Japanese Mythology

The Shinto and Folk Gods of Japan...

SUSANO-WO

Shinto Underworld God

Also known as Susano, Susano-wu, Susano-o, Susanoo, Susanoo-no-Mikoto

Stormy and snotty Underworld God

He was born from the snot of Izanagi’s dripping nostril. This was not an auspicious start, and could be the reason Susano-wo was prone to behaving like a bit of a booger — especially towards his sister Amaterasu. She was born from the left eye of Izanagi, presumably wiping a tear away after sneezing. He had just come back from the Underworld and was covered in gloom dust. Another god, Tsukiyomi, was born from a tear in his right eye.

Amaterasu was given the sun and Tsukiyomi was given the moon and Susano-wo was given the ocean, which he rejected.

He then argued with his sister saying the one that could produce the most godlets instantly should have the most power. He snatched her fertility beads, bit them open and spat out five godlings, shouting ‘I’ve won. Amaterasu counter claimed saying as the beads belonged to her so did the godlets. This caused Susano-wo to have endless tantrums, rushing about the world and throwing things all over the place. He ended up by throwing a flayed horse through the roof of Amaterasu’s Sewing Room which scared the daylights out of her so she ran away and hid in a cave which caused no end of commotion as the sun couldn’t shine again until she was coaxed out.

Susano-wo was then thrown out of heaven and mooched about earth rather at a loss until he met an old couple weeping copiously. ‘What’s up?’ he asked, and they told him they were due to be visited by an eight-headed dragon. He had already eaten seven of their daughters and now he was coming to scoff the very last one. When Susano-wo saw the daughter he realized what was missing in his life, and said ‘Give your daughter to me — I’ll look after her don’t you worry — now tell me about this dragon and have you got any booze?’.

Susano-wo changed the girl into a comb, as he still retained some godly powers, and stuck her into his hair to keep her out of harm’s way and then filled eight bowls with rice wine inside a palisade he built which had eight holes in it. The dragon came sniffing along its usual route, came across the neatly concealed wine and thought this is my day. Eight heads popped through the holes, eight tongues lapped, eight brains became befuddled and the whole dragon conurbation fell into a slumber.

Enter Susano-wo with a sword, and a swish, and a lop and a chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. Just for good measure he gave a few extra strokes to the body and something dropped out of the dragon’s tail with a clung it turned out to be a sword.

The sword is called Kusanagi and supplies proof to all you skeptics that this tale must be absolutely true as this is the Imperial Sword of the Japanese Royal Family and may be viewed today providing you can get the necessary permission.

And Susano-wo? He settled down and became the ruler of Izumo, pausing only to create a few scenic forests from the hairs of his nostril clippings. From then on, he always kept his nose clean.

Susano-wo Facts and Figures

Name: Susano-wo
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Susano, Susano-wu, Susano-o, Susanoo, Susanoo-no-Mikoto

Gender: Male
Type: God
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: the Underworld
Area of expertise: Underworld

Good/Evil Rating: NEUTRAL, may not care
Popularity index: 1608

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Article last revised on November 19, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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