The basic creation story starts
with a “germ of life.” In this germ are all the elements of life.
When these elements begin to mix together, the lighter part rises and the
heavier part sinks to become the earth, which is covered in a “muddy” sea.
The first god comes from a green shoot that grows from the ocean into the
clouds. This first god begins to make others to ease its loneliness,
the last and most remarkable two are Izanagi and Izanami (Murlagh).
After the gods are brought forth from the water, they must make land.
Izanagi and Izanami are given the “Heavenly Jeweled Spear” by the other deities,
and standing on the “Heavenly Floating Bridge”, they stir up the ocean with
the spear. When they lift the spear from the water, brine drips down
off its tip and becomes the first land (World 75). This first island’s name
was Ono-koro, or “self-coagulating” (Piggot 9). Again, we see that the
process of creation is completely dependent on the presence of water.
The first god comes from the water, and then Isanagi and Izanami create the
first land from the “brine” of the sea.
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Since Japan is an island, it is surrounded
by salt water. On the northern coast of Japan is the Sea of Japan, and
on the southern coast is the Pacific Ocean. Like many island cultures,
Japan’s is largely based around the sea. For most of their history
Japanese people obtained the greatest portion of their food in the form
of fish, seaweed, and other sea food. As in the case of the Egyptians,
it would be difficult to ignore how life is centered around water.
But unlike the Egyptians, the Japanese people were continually faced
with the incredible amount of life in the sea, a whole world of it.
This led them to believe that life itself actually originated from the sea.
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