Why Did Amaterasu and Susano Quarrel Over Control of Their Realms In Japanese Mythology?

Izanagi assigned each of the three gods to a different realm.

Tsuki Yomi controlled the night, Amaterasu, the sun goddess, ruled the High Plains of Heaven, and Susano watched over the ocean.

This arrangement satisfied everyone but Susano, who pouted angrily. Amaterasu suspected that Susano would challenge her rule in heaven.

Preparing for battle, she armed herself with a bow and filled two quivers with arrows. But Susano had no intention of battling Amaterasu.

Instead, he proposed a contest. Whoever could create the most gods would win.

To begin, Amaterasu took Susano’s sword and broke it into three pieces. She chewed the pieces in her mouth and spit out three goddesses.

Susano responded by taking Amaterasu’s beaded necklace and creating five gods.

Susano claimed victory and celebrated by ravaging the divine farmland and slaughtering a pony.

As a last outrageous act, he hurled the pony’s carcass into the building where Amaterasu and her maidens wove sacred clothing.

Terrified, Amaterasu shut herself in a cave and refused to come out.

The whole world was covered in darkness.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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