The Japanese Gods and Goddesses are those who are worshipped in the different traditions and religions followed in Japan. All these are famous by the name of Shinto, which means the way of the Gods.
Japanese gods are mentioned in the mythology of the central region since the 8th century, majorly in 2 documents, the first being Kojiki (712 CE) and the second being Nihonshoki (720 CE).
The main Shinto gods and Goddesses from these two documents are worshipped by the entire nation and their ideas are written down and reinforced into the political state and national myths.
Japanese Gods and Goddesses in Shinto Religion
Various Gods and Goddesses are worshipped in the Japanese Religion. These deities have various powers and strength with which these gods are helping and blessing their devotees.
A lot of temples are built in the country of Japan in honor of these gods. The brief description of these Japanese Gods is listed below:
Jizo is famous by the name of the guardian of children and childbirth. It is said that all the children who die before their parents are unable to cross the mythical Sanzu river are because they were unable to collect enough good deeds during their lifetime.
They are doomed and forever stack small rocks on the Shore of this particular river. He is the God who helps the children in crossing the river by hiding them in his robe.
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The Statue of this particular Japanese God are usually small in size and appear in great numbers at various temples present in the country of Japan.
Roughly, there are more than 1 million statues present in Japan of Jizo. The statues are typically donated by all those parents who have lost their children and are also given bibs and hats for keeping them warm.
At some of the temples, the parents also follow a tradition of leaving toys or stacks of rocks in front of the Statue hoping that their children will remain safe in their afterlife.
2. Agyo and Ungyo
Agyo and Ungyo are the fears of guardians of Lord Buddha who are seen standing at the entrances of the various Japanese temples.
Anyone is believed to be the God and symbol of overt violence. She is portrayed with open teeth and holding a weapon while clenching her fist.
The other Japanese God Ungyo is considered to be the symbol of strength and is portrayed with his mouth always shut and showing his empty hand which is considered to be a gesture of confidence.
Both these gods are believed to be a very powerful prayer as when their powers are combined, they can perform any task.
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Kannon is the Japanese goddess of the Buddhist religion and is considered to be a symbol of mercy. She is believed to be a bodhisattva who achieves enlightenment but further postpones the Buddhahood until each and everyone can be enlightened.
The majority of the Japanese temples are dedicated to the worship of this Japanese goddess, while she is also featured in the Japanese Christianity imagery present in the Edo-era.
Around the 17th century, the religion of Christianity was banned in Japan. The Japanese Christians continued to worship Jesus Christ in secret.
The Secret Christians made a lot of Statues of Kannon that took a lot of interest in Roman Catholic art, which featured the Madonna and Child including crystal symbols like crosses.
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4. Izanami and Izanagi
In Shinto mythology, the first Gods who arose from the chaos were two genderless or dual gendered Gods by the name of Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi.
These Gods were considered to be the supreme being who sat alone in a nine-fold layer of Clouds. Together they were able to create the first couple Izanami and Izanagi and assigned them the task of creating the land for the human beings and the Gods.
Izanami is considered to be a primordial goddess and the personification of darkness and the earth. Izanagi is believed to be the Lord who invites you to enter and also the embodiment of all the things which are bright and heavenly and are ruling the sky.
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Before giving birth to the additional gods, they were first involved in the making of islands and creating the Japanese archipelago.
Their first child was Kagutsuchi later came the Japanese God of fire and burnt his mother to death when she gave birth to him. The metamorphosis is linked to this particular instance where a person was dead and the birth of a new was involved.
In a rage, Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi and then went off in search of his wife who was present in the underworld but just like the Persephone, Izanami had eaten while she was in the Underworld and could not leave. Izanami became the Queen of the Underworld.
When Isanagi returned, he then gave birth to 3 noble children, from his left eye came Amaterasu, who was the sun goddess, from the right eye the moon God Tsukiyomi and from his nose Susanowo, who was the Sea God.
5. Raijin and Fujin
Raijin is believed to be the god of lightning, thunder, and storms who is typically depicted holding a hammer in his hand and is always surrounded by drums. Fujin is believed to be the God of wind and was depicted holding a bag of wind.
These Gods appear together in Japanese mythology and are filled by many people because of the damage which they cause due to the Storms and typhoons. Japan has always been prone to these types of Storms over the centuries.
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The parents used to tell their children for hiding their belly buttons during the time of Storms so that these Gods wouldn’t eat their belly. These two Gods have appeared together at the gates of the shrines for protecting them.
All the visitors who are visiting the sacred area have to pass through these signs by the gaze of these frightening deities.
Inari is the Goddess of everything which is important in the Japanese and the Shinto religion. She is believed to be the protector of tea, rice, fertility, and worldly success. She uses animal Fox as her earthly messenger. As a result of the same, the foxes get a lot of respect in the country of Japan.
The majority of the Japanese shrines have a small shrine off to the side which is dedicated to the animals and mainly foxes. It is a common culture to make offerings of Aburaage to these foxes at the temples and shrines.
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It is believed by the majority of the people that these animals are crazy about this particular stuff. Many shrines also have installed statues that are dedicated to this particular sacred animal.
Benzaiten, who is also famous by the name of Benten is the Goddess of everything which can follow in the Japanese and Shinto religion. She is believed to be the Goddess of eloquence, music, and words.
In popular culture and imagination, she is associated many times with love. It is very common in the Japanese signs that a statue that is dedicated to this particular goddess is present for considering the romantic spots amongst the Japanese couples.
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Hence, she is considered to be one of the Gods in the Japanese culture’s 7 lucky Gods. The world-famous Enoshima Shrine is dedicated to this particular Japanese goddess and is a very popular tourist spot for the couples because of the pink ema with hearts.
8. Sun, Sea and Moon Gods
Amaterasu is believed to be the Shinto Sun goddess and also the mythical ancestor of the famous Japanese imperial family.
The name of this particular God means shining in heaven. Her epithet is Omikami. The meaning of this particular word is great and exalted divinity.
Many famous Scholars have raised the first version of this solar goddess as a male which was famous by the name of Amateru Kuniteru Hoakari.
Another name for this particular god is earth and heaven shining fire but by the 5th century, all the shrines of this particular god were constructed on the Isaru river.
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As she is the Goddess of the sun, many people considered to be the greatest of the Japanese Gods and also the ruler of the plain of heaven.
Tsukiyomi No Mikoto is the Shinto moon god and the brother of this particular Sun goddess who was born from the right eye of Izanagi. After climbing a celestial ladder, he lived in the heavens as Takamagahara, who was the husband of his sister Amaterasu.
Susanoh was the ruler of the oceans and is the god of rain in the Shinto religion. She is also considered to be the god of thunder and lightning. He was banished from heaven because of the power struggle which he had with his sister.
After that, he went on a rampage and destroyed the rice fields of the sun goddess and also killed one of the attendants.
In response to this particular action, the sun goddess of the Japanese gods retreated to a cave and effectively hid the sun with the situation that was only ameliorated whenever the Goddess Uzume danced.
Then the ruler of the oceans was banished and became an underworld god, who later was associated with Dragons and snakes.
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The Japanese Gods and Goddesses of the Shinto religion are famous all around the world for the superpowers and their guiding lights and spirts. They are believed to be the most powerful deities in the country of Japan and are worshipped with full joy and faith.
Various temples and shrines are formed in the honor of these gods and goddesses and their statues are installed in almost every part of Japan. People pray to these gods regularly and ask them g for guidance and mercy.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Which Japanese God is believed to be the strongest amongst all?
Out of all the Japanese gods, the duo of Izanami and Izanagi are believed to be the best and the most powerful gods because when their powers were combined, they became almost undefeatable and unconquerable.
Why are shrines considered to be an important part of the Japanese Gods’ tradition?
The shrines are believed to be an important part of the Japanese tradition because the statues of the Gods are present in almost every temple and people like to offer their tributes and prayers to these gods by visiting the shrines and sitting there, remembering their god.