders. Specifically, we’re going to look today a...
I saw this on Facebook, and I have to say…
I humbly disagree with the view of the Japanese creation myth pushing so-called social order.
That was a later Confucian interpretation/writing of the myth. (Probably around late Heian period) Originally it was that Izanami no Mikoto-sama tried to speak first, but their first child, Hiruko, was stillborn or had problems. So the two of them asked Ame no Minakanushi-sama what to do. Ame no Minakanushi-sama replied something like, “Oh, if the goddess (Izanami no Mikoto-sama) speaking first didn’t work, how about if the god (Izanagi no Mikoto-sama) tried speaking first?” as a suggestion, not an order. There is nothing explicitly saying because she spoke first, it was bad. This is an incorrect translation in some cases and interpretation or later version of the myth in others.
In ancient Japan (before the Asuka period/influence where the Confucian ideal of patriarchy was imported alongside Buddhism), the most powerful leaders were shamanic women who retold the same myths, and were Queens and Empresses.
As well, the main leader of the kami in Shinto (head of the pantheon) is a female goddess, Amaterasu Omikami-sama. This power and title was given to her by her Father, that very god in the creation myth, Izanagi no Mikoto-sama.
If it was patriarchal, he would have passed down his power to one of his two sons, the other two noble children, Tsukuyomi no Mikoto-sama the moon god, or Susanoo no Mikoto-sama the god of seas (but also sometimes stars).
As well, Ame no Uzume no Mikoto-sama, is credited with saving the world from darkness. While I can’t speak for the other faiths, the Shinto myth is often misinterpreted to mean the women is subordinate to the man, but that is not the original, ancient meaning.