Our Work is Our Play!
This week on Myth Madness we’re doing Japanese Mythology and I chose to do a bit more research on Susanoo.
While he is revered as a god in traditional Shinto teachings, modern media portrays him rather human compared to his sister Amateratsu. He was born when Izanagi (Great God) washed his face of Yomi, the underworld. While the tears from Izanagi’s eyes became Amateratsu- God of the Sun and Tsukuyomi– God of the moon; Susanoo was born from the snot released from Izanagi’s nose.
Like all siblings, Susanoo and Amateratsu had a very standard rivalry. It escalated when Susanoo killed one of Amateratsu’s attendants and destroyed her rice fields. Susanoo was banished from heaven, yet he managed to yank his fathers sword: Totsuka-no-Tsurugi. That legend which he is primarly featured in he found an old man who spoke of a serpent that devoured seven of his eight daughters.
Susanoo came up with a plan, and one that involved copious amounts of sake; Japanese rice wine. I don’t know how much sake (or how strong) you need to subdue an eight headed demon serpent-dragon, but I’d imagine it was no small feat. He proceeded to hide eight containers of sake in several cupboards. They described Orochi’s coming as “an eight-forked head and an eight-forked tail; its eyes were red, like the winter-cherry; and on its back firs and cypresses were growing. As it crawled it extended over a space of eight hills and eight valleys.” Stupidly I’d assume that the dragon’s heads drank the sake, and passed out. Susanoo took it upon himself to chop Orochi into bits, yet when he came to the tail his sword became damaged. Investigating further he found a sword known as Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi.
After he annihilated Orochi, he returned to heaven to offer Amateratsu the legendary sword as reconciliation.
Featured above is a modern media representation of Susanoo from the Playstation 2 videogame Okami. The videogame was primarily focused on his sister who took the form of a wolf. Though mostly accurate of the legend, Clover studios took artistic freedom to make the legend funny, goofy, and more pleasing to everyone. Susanoo in Okami is often depicted as a bumbling and annoying failed swordsman who couldn’t accomplish much without his sister Amateratsu helping him.