Japanese Mythology

Japanese mythology is an extremely complex system of beliefs. The Shinto pantheon alone boasts a collection of more than 8000 kami (Japanese for “gods” or “spirits”). Despite the influence of the ancient Chinese civilization, much of Japanese mythology and religion is uniquely their own. It embraces Shinto and Buddhist traditions as well as agricultural-based folk beliefs. Moreover, unlike Greek, Nordic and Egyptian mythology, it is relatively difficult to distinguish what is truly “myth” to the Japanese.

Mainstream Japanese myths, as generally recognized today, are based on the Kojiki, Nihonshoki and some complementary books. The Kojiki or “Record of Ancient Things” is the oldest recognized book of myths, legends, and history of Japan. The Shintoshu explains origins of Japanese deities from a Buddhist perspective while the Hotsuma Tsutae records a substantially different version of mythology.

One notable result of Japanese mythology is that it explains the origin of the Imperial family, and assigned them godhood. The Japanese word for the Emperor of Japan, tenno, means “heavenly emperor”.

This site will try to become the definitive resource in all things mythological in the Japanese sense. If you have any information that you feel will fit here, feel free to contact me. Please, also, read my disclaimer.