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I is for Inviting Izanagi & Izanami

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge ( The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Dual Natures in Folktales Around the World – opposites, contradictions & paradoxes.


From Japan

We need to use the full names of these married deities: Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto. Now, the names are more beautiful as they then mean “He Who Invites” and “She Who Invites.”

While the wedding itself is not explored in this story, I learned that, historically, the bride and groom gave gifts to the family-to-be. The gifts were symbolic. For example, konbu, a seaweed, was given. That name means “child-bearing woman.” Many other symbolic gifts were presented including a long white piece of hemp to represent living long together until their hairs turn as white as that piece of hemp.

What is so fascinating? What dualities have surfaced?

Heaven and Earth were once united, much like a marriage, but then they divided. They both came of matter but Heaven was “fine” while Earth was “coarse.” We have opposites that make it possible for each other to exist.

We also have life/creation and death. A common theme. Yet, what makes this fascinating is that Izanami no Mikoto, or “She Who Invites,” used to be over creation and then took on the role of death. Many times, we have two different people, but here there had to be a transition.

50-word-or-less summary:

Heaven and Earth were one. Divided. Seven Generations of Gods. Izanagi and Izanami given spear. Thrust into brine. Lifted. Became island. Had children/gods. God of Fire last. Izanami died from Fire. Asked Izanagi to wait at underworld’s threshold – no light. Impatient. Light. Saw decomposed body (reforming). Fled. Stone. Separated.

Finding the Story: 

Online information/stories provided by Owlcation, educators and experts contribute – found here

World History Encyclopedia entry for Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto – found here

Retold version of this story – found here

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been “dual” in our offerings of our hybrid summit & festival on May 9-12, 2022 – yes, in-person and virtual – and would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here:

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; Youth, Educators, Storytellers (YES); City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Clever Octopus; Desert High Brain Trust; and people like you.

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