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IMAGE: Izanami (drawing by Toyohara Chikanobu, 1838-1912)
In Japanese mythology, Izanami (イザナミ) is a goddess of both creation and death, as well as the former wife of the god Izanagi-no-mikoto. She is also referred to as Izanami no kami.
The first gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi summoned two divine beings into existence, the male Izanagi and the female Izanami, and charged them with creating the first land. To help them do this, Izanagi and Izanami were given a spear decorated with jewels, named Amenonuhoko (heavenly spear). The two deities then went to the bridge between heaven and earth, Ame-no-ukihashi ("floating bridge of heaven"), and churned the sea below with the spear. When drops of salty water fell from the spear, Onogoroshima was created. They descended from the bridge of heaven and made their home on the island.
Eventually they wished to be mated, so they built a pillar called Ame-no-mihashira ("pillar of heaven"; the mi- is an honorific prefix) and around it they built a palace called Yahiro-dono (one hiro is approximately 1.82 m, so the "eight-hiro-palace" would have been 14.56 m). Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions and, when they met on the other side, Izanami spoke first in greeting. Izanagi did not think that this was proper, but they mated anyhow. They had two children, Hiruko ("leech-child"), who later came to be known in Shintoism as the god Ebisu, and Awashima, but they were born deformed and were not considered deities.
They put the children into a boat and set them out to sea, then petitioned the other gods for an answer as to what they did wrong. They were told that the male deity should have spoken first in greeting during the marriage ceremony. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time Izanagi speaking first when they met, and their marriage was finally successful.
The Kojiki talks of the death of Izanami and her tomb, which was located at the boundary between country Izumo and Hōki. It implies that Izanami transferred her soul to an animal and a human before her death, but does not state whether or not Izanami had incarnations.