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IMAGE: Izanagi (drawing by Toyohara Chikanobu, 1838-1912)
Izanagi (イザナギ) is a creator deity (kami) in Japanese mythology. He, along with his sister-wife Izanami, are the last of the seven generations of primordial deities that manifested after the formation of heaven and earth. Izanagi and Izanami are held to be the creators of the Japanese archipelago and the progenitors of many deities, which include the sun goddess Amaterasu, the moon deity Tsukuyomi and the wild storm god Susanoo.
The Kojiki portrays Izanagi and his younger twin sister Izanami as the seventh and final generation of deities that manifested after the emergence of the first group of gods, the Kotoamatsukami, when heaven and earth came into existence.
Receiving a command from the other gods to solidify and shape the earth, the couple use a jeweled spear to churn the watery chaos. The brine that dripped from the tip of the spear congealed and turned into an island named Onogoro. The two descended to the island and, setting up their dwelling, erected a 'heavenly pillar' (ame no mihashira) on it. Izanagi and Izanami, realizing that they were meant to procreate and have children, then devised a marriage ceremony whereby they would walk in opposite directions around the pillar, greet each other and initiate intercourse. After Izanami greeted Izanagi first, Izanagi objected that he, the man, should have been the first to speak. True enough, the first offspring that resulted from their union, the 'leech-child' Hiruko, was considered imperfect and set adrift on a boat of reeds. Izanagi and Izanami then also begat the island of Awa, but this too was not counted among their rightful progeny.