Susanoo

Susanoo is a Japanese deity known for his unpredictable and often violent behaviour, especially in myths involving his sister Amaterasu (the sun goddess), and his banishment from the heavens. He is a god of seas and storms, but there is also another side to this unlikely hero.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
 
After his banishment Susanoo descended to the earthly plane and came across a couple who told him that seven of their eight daughters had been devoured by an eight headed dragon called yamata no orochi. Susanoo offered to help. He turned the daughter Kushinadahime into a comb and placed it in his hair.
 
Via Shinto Cocoro
 
Then with the help of the couple, he managed to get the dragon so drunk he was able to kill it. He then discovered a sword in its tail which he gave to Amaterasu to apologise for his earlier actions. This sword was to become one of the sacred regalia of Japan. 
 
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
 
Susanoo then married Kushinadahime. They had five children, one being the god Okuninushi. He is also associated with marriage and together with his wife, was linked to fertility. Rabbits are often connected to him as a result. Today Susanoo is still widely worshipped throughout Japan and is considered a cultural hero.
 

'Susanoo and Inada-hime' from the series 'Lives of Heroes of Our Country' - Utagawa Kuniteru, ca. 1852.



 
Utagawa Kuniyosi
 

The print below was from a series by renowned ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi in which he attempted to humorously portray the lives and interests of regular people as goldfish. This print depicts the story of the kami Susanoo. The goldfish on the left is meant to be Susanoo as he fights Yamata no orochi, respresented by the eel. The Goldfish on the right is supposed to be Kushinadahime.

'Sosono'o no Mikoto' - Utagawa Kuniyoshi

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