A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, iron, steel or bronze; the most common design for hunting or combat spears since ancient times has incorporated a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. The heads of fishing spears feature barbs or serrated edges; the word spear comes from the Old English spere, from the Proto-Germanic speri, from a Proto-Indo-European root *sper- "spear, pole". Spears can be divided into two broad categories: those designed for thrusting in melee combat and those designed for throwing; the spear has been used throughout human history both as a weapon. Along with the axe and club, it is one of the earliest and most important tools developed by early humans; as a weapon, it may be wielded with two. It was used in every conflict up until the modern era, where then it continues on in the form of the bayonet, is the most used weapon in history.
Spear manufacture and use is not confined to humans. It is practiced by the western chimpanzee. Chimpanzees near Kédougou, Senegal have been observed to create spears by breaking straight limbs off trees, stripping them of their bark and side branches, sharpening one end with their teeth, they used the weapons to hunt galagos sleeping in hollows. Archaeological evidence found in present-day Germany documents that wooden spears have been used for hunting since at least 400,000 years ago, a 2012 study suggests that Homo heidelbergensis may have developed the technology about 500,000 years ago. Wood does not preserve well and Craig Stanford, a primatologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California, has suggested that the discovery of spear use by chimpanzees means that early humans used wooden spears as well five million years ago. Neanderthals were constructing stone spear heads from as early as 300,000 BP and by 250,000 years ago, wooden spears were made with fire-hardened points.
From circa 200,000 BC onwards, Middle Paleolithic humans began to make complex stone blades with flaked edges which were used as spear heads. These stone heads could be fixed to the spear shaft by gum or resin or by bindings made of animal sinew, leather strips or vegetable matter. During this period, a clear difference remained between spears designed to be thrown and those designed to be used in hand-to-hand combat. By the Magdalenian period, spear-throwers similar to the atlatl were in use; the spear is the main weapon of the warriors of Homer's Iliad. The use of both a single thrusting spear and two throwing spears are mentioned, it has been suggested. In the 7th century BC, the Greeks evolved the phalanx; the key to this formation was the hoplite, equipped with a large, bronze-faced shield and a 7–9 ft spear with an iron head and bronze butt-spike. The hoplite phalanx dominated warfare among the Greek City States from the 7th into the 4th century BC; the 4th century saw major changes. One was the greater use of light infantry armed with spear and javelins.
The other was the development of the sarissa, a two-handed pike 18 ft in length, by the Macedonians under Phillip of Macedon and Alexander the Great. The pike phalanx, supported by peltasts and cavalry, became the dominant mode of warfare among the Greeks from the late 4th century onward until Greek military systems were supplanted by the Roman legions. In the pre-Marian Roman armies, the first two lines of battle, the hastati and principes fought with a sword called a gladius and pila, heavy javelins that were designed to be thrown at an enemy to pierce and foul a target's shield; the principes were armed with a short spear called a hasta, but these fell out of use being replaced by the gladius. The third line, the triarii, continued to use the hasta. From the late 2nd century BC, all legionaries were equipped with the pilum; the pilum continued to be the standard legionary spear until the end of the 2nd century AD. Auxilia, were equipped with a simple hasta and throwing spears. During the 3rd century AD, although the pilum continued to be used, legionaries were equipped with other forms of throwing and thrusting spear, similar to auxilia of the previous century.
By the 4th century, the pilum had disappeared from common use. In the late period of the Roman Empire, the spear became more used because of its anti-cavalry capacities as the barbarian invasions were conducted by people with a developed culture of cavalry in warfare. Muslim warriors used a spear, called an az-zaġāyah. Berbers pronounced it zaġāya, but the English term, derived from the Old French via Berber, is "assegai", it is a pole weapon used for throwing or hurling a light spear or javelin made of hard wood and pointed with a forged iron tip. The az-zaġāyah played an important role during the Islamic conquest as well as during periods, well into the 20th century. A longer pole az-zaġāyah was being used as a hunting weapon from horseback; the az-zaġāyah was used. It existed in various forms in areas stretching from Southern Africa to the Indian subcontinent, although these place
A Shinto shrine is a structure whose main purpose is to house one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, not for worship. Although only one word is used in English, in Japanese Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen, -gū, jingū, mori, myōjin, -sha, ubusuna or yashiro. Structurally, a Shinto shrine is characterized by the presence of a honden or sanctuary, where the kami is enshrined; the honden may however be absent, as for example when the shrine stands on a sacred mountain to which it is dedicated, and, worshiped directly. The honden may be missing when there are nearby altar-like structures called himorogi or objects believed capable of attracting spirits called yorishiro that can serve as a direct bond to a kami. There may be a haiden and other structures as well. However, a shrine's most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects rather than for worship. Miniature shrines can be found on roadsides.
Large shrines sometimes have on their precincts miniature shrines. The portable shrines which are carried on poles during festivals enshrine kami and are therefore true shrines. In 927 CE, the Engi-shiki was promulgated; this work listed all of the 2,861 Shinto shrines existing at the time, the 3,131 official-recognized and enshrined Kami. That number has grown and exceeded this figure through the following generations. In Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan placed the number of shrines at 79,467 affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines; some shrines, such as the Yasukuni Shrine are independent of any outside authority. The number of Shinto shrines in Japan is estimated to be around 100,000; this figure may, or may not, include private shrines in homes and owned by small groups, abandoned or derelict shrines, roadside Hokora. etc. Ancestors are kami to be worshiped. Yayoi-period village councils sought the advice of ancestors and other kami, developed instruments to evoke them. Yoshishiro means "approach substitute" and were conceived to attract the kami to allow them physical space, thus making kami accessible to human beings.
Village-council sessions were held in quiet spots in the mountains or in forests near great trees or other natural objects that served as yorishiro. These sacred places and their yorishiro evolved into today's shrines, whose origins can be still seen in the Japanese words for "mountain" and "forest", which can mean "shrine". Many shrines have on their grounds one of the original great yorishiro: a big tree, surrounded by a sacred rope called shimenawa; the first buildings at places dedicated to worship were huts built to house some yorishiro. A trace of this origin can be found in the term hokura, "deity storehouse", which evolved into hokora, is considered to be one of the first words for shrine. True shrines arose with the beginning of agriculture, when the need arose to attract kami to ensure good harvests; these were, just temporary structures built for a particular purpose, a tradition of which traces can be found in some rituals. Hints of the first shrines can still be found there. Ōmiwa Shrine in Nara, for example, contains no sacred images or objects because it is believed to serve the mountain on which it stands.
Those images or objects are therefore unnecessary. For the same reason, it has a worship hall but no place to house the kami. Archeology confirms that, during the Yayoi period, the most common shintai in the earliest shrines were nearby mountain peaks that supplied stream water to the plains where people lived. Besides the mentioned Ōmiwa Shrine, another important example is Mount Nantai, a phallus-shaped mountain in Nikko which constitutes Futarasan Shrine's shintai; the name Nantai means "man's body". The mountain not only provides water to the rice paddies below but has the shape of the phallic stone rods found in pre-agricultural Jōmon sites. In 905 CE, Emperor Daigo ordered a compilation of Shinto rules. Previous attempts at codification are known to have taken place, neither the Konin nor the Jogan Gishiki survive. Under the direction of Fujiwara no Tokihira, the project stalled at his death in April 909. Fujiwara no Tadahira, his brother, took charge and in 912 CE and in 927 CE the Engi-shiki was promulgated in fifty volumes.
This, the first formal codification of Shinto rites and Norito to survive, became the basis for all subsequent Shinto liturgical practice and efforts. In addition to the first ten volumes of this fifty volume work, sections in subsequent volumes addressing the Ministry of Ceremonies and the Ministry of the Imperial Household regulated Shinto worship and contained liturgical rites and regulation. Felicia Gressitt Brock published a two-volume annotated English language translation of the first ten volumes with an introduction entitled Engi-shiki; the arrival of Buddhism changed the situation, introducing to Japan the concept of the permanent shrine. A great number of Buddhist temples were built next to existing shrines in mixed complexes called jingū-ji (神宮寺, lit. shri
Susanoo known as Takehaya Susanoo no Mikoto and Kumano Ketsumiko no Kami at Kumano shrine, is the Shinto god of the sea and storms. He is considered to be ruler of Neno-Katasu-Kuni, he is married to Kushinadahime. In Japanese mythology, the powerful storm god, is the brother of Amaterasu, the goddess of the Sun, of Tsukuyomi, the god of the Moon. All three were born from Izanagi, when he washed his face clean of the pollutants of Yomi, the underworld. Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed out his left eye, Tsukuyomi was born from the washing of the right eye, Susanoo from the washing of the nose. Susanoo used Totsuka-no-Tsurugi as his weapon; the oldest sources for Susanoo myths are ca. 720 CE Nihon Shoki. They tell of a long-standing rivalry between his sister; when he was to leave Heaven by orders of Izanagi, he went to bid his sister goodbye. Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susanoo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted; each of them took an object of the other from it birthed gods and goddesses.
Amaterasu birthed three women from Susanoo's Totsuka-no-Tsurugi while he birthed five men from her necklace. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace, the goddesses were his, she decided that she had won the challenge, as his item produced women; the two were content for a time. In a fit of rage, he destroyed his sister's rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, killed one of her attendants. Amaterasu, in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato, thus hiding the sun for a long period of time. Though she was persuaded to leave the cave, Susano-o was punished by being banished from Heaven, he descended to the province of Izumo, where he met an elderly couple who told him that seven of their eight daughters had been devoured by the eight-headed dragon Yamata no Orochi and it was nearing time for their eighth, Kushinada-hime. The Nihon Shoki, here translated by William George Aston in Nihongi, gives the most detailed account of Susanoo and Amaterasu slaying Yamata no Orochi.
Compare to that found in the Kojiki, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain in The Kojiki, where Susanoo is translated as "His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness": Then Susanoo no Mikoto descended from Heaven and proceeded to the head-waters of the River Hi, in the province of Idzumo. At this time he heard a sound of weeping at the head-waters of the river, he went in search of the sound, he found there an old woman. Between them was set a young girl, whom they were caressing and lamenting over. Susanoo no Mikoto asked them, saying:-"Who are ye, why do ye lament thus?" The answer was:-"I am an Earthly Deity, my name is Ashi-nadzuchi. My wife's name is Te-nadzuchi; this girl is our daughter, her name is Kushi-nada-hime. The reason of our weeping is that we had eight children, daughters, but they have been devoured year after year by an eight-forked serpent and now the time approaches for this girl to be devoured. There is no means of escape for her, therefore do we grieve.” Sosa no wo no Mikoto said: "If, so, wilt thou give me thy daughter?"
He replied, said: "I will comply with thy behest and give her to thee." Therefore Sosa no wo no Mikoto on the spot changed Kushi-nada-hime into a many-toothed close-comb which he stuck in the august knot of his hair. He made Ashi-nadzuchi and Te-nadzuchi to brew eight-fold sake, to make eight cupboards, in each of them to set a tub filled with sake, so to await its coming; when the time came, the serpent appeared. It had an eight-forked tail; as it crawled it extended over a space of eight valleys. Now when it came and found the sake, each head drank up one tub, it became drunken and fell asleep. Susanoo no Mikoto drew the ten-span sword which he wore, chopped the serpent into small pieces; when he came to the tail, the edge of his sword was notched, he therefore split open the tail and examined it. In the inside there was a sword; this is the sword, called Kusa-nagi no tsurugi. This sword from the dragon's tail, the Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi or the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, was presented by Susanoo to Amaterasu as a reconciliation gift.
According to legends, she bequeathed it to her descendant Ninigi along with the Yata no Kagami mirror and Yasakani no Magatama jewel or orb. This sacred sword and jewel collectively became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. While Amaterasu is enshrined at the Honden of the Ise Grand Shrine, Susanoo is enshrined at Kumano Taisha located in Shimane, where he descended when banished from heaven; the iwami kagura - Orochi The jōruri - Nihon Furisode Hajime by Chikamatsu Monzaemon Aston, William George, tr. 1896. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A. D. 697. 2 vols. Kegan Paul. 1972 Tuttle reprint. Chamberlain, Basil H. tr. 1919. The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters. 1981 Tuttle reprint. Susanoo, Encyclopedia of Shinto Susano-O no Mikoto, Kimberley Winkelmann, in the Internet Archive as of 5 December 2008 Shinto Creation Stories: Sosa no wo in Izumo, Richard Hooker, in the Internet Archive as of 28 August 2006 Susanoo vs Yamata no Orochi animated depiction
A male organism is the physiological sex that produces sperm. Each spermatozoon can fuse with ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot reproduce sexually without access to at least one ovum from a female, but some organisms can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Most male mammals, including male humans, have a Y chromosome, which codes for the production of larger amounts of testosterone to develop male reproductive organs. Not all species share a common sex-determination system. In most animals, including humans, sex is determined genetically, but in some species it can be determined due to social, environmental, or other factors. For example, Cymothoa exigua changes sex depending on the number of females present in the vicinity; the existence of two sexes seems to have been selected independently across different evolutionary lineages. The repeated pattern is sexual reproduction in isogamous species with two or more mating types with gametes of identical form and behavior to anisogamous species with gametes of male and female types to oogamous species in which the female gamete is much larger than the male and has no ability to move.
There is a good argument that this pattern was driven by the physical constraints on the mechanisms by which two gametes get together as required for sexual reproduction. Accordingly, sex is defined operationally across species by the type of gametes produced and differences between males and females in one lineage are not always predictive of differences in another. Male/female dimorphism between organisms or reproductive organs of different sexes is not limited to animals. In land plants and male designate not only the female and male gamete-producing organisms and structures but the structures of the sporophytes that give rise to male and female plants. A common symbol used to represent the male sex is the Mars symbol, ♂ — a circle with an arrow pointing northeast; the symbol is identical to the planetary symbol of Mars. It was first used to denote sex by Carl Linnaeus in 1751; the symbol is called a stylized representation of the Roman god Mars' shield and spear. According to Stearn, all the historical evidence favours that it is derived from θρ, the contraction of the Greek name for the planet Mars, Thouros.
The sex of a particular organism may be determined by a number of factors. These may be genetic or environmental, or may change during the course of an organism's life. Although most species with male and female sexes have individuals that are either male or female, hermaphroditic animals, such as worms, have both male and female reproductive organs. Most mammals, including humans, are genetically determined as such by the XY sex-determination system where males have an XY sex chromosome, it is possible in a variety of species, including humans, to be XXY or have other intersex/hermaphroditic qualities, though one would still be considered genotypically male so long as one has a Y-chromosome. During reproduction, a male can give either an X sperm or a Y sperm, while a female can only give an X egg. A Y sperm and an X egg produce a male, while an X egg produce a female; the part of the Y-chromosome, responsible for maleness is the sex-determining region of the Y-chromosome, the SRY. The SRY activates Sox9, which forms feedforward loops with FGF9 and PGD2 in the gonads, allowing the levels of these genes to stay high enough in order to cause male development.
The ZW sex-determination system, where males have a ZZ sex chromosome may be found in birds and some insects and other organisms. Members of the insect order Hymenoptera, such as ants and bees, are determined by haplodiploidy, where most males are haploid and females and some sterile males are diploid. In some species of reptiles, such as alligators, sex is determined by the temperature at which the egg is incubated. Other species, such as some snails, practice sex change: adults start out male become female. In tropical clown fish, the dominant individual in a group becomes female while the other ones are male. In some arthropods, sex is determined by infection. Bacteria of the genus Wolbachia alter their sexuality. In those species with two sexes, males may differ from females in ways other than the production of spermatozoa. In many insects and fish, the male is smaller than the female. In seed plants, which exhibit alternation of generations, the female and male parts are both included within the sporophyte sex organ of a single organism.
In mammals, including humans, males are larger than females. In birds, the male exhibits a colorful plumage that attracts females. Boy Female Gender Male plant Male pregnancy Man Masculinity Gentleman Wedgwood, Hensleigh. "On False Etymologies". Transactions of the Philological Society: 68
Glossary of Shinto
This is the glossary of Shinto, including major terms the casual reader might find useful in understanding articles on the subject. Words followed by an asterisk are illustrated by an image in one of the photo galleries. Within definitions, words set in boldface are defined elsewhere in the glossary. Aku - Evil; the term's meaning is however not limited to moral evil, includes misfortune and unhappiness. Amaterasu Ōmikami - The Sun Goddess, tutelary kami and ancestor of the Emperor, enshrined at Ise Shrine. An* - a small table or platform used during Shinto ceremonies to bear offerings, it may have eight or sixteen legs. Anzen - Safety safety at work requested from a kami, in fact corporations have a tutelary shrine to ensure their business prospers. Aramitama - The rough and violent side of a spirit. Bekkū or betsugū - Subsidiary shrine next to the honden, which may however enshrine an important kami. Benzaiten - Originally a Vedic goddess Sarasvati, now a syncretic goddess member of the seven lucky gods.
Her Shinto name is Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto. Bettō - before the shinbutsu bunri, when the Meiji period law forbade the mixing of Shinto and Buddhism, a bettō was a monk who performed Buddhist rites at a Shinto shrine. Bishamonten - Syncretic deity of Buddhist origin part of the Seven Lucky Gods. A symbol of authority, he protects warriors. Bon Matsuri - a festival celebrated around July 15 in order to console the spirits of the dead. In theory a Buddhist in practice an ancestor and family festival part of Shinto. Bosatsu - Bodhisattva. Term of Buddhist origin which however was and is used for deities of mixed Buddhist/Shinto ancestry like Benzaiten and Jizō, kami like Hachiman and deified human beings like Tokugawa Ieyasu. Buden - see kaguraden. Bunrei - process of division of a kami producing two complete copies of the original, one of, transferred to a new shrine through a process called kanjō. Bunsha - Shrine part of a network headed by a famous shrine, from whence its kami was transferred through an operation called kanjō.
Butsudan - Buddhist altar found in Japanese homes enshrining a family's ancestors. Chigi* - Forked decorations common at the ends of the roof of shrines. Chinju - the tutelary kami or tutelary shrine of a certain area or Buddhist temple. Chinjusha* - a small shrine dedicated to the tutelary kami of an area or building. Chōchin - paper lanterns always present at Shinto festivals chōzuya - see temizuya. Daijōsai - Ceremony marking the beginning of an Emperor's reign in which he offers first fruits to ancestors, including Amaterasu; the Emperor shares a meal with the goddess. Dai-gongen - see gongen. Daikokuten - syncretic god part of the seven lucky gods fusing Buddhist god Mahakala and kami Ōkuninushi. Dōsojin - group of kami and Buddhist gods protectors of roads and other places of transition. Ebisu - god of prosperity found at both temples and shrines. One of the Seven Lucky Gods. ema* - small wooden plaques on which worshipers at shrines, as well as Buddhist temples, write their prayers or wishes.
Fox - See kitsune. Fuji - The most famous among Japan's sacred mountains, it is inhabited by a kami called Konohanasakuya-hime. Fukkō Shintō - name synonymous with kokugaku. Go-hei* - called onbe or heisoku. A wooden wand decorated with two shide and used in Shinto rituals as a yorishiro. Gongen A Buddhist god that chooses to appear as a Japanese kami to take the Japanese to spiritual salvation. Name sometimes used for shrines before the shinbutsu bunri. Gongen-zukuri - a shrine structure in which the haiden, the heiden and the honden are interconnected under the same roof in the shape of an H.* Goryō - A soul, angry for having died violently or unhappy, which needs to be pacified through Buddhist rites or enshrinement, like Sugawara no Michizane. Goshintai - see shintai. Gozu-tennō - Buddhist name of kami Susanoo, considered an avatar of Yakushi Nyorai. -gū - suffix of certain shrine names indicating it enshrines a member of the imperial family. Hachiman-gū shrines, for instance, enshrine Emperor Ojin.
Hachiman - Popular syncretic kami tutelary god of the warrior class. First enshrined at Usa Hachiman-gū, it consists of three separate figures, Emperor Ōjin, his mother and his wife Himegami. Hachiman-zukuri - Shinto architectural style in which two parallel structures with gabled roofs are interconnected on the non-gabled side forming a single building which, when seen from the side, gives the impression of two. Haibutsu kishaku - Literally "Destroy Buddha, kill Shakyamuni", it was the slogan of a Meiji period anti-Buddhist movement responsible for the destruction of thousands of Buddhist temples. Haiden* - "hall of prayer". A shrine building dedicated to prayer, the only one of a shrine open to laity. Hakusan - collective name given to three mountains worshiped as kami and sacred to the Shugendō. Hakusan shrines are common all over Japan. Hamaya - Literally "evil breaking arrow". Arrows kept at home all year. Han-honji suijaku - theory initiated by Yoshida Kanetomo which reversed the standard honji suijaku theory, asserting Buddhist gods were just avatars of Japanese kami. haraegushi - an ōnusa having an hexagonal or octagonal wand. harae - general term for rituals of purification in Shinto.
Hassoku-an - See an. Hatsumōde - the first shrine visit of the New Year; some shrines, for example Meiji Shrine in Harajuku, see millions of visitors in just a few days. Heiden - a section of a shrine where offerings are presented to the gods. Heihaku - see
Kagura is a Japanese word referring to a specific type of Shinto theatrical dance—with roots arguably predating those of Noh. Once a ceremonial art derived from kami'gakari, Kagura has evolved in many directions over the span of more than a millennium. Today it is much a living tradition, with rituals tied to the rhythms of the agricultural calendar, as well as vibrant Kabuki-esque theatre, thriving in parts of Shimane prefecture, urban centers such as Hiroshima; the epics Nihonshoki describe a folklore origin for the dances. In these texts, there is a famous legendary tale about the sun goddess Amaterasu, who retreated into a cave, bringing darkness and cold to the world. Ame-no-Uzume, kami/goddess of the dawn and of revelry, led the other gods in a wild dance, persuaded Amaterasu to emerge to see what the ruckus was all about. Kagura is one of a number of arts said to derive from this event. Called kamukura or kamikura, kagura began as sacred dances performed at the Imperial court by shrine maidens who were descendants of Ame-no-Uzume.
Over time, these mikagura, performed within the sacred and private precincts of the Imperial courts, inspired popular ritual dances, called satokagura, being popular forms, practiced in villages all around the country, were adapted into various other folk traditions and developed into a number of different forms. Among these are miko kagura, shishi kagura, Ise-style and Izumo-style kagura dances. Many more variations have developed over the centuries, including some which are new, most of which have become secularized folk traditions. Kagura, in particular those forms that involve storytelling or reenactment of fables, is one of the primary influences on the Noh theatre; the formal ritual dances were performed in a number of sacred places and on a number of special occasions. At the Imperial Sanctuary, where the Sacred Mirror was kept, they were performed as part of gagaku court music. Mikagura were performed at the Imperial harvest festival and at major shrines such as Ise and Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū.
Since around the year 1000, these events have taken place every year. According to the ritual department of the Imperial Household Agency, kagura still take place every December in the Imperial Sanctuary and at the Imperial harvest festival ceremonies. Satokagura, or "normal kagura", is a wide umbrella term containing a great diversity of folk dances derived from mikagura, incorporated with other folk traditions. For the sake of brevity, a selection of traditions from the Kantō region will be used as examples. Miko kagura – dances performed by shrine maidens derived from ritual dances in which the miko channeled the kami, speaking and dancing as the god. Though these had a loose form, akin to similar god-possession dances and rituals in other world cultures, they have developed, like many other Japanese arts, into regular set forms. Today, they are performed in worship to kami at Shinto shrines, or as part of a ritual martial arts demonstration at Buddhist temples; these dances are performed with ritual props, such as bells, bamboo canes, sprigs of sakaki, or paper streamers.
Izumo-ryū kagura – Dances based on those performed at Izumo Shrine serve a number of purposes, including ritual purification, celebration of auspicious days, the reenactment of folktales. Quite popular in the Chūgoku region, near Izumo, these dances have spread across the country, have developed over the centuries, becoming more secular folk entertainment and less formal religious ritual. Ise-ryū kagura – A form of dances derived from those performed alongside yudate rituals at the outer shrines of Ise Shrine. Associated with Hanamatsuri, the miko or other group leaders immerse certain objects in boiling water as part of a purification ritual; as with other forms of kagura, this has become secularized and popularized as it transformed into a folk practice. Shishi kagura – A form of lion dance, in which a group of dancers take on the role of the shishi lion and parade around the town; the lion mask and costume is seen as, in some ways, embodying the spirit of the lion, this is a form of folk worship and ritual, as other forms of lion dances are in Japan and elsewhere...
Daikagura – A form of dance deriving from rituals performed by traveling priests from Atsuta and Ise Shrines, who would travel to villages and other locations to help the locals by driving away evil spirits. Acrobatic feats and lion dances played a major role in these rituals. Around the time of the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate, performances derived from this emerged in Edo as a major form of entertainment. In connection with the celebrations surrounding the beginning of the shogunate, lion dances, juggling, a great variety of other entertainments were performed on stages across the city, all nominally under the auspices of "daikagura". Over the course of the period, these came to be more associated with rakugo storytelling and other forms of populair entertainment, still today, daikagura continues to be performed and include many elements of street entertainment. Mystery plays Kagura suzu Derived from the Japanese Wikipedia article. Giolai Andrea, Introducing Mikagura; some Ethnomusicological Features of an Ancient Japanese Ritual, http://www.centrostudiorientaliroma.net/introducing-mikagura-%E5%BE%A1%E7%A5%9E%E6%A5%BD-some-ethnomusicological-features-of-an-ancient-japanese-ritual/?lang=en Media related to Kagura at Wikimedia Commons
Japanese mythology embraces Shinto and Buddhist traditions as well as agriculturally-based folk religion. The Shinto pantheon comprises innumerable kami; this article will discuss only the typical elements present in Asian mythology, such as cosmogony, important deities, the best-known Japanese stories. Japanese myths, as recognized in the mainstream today, are based on the Kojiki, the Nihon Shoki, some complementary books; the Kojiki, or "Record of Ancient Matters", is the oldest surviving account of Japan's myths and history. The Shintōshū describes the origins of Japanese deities from a Buddhist perspective, while the Hotsuma Tsutae records a different version of the mythology. One notable feature of Japanese mythology is its explanation of the origin of the Imperial Family, used to assign godhood to the imperial line; the title of the Emperor of Japan, tennō, means "heavenly sovereign". Japanese is not transliterated across all sources, see: #Spelling of proper nouns In the Japanese creation myth, the first deities which came into existence, appearing at the time of the creation of the universe, are collectively called Kotoamatsukami.
The seven generations of kami, known as Kamiyonanayo, following the formation of heaven and earth. The first two generations are individual deities called hitorigami, while the five that followed came into being as male/female pairs of kami: brothers and sisters that were married couples. In this chronicle, the Kamiyonanayo comprise 12 deities in total. In contrast, the Nihon Shoki states that the Kamiyonanayo group was the first to appear after the creation of the universe, as opposed to the Kamiyonanayo appearing after the formation of heaven and earth, it states that the first three generations of deities are hitorigami and that the generations of deities are pairs of the opposite gender, as compared to the Kojiki's two generations of hitorigami. Japan's creation narrative can be divided into the birth of the land; the seventh and last generation of Kamiyonanayo were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, they would be responsible for the creation of the Japanese archipelago and would engender other deities.
To help them to achieve this and Izanami were given a naginata decorated with jewels, named Ame-no-nuboko. The two deities went to the bridge between heaven and earth and churned the sea below with the halberd. Drops of salty water formed Onogoro; the deities made their home on the island. They fell in love and wished to mate. So they built. Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions, when they met on the other side, the female deity, spoke first in greeting. Izanagi didn't think that this was proper, they had two children and Awashima, but the children were badly formed and are not considered gods in their original form. The parents, who were dismayed at their misfortune, put the children into a boat and sent them to sea, petitioned the other gods for an answer about what they had done wrong, they were informed that Izanami's lack of manners was the reason for the defective births: a woman should never speak prior to a man. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time, when they met, Izanagi spoke first.
Their next union was successful. From their union were born the Ōyashima, or the eight great islands of Japan: Awaji Iyo Oki Tsukushi Iki Tsushima Sado Yamato Note that Hokkaidō, Chishima and Okinawa were not part of Japan in ancient times. Izanami died giving birth to Kagutsuchi called Homusubi due to severe burns, she was buried on Mount Hiba, at the border of the old provinces of Izumo and Hoki, near modern-day Yasugi of Shimane Prefecture. In anger, Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi, his death created dozens of deities. The gods who were born from Izanagi and Izanami are symbolic aspects of culture. Izanagi undertook a journey to Yomi. Izanagi found little difference between Yomi and the land except for the eternal darkness. However, this suffocating darkness was enough to make him ache for life, he searched for Izanami and found her. At first, Izanagi could not see her, he asked her to return with him. Izanami informed him that he was too late, she had eaten the food of the underworld and now belonged to the land of the dead.
Izanagi was shocked at this news, but he refused to give in to her wishes to be left to the dark embrace of Yomi. Izanami first requested to have some time to rest, she instructed Izanagi to not come into her bedroom. After a long wait, Izanami did not come out of her bedroom, Izanagi was worried. While Izanami was sleeping, he took the comb that set it alight as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the horrid form of the once graceful Izanami; the flesh of her ravaged body was rotting and was overrun with maggots and fou