is the Shinto god of the sea and storms.
In Japanese mythology
, Susanoo, the Withering Wind of Summer, is the brother of Amaterasu
, the goddess of the sun
, and of Tsukuyomi
, the god of the moon
. All three were spawned from Izanagi
, when he washed his face clean of the pollutants of Yomi
, the underworld. Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed out his left eye, Tsukuyomi was born from the washing of the right eye, and Susanoo from the washing of the nose.
The oldest sources for Susanoo myths are the ca. 680 CE Kojiki and ca. 720 CE Nihongi. They tell of a long-standing rivalry between Susanoo and his sister. When he was to leave Heaven by orders of Izanagi, he went to bid his sister goodbye. Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susanoo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted. Each of them took an object of the other's and from it birthed gods and goddesses. Amaterasu birthed three women from Susanoo's sword while he birthed five men from her necklace. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace,and the godeesses were his, he decided that he has won the chalenge, as his item produced women. The two are content for a time, but Susanno, the Storm God, becomes restless and goes on a rampage destroying his sisters rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, and killed one of her attendants in a fit of rage. Amaterasu, who was in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato ("heavenly rock cave)," thus effectively hiding the sun for a long period of time.
Though she was persuaded to leave the cave, Susanoo was punished by being banished from Heaven. He descended to the province of Izumo, where he met an elderly couple who told him that seven of their eight daughters had been devoured by the eight-headed serpent Yamata-no-Orochi and it was nearing time for their eighth, . The Nihongi gives the most detailed account of Susanoo slaying the Yamata no Orochi. Compare the Kojiki version where Chamberlain (1919:71-3) translates Susanoo as "His-Swift-impetuous-Male-Augustness".
Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto descended from Heaven and proceeded to the head-waters of the River Hi, in the province of Idzumo. At this time he heard a sound of weeping at the head-waters of the river, and he went in search of the sound. He found there an old man and an old woman. Between them was set a young girl, whom they were caressing and lamenting over. Sosa no wo no Mikoto asked them, saying: "Who are ye and why do ye grieve lament thus?" The answer was: "I am an Earthly Deity, and my name is Ashi-nadzuchi. My wife's name is Te-nadzuchi. This girl is our daughter, and her name is Kushi-nada-hime. The reason of our weeping is that formerly we had eight children, daughters. But they have been devoured year after year by an eight-forked serpent and now the time approaches for this girl to be devoured. There is no means of escape for her, and therefore do we grieve." Sosa no wo no Mikoto said: "If that is so, wilt thou give me thy daughter?" He replied, and said: "I will comply with thy behest and give her to thee." Therefore Sosa no wo no Mikoto on the spot changed Kushi-nada-hime into a many-toothed close-comb which he stuck in the august knot of his hair. Then he made Ashi-nadzuchi and Te-nadzuchi to brew eight-fold sake, to make eight cupboards, in each of them to set a tub filled with sake, and so to await the arrival its coming. When the time came, the serpent actually appeared. It had 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. Now when it came and found the sake, each head drank up one tub, and it became drunk and fell asleep. Then Sosa no wo no Mikoto drew the ten-span sword which he wore and chopped the serpent into small pieces. When he came to the tail, the edge of his sword was slightly notched, and he therefore split open the tail and examined it. In the inside there was a sword. This is the sword which is called Kusa-nagi no tsurugi. (tr. Aston 1896:1:52-53)
This sword from the dragon's tail, the Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi
("Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven") or the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi
("Grasscutter Sword"), was presented by Susanoo to Amaterasu as a reconciliation gift. According to legends, she bequeathed it to her descendant Ninigi
along with the Yata no Kagami
mirror and Yasakani no Magatama
jewel or orb. This sacred sword, mirror, and jewel collectively became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan
While Amaterasu is enshrined at Ise Shrine
, Susano'o is enshrined in Izumo, where he descended when banished from heaven. Izumo is home to the oldest shrines in Japan and is held in the same regard as the most sacred shrine in Japan, Ise Shrine.
Susanoo in works of fiction
He is portrayed in:
- Susanoo is the inspiration for Digimon Frontier's Susanoomon, the combination for the Spirits of the Legendary Warrior Ten. It is also said that his power is unrivaled.
- Tokusatsu films such as The Three Treasures (where he was played by Toshiro Mifune) and Yamato Takeru
- The 2003 film Onmyoji II, played by Hayato Ichihara.
- Anime, such as Dark Myth, Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon, Blue Seed, where his ultimate goal is to make Japan a land of nature once more by turning every human into plants, The King of Braves GaoGaiGar where a spaceship is named after him, and Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula where a gigantic robot is named after him as well as complemented by a sword called Murakumo.
- Appears in the Season of Mists storyline in Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic book, claiming his pantheon are adapting for a cadre of new style Gods including Marilyn Monroe, King Kong, and Lady Liberty.
- He also appears in the Sandman spin-off Lucifer.
- Naruto, in which Susanoo is the name of Itachi Uchiha's most powerful technique.
- Orion, a sci-fi/fantasy manga created by Masamune Shirow, as Susano, a god summoned to save the world from ultimate destruction.''
- Okami, a PlayStation 2 video game, under the name of Susano, a talentless swordsman who appears alongside Amaterasu, the protagonist. The two fight Orochi in order to save a sake brewer named 'Kushi' from being eaten. A special "8 purification" sake brewed by Kushi is used to subdue Orochi's heads individually by getting them drunk. After defeating Orochi, Amaterasu receives a sword named Tsukuyomi.
- Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, a Playstation 2 video game, features an item called the "Horn of Susano," which increases an attribute of one of the several playable characters when equipped.
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age, a Game Boy Advance game, features a subplot based on the island city of Izumo, where a man named Susa must save his fiancé, Kushinada from a giant serpent, which he weakens by feeding it sake (Dragonsbane in English). After the main characters defeat it, Susa tells them to check under the monsters tail, where they can find a sword called the Cloud Brand.
- Persona 3, a Playstation 2 video game, features Susanoo as the ultimate form of the fool arcana with a dash in his name, "Susano-o", the pronunciation is the same however. In addition, Persona 4, its sequel, also features Susanoo, but completely redesigned; he is the awakened form of Yousuke's Persona, Jiraiya.
- He is named in the song Dragón de los Campos (dragon of the fields) of the Costa Rican Power metal band Anima Impugnis..
- In the Playstation 2 game Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Susanoo is the final boss, and appears with the three treasures of Japanese mythology. In this incarnation, he appears as a humanoid demon sitting on a lotus flower, and the name is spelled with a dash, as in Persona 3.
- The Japanese Shinto black metal band Misogi (band) (身殺, means something like "killing the body", pun on 禊 the rigid shinto cleansing ritual "misogi") features a song called Susanowo (スサノヲ) on their 3rd demo Kiriu (輝流, probably meaning "stream of light" or "shining stream").
- Slight reference can also be found in King of Fighters.
- Aston, William George, tr. 1896. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. 2 vols. Kegan Paul. 1972 Tuttle reprint.
- Chamberlain, Basil H., tr. 1919. The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters 1981 Tuttle reprint.